I went to the Starry Plough in Berkeley last night for the first time, though I didn't go for the Irish ceilidh dancing. Bob has recruited me to join him in his mission to lower the average age of contra dancers in the bay area, and his first step towards this goal was to do a contra dance demo at the Plough's Monday night dance during the break. Since I don't really do Irish dancing, I brought along my banjo to join the band until it was time for our demo.
We had eight of us for the demo, which is exactly the minimum size for it to make any sense at all. Some of us had contra'd before, and the rest were good Irish dancers, so they picked it up pretty fast when Bob taught us the dance beforehand. It went pretty well, and though we had some mistakes (mostly due to last minute choreography changes intended to minimize downtime at the ends) they were mistakes that were more noticeable to the dancers than to the audience. People seemed appreciative, and hopefully lots of them will rush out to try contra dancing this weekend. So all in all it was fairly successful.
Speaking of recruiting new contra dancers, here's a question for all you Stanford folks out there in my readership: Why don't we have more college students (or other people in that approximate age group) at contra dances around here? What would it take to get more people into it? It really is one of my favorite styles of dance, but I've always had a hard time getting more people to come along with me. Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Anyway, with all that said, there's a contra dance this Saturday in Palo Alto. Anyone who wants to go should see the BACDS website or me for more info. It'll be fun.