I think it's been five years since I last attended the Peterborough Snow Ball. It's a marathon contra dance - 12 hours of live music and dancing split between four callers and bands. I made it through three of them (callers/bands, not hours) before my feet gave out (I got kicked and stepped on in the last set - an unfortunate combination of others' enthusiasm and my inability to move out of the way). My pedometer clocked over six miles and it's notorious for not tracking dancing very well. I'm figuring I covered at least twice that distance.
I vegged on the couch most of yesterday. No wonder my legs are stiff today.
So. Much. Fun. I wore a wonderfully twirly skirt and surprised people by leaving my hair down for the first few hours. Usually I have it all pulled up - because dancing is hot work. It doesn't matter how cold it is outside, people dress like it's summer when you contra dance. It was an afternoon of happy, smiling people. I danced with several of my favorite guys, dance with several more I'd not met before - so I have a few more favorites if I run into them again. I also partnered up with a few others I hadn't seen in years. It was delightful catching up. I can't let so much time pass to come back to Peterborough.
I recorded this near the end of Pete's Posse with Will Mentor (one of the few dances I sat out). For my non-contra dancing readers: dancers are instructed what to do (like a square dance), until they're repeated the moves and progressed up the line few times. Once they get the pattern, the caller stops and the music continues. So you don't hear the caller in this snippet because people know what they're doing. Experienced dancers will add flourishes to their moves - there's a couple near the bottom doing that.
Generally, contra lines form with women in one role and men in the other. But women can partner with women, men with men. Heck, you can swap roles - I saw plenty examples of that. As long as everyone knows who they are, it's all good. My favorite dance of the day was with partner that swapped our roles randomly throughout the dance. He didn't warn me ahead of time - we came out of a swing and hey! I'm suddenly the guy. He admitted later he should have discussed that with me ahead of time. But it was an easy dance to understand the movements for both roles, and I've done this sort of thing before. I laughed through the entire dance, never knowing when I'd change from gal to guy, watching the surprise on others in the lines. Made for an entertaining dance.
I made the two hour drive with a couple of local dancers. I was excited to have the company, I wouldn't have gone by myself. The conversations made the two hour trip fly by (thank you!). The mocha brownie and the additional chocolate probably helped keep me awake on the trip home, too.
I held up a lot better than I had hoped. I promise I won't let five years pass before I do this again. Whee!