The Seattle Contra Dance Expeditionary Force (aka Yakima Moving and Dance Associates) ventured to Yakima the weekend of May 10-11 to "assist" (the verb is used rather loosely) Tim Gojio in moving to the sunny side of the mountains and making himself known to the local dance community. We succeeded in the latter, of this there can be no doubt. We're not so sure how much assistance we provided with the former, but suspect that it was pert near zero (well, we did offer random and perhaps gratuitous advice on how to decorate his apartment). The SCDEF consisted of three teams: myself, Sally Dow, and Tracy Whelen (serving as Aide de Camp) were Team 1; Meg Wilkinson and Alan Cheatem were Team 2; and Amy Springer, Jeff Nystuen, and Brian Globerman were Team 3. Team 1 left early with a short side trip near Cle Elum, followed by a pleasant drive down Yakima Canyon. We found Tim's new apartment without too much difficulty (drive around the subdivision, look for a large moving van). After checking in, Sally went to see Shelly Jenkins, the lead organizer of the Yakima contra dances, while Tracy and I hopped on bicycles to explore the neighborhood. Shortly after we returned to Tim's, we were joined by Team 3 (Team 2 was expected to be late, as they had other activities Saturday morning and then were going to go to Federal Way to pick up Tim's car and drive it over - Tim drove over in the rental truck). We all cleaned up and, after a brief stop at a nearby grocery store, we headed for the pre-dance potluck. By the way, cell phones are a great invention. They proved very useful throughout the weekend. The Yakima dances are held in the Broadway Grange, which is just east of the Yakima airport. It's a nice hall and is the right size for the dances. Like many such buildings, it has a dining room and kitchen downstairs, which is where we met Shelly and some of the locals. Upstairs, Alan Roberts and Eric Anderson were getting set up. Before the dance, caller Sandy Strand gave a brief beginner's workshop. Team 2 arrived during the second dance, having ditched Tim's car at his new place. Alan did not wear a skirt during the dance, and it was the general consensus among SCDEF's members that, in Yakima, this was probably a Good Idea. The dance was great! The locals ranged from first-timers to some rather skilled experienced dancers. Included in the crowd were several students from CWU, who made the half hour jaunt from Ellensburg for the evening. At the break, Alan played a hambo and a schottis, dances that apparently don't get played very often in Yakima. Sandy called a few challenging dances, including a four-face-four contra. As she was setting it up, I had my doubts about it working, but, by golly, it did and was a lot of fun (oh ye of little faith, etc.). After the dance, the transient wetsiders munched on popovers and chocolate at Shelly's, where most of us (Team 1 and the performers) were staying for the night (Teams 2 & 3 stayed at Tim's). Early the next morning, a small away team went birding, returning to Tim's in time to join all of us for breakfast. Following some silliness involving cell phones enroute, we descended upon Mel's Diner (good food, good service). During the meal, Tim thanked us for joining him for the weekend. We responded by threatening to "help" him move the next time. By the way, cell phones are an amusing invention. They proved very entertaining in the hands of the boys in the group. After breaking fast, we returned to Tim's to gather our stuff and load up for the trip home. Surprisingly, only a pair of shoes got left behind. Brian transferred from Team 3 to Team 1, who were going to continue their ornithological pursuits. Our (Team 1's) route home was by way of I-82 (instead of Yakima Canyon - the time difference we discovered is only about 15-20 minutes), some sight seeing in Ellensburg (the "insulator house"), and the Canyon Road between Ellensburg and Cle Elum (also recommended). Continuing west on I-90, we noticed fresh snow near the Stampede Pass exit that wasn't there the day before, and we hit some heavy rain showers (we also had some hail crossing Manatash Ridge south of Ellensburg). It was a nice, sunny day in Seattle when we got home, a nice end to a wonderful weekend. We'd like to thank Shelly and the Yakima contra dance community for a fun evening, and Sandy, Eric, and Alan for some great dances, and - of course - Tim for giving us an excuse to do all of this in the first place. Gladly, we'd do all of this again. For those of you who wish to check on the weather that Tim's experiencing, see this webpage: http://www.kapptv.com/webcam/ Right now it's overcast. --- --- --- A footnote: There are many regular contra dances in the "hinterlands" outside of Seattle. Like anything else in human affairs, they vary in character, size, and what not - but they all involve dancing. Most take place just once a month, and many live a tenuous existence. I encourage the many dancers who attend Seattle dances to consider venturing outside the city to these other dances. Your mere presence will help support them and, by extension, contra dancing in general. If you are a skilled dancer and have both the ability and willingness to teach, then please consider helping dancers at these dances - who typically don't see much dancing - to improve their skills. And (this might be a surprise to some), be ready to learn from them as well. There is a lot of dancing in this region - go find it and join in. Matt Fisher's web page lists nearly all of these dances: http://seattledance.org/
Thank you for the visit.