“The whole of life is just like watching a film. Only it's as though you always get in ten minutes after the big picture has started, and no-one will tell you the plot, so you have to work it out all yourself from the clues.”
― Terry Pratchett, Moving Pictures
One of the Minneapolis' River Rats' Flyboarders
I've been watching a lot of movies this week, the perils of hanging out with young kids and teenagers, I guess. The kids and I watched We Bought a Zoo and Mr Magorium's Wonder Emporium. Then, a friend and I watched The Secret Life of Walter Mitty for the umpteenth time (have I mentioned how much I love that movie?). The teenagers, their SO's, and my friend and I all went to see The Giver in the theater the other night, and it was a great movie. I'm glad they talked me into it. There was an instance in the movie, when the boy is having "flashbacks" of all the things that had happened in the world "before", and one of those showed a picture of Tiananmen Square. I wondered, in this theater filled with teenagers, how many of them got that reference. Several of them said, "Ooooh", watching the guy standing in front of the tank, but I don't know if they actually understood what had happened, or the significance of it. It reminded me of the day before, when the younger kids were still with us, and we had gone to Minnehaha Falls (more about that later). As we headed towards home, and we were near the airport, I watched as one plane took off, and one plane was getting ready to land. And they were actually nowhere near each other, but you could see that for a minute there, they were in the same flight path, and thoughts of 9/11 came rushing in. It dawned on me, watching those planes, that the children we had in the car with us, not only had no idea what it was like to experience that day, they hadn't even been alive at that point. It was a sobering reminder of how history can be forgotten, or how it becomes non-applicable (or so we think) to present day. I'm sure it was like Pearl Harbor for a previous generation, and they had the same thoughts watching the next generations learn about it only through books and movies and not having any idea what it was really like.
Then, one of the teenagers and I made the mistake of going to see, "If I Stay." Which looked amazing. I bawled the entire way through the trailer. Do you know how bad it was? I didn't cry once during the movie. Not a single time. Not because parts of the story weren't sad, but it was just SO poorly done. And the acting was horrible. Try as I might, I could not get invested in the story. Spare yourselves. Don't go.
So, back to our story. Finally made it to the Wisconsin State Square Dance Convention. I got an awesome deal on a hotel, so it worked out well. It was a 3 day convention, with a good number of dancers. The first night, not many people had arrived, and I was a little concerned, as the level of calling and dancing was not what I was used to. However, when I arrived the next day, they had the plus hall going, and a better variety of callers, and larger number of dancers. I danced the boys part a lot, as usual, but also got to dance the girls part. One of my favorite moments, was when one of my favorites, Dee Dee Dougherty, got up to call in the mainstream room on the last day (Sunday). She was doing the patter call, and all of a sudden the music stopped, and she just kept going. It was amazing. Her voice, the way she used it, I just wanted to stop dancing and listen.
I'll admit. I'm kind of a square dance caller groupie. I don't know if that's appropriate, since I'm learning to be a caller myself, but what can you do. Even if my club is dancing on the same night, I will travel to dance to these guys somewhere else. Paul Cote, Jimmy Roberson, Dee Dee Dougherty, Mike Sikorsky. These are some (but not all) of my current favorites. And here's the thing: they all have their own sounds. Click on their names for samples of their calling (Paul Cote's name had two, in case you missed that). But, as much as I enjoy their calling, and as much as I copy some of their tricks in my own, I don't want to sound like any of them. I want to continue to develop my own voice, and I think that's important as a square dance caller. We already have a Sikorsky, a Cote, Roberson, a Dee Dee. We don't have a Dawn Hallock (at least I don't think there's another one out there), so it's my turn now. Look out world, here I come!