Contra and Chanteys

I’ve been having a good time learning to contra dance so far this summer. I’m finding it quite similar to square dancing, thankfully, which has made picking it up pretty simple, but the significantly-lower average age is keeping me on my toes all the same. I suspect there is a lot I could stand to learn about dancing more gracefully – with parents who are known as something of a danger on the dance floor, “grace” has generally been a distant second to “enthusiasm” in this family, but perhaps one can achieve both. And the idea that there is just one pattern repeated throughout the song and at some point the caller will stop calling has been taking more getting used to than I would have expected. I’m used to having essentially muscle reactions to what the caller says to do, and I have to remember to turn my brain back on and memorize the steps this way. It’s an interesting contrast.

Some pics from the last one:


This summer I also finally got to realize my dream of singing sea songs in a pub! Looking forward to the next monthly one. I was asked to sing “Her Bright Smile Haunts Me Still,” which was pretty exciting even if I was completely unprepared. It seems that perhaps I should actually learn it for the future… There were songs that I was unfamiliar with, but I was pleased with how many of them I knew. Sadly there were children present, which limited the repertoire…


I hung out chatting for a while afterwards with the leaders from the Chicago and Urbana groups and learned there is a maritime music festival in San Francisco that is done on actual boats. I … ah… may have since gotten tickets to fly out and do this… Now that I have achieved the smaller bucket list items on this topic, I am going in search of “bigger buckets,” as my mom described it. I also got to hear about the drunken shenanigans of some of the well-known members of the shanty scene at the Mystic festival in June. It sounds like a good time!

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