Dance Writing Contest Winner – Spring 2014

Congratulations to Elizabeth Bloom Albert, the winner of the Spring 2014 Dance Writing Contest. Elizabeth took on the challenge of writing dances to match two tunes from the dance adventure Tales from the Red Book of Tunes. Her dance “A Carriage Works” was selected by Tyler Johnson and a group of experienced callers as the best in contest.

Tyler notes, “the dance is a Sicilian circle, and when viewed from above the dancers form the spokes of a wheel, making the dancers themselves a part of the story. The figures match the music quite well, making it a fun and accessible dance.”

View the dance and listen to the tune at the story page for “A Carriage Works.”

A donation has been made to CDSS in honor of Elizabeth’s winning. Please let her know what you think of her dance.


Chicagoan Elizabeth Bloom Albert has been a contra dancer since 1999, but she’s been dancing–(international) folk dance and (East coast) swing—for a long, long time. Elizabeth began writing contra dances about five years ago; she’d become bored with Sudoku and crosswords and needed a new challenge. When she’s not writing dances, she’s writing prose. Her short stories and essays have won, placed, or showed in a number of writing contests and have appeared in Narrative Magazine, The Baltimore Review, Karamu, Permafrost, Canteen, Southern Women’s Review, Quarter After Eight and elsewhere.


Tyler asked Elizabeth some questions about her involvement with the dance community

– What’s your home dance community?

I do most of my dancing in Chicago with the Chicago Barn Dance Company. I also want to give a shout-out to the Huntsville, Alabama dance, where my husband and I dance 2-3 times a year.

– When and where did you start dancing?

I have been dancing contra since 1999. Before I was a contra dancer, I did a lot of (East coast) swing and (international) folk dance—and still do some on occasion.

– When did you start calling and writing dances? What drew you to that?

I am not a caller. I have been writing dances for about 5 years. I’ve always loved puzzles (crossword; Sudoku; acrostics); writing a dance is the best puzzle there is because when you solve one successfully a whole room full of people get to share the joy.

– What does the dance community mean to you?

When you think about it, social dancing is a cooperative endeavor and cooperation is at the core of any good community. So my weekly dance group is probably the most community-minded thing I do all week.

– Do you play an instrument?

No, but I plan to do so in my next life. (And I really hope my next-life mom steers me to the violin.)

– What do you do when you are not dancing?

In the summer you’ll find me riding my bike or out in our garden, where we grow vegetables and perennials. I also love to cook and bake. And one of these days I will get back to knitting, sewing, and quilting.  But mostly, I am a writer (of short stories and essays). I have yet to have a book published, but I have won, placed or showed in a number of writing contests sponsored by literary magazines. These prizes let me know that I have at least some talent and convince me to keep plugging away (in spite of hundreds of rejection slips).

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