Appendix: Dance Types
This refers to a dance in a longways formation based around couples.
It may be either duple or triple, proper or improper. That is
the factual part, and is the technically correct definition of
a contra, but for the purposes of this database I have not used
the term in this way. It is the distinction which I make between
contras and other long longways dances that involves the subjective
section. I have reserved the term contra for dances that flow
well, and which tend to use some of the more complex moves, which
are not one of the traditional English village dances of "Playford"
sets, but which typically have an American heritage. There is
also some bias towards more recently composed dances in my use
of the term. I consider that contras are also typified by moves
such as two couple stars and circles, right and left throughs,
ladies chains, reels for four, half promenades and swings. For
example I classify Centrifugal Hey as a contra, whilst
I don't classify Soldiers Joy as one.
This refers to dances in a square set, but which consist of a
complete dance rather than just a figure or chorus (see the following
square figure & square chorus
A square figure refers to the figure part of an American
Style square dance. The basic rule is that it must be in a square
formation. Although a square figure can be performed on its own
as a complete dance, it is normally coupled with a square
chorus to form a complete dance. The figure typically, though
not necessarily, involves a progression, whilst the chorus is
a 'break' which does not normally involve a progression. Apart
from the style of the dancing, I find it hard to draw a distinction
between New England squares and Western squares, and have not
introduced different categories for the two styles.
To be in this category the dance must be in a round formation
(surprise surprise!), either sicilian or concentric circles,
couple facing couple. It must also be couple based. As with our
definition of a contra, the rest of the classification is subjective
and is based on the fluidity of the dance and the difficulty
and types of moves.