The Phantom*

Number 10
September 2015
Editor: Gary Welch


This is the newsletter of the Nova Scotia square, round, and contra dance community. Please send news of events in your corner of the dance world to the Editor at the address above.

Festival 2015

A small but happy crowd gathered at the Old Orchard Inn on the July 10-11 weekend for the Nova Scotia Provincial Festival. Several guests from New England and the UK were also present, touring the provence after attending the US National in Springfield, Massachusetts two weeks earlier.

Sharing smiles at the Registration Desk

This square has just Put the Birdie in the Cage".

Beth Dickinson cues a round.

All is well with Palma Heming and Laurie Illsley.

Sitting out but still engaged.

Don Scott, Ralph MacDonald and Dottie Welch.

It's a Left Allemande!

Barry Walker and Kerry Fletcher entertain the crowd.

What's not to like about this?

Saturday evening ends with a Friendship Ring.


The gems tucked in various corners of this issue come from the newsletter
Alberta Chatter with the kind permission of editor Claudia Littlefair.

Callerlab Honours a Maritimer

Editor's note: Callerlab, the international organization of square dance callers, meets somewhere in North America every spring. The meeting includes an evening banquet. During the banquet the current Chairman has the option of presenting an Award of Excellence for Outstanding Contribution to Callerlab to a member who has a track record of exceptional service. This year, at the 2015 meeting in Springfield Missouri, the recipient was one of our own. The Chairman's presentation speech is reproduced below.

Presented by Barry Clasper, Chairman

We have among us unsung heroes: people who just quietly go about getting the job done; people who do the necessary, often thankless, work that makes our world go around; people who don't make a big fuss over what they do. They don't look for accolades or awards. They are the reliable ones. We all know who they are, because when we need something done, we invariably turn to them. And they almost never turn us down. And because they are reliable, and almost never refuse a request, we too often take them for granted.

One of the perks of being Chairman is being able to give a Chairman's Award. Tonight I am going to use that opportunity to recognize someone I regard as an unsung hero. It is my hope that by so doing, I may inspire all of you to look around you and take a moment to thank the unsung heroes in your life.

It is the usual convention with award speeches to try and keep people guessing as long as possible about who the recipient is. I'm not expecting to be too successful with that tonight. Once you start to hear the list of accomplishments and positions, it won't be hard to guess. As I said, we know who these people are, we just take them for granted.

This person is a member of a number of CALLERLAB committees, including the Challenge Committee, which I used to Chair. She was always one of my go to people when I wanted a logical and objective analysis of something. I know I was not the only committee Chair who did so.

But in addition to making contributions to Challenge programs, this person also is an annual contributor to the Beginner Dance Party Leader Seminar (now called the Community Dance Leaders Seminar). She is consistently enthusiastic about sharing a wealth of knowledge about teaching beginners, doing party nights, and prompting Contras. She further contributes by editing the Community Dance Journal.

Many of you now know who she is. She certainly knows who I'm talking about now. She also Chairs her own Committee, which last year produced one of the most valuable books CALLERLAB has ever published – Sight and Module Resolution Systems. She was the editor of the document and it is hard to overstate how much of a feat it was to wrangle all the large egos and strong opinions into a consistent format.

She was recently elected to the BOG [Ed: Callerlab Board of Governors], and is making her usual strong contribution there. But, her contributions to CALLERLAB are dwarfed by her contributions to the larger square dance community, particularly in Canada.

She has been on the committees for four Canadian National Conventions, and has been Programming Chair for three of them. She is the Secretary of the Square and Round Dance Federation of Nova Scotia (for which she is also a Past President) and also the Halifax Metro Association. She edits the newsletter for the Association of Nova Scotia Square and Round Dance Teachers (ANSSRDT), as well as the Metro Matters newsletter for the Metro Association. She has been awarded a Life Membership in DANS (Dance Nova Scotia). She was instrumental in producing a series of teaching DVDs and written materials to support the DANS Dancing In The Schools initiative. She is the organizer and host coach for the Alguire Callers School held biannually in Nova Scotia. Oh yes, and she is also the current Secretary of Contralab.

There is actually more, but this is only a three-day convention. It is with great pride that I award a Chairman's Award to my friend, Dottie Welch.


Good Time Dancers Reunite

Members of the former Good Time Dancers square dance club finally managed to get together over supper at the Steak and Stein restaurant in Dartmouth last December. Health issues and time conflicts were responsible for a long delay. Present from left to right were Carol and Don Scott, club caller Harry Lofgren, and David and Judy Nickerson. A pleasant time was spent reminiscing over supper.

My weight is perfect for my height - which varies.
I had amnesia once - maybe twice.
What is a "free" gift? Aren't all gifts free?
If swimming is so good for your figure, how do you
explain whales?


Your Federation at Work: the Executive Meeting of February 2015

Admittedly the Executive of our Federation does not come to its meetings as expensively attired as members of the British Cabinet (right), nor can its meeting room compare with that at Downing Street, London. Nonetheless, it's fair to say that the work of our Executive members has a greater impact on our dancing lives. You can convince yourself of that by perusing the meeting minutes and the compiled reports from the meeting last February.

    According to Kids . . .
  • Never trust a dog to watch your food. - Patrick, 10
  • Never tell your mom her diet's not working. - Michael, 14
  • When your mom is mad at your dad, don't let her
    brush your hair. - Emily, 10
  • Never hold a dust buster and a cat at the same time. - Kyoto, 9
  • Felt markers are not good to use as lipstick. - Laurie, 9
  • Never try to baptize a cat. - Eileen, 8


Metro Brings in 2015

Is it me or do buffalo wings taste a lot like chicken? Do protons have mass? I didn't even know they were Catholic.


If the world were a logical place, men would be the ones who ride horses sidesaddle.

A Trip to the Oil Patch

The Canadian Square and Round Dance Society held its 2015 AGM in Lacombe, Alberta, calculated to coincide with the Alberta Annual Square and Round Dance Convention. Maritimers were prominent, as Past President couple Bob and Inge Ruohoniemi (Nova Scotia) and current President couple Eric and Dianne McCormack (New Brunswick) attended the AGM and also participated in the Convention Banner Parade. Want to know what goes on at a Society AGM? Click here for a summary.


The 64thUS National

The US National Square and Round Dance Convention in June was held in Springfield, Massachusetts - just about as close to Canada as these events ever come. A number of Maritimers were among the 4004 dancers enjoying themselves in downtown Springfield, including your Editor and his ever-busy wife, who had been seconded to organize the contra dance program for the Convention. The Contra Dance Hall, along with the DBD Plus, Advanced, and Challenge Halls, was located in the Springfield Sheraton and Marriott Hotels, across the street from each other but joined by a second-floor pedway. Meanwhile, the large halls - Mainstream, Plus, Rounds, and all the displays and shops - were located a short walk away at the MassMutual Center (Springfield's version of the Halifax World Trade Centre/Scotiabank Centre complex).

Not surprisingly, a bunch of photos of the Contra Hall appear here. Live bands played an important role - a new band was featured every evening! During the Convention the Editor managed to sneak across the street to the Challenge Hall several times, but was then far too preoccupied to think about photography. As luck would have it, however, the route back to the Contra Hall passed right by an ice cream shop. Hmmm...

The Welch's 12th floor room at the
Mariott looked out westward over the Connecticut River and Interstate 91

The following photos were copied from Jim and Judy Taylor's "Best of the 64th Convention" slide show. Of special interest are the competition photos. A session of competitive dancing has become a popular part of US Nationals, especially among younger folks. It suggests that introducing competitions into our activity might be one way to revive it. What do you think about that possibility?

In summary, attending Maritimers agreed that the Convention was a great time.

When the waltz was introduced, with couples dancing in close embrace, it was considered quite wicked. A book published in Germany was titled "Proof That the Waltz Is The Main Source Of The Wickedness Of Body And Mind Of Our Generation".


Want to dance the next tip but can't quite make a square? Experienced dancers know the solution: ask a phantom (or two) to fill in! Phantoms are spirits who come when needed, and do their part of the action so the real folks can dance. They are, however, quite mischievous, and their antics can cause all sorts of hilarious bloopers by real dancers! Thankfully, phantoms disappear when no longer needed. Like its namesake, this newsletter first came when needed - to fill in for it's predecessor Between Tips. It's antics have been largely harmless, and it was expected to "go poof" when a new Between Tips editor was found. Such editors, however, seem to be rare birds; expect The Phantom to haunt the SRDFNS web site for awhile yet!