Black and White Ball group photo

Black and White Ball

Black and White Ball group photo
Note:  click on image above for hi res (2880 x 1114 pixel) version.

My home contra dance, taking place each month with the Northern Spy band, has been taking place since November of 1980. From time to time, it’s worth trying something just a little bit different, and so this month’s dance was billed as a Black and White Ball. We talked it up for the several preceding months and I sent out extra publicity to my e-mail list, including a post the day beforehand saying, in essence, “This is for real! We are hoping that people will dress up.”

Mirabile dictu! They did. As the hall started to fill, I watched in delight as a steady stream of dancers appeared, most in fact wearing black and white, with enough bright colors mixed in to provide a sparkle.

One woman, an occasional dancer, received a compliment about her black dress, noting that this was her regular party dress when she lived in New York City. Up here in the country, though, there aren’t many opportunities to wear it so when she saw the announcement, there was no question in her mind about attending. Another couple was spotted with his red bow tie matching her bright red skirt; each of them completed the outfit with appropriate black or white, I hasten to add. We had quite a few newcomers and less experienced dancers in the mix, and it was great to see them be welcomed and helpfully assisted by the regulars. And yes, there were several comments from dancers at the end of the evening, “Let’s do it again another year!”

The great New England caller Ralph Page used to exhort folks to dance “with a wee bit of elegance.” I think he would have approved. While I don’t agree with the maxim, “Clothes make the man,” I do know that dancing is certainly affected by the kind of clothes you wear. With that in mind, I programmed a mix of dances that was less strenuous and aerobic than is often the case, and people danced appropriately. I was happy to include three “chestnut” contras in addition to more contemporary material.

Here’s the program:
Grand March
SQ: Parisian Star (Tony Parkes)
Queen Victoria
Mason and Garden (Al Olson)
Gay Gordon’s Mixer
SQ: Fluid Drive (Ted Sannella
Sackett’s Harbor
Coleman’s March (Ted Crane)

— break —

Cup of Joe (Rick Mohr)
SQ: Odd Couple Promenade (Ralph Page
Hull’s Victory
A Sure Thing (Chris Page)
Waterfall Waltz (Pat Shaw
Chorus Jig