Contra Carnivale 2011

Contra Carnivale dancers swinging

Contra Carnivale dancers swinging

Contra Carnivale was the weekend of January 14-16 in San Luis Obispo. This was my second time attending, I think, though this and Harvest Moon get mixed in my mind, and it could be three times. Because the dance weekend is on the three-day Martin Luther King weekend, dancing goes through Sunday evening instead of Sunday afternoon as most dance weekends, and that extra dancing makes for a more intense weekend.

The bands were Latter Day Lizards, Wild Asparagus, and Syncopaths. I enjoy listening and dancing to all three bands, but the Lizards manage to drive the dancers to ecstasy. The callers were Lisa Greenleaf, Seth Tepfer, and George Marshall (who also plays with Wild Asparagus). Again, all are great but Lisa blends in so well that she is not noticeable except that every dance goes smoothly, and at the end, I think, “that was a great dance.”

My favorite parts? An hour and a half of waltzing every morning. Hanging out with the Grass Valley / Nevada City folks who I so much enjoy dancing with on their home ground as well. Hanging out and flirting with Pascale. Seeing Ann again after many years. Dinner with Art. The beautiful eyes of women.

Contra Carnivale, Grass Valley friends

Contra Carnivale, Grass Valley friends

Talking with people at dinner, I said that a contra dance weekend contains as much joy as some people experience in their lives, either because the joy is not available to them, or more likely because they turn their back on it. Thinking about it since, it resonates even more strongly. I am blessed to have the time, the money, the health, to do these contra dance weekends a few times a year.

I went down and back on Amtrak, and mostly walked to and from the dance sessions. On the trip down I ran into and talked with a contra dancer Donna, proving the small world effect. I stayed the weekend at Hostel Obispo, which is fun in an of itself, and also an affordable way to the dance weekend.

Photos on PicasaWeb. Again, I’m using my iPhone without a flash, so the dance photos are blurry and the others less crisp than they could be, but I’m more likely to grab photos with my iPhone than to remember to bring and use a camera with flash.

About Dan Allison

Dan Allison is a Safe Routes to School Coordinator in the Sacramento area. Dan dances and backpacks, as much as possible.
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