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Contra Dance In Nyc Video


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#1 Jody Kruskal

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Posted 12 December 2017 - 01:39 AM

I have a bunch of bands that play regularly for dances in New York City and the surrounding areas. Mostly these dances are not documented and though amazing music and dancing happens on an ongoing basis, it's a nitch activity that garners no media attention. That's fine with me... but a few years back I handed my cell phone to some guy on the sidelines saying, "take a video of us, OK?" He really captured the whole experience with this video of my band Hog Wild playing for the New York Mardi Gras dance in 2014. Check it out!

 

It's worth a look!

 

Hog Wild at the Mardi Gras contra dance produced by CDNY in Manhattan, NY March 1, 2014 playing Spotted Pony into Growling old Man Grumbling Old Woman. Tom Phillips on fiddle, Jody Kruskal on Anglo Concertina, Marnen Laibow-Koser on piano. Donna Hunt: caller.

https://www.youtube....h?v=39GNvbJQh6E


Edited by Jody Kruskal, 12 December 2017 - 01:41 AM.


#2 RonnyB

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Posted 12 December 2017 - 03:29 AM

Great playing wish I was there 

Ron



#3 Little John

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Posted 12 December 2017 - 03:30 AM

Nice bouncy sound. Good variety of textures. You're lucky to have such an inventive and interesting pianist!



#4 d.elliott

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Posted 12 December 2017 - 04:11 AM

Tell your pianist that he would probably get 'done' for speeding over here!, I have never really listened to 'contra' before. I like it.

 

Rumour has it that you might be playing at Dungworth next year? its only a couple of miles fro, where I live. Do you have a date yet?

 

Dave 



#5 wayman

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Posted 12 December 2017 - 06:24 AM

Jody, what do your pedals do, and how often do you use them?

 

I always forget Marnen can do that; but then, he is the 36th smartest person of all time, according to one estimate.



#6 MartinW

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Posted 12 December 2017 - 01:06 PM

Dave, I understand Jody is at The Royal on 3rd November next year.

#7 d.elliott

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Posted 13 December 2017 - 03:56 AM

I wonder if my wife can be persuade to drive???

 

Dave



#8 Jody Kruskal

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Posted 13 December 2017 - 05:12 AM

Yes, it's true, I'm scheduled to perform my solo show at the Royal in Dungworth Nov 3 2018. Dave and Martin... hope to see you there!

 

As for Marnen, I've had the pleasure of playing dances with him for the past two decades. In addition to piano he also plays violin, viola and flute. Just don't get him started punning or his witty associations will take over and become the entirety of his conversation. He always amazes us with his inventive piano interpretations and at his best, he dazzles us with his ability to improvise melodically, rhythmically and harmonically at the same time. A rare skill. I've just booked him for a dance in New Jersey at the Swing N'Tern dance with our band Squeezology on April 7, 2018. The Squeezology contra dance band plays my original tunes and in addition to Marnen's facility on piano now features the exceptional fiddle playing of Libby Weitnauer.

 

Will, my pedal board is a useful addition to my concertina sound at the dances I play. It gives me control over timbre and attack so that I can cut through the muck of a concert hall by use of pre-set user defined patches. My device is a vintage Korg Tone Works AX30G guitar hyper performance processor and I dread the day that it breaks because I find it ever so useful in crafting the sounds of performances of all sorts on concertina and the other instruments I play.



#9 d.elliott

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Posted 13 December 2017 - 05:48 PM

Jody, 

 

still looking for that extra special Christmas present for the wife before I dare ask her to drive for another concertina performance..............



#10 Little John

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Posted 16 December 2017 - 06:45 AM

Is "contra dance" just a corruption of "country dance" - a term widely used in England and Scotland? If not, what does it mean?



#11 Anglo-Irishman

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Posted 16 December 2017 - 07:50 AM

An American autoharper friend of mine and his group were once invited to play at a contra-dance. They didn't know what it meant either, but they reckoned that since "contra" is Latin for "against", it must be some Southern Baptist event (Baptists tending to be against dancing). So they made a playlist of Gospel songs for the evening ...

 

;)

 

Cheers,

John



#12 Wolf Molkentin

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Posted 16 December 2017 - 08:26 AM

Is "contra dance" just a corruption of "country dance" - a term widely used in England and Scotland? If not, what does it mean?


It may be just the other way around, as contredanse has been a common French name for a dance with lines of couples (I'm not a dancer myself) facing one another, and country dance is believed to simply be a folk-etymological derivative.

Best wishes - Wolf

#13 David Barnert

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Posted 16 December 2017 - 09:46 AM

I’ve been thinking about this question for many decades, and have heard various answers. One, which is apparently not the case, is that the dancers stand in lines opposite their partners, hence “contra.” More believable is that it is an American corruption of the French “contredanse,” which in turn is a corruption of the English “Country Dance.”

 

In the 1980s in New York City, there was a contradance band called “New York Pro Contra Dance Band.” It included Tom Phillips, who features in Jody’s video, above. I still have one of their T-shirts. The name was a parody of an early music ensemble called “New York Pro Musica Antiqua.” Those who recall the political news of the period will realize why the dance band had to change their name in a hurry.

 

[I’ve been editing this post for hours. Now I’ll just add one more: Since I started putting the post together, I can’t get the tune “Ebenezer” out of my head. I learned it in 1984 from members of the New York Pro Contra Dance Band.]


Edited by David Barnert, 16 December 2017 - 11:29 AM.


#14 JimLucas

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Posted 16 December 2017 - 03:56 PM

More believable is that it is an American corruption of the French “contredanse,” which in turn is a corruption of the English “Country Dance.”

 

Like various other terms in the folk idiom -- e.g., "Morris" dance, and sea "shanty"... or is it "chantey"?, -- nobody knows the true origin of "contra dance".

 

However, my own favorite way to give it contemporary meaning is that it is a description of how the dance itself proceeds, with two groups of couples moving past each other in opposite directions as the dance progresses.  "Contra" means "opposite" or "against".  And in French, "contre" also means "against" (or so says Google translate; I don't speak French), which makes more sense to me than "a corruption of the English 'Country Dance.' ”

 

A question about that last point, though:  English "country dance" includes dances with formations other than lines of couples with two groups moving "against" each other.  Does the French term "contredanse" also include other formations, or is it restricted to the contra dance formation?



#15 John Wild

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Posted 16 December 2017 - 08:13 PM

Given that the French successfully invaded England in 1066, their "contre Danse" may have been adopted into the English language as country dance. :)



#16 Mike Franch

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Posted 16 December 2017 - 11:54 PM

Love this. It's getting off topic, but that's the way good discussions run.

 

I don't know when American country dancing began to be called "contra" dancing.  When my wife and I started dancing in Baltimore (Maryland, not Ireland) in 1974, it was all just country dancing.  We did some English, some American. (I think some groups in England still mix it up this way.)  But gradually, it sorted out into specific dances, either English country dance (ECD) or contra dances, i.e., American dances. Here, by ECD, we mean Playford and modern dances in that tradition, as well as English traditional dances (i.e., still being danced by "the folk" when Cecil Sharp and others went poking around the countryside in the late-19th and early-20th centuries--as opposed to dances reconstructed by Sharp et al. from old dance books).

 

There's been a huge evolution in contra dance as well.  Musically, a major difference is speed. Much faster today--as measured by the metronome, not just by aging body.



#17 JimLucas

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Posted 17 December 2017 - 02:58 AM

I don't know when American country dancing began to be called "contra" dancing.  When my wife and I started dancing in Baltimore (Maryland, not Ireland) in 1974, it was all just country dancing.

 

When I started that sort of dancing (1969 or 1970?) in New York City, "New England contra dancing" was considered clearly distinct from both "English country dance" (ECD, as described by you) and various forms of American "square dance".  In New England, the use of the term "contra dance" -- as distinct from "square dance" -- goes back much farther than that, maybe even a couple of hundred years.  (I haven't studied the matter, but I've overheard others who have.)  Certainly, some of the individual dances can be traced back to Revolutionary times.

 

And if memory serves me right, at Country Dance and Song Society dances the term "contra" was used even to describe Playford dances that used the "contra" formation, but they were still considered a different genre from "New England contra", a long-standing regional tradition with its own distinct styles and music.  In its home ground, it was just referred to as "contra", and as its popularity spread throughout the country, others also dropped the "New England" qualifier.  Warning, concertina content:  I'd say that's similar to "anglo-German" becoming abbreviated to just "anglo".






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