There were more than a thousand people in Suhl (near Erfurt) for the 50th anniversary celebration of the European Callers & Teachers Association over the weekend. The weekend was pretty much fifty hours of awesome (though I think it would have been nice if a few more of those hours had actually been spent sleeping haha), in the tradition of good cons everywhere.
On Friday evening there was a little street carnival thing that I went to and had fun hanging out with some people there. I gave in and rode one of those whirling teacup rides for the first time with everyone else, which didn’t turn out as badly as I expected. My goal going in was to not throw up afterwards, at which I was successful. I spent a lot of time watching the buildings and the flags around the top of the ride so that I had something stationary to look at, though I don’t think that’s what you’re supposed to do. As long as I kept my mouth firmly closed instead of talking or laughing, it was pretty fun – when I forgot, it tended to feel like my stomach was going to go flying out of my mouth. We rode the ferris wheel (and now Norman finally knows why the square dance move is called that :P) and did one of those “win stuffed animals based on tickets” things, which was new for me.
The square dancing was really awesome too. I wore my rainbow socks, which evidently garnered attention from a huge number of guys. A clogger from the US came up to me and said she’d been told to talk to the girl with the rainbow socks, who was also an American, and when I wore fresh socks on Sunday, people came up to me and asked me where my rainbow socks were. I got to dance with some really fun people who were better at dancing than anyone I’ve danced with, and liked doing cool stuff. And I finally found someone to do the Circle Left-Allemande Left alternative move with – evidently Germans don’t know about it, and I’ve been missing it.
Coolest of what we did was when we paired off our square into two 4-person squares and danced every move, because it actually worked. We got some Square Throughs going where everyone kept holding hands (although in the process of figuring it out, I clobbered some tall guy in the face), and I’ve got the special Weave the Ring move the Germans do worked out finally. Norman and I messed up the caller when we danced in the lead square as corners instead of partners (score for us!). There was progressive square dancing where everybody swapped squares and moved around the dance floor, which was pretty awesome, and optional dancing where every so often the caller gave couples the option Roll Away or some other move so we would be dancing the opposite gender. I got to dance briefly as a guy during the introduction workshop in the afternoon, which was interesting, but I think I like being a girl better. (Swings are too much fun, thank you) ^.^
I was bummed that I didn’t get to dance “Rosalie’s Boat” (which is probably my all-time favorite square dance song), but it was mostly made up for by getting to dance to “Fever” (as in the same song Nana Visitor sings in Star Trek with much awesomeness) for the first time. Ever since I found a copy of that in my dad’s record box I’ve wondered how it would be to dance to it. I think my facial expression kind of freaked the people in my square out because as my German compatriots would say, it was “geil.”
EDIT: don’t bother looking up “geil” – it’s used the same way as Bostonians use “wicked” or some people use “sick.” ie it seems to have nothing to do with the actual meaning of the word.
The callers were all amazing (though it was fascinating when they spoke, because some of them had a half British, half Texan accent from listening to square dance records). There were two German callers who kicked ass when they broke out into a cappella calling (can you call it beatboxing when it’s not hiphop music? – die Prinzen would say they did “alles mit dem Mund,” at any rate) and started doing the Twist on stage. I wish we’d gotten to hear more of them, because it was an amazing display of skill and it was really fun to dance to. At another point they got all the callers up on stage to do sort of a circle story style of calling, which was cool too.
In fact the only bad things I would say about the weekend were that it was too dark inside to take as many pictures as I wanted (plus I was too busy dancing) and that by midafternoon on Saturday my toes felt the way my dad’s look after he’s been skiing in his old ski boots. When I took my socks off at night, I couldn’t believe my toes weren’t black and blue. I had to dance the rest of the weekend in my sneakers. Oh, and the Grand March in the evening was really boring – an hour of standing in lines waiting to march while they called up an endless line of callers and presidents and stuff to make speeches. Unfortunately, it seems that it was impossible for me and Norman to have normal expressions over the weekend, because the pictures we got someone to take of us all look kind of weird.
People keep pointing out that I had to come to Germany to find good square dancing, and after this weekend, I would agree completely. I was already prepared to not argue it, especially this past month, but this weekend cinched it.