My life as a dance caller

I've always been a reader and a dancer. While the route from reader to librarian was a fairly straightforward one, I had more trouble finding my dancing niche. Finally I discovered contra dancing, then English country dancing.
If you don't know what contra dancing is, here is a description. (Hint: It has nothing to do with either country line dancing or Central America.) Here's another interesting description of contra dancing.
As for English Country Dancing, think Jane Austen. Think Henry Purcell. Or read this article.
Contra dancing and English County Dancing are cousins. But the Americans (contra) emphasize energy, independence, and personal contact (also know as "touching"), while the English emphasize style, elegance, and grace. (And long-distance flirting.) Both types of dance are addictive!
What does a contra dance caller do? He or she teaches the dance, walks through it with the dancers, and then calls it: that is, calls out the figures just before the dancers have to do them, while the music is playing. Square dance callers use a lot of "patter," or chanted, sometimes rhyming, fill-in words, so that what they say is a steady stream of speech, almost like rap. English dance callers, or cuers, try to be as unobtrusive as possible, just gently reminding the dancers of what comes next. Contra dance callers fall somewhere in between, saying more, with more rhythm, than the cuers, but without the patter of the square dance callers. An important job of all kinds of callers is to know the dances and the figures.
Check out my dance links for more information.