Our Dance Writers


Click "video" by the names below to see a video on this page of a dance by that person. Click on the words "full page" to see a whole page of that person's dances.
Judy Bass video full page
Billy Boyer video full page
Chrissie Chapman   full page
John Coffman video full page
Mariah Fabry   full page
Joe Felsen video full page
Chrystal Gallacci Jones video full page
Bob Green video full page
Jerome Grisanti video  
Jim Hemphill video full page
Sarah Kaiser   full page
Karen Opp   full page
John Ramsay video  
Ted Steele video full page
Dale Wilson video full page

And the dances they've written

One of the pleasant surprises of our Calling Parties is that several members of the greater St. Louis dance community began to write dances, many of which are really good! Along the way, we've researched some earlier dances written by St Louis dance writers, and dances written by other Missouri dancers. The project turned into two books called MO DANCES.

Here is a Word Doc with MO DANCES Volume I and a Word Doc with MO DANCES Volume II ready to be printed on 4X6 cards. 
Or if you prefer, a  PDF with MO DANCES Volume I and a  PDF with MO DANCES Volume II.

Dance Video Archive

We have also been working on a Dance Video Archive which now has 500 videos on it, and counting.  The Dance Video Archive has garnered over ONE MILLION views online - and callers from around the country have let us know how much they appreciate this resource!


Here is one dance from each writer, plus links to more. Enjoy!

Starry Starry Night   by Judy Bass  (2011) Contra Becket (progression is clockwise) 

A1   (8) Star RIGHT 1 x round(hands across star)
       (8 )Ladies Chain  (to neighbor)
A2   (4) Ladies Gypsy right shoulder (to Partner)
       (12) Partner Swing
B1   (8) Long Lines F/B
       (8) Right & Left Thru across
B2   (8) 1/2 hey (ladies pass right shoulder) (should be back where you originally started dance)
       (8) gypsy right shoulder w/partner and slide left to face a new couple

Got Nice Neighbors by Billy Boyer (2008) Contra Improper Beckett (cw)

A1 Down the hall, turn as couple
     Come on back
A2 Circle left 3 places,
     Neighbor swing
B1 Long lines,
     New neighbor swing
B2 Ladies allemande right 1 1/2
     Partner swing

(Author's note: You may wish to start the walkthrough with the partner swing in B2)

Click here to see more of Billy's dances.

XYZ by Bob Green (2008) Contra Improper

A1 Ladies Allemande by the Right 1 1/2
     Partner Swing
A2 Ladies Chain
     Long Lines, Forward and Back
B1 Partner pull by L (3), face back in (1), pull by R, same
     Pull by L, same, pull by R, same
B2 (Reverse) Pull by R, face back in, pull by L, same
     Pull by R, same; pull by L (to back where you started the zipper)

Note: You're never out on the ends. You'll be in the zipper. If there's no one to pull by with, stay put!

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Blue Persuasion by Chrystal Gallacci Jones (2008) contra improper

A1 Ladies RH Balance & pull by
    Gypsy shadow (the next man down the line from your partner)
A2 Partners Balance and Swing
B1 Lines Forward and Back
     Circle L 3/4
B2 Partners take left hand and turn 3/4, ending in single line along set (men in middle, ladies on the outside)(4)
     Men turn by the right hand 1½; outside two continue (8)
     Partners turn by the left 3/4 into progressed place (4)

Click here to see more of Chrystal's dances.

Fly Around, My Pretty Little Miss by Dale Wilson (2008)
Contra Improper
A1: Star left one time around (hands across star)
     Men drop left hands and make a big loop to the right while the Ladies continue the star 'til they get to their partners.  
     Partner allemande right all the way. (all this in 8 counts!)
A2: Ladies start a hey with left shoulders in the center
B1: Gypsy your partner.  Swing your partner
B2: Right and Left through, courtesy turn (3/4) to the star
     Star right (Ladies first, Men fall in behind), 3 places

Last B2: R&L through, swing your partner

Click here to see more of Dale's dances.

Kimmswick Diamonds    By Jerome Grisanti (May 2010)      Duple Improper Contra -- Intermediate

A1 (Next) neighbor allemande right 1 3/4 to wavy lines (men in middle). Balance the wave, spin to right as in Rory O'More but reform into diamond of four, women in the middle of the set facing up and down, men on side facing into the set.
A2 Balance diamond, Petronella turn,
Balance diamond, Petronella turn.
B1 Balance diamond, women lift your arms and twirl into your partner's arms. Men catch her & swing.

Long lines forward & back,
Men allemande left 1 1/2 (and look for your next neighbor)

Notes: From hands four I have dancers find the diamond shape by first swinging the neighbor, then forming a ring and rotating 1/8 to the right. Then rotate back and unswing your neighbor to start teaching the sequence.

I composed this dance during the five-hour drive to Kimmswick Dance Weekend in May 2010. Based on Rory O'Nella, but I wanted to add spinning into your partner's arms. It made more sense for the women to spin and the men to catch, so I came up with this.

Click here to see more of Jerome's dances

Monday by Jim Hemphill          improper

A1 Neighbor allemande right once and a half
     Men allemande left once and a half
A2 Partner Gypsy,  then swing
B1 Circle left 3 places
     Neighbor swing
B2 Right left thru
     Star left

Click here to see more of Jim's dances.

Proctor's Reel by Joe Felsen  (2008) Duple Improper

A1  Neighbor balance and swing.
A2  Gents start a full hey by the left. (Gypsy hey.)
B1  Gents pass by the left; Gypsy by the right and swing your partner
B2  Right and left through across the set
     Circle left three places and Pass through

Click here to see more of Joe's dances.

Beauty and the Bees by John Coffman Duple, Improper

A1  Neighbor Balance and Swing (16)
A2  Circle Left 1X (8)
      With the Next Neighbors, Circle Right 1X (8)
B1  Back to the First Neighbors, Circle Left 3/4 (8)
      Partner Swing (8)
B2  Long Lines (8)
      Ladies Chain (8)

source of dance notes: http://sites.google.com/site/capecontradance/home/contra-dances-by-john-coffman

Click here to see more of John's dances.

First Star by Ted Steele - Duple Improper

A1: Balance & Swing neighbor
A2: Circle left, Circle right
B1: Ladies chain, over & back
B2: Left-hand star, right-hand star

An easy dance, but no partner swing.

Click here to see more of Ted's dances.

Birthday Canon by John Ramsay Tune: by Pablo l Russo FORMATION: Longways Duple minor
PATTERN: Men begin the sequence, ladies respond with same sequence four beats later
Note: A turn becomes a star and a turn single becomes a gypsy when  men and women integrate the turns and turn singles.

Bar Count Gents Ladies Both
1 4 Men advance  Turn single   (men approach as ladies turn) 
2 4 Men retire Ladies advance (ladies "chase" partners) 
3 4 Men advance Ladies retire (men become the aggressors)
4 4 Men advan.w/arch Ladies advance (ladies duck under M arch)
5 4 Men turn and return  Ladies cont.advance (Men follow the L)
6 4 Men advance Ladies turn and arch

(men under ladies arch)

7 4 First man advance   Ladies continue and turn on diag. between 2nd couple (makes an L on its side) 
8 4 First man passes lady advances diag.  (1st couple change 
9 4 Men clap:rat tat-a-tat tat 1st lady advance to 1st man's home place  
10 4 Men 1/2 right hand turn Ladies clap: rat tat-a-tat tat  
11 4 Men 1/2 right hand turn Ladies 1/2 right hand turn (makes ½ right 
hand star)
12 4 Men cast left  Ladies 1/2 right hand turn (end 1st cu. Improper, 
2nd cu. home)
13 4 Men begin left gypsy Ladies casting left  (the contrary left gypsies 
with contrary lady into a gypsy are 1 1/2 in 8 counts)
14 4 Finish gypsy to end facing partners  Finish gypsy to end facing partners  (lft. gypsy flows to 15)
15 4 Right gypsy with partner Right gypsy with partner  
16 4  Finish gypsy in progressed places, women turning single to place  
(1) 4 Men advance as in Bar 1 Women turn single* (musicians repeat at bar 2)