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Coray's Silver Jubilee | The Cure for the Claps | Delphiniums and Daisies | Eleanor's Reel | Fairport Harbor
"That's the only way it could be." It's the highest praise I can give a dance, and it's no less than "Delphiniums and Daisies" deserves.
To illustrate, imagine recreating it from scratch:
Start with the hey, passing right in the center.
Delphiniums and Daisies X# Hey for four (pass right in the center) (16)
It's a basic full-hey dance. Best exit from the hey?
A full 16-count partner swing. That way you've got plenty of time to find your partner after getting lost. The motion at the ends of the hey is counterclockwise, and the swing is clockwise, so it's best to bracket that with a partner balance so that no-one has to deal with a bad momentum change.
Delphiniums and Daisies X# Hey for four (pass right in the center) (16) Y# Balance and swing partner (16)
Best entry into the hey?
For a right-in-the-center hey, a ladies chain, so women can do a preview walk-through of their path to come. It gets their feet used to the path of the complicated figure, and the courtesy turn blending into the start of the hey.
Delphiniums and Daisies W# ???? (8) Ladies chain (8) X# Hey for four (women pass right) (16) Y# Balance and swing partner (16)
That's enough information to identify the A1, A2, B1, and B2 by process of elimination. Assume the dance is improper. (Improper is easier to regroup from as long as the progression's at the end of the B2). W, X, and Y all end in Becket formation, so the missing 16-counts must end improper and be the B2. That means the partner swing must be the B1.
Delphiniums and Daisies Improper A1 ???? (8) Ladies chain (8) A2 Hey for four (women pass right) (16) B1 Balance and swing partner (16) B2 ???? (16)
The eight-beat move that goes from improper to a women-facing-in ready for ladies chain is an allemande left 1 & 1/2 on the sides. It also sets up the men to loop around for the first four beats of the ladies chain, ready to scoop up their partner into the courtesy turn.
Delphiniums and Daisies Improper A1 Neighbor allemande left 1 & 1/2 (8) Ladies chain (8) A2 Hey for four (women pass right) (16) B1 Balance and swing partner (16) B2 ???? (16)
Which leaves the B2. The best and most overused transition out of the swing is the circle.
Delphiniums and Daisies Improper A1 Neighbor allemande left 1 & 1/2 (8) Ladies chain (8) A2 Hey for four (women pass right) (16) B1 Balance and swing partner (16) B2 Circle left ??? (??) ???? (16-??)
To enter the allemande left 1 & 1/2 at the top of the A1 requires the left hand free at the end of the B2. Meaning the last half of the B2 should be a star right or an allemande right. In this case, a circle plus star would leave everyone on the wrong side. The circle left 3/4 plus allemande right 1 & 1/2 leaves you progressed. (The ideal timing for an allemande is 8 beats for 1 & 1/2 rotations.) Another nice bonus is both allemandes are done on the side, allowing dancers to hook from one to the next.
Delphiniums and Daisies (variant) Improper A1 Neighbor allemande left 1 & 1/2 (8) Ladies chain (8) A2 Hey for four (women pass right) (16) B1 Balance and swing partner (16) B2 Circle left 3/4 (8) Neighbor allemande right 1 & 1/2 (8)
There you have it. The ideal dance.
The one catch is it's slightly different from the original. This is the folk-processed variant -- in the original dance there is no balance in the B1, which the author strongly prefers. (When I do call this, I name it as "a variant of Delphiniums and Daisies.") But that's all a detail.
There's other choices that could've been taken, like Paul Balliet's "First Hey," which uses an alternate B2. In that case, I find the timing to be a little too flabby and not quite as well connected. Though it's still a good choice. It's just that "Delphiniums and Daisies" is just slightly better and more refined.
I did use some sleight of hand in the above discussion. The most important was some of the assumptions I blithely made, which could be chosen in different ways, yielding different dances. If you allow it to be Becket, you have "Butter." If you feel a line of four is a better teaching entry to a hey, you have "Flirtation Reel." If you want a left-in-the-center hey, you have "The Carousel," or "Centrifugal Hey." And so forth.
Dances like "Delphiniums and Daisies" are easy to call, intuitive to dance, and straightforward to remember, as their logic and storyline help you piece together the dance from just the smallest bits. These are the dances where you can start to wean yourself from your cards, and the dancers from your prompts.
for this dance are included in this review thanks to the kind permission from the author.
(Remember, the original has a 16-count swing in the B1.)
A video of this dance can be found here.
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