Chris Page's contra dance site

Main page | My dances | Choreography | Links | Schedule

On modern petronella turns

Those dances with "petronella turns?" They're just like "Petronella." Except in the original dance:

  • There's no clapping
  • And the square's rotated 45 degrees to make a diamond.
  • And the balance is on beats 5-8, not 1-4. [1]
  • And only the ones are active -- the twos are just watching.
  • And each balance step as you go down the line should be unique.
  • And you don't touch your partner when balancing -- keep your hands at your sides.
  • But yes, other than those minor details, they're done exactly like the turns in Petronella were traditionally done. I'd bet if you could look back even further, you'd see even more changes.

    For more on this, see this essay from someone who was there.

    [1] It's arguable which is more traditional -- balance and turn, or turn and balance. But this makes a better story.