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Welcome! We look forward to working with you and having you at our dance!

This is a first pass at documenting information for our performers. We welcome your feedback and suggestions for improving this information - please note it is intended as a minimal summary of pertinent information for callers and bands booked with us - not a comprehensive guide to the skils required in either role.

Information for Callers

Terminology

Once the greater contra community coalesces around another single replacement term for Gypsy, we'll likely move to it.

Programming

We welcome Squares, 4 Face 4, mixers and other less-usual formations in sparing quantity. We do contra corners, half figure eight - even the occasional proper dance! The majority of dances should be 32 bar contras in duple improper or becket formation, with a suitable arc of difficulty peaking just after the break. You may want to consider other factors such as weather conditions or dancer fatigue in your material choices.

If doing unusual formations, please limit them to one appearance per half of the dance. For squares, lead just one dance per tip if 55 or fewer dancers are up to dance (otherwise too many dancers are locked out when we have an odd grouping of dancers). Similar consideration should be made for other formations which "lock out" dancers in greater numbers than a single couple. The goal is to minimize the number of people forced to the sideline due to choices of material.

While we do occasionally book established groups, our typical band is mostly a mix of very capable individual musicians. If you are anticipating needing music outside the standard established contra repertoire, consider contacting a musician programmed for your evening in advance.

Our community is a mix of beginners through very experienced dancers. Typical attendance is ~50 dancers peak with a significant group leaving at the break due to early commitments the next day. It's not unusual for the crowd to bias towards one role or another for the first half hour or so, but dancers generally will deal with that by dancing the other role if they're not willing to sit out. We typically remain viable for contras over the whole time span. There are some dancers with cognition and motion challenges which should be considered in your program but please do not program all simple dances - our dancers expect material of sufficient interest.

Do not over-teach/call your material to the whole hall! Trust our experienced dancers to help guide newcomers or those with challenges. If you find yourself teaching or calling for extended periods, rethink your assessment of the floor or your material choices. You may want to consider coming down from the stage strategically for demos of selected moves or to "locally call" to those you may identify as uniquely having trouble with a certain sequence while under way.

With efficient teaching and good selection, you should be able to lead/call 12 dances in a typical evening's program (7 and 5). Teach moves (briefly!) as they are introduced in your program throughout the evening (don't count on beginners having been at the lesson and trust experienced dancers to be your ally/assistant while teaching in the line).

If there are dancers willing to dance, we expect you to lead dances through the scheduled end time - it would be wise to have a few dances at hand suitable for small groups if required at the end of the evening. We wish to maintain our reputation for presenting a full evening of dancing.

For what it's worth, we have heard several callers refer to our dance as one of their most challenging venues to program because of the mix of capabilities and experienced dancer expectations. Don't worry about this too much - we really are a very community oriented and relaxed venue (so long as you know your material)!

Timeline

Logistics

Performer Pay

We do not guarantee pay amounts (unless specifically agreed) but generally aim to pay $75 to each performer (or more - based upon attendance and an even split of profit). Our You Pick admission scheme has been generally successful in achieving our aim, with generous dancers helping to ensure adequate pay.

Booking/Scheduling

Jack O'Connor is currently doing all booking for the Monday Contras dance.

Booking is based on our having direct personal experience with the talent in a contra/similar dance setting, recommendation of one or more of our well trusted existing performers, and/or other suitable reference (performer gig videos, comparable bookings history). Developing talent is also welcome with reference and will generally be given one or two caller guest slots or a sit-in opportunity in an evening to allow a chance to see your work. We typically schedule talent for Monday Contras in quarters, working to book the next quarter by the last month of the current quarter (so possibly as little as ~2 weeks up to 3 months in advance). We do sometimes make further out commitments for touring performers - if we do, we highly suggest you contact Jack two to three months out to help remind us of your booking.

Once booked we expect you to perform for the date and time slot scheduled in a professonal manner. We understand if you need to change your commitment but ask to be informed of known schedule conflicts as soon as possible - definitely no later than two weeks before the date. Should last minute issues arise that prevent your appearance, please let us know as soon as possible - a phone call is best in that case. We ask that you inform us first before seeking a substitute performer in your stead - we appreciate you feeling responsible to cover, but wish to ensure that appropriate consideration be made to balancing performer appearances at our dance and compatibility between performers.

If we have reason to cancel a dance, we will make every effort to reach out and let you know as soon as possible. If you have any concern that a dance will be canceled with short notice, please just give us a call. While we can't be responsible for things beyond our control, we know your time is valuable and wish you to be safe and avoid unnecessary travel!