T-Acadie on Southern Tour #8

Friday we drove back over the highest point on Rte 81 to play the Charlottesville dance. That's such a beautiful drive, even with clouds and rain a lot of the way. Bill's old 4-Runner is going strong - with over 260,000 miles on it with the original motor we think he should be in one of those Toyota commercials. It's a little slow up the hills, but we're not complaining. When I first walked into the hall at the MAC center, I wasn't impressed. It seemed a little small, no windows, all hard surfaces. I was afraid it would be an echo chamber with lots of dancers in it with lots of white noise to try to hear ourselves through. Boy, was I wrong! It turned out to be a community band room with special acoustic tiling and sound-soaking panels on the wall. The more people there were in the room the better the sound got. There was no beginners session scheduled, but a there was such a big group of new people there before the dance that Bill decided to give a short beginners' session. There was a large group of college age kids that came to see what this thing “contradancing” was, actually, there two groups. One group came from the local university (UofVA). The second group came from further away. They drove up from Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA., which is over an hour away. They ended up staying for the whole dance and really enjoying themselves. At the end of the dance we played, as requested, two waltzes - Charlotte's Waltz and (Dennis) McGee's Waltz - and then kicked into Lapin Dans Son Nique (a Cajun two-step). Those who knew how started two-stepping, and the kids looked confused for a minute. I was thinking of announcing it wasn't necessary to two-step, just have fun and boogie, when the kids suddenly formed a circle and started making up their own dance! Those in the circle were dancing around and clapping their hands, hooting and hollering, and then in the middle of the circle each person or couple took a turn doing something fancy. They were having so much fun - it was a great reminder to just move to the music, and not worry so much about exactly how that happens. I have to admit, it bothers me when we play Cajun music and I see a few couples gracefully two-stepping about the floor while everyone else watches because they think they don't know how to dance to this music. Just boogie! As Cajun fiddler Mitch Reed one told me about trying to learn authentic Cajun fiddling - “It's all good, man!” The most important thing is to do it. Of course if you enjoy a style of dance or music you probably want to learn the “right” way to do it eventually, but that shouldn't stop you from dancing or playing in the mean time! OK, off my soapbox..... Our hosts for the night were Paul and Susan Rosen. They threw a great little party after the dance with lots of music playing and new friends for us to get to know. Now comes the insane part....the “little party” lasted until 4AM. We did sleep in a bit, but tonight we play the Greensboro, NC dance, sleep about four hours and hit the road for Arden, DE. We play a dance there tomorrow afternoon, yes, afternoon. Then I'll be giving a dulcimer workshop in the evening. Ah, life on the road! We actually have done this before, so we know it's possible. The first time was years ago with our friends Eric Johnson and Greg Anderson in the contradance band, Scrod Pudding. That time was also in the spring, the weekend that the time changed and we lost an hour. And we didn't realize it until about 2AM Saturday night when someone suddenly realized it was really 3AM. And we had to be on the road by 5AM. To top it all off, Eric's mom, then living in Baltimore, kindly met us at the Arden dance with sandwiches, which was wonderful of her, and a video camera to tape the whole dance with .........luckily for us this was before the era of U-Tube. I hope that videotape is packed away deep in the family archives, subtitled “The Dance of the Zombie Musicians”. By comparison, tomorrow will be a piece of cake!

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