- The dance is at the Cambridge Masonic Hall: 1950 Mass Ave Cambridge MA
- We're opposite the Porter Square stop on the Red Line if you're coming by transit. If you're coming by car you can park in the lot next to the hall or (since the dance is on Sunday) in any metered or residential space for free.
- The dance runs 7:30-10:30 with a ~20min beginners workshop ~7:05-7:25 and a ~25min break ~9:05-9:30.
- The hall opens at 6:00. Please plan to eat dinner before you arrive, and be ready for sound check at 6:45.
- The hall closes at 11:00. Please time the evening, including the last waltz, to be done by 10:30 so we have time to fully strike.
- Pay is $100, plus potential profit sharing.
- We'll provide sound.
- Our caller's mic is a wired mic, that can either be held or put on one of our stands.
- If you have a mic you prefer, you're welcome to bring it.
- If you would like a caller monitor let us know in advance and we can set you up with one.
- The beginner's workshop is scheduled for 7pm to 7:30pm, but we like to leave 5min at the beginning for people to arrive late and end 5min early to give people time to organize themselves and get a drink before the dance starts.
- You can't count on all of the new dancers to arrive in time for the workshop, but you'll probably have at least half of them.
- If you aren't up for leading the lesson, let us know in advance and we'll line up someone else to lead it.
- Anyone can ask anyone to dance.
- If someone asks you to dance and you don't want to dance with them, it's ok to say 'no'.
- If anyone is bothering you, you can talk to one of our "Safety Reps".
- Flourishes are optional, and teach how to decline them.
- Our attendance has been averaging 150, and 75% of the time it's between 115 and 180 (chart).
- About 30 of these tend to be completely new to contra this evening, and another 40 or so pretty new.
We encourage the caller to give short, light, frequent, and humorous messages encouraging etiquette, safety, welcoming behavior, and dancing with new people. Ideas for topics:
- dancing in control
- being aware of other dancers around you
- adjusting your dancing to make your neighbors comfortable
- asking new people to dance
- style suggestions (ouchless allemandes, giving weight, comfortable swings, etc)
- dancing with beginners (guide them into the next move, help without words, don't force embellishments, etc)
- We also encourage you to call a mixer during the evening to help people meet and dance with new faces. The third slot often works well for this.
- Our dance is gender-free, and it's common for people to dance either role.
- We use "Larks" and "Ravens" for the role names. The idea is, if the couple is standing together as if they're promenading or have just finished a swing, the 'L'ark is on the 'L'eft and the 'R'aven is on the 'R'ight.
- Please don't use gendered pronouns, like "his" for Larks. If you need to use a pronoun, "they" can work, or you can call directly to the dancers with "you".
- We use "right shoulder round" instead of "gypsy". For example, "right shoulder round your neighbor" or "walk around your neighbor by the right shoulder". For the (uncommon) move traditionally called a "gypsy star" we usually say "facing star".
- There's a dessert potluck at the break. You don't have to contribute, but you're welcome to eat.
- Squares and other formations are welcome, though our crowd is mostly not used to them.
- Partway through one of the dances we turn off the main overhead lights and go down to a disco ball and secondary lights. Typically the hall manager coordinates with the band to match a tune change. If you'd like us to also coordinate with you, let us know.
- After people have lined up for the last dance of the first half but before you've taught the dance we typically have some announcements.