Curating Dances

Dave Morse edited this page Aug 12, 2018 · 15 revisions

Entering dances into ContraDB is a service to the community. Follow these guidelines to ensure that the community gets the greatest benefit from your work.

Publish vs private

Keep dances 'private' til they're ready for the community.

At the bottom of the dance editor, you can select 'published' or 'private' before you hit save. If you publish broken dances, other users waste time evaluating them for their programs. When you mark your dance private, only you and the site admin will see it in search results. A direct URL to a private dance that isn't yours throws a 404.

Once you publish, support your dance.

People out there on the internet are possibly linking to your dance. If you delete/unpublish your dance, then those links will break.

Respect choreographer's desires.

Per our in-process contradb ethics, check the choreographers catalog to see whether they've given unlimited publishing consent. If nothing is marked, and if you're able, reach out to ask permission. (If you receive unlimited consent, let adminisaur know so the catalog can be updated.)

Writing figures

figure selection

  • Our aim is to have all contra figures, and all their parameters, in our dropdown library. If something isn't simple to input, please email us and let us fix it. We can't solve a problem we don't know about, and if you fight the library to enter your dance, it might not show up correctly in the search results.
  • Try to avoid move type 'custom', because figure analysis doesn't work as well on dances with 'custom'.
  • If your figure isn't in the menu - look for related moves (e.g. yearn and slice). If you're still not finding it, use 'custom'. We irregularly audit 'custom' moves, and if a figure is used in dances from more than one choreographer, we will support it.
  • a custom move set to 0 beats is the currently accepted way to encode a MEANWHILE move. This won't remain the case forever.
  • Use the '⁋rogress' menu option at least once per dance. It's understood to mean the progression happens after the figure.


  • Try to keep each figure's text to one line. Avoid semicolons, periods, or multiple sentences in your figures.
  • Use lower case
  • Separate a terse call from details with a single dash: ladles chain - this is your shadow or partners swing - two hand grip. Commas and &s are fair game, too.
  • Instead of lengthy per-figure notes, put a + in the per-figure note, put a + and your explanation in the dance notes. This keeps one figure from distracting from the overall format of the dance. an example
  • Use '¼' and not '1/4', and so on and so forth.


  • we now support live translations from your dialect to the contradb's dialect. If you have set your personal dialect to larks/ravens, enter per-figure and per-dance notes using larks and ravens when needed. If you change your dialect to gents/ladies to call at a different venue, every mention of ravens in all dropdown figures, all per-line notes, and all per-dance notes will now say ladies. Titles and hooks are not translated.
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