Dance Workshops offered by Jerome Grisanti

Beginning Waltz
I believe waltzing can be fun from the first minute, or minuet, and it gets better as one masters a series of skills. Starting with the footwork and progressing through leading and following, I emphasize connection and communication.
Intermediate Waltz
We practice footwork, including the turning waltz and the grapevine, and experiment with handholds, turns and body positions. All the while, we continue emphasizing connection and communication.
Two Italian Folk Dances
Both “La Furlana” and “Graziella Mazurka” are danced by couples in a large circle as beautiful performance pieces. However, as both are danced in waltz time, many of the moves learned in this workshop can be incorporated into free-waltz maneuvers.
Improving Problem Dancers
(by partnering)
Every community has them, and they almost certainly won’t come to this workshop! This workshop is for regular dancers and provides communication techniques and practical safety tips to empower you to enjoy your dance interactions with just about anyone.
Square Games
Take regular squares, add one little twist, and you have Square Games. For example, six couples in a hexagon (instead of four in a square). You can dance almost every figure that shows up in a "regular" square, but you might have to think a little. Or do Grand Square as a musical round (one couple starts, four beats later another joins in, etc.). Or Grand Square with one additional rule.
Kentucky Running Set
The Kentucky Running Set is a series of simple figures that can be woven together in a number of ways. Cecil Sharp documented these figures in his Country Dance Book V. The resource that I use to guide this workshop is
Singing Squares
This playshop features a range of square dances taught and sung by the caller. Dancers may find it fun to join in singing the choruses. The squares figures range from easy to intermediate.
Teaching Beginners
Not just for callers! We’d all like to be able to teach the swing or ladies chain to a friend before a dance, but how? We discuss language (including the dangers of “too much information”), how to set an encouraging tone, and how to break down each move to its component steps. We separate the essentials from the embellishments and rank moves by their relative difficulty to a new dancer. And, of course, we’ll dance. Includes handouts.
Fun Formations
Not all contras are improper or becket. Some are proper, some are downright indecent. Some are written for exactly three, four, five or six couples, or non-couple groups. And of course there are double contras and hybrid contra-squares. We’ll sample some of these unusual formations, commencing with the Levi Jackson Rag.
New England Chestnuts
Most of us know the moves “turn as in Petronella” or “slide as in Rory O’More,” but have you ever danced the original dances that include those moves? They’re rarely seen in modern contra dances, but they are well worth dancing, particularly to the title tunes. This workshop runs concurrently with “Tomfoolery for Inactives.”
Tomfoolery for Inactives Many of our modern contra conventions stem from a desire for fun and action on the part of the inactive couples. In traditional contras, the “twos” would observe the “ones” for several rounds of the dance in order to learn their own roles. In long halls, however, this “observation-only” role was soon filled with flourishes, sometimes to the annoyance of the callers and other dancers. Modern contras now often pre-empt these spontaneous eruptions by keeping all dancers active at all times. We’ll dance some older “New England Chestnuts” as written, and then add flourishes as we progress.
Cheap Thrills:
Little Moves that Dazzle
Embellishments are just that, embellishments. They are fun ways to take up a few beats of music when you are alone or with a partner. This workshop explores some interesting variations on standard moves and transitions. Examples include the push-back or richochet hey, transitions into and out of a butterfly whirl, the scandalous gypsy hey, cheatin' swings, and several swing variations.

Contra Games

There are some spicy games that can only be played when your neighbors are experienced contra dancers who can be trusted to play along. We will explore gender-role swapping, partner switching, temporarily joining other sets (minor and major), replacement moves (e.g. swing instead of allemande right). Since these games can potentially annoy callers and fellow dancers, we will discuss how to find the approriate context in which to play.

To book Jerome Grisanti for a workshop, dance, wedding or party, contact him via email:

jerome (dot) grisanti (at)

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