Dances by Luke Donforth

  • Contra with a swing dance move November 12, 2014In addition to being a contra dancer and caller, I’ve done a bunch of other types of dance; including swing. This is a contra that steals a move from swing dancing, because we shouldn’t just steal from English Country. I’ve called it in a couple different venues, and it’s been well received. I demo the ...
  • Half Hey to Star October 18, 2014This is two versions of a dance with an unusual transition in the A1, where you go from a half hey to a hands across star. Grit & Oats by Luke Donforth Contra/Becket-CW A1 ———– (8) 1/2 Hey, men passing Left shoulders, women catch Left hands (8) Left Hands across star 3/4 (men behind partner) A2 ———– (16) NEW Neighbor balance and swing B1 ...
  • Half-Pair dances October 18, 2014I often think of Rory O’More and Petronella in happening in twos, but the following two dances use them in singletons to transition into something else. The second one is a closer dance inspired by Chris Weiler’s A1 Reel (and is much simpler than the Be Too Real that was also inspired by A1 Reel). Rory ...
  • Some quick compositions October 18, 2014I was playing around with the star->allemande ->chain transition, and wrote a couple of easy dances I don’t think exist. Places I’ve been by Luke Donforth Contra/Improper A1 ———– (8) Long lines, forward and back (8) Left hand Star 1x A2 ———– (8) Neighbor allemande Left 1-1/2 (8) Women’s Chain across B1 ———– (8) Women Do-si-do 1x (8) Partner swing B2 ———– (8) Circle Left 3/4 (8) Neighbor swing Places to ...
  • Simple dance, without lines or circles September 24, 2014I’m still writing dances, but I’ve slipped on posting them. This one is a simple dance without circles or lines. The flow was inspired by Ted Crane’s great dance “All You Can Eat”; so I’m calling it “2nd Course”. (Granted, someone else may call it something else because they wrote it years ago, that happens ...
  • 6 facing 6 contra dances February 26, 2014I’ve been walking to work lately, because the roads are too icy for me to feel comfortable biking. As such, I have time to think about contra dances; and lately I’ve been thinking about 6 facing 6 formation. I’m not sure if anyone else has written in this formation, but I’ll put these out there ...
  • New longways family dance February 1, 2014One of the fun challenges of being a dance caller is responding to a wide variety of situations that fall within your purview. Regular weekly dances are very different than festivals or family dances, and a caller gets to help people enjoy the joy of dancing at all of those venues. I write lots of dances ...
  • Lozenge Circulate November 21, 2013I think Adina Gordon (through no fault of her own) got me thinking about what a box circulate would look like in lines of 4 facing 4. The idea of a lozenge circulate came out of that, after sifting through crossing star circulates (which looks cool on paper, but didn’t dance well). This one has more ...
  • Phyllae Mae Festival – dances from the workshop November 12, 2013I had a fabulous time at the Phylla Mae Festival a little while ago. One of the fun things we did was have a choreography workshop where we worked out a couple of dances. Adirondack Reverse by: Phylla Mae Workshop Type: Contra Formation: Duple-Improper REVERSE PROGRESSION A1 ———– (4) Balance the Ring (12) Neighbor swing A2 ———– (8) Women’s Chain on Left Diagonal (8) Down ...
  • Strange Formation contra dances November 5, 2013The Friends of the Greenfield Grange held a contest to invent a new contra dance formation. Normally I eschew the madness inspiring decent into complexity, but I indulged myself in the challenge. They’ve just announced that nobody won, there wasn’t “a new formation, and a well-composed and intuitive dance sequence that would lend itself to being ...
  • Two Related four face four dances, with a hey up and down the set September 28, 2013I’ve been thinking a lot about non-standard formations as a result of pondering the Greenfield Formation contest.  The weave up and down figure was inspired by heys in general, but I’d been playing around with something similar for the T-Triple minor I wrote, but decided it could use a little more structure. These two four face ...
  • Triple Minor in a T September 28, 2013The Greenfield Formation contest has had me thinking about odder formations, and I’m letting my mind play around with more twisted contra choreography. I’ll go back to striving to write good straightforward dances in the near future, but I’ve got a couple of odd ones I’ll share first. (This is not a submission to the Greenfield ...
  • New formation contra dance September 22, 2013Several people have pointed out to me that the Friends of the Guiding Star Grange have issued a call for new formation contra dances. You should try writing one! These days, I work to write dances within the tradition of contra and not stretch things as far as I have in the past; but they ...
  • Round two & fall through to a gypsy figure September 21, 2013I’ve been playing with the idea of using the chase figure (Actives: Lady round two, gent fall through, etc) transitioning to a Neighbor gypsy for a while.  While reading the CDSS newsletter, I was inspired to re-visit the sequence by Rob Harper’s “Fooling the Flirt”. Rob’s dance looks like loads of fun, but I wanted ...
  • Petronella Permutations in 4 face 4 formation August 2, 2013If you have a four facing formation, you could do petronellas in two small groups of four; or petronellas in a big group of eight. Four petronellas in groups of 4 returns everyone to their starting location. But four petronellas in a group of 8 would only get people halfway around; swapping everyone with their opposite. The ...
  • New Tempest Formation Dance August 2, 2013There aren’t a lot of Tempest Formation dances out there. If you’re not familiar with Tempest (the formation or the first dance), I suggest you start by reading David Smuckler’s post on The Tempest. The inadequately short version: imagine taking a 4 face 4 contra set, and breaking the bottom line of 4 into their ...
  • 1/2 Figure 8 to a Swing August 2, 2013I was playing around with Tempest Formation (see next post), and I needed a certain progression to make things work, so I’ve tweaked a half figure 8. The simple version of the dance highlighting the new move is Rydberg was Robbed by Luke Donforth Contra/Improper/Int A1 ———– (8) Ones half Figure eight down the set, as soon as the 1s clear, 2s ...
  • Triple Courtesy July 31, 2013As one of those silly lark dances, I put together a choreography that has three different courtesy turn with neighbors. I don’t know if it’s a useful simple dance to drive home the courtesy turn, or a overly trite dance. I hope to test it at some point. Triple Courtesy by Luke Donforth Contra/Improper/Easy A1 ———– (8) Long lines, forward ...
  • New Easy Circle Mixer, without a Circle Left & Right July 24, 2013I had a blast calling a wedding last week, and it reminded me of the challenge of writing accessible & fun intro dances, so I’m taking a stab at that now. Chicken Run Luke Donforth Type: Circle Mixer Level: Beginner Starts in two circles, inside and outside, facing partner in the other circle. A1 ———– (4) Back up four steps (4) Come forward ...
  • Riffing on Long Lines July 23, 2013After a Mad Robin Practice Party, my head was buzzing with dances. A few hours later, this fell out. This month my theme seems to be playing with long lines. Thresher by Luke Donforth Contra/Improper A1 ———– (8) Long lines, forward and on the way back, women roll the N gent away with a half sashay (8) Women allemande Left 1-1/2 A2 ...
  • Three tries at simple dances June 25, 2013I often think that’s it’s not hard to write a contra dance. There is in fact a computer program that will generate them: Dr. Bob’s Random Contra Generator. It is hard to write good contra dances. But it is most challenging to write good simple dances. This is a challenge not just because many elegant ...
  • Challenging Dances with a doubled half figure 8 June 23, 2013I had the idea of using a double half figure 8 to make a shape reminiscent of the 4 wings that define order Lepidoptera (butterflies, moths, and skippers). I’m not sure how danceable this is, because I don’t have 12 experienced dancers handy when these ideas prevent me from sleeping. Lepidoptera for Suzanna Luke Donforth Type: Contra Formation: ...
  • Simple Circle Right Dance June 22, 2013Shared Weight has been buzzing lately about too many dances with Circle Left 3/4 and Men Allemande Left 1 1/2. Both of these moves are simple ways to move half the people to the other side of the set, which sets up having a neighbor swing and a partner swing. But during a recent bout ...
  • A 6 balance dance, & a no balance dance (both sans circles or allemandes) June 8, 2013There was a cry on shared-weight for dances without circles, which also led to a call for dances without allemandes. The list responded with a plethora of good dances; but I decided to write more dances (not necessarily good ones) during a bought of insomnia. I think one of the reasons circle 3/4 and Ladies or ...
  • Reunion Dance – written for the Free Raisins’ Grease Set June 6, 2013I recently had the fabulous experience of working with the Free Raisins at Catapult Showcase, and they are an absolute blast. As a band, they are very deliberate about their pairing of music with dances. They have a set which includes the melody of “Summer Loving” from the musical Grease, and I wrote a dance ...
  • New smooth contra with an orbit figure. April 24, 2013I’ve been having loads of fun at NEFFA and DEFFA and such, and while cleaning out my dance bag, came across a note I had jotted down with a partial choreography. I don’t know if I was transcribing an existing dance, or had a partial idea I was writing; but I took the note and ...
  • Variations on B1 petronella B2 Ptr Swg April 23, 2013I really like Old Time Elixir #2/Tica Tica Timing (by Linda Leslie and Dean Snipes, respectively). I enjoy ending a evening of dances with a partner swing, and petronellas are also often a high energy match for a band’s last set. I got to work with Perpetual Emotion at NEFFA this year (yay!), and they requested ...
  • Wavy Line up the hall March 2, 2013In chatting with various bands that I’ll have the pleasure of being at Catapult with (squee!), I’ve been thinking about new dances. I haven’t gotten to walk these yet to see how danceable they are, but they’ve bubbled up and I’m at least transcribing them. The idea here was dances that use up and down the ...
  • Attempting a Grid Contra Choreography January 25, 2013I have a lot of fun dancing grid squares at Flurry to the fabulous calling of Bob Isaacs. Possibly I’ve got Flurry on the brain, possibly it’s my upcoming festival gigs (Catapult! & NEFFA), but my brain decided that midnight was a good time to try to write a grid contra. I don’t know when/if I’ll ...
  • New Dance with a Facing Out Circle, Reverse Progression January 4, 2013Years ago, I wrote “Leave ‘em Hanging” after spending some time thinking about Circles, and what an inside out circle would look like, and how to get in to it. To my knowledge, it is my most widely disseminated contra; and at this point probably my best shot of fulfilling my choreographer’s dream. Thinking about California ...
  • Balance Heavy Dance – Twirling Nella January 4, 2013Every now and then, balance heavy sequences pop in to my head, and I have to work them out in to a dance. This one is remarkably similar to Brain Dead Balance, and I doubt I’d call it. But as a concept dance, here it is. Twirling Nella by Luke Donforth Contra/Becket-CCW A1 ———– (4) Balance the Ring (4) California Twirl ...
  • New dance, new move(?): roll to a gypsy star December 30, 2012This dance is the result of late night ruminations on ways to get in to a gypsy star. I haven’t gotten to walk it with real people yet. Broom in the Trunk Luke Donforth Type: Contra Formation: Duple-Improper Level: Int A1 ———– (16) Neighbor gypsy and swing A2 ———– (8) Men allemande Left 1-1/2 (8) scoop Ptr & Star Promenade across B1 ———– (2) Gents Roll Ptr ...
  • Three Gender Neutral Dances December 14, 2012I’m happy to have been invited out to call for the gender free dance in Montague, MA a couple times. It always makes me think about dancing, language, and community. While I’m fine with using traditional terms like gents and ladies for calling contras, I appreciate that some dancers prefer other language and I work ...
  • New Dance – Becketizied Proper Lines November 13, 2012Years ago, mostly as a bad joke, I challenged myself to write a Proper Becket; that is, a duple minor dance where proper groups of four Becketizied (yes, I verbed that). The initial configuration would be Band M1 m2 W1 w2 M3 m4 W3 w4 M5 m6 W5 w6 Same color and same number pairs are partners, so you’re on the side of ...
  • A smooth dance with a richocette hey (repost from FB) November 6, 2012I’m slowly migrating the dances that I wrote that really like from my FB account to here. Original Posting. I’ve wanted to write a very smooth dance with different transitions out of swings than standard circles or chains. I’ve been working on this for a while, and came up with the B2 progression during a weekend ...
  • Leave them Hanging October 17, 2012 Leave them Hanging by Luke Donforth Improper, single progression A1 Neighbor gypsy and swing A2 Men allemande Left 1.5 Pass Partner by R for 1/2 hey B1 Partner Gypsy and swing B2 Circle Left 3/4 (at this point, everyone is back where they started) active gent break the ring and inside out circle 3/4* to progressed position *: everyone continues to hold hands except the active gent {left} and ...

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