Back in October we had our yearly Halloween party at the Coop. 170 some people showed up, we had two live bands throughout the night playing in the living room and a DJ downstairs. With all those people and all of that noise, I felt somewhat bewildered and ended up wandering about the house making very purposeful trips to get glasses of water. It was something of a relief when I swapped into door duty and had something to do repulsing various frat boys' attempts to get in. The party officially ended at one, which is the point in the night where the polite people differentiate themselves from the slimey dirtbags by actually leaving when you ask… I was up until at least 2:30 working on getting everyone out.
On the periphery of the party you'd see other people who were similarly lost in the social confusion. We'd try dancing, but our hearts weren't into it. Somewhere on the stairs it occurred to me that the only thing to do was to organize my own gathering: a contra dance at the Coop.
The house approved the idea without any difficulty, but took a cavalier attitude towards paying musicians. After all, they reasoned, it was easy to find musicians for the Halloween party. Why wouldn't it be easy to find contra musicians? A week before the dance, we confirmed David K. as the caller, but were still having difficulty finding a band. Eventually another house mate, Jacar fronted $200 and we were set.
The evening began with a half-hour or so of potlucking and conversation in the kitchen, to catch those people who arrive “fashionably late”. Hopefully long enough to meet some people, but not so long as to run into awkward conversationally dearths.
And then we danced.
It was a great success! So many people afterwards said what a good time they'd had. Kevin K. said that dancing finally made sense to him. People who “don't dance” enjoyed themselves. Afterwards, a few of us sat in the living room playing guitars and singing into the wee hours of the morning. At that point, one of them made the decision to move in with us.