Chris Page's contra dance site

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What makes a good dance?

First, there's the usual:

My own personal criteria

Now it's time to go with ideas that aren't as clear-cut. I hope you don't agree with everything I write below here, as then all contra repertoires would be exactly the same. Borr-rrring.

Hypothesis 1: There are thousands of dances out there, so why waste time with flawed dances, when there are hundreds of dances that aren't flawed. (An exception can be made for very easy dances, of which there's a much smaller subset.)

Hypothesis 2: A dance should be simple. One could make a dance arbitrarily complex, but the point of contra dance is to lose oneself in the music, and not have to think about the sequence. More specifically, the dance should be the simplest expression of a particular idea. And complexity should be justified by increasing the emotional/kinesthetic appeal of the dance, rather than a goal itself. (Note that when I don't know exactly what I'm talking about, I go for Big Words to hide it.)

This means piececount and counter intuitive sequences are The Enemy. Also, no complex new figures should be introduced just for the sake of the new figure. And each figure should suggest the next figure as the natural follow-up.

Hypothesis #3: A dance should be distinctive. This is the one I'm most uncertain about, and you'll notice this in many of the dances I write. By distinctive I mean it should be stand out, being notably different from other dances in a typical program. It should not be shy about its specialness.

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