Radical ideas for the future.

One of reasons that we want our camp to keep growing is so that we will eventually acquire a critical mass of dancers who are attracted to some of the ideas in the list below (or others they add to it) and we can explore implementing some of them. Please contact Mark Stowe if interested (about me).

We ought to try to create the magical primal feeling of dancing around a fire.   We should have someone who combines calling with fire spinning (we have come very close to doing this).  We should create a system where dancer stomping or clapping in unison sets off a burst of flame.   Pavlovian reinforcement of dancer synchrony could also be achieved with simulated lightning/thunder and gongs.   I have the right kind of hardware and software experience, and I have a first sketch idea for how to build a safe and really satisfying low latency (sound flame lag) system using only commodity low priced electronics and hardware, and free opensource software.

A system (partly built) where dancers at the ends of the lines (waiting to come back in) can get water from dangling tubes with beer taps on the end. The taps would be inside silk flowers to discourage placement in the mouth and dancers would have to step off the end of the floor to get to the tubes so that water does not end up on the floor.  This would be a mildly pressurized system using potable water technology developed for yachts.  Imagine a dance where there are no stampedes for water every time the music stops.

A system (partly built) that uses projected video to speed up pre-dance instruction (using the inside of the tent as the screen). A tablet will have a library of video clips of different contra moves. When a caller wants to explain a move s/he can quickly call up slomo loops taken from different angles of that particular move. Our (now alpha) software,
.and video will be shared with appropriate Open Source/ Creative Commons licenses. 

(Someone has already done this.)  Using lights to ‘call’ - i.e. a system that changes the lighting in such a way that different colors denote different moves. This could be used to help keep dancers in sync even after the caller has stopped calling. 

We should explore new contra moves - including silly sight gag moves like “dueling air guitars”, and “loopback spanking”. But I would really like to have a workshop to develop what might be called 'non-swings' - satisfying substitutes for swings that don't involve spinning.  If we could codify some good ones (and the tricky part - how to initiate/ lead them) and they became part of mainstream contra, it would open up our dance form to a non-trivial number of potential new dancers that are now excluded because of their sensitivity to dizziness.  (At dances there could be 'NO SPIN' buttons that such people could wear).  Most non-swings would probably mostly be slightly modified moves borrowed from swing dancing.

Contradance / X crossover workshops where X is for example Rueda de Casino or martial arts.  A contra/ martial arts workshop could explore leading/ following (and how to avoid/ cause pain in the process of leading) in both arts.  The workshop could also compare the role of balance in both and use 'push hands'  as an exercise for communicating/ influencing balance in a dance partner. These workshops would be aimed at gaining insights into details of movement, and possibly creating new contra moves. 

Techno mix workshops.  Participants would bring music that they always wanted to techno contradance to, and with the right equipment and instruction, dancers would create the mix that they would dance to that evening.

Contradances that are metaphors explained by the caller – dances that mimic for example meiosis, mitosis (and other DNA 'behavior'), the honey bee waggle dance language, spider web construction, the migration of electrons and holes in semiconductors, quick sort and other recursive computer algorithms.  A great deal has been written about the relationship between contradance and matrices.  If  we could chase down and entice just the right creative geniuses to come to our camp, they could help us create combination contradance / TED X talks.  There are TED X talks every year elsewhere on the Playa - why not at our camp? 

Contradance is hundreds of years young and we are only beginning to explore what is possible.  :)