Chris Page's contra dance site

Main page | My dances | Choreography | Links | Schedule

Fairport Harbor

by Paul Balliet

Direction and orientation can shape the character of a dance. A square through emphasizes across, "Salute to Larry Jennings" addresses the sides, and "Becket Reel" makes you think on the diagonal. With so many dances operating across the way with circles and chains and stars and heys, it's good to have some where the main event is on the sides. Promenading around the set is a great way to emphasize this aspect, and I rank Fairport Harbor at the most elegant example of this.

It's got a lot of good, clever, clean transitions, and it goes beyond a simple there-and-back-again. You're promenading along with one neighbor, and all of a sudden find yourself gypsying the next for the eventual return trip. It's a showy progression memorably happening halfway across the room from your partner. It's also distinctive when half the dance is done here and the other half happens way over there.

All this does come at a cost. End effects can be distinctly unpleasant if the couple out at the top forgets to join in at the promenade, and tries to join in the midst of the A2. The entire register's thrown off, with new partners all around.

Instructions for this dance can be found here or here.
A video of this dance can be found here.
Back to the main review page.