Chris Page's contra dance site

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My dances

Some of my better dances. With time and testing, I'll add more -- see the what's new page. Or read my other dance sequences.

The virtues of this page rests upon many thanks. (The flaws are all mine.) Thanks go to all the previous composers who helped create our tradition, and upon whose shoulders I stand. Also to Bob Isaacs, a friend and mentor with whom to discuss choreography and check my most bizarre sequences. And to the dance communities of San Diego and Philadelphia and elsewhere that have graciously endured being research subjects. And all the other callers who have helped shape my understanding of contra dance, as well as Mary Dart, who organized a lot of said discussion in her thesis.

I would also very much like to thank Lynn Ackerson and John Nance, for going over the original versions of these pages in detail, and catching many mistakes and unclear bits.

For a list of my notational peculiarities, see here.

Scatter mixers

Variants of existing dances

Contras

Complex contras

Four-face-fours

Triple minors

Square dance breaks

Other pages of interest


Scatter mixers

Scatter mixers are a fairly unexplored area of choreographic space. They're worth investigating as they can't accidentally break down, because they intentionally and repeatedly do so. Individual scatter mixers have a bonus bonus -- you don't need a partner in case of gender imbalance. If you're left out one time through the dance, you just jump in again. The matching weakness is that bored couples can conveniently leave mid-dance.

Their lack of structure may make it harder for dancers to keep to the phrase. In a contra dance, the actual framework / lattice of the formation helps regulate when moves start. If it takes 8 counts to circle left, most people will know when to start the next move. The late people will see the visual clue of neighboring circles out of the side of their eyes. Any offsets in timing are quickly noticed when it's time to progress.

But in a scatter mixer, the only references for starting a move are the music and the caller. So you may find yourself single-word prompting for a much longer period of time. Or you could treat it more like a western square, prompting throughout the dance and being flexible with the phrasing and when moves begin.

One last warning. Unless you're on the safety of a raised stage, there's a good chance some assertive dancer will sweep you into the mixer melee. So watch out.

Accretion Reel
by Chris Page
Scatter mixer
A1 Balance ring [1]
   Turn away individually [2]
   Scatter promenade individually
A2 Gypsy someone [3] [4]
   Swing same
B1 Scatter promenade as couples [5]
B2 In groups of couples, circle left [6]
   Circle right
[1] What ring? The circle at the end of B2. The first time through the dance, skip this part, and begin straight with the individual scatter promenade. (John Sweeney came up with a cool alternate beginning, with everyone in one big circle, before breaking it up into individual pieces. If so, you definitely also want the big circle for the final time through.)
David Millstone writes about a nice modification of this for ONS groups: "Chris's dance calls for folks to balance in and out, and even though I demonstrated that to a group, their inclination was to go into the center in four counts with a whoop! and their arms rising up. Who am I to fight the natural tendency of the dancers? I suspect that this feels more satisfying, and it still gives them 12 beats to say goodbye to their circle and to walk alone to find a new partner."
[2] When I'm calling for ONS (one-night-stand) groups, I'll use "say goodbye" here. Then when they gypsy later on, it's "say hello, and go around them, looking at them."
[3] Those allergic to gypsies may wish to substitute a do-si-do, or skip it altogether and go straight to the swing. For an ONS group, substitute the swing with a two-hand turn, elbow swing, or "whatever you think a swing should be."
[4] For more advanced groups, the gypsy can be with more than one other person. And the swing can be a basket swing.
[5] Last time through the dance, I like to have everyone promenade in one giant circle. Ditto for the final circles.
[6] Here each couple needs to find a few other couples to circle with. Lone couples could always two-hand turn each other. James Hutson came up with a nice term for these variable-sized circles -- blobs.

The dance I consider my best. Usable both for non-dancing crowds, and with regular contra groups.

I wrote it after attending a contra dance with a number of beginners that kept breaking down over and over and over. On the way back, I thought what would have worked (a dance that intentionally broke down each time), and came up with a dance that I kept refining and simplifying down to this. It was partly also inspired by Ted Sannella's "Ted's Solo Mixer" and the scatter mixer "Set a' Crochet."

The dance's name came from ideas of planetary system formation, where larger and larger chunks of matter spiral inwards from gravity, accreting to form planetisemals, and then planets. The analogy goes bad where everybody separates every thirty seconds, but you could just consider that a periodic supernova event.

After having danced this, the A1/A2 feels sort of like the rush of looking for a partner, though here the commitment's only for 20 seconds. Kind of reminiscent of the cabeceo of tango.

Videos: (#1) (#2)


Variants of existing dances

These are dances that would not exist without another's particular dance sequence to tweak. While they're more than just replacing "The Nice Combination's" balance-and-swing with do-si-do-and-swing, they still rest squarely on specific earlier compositions.


Roll Twelve
Chris Page variant of a Sue Rosen & Larry Jennings dance
Improper
A1 Neighbor do-si-do
   Neighbor swing
A2 Long lines forward and back
   Ladies chain
B1 Balance ring
   Men roll away neighbor (across)
   Partner swing (on other side)
B2 Partner promenade
   Circle left 3/4
   Pass through

Obviously, an adaptation of "Roll Eleven" by Sue Rosen and Larry Jennings. I saw "Roll Eleven" as a schizophrenic dance -- the A2 and B1 sequence was a gentle and forgiving entry into the distinctive roll-away to swing transition. But the B2 and A1 sequence had a very tight timing, making the dance not work well with beginners. After seeing one too many beginner couples crash on the circle left 3/4 -- California twirl -- circle left 1/2 transition, I ripped out the B2 and A1 and replaced them with something more forgiving.

(There's an interesting bit of folk process in the name. "Roll Eleven" was based on an earlier dance, "Number 11" by Mike Richardson. To create "Roll Eleven", the authors kept the pieces they really liked (B2 and A1), and replaced the original A2 and B1, which included a down-the-hall and a third circle left. Then I came around and destroyed the B2 and A1, removing any bit of the original "Number 11." Yet remnants of the title still live on.)

Videos: (#1) (#2) (#3) (#4) (#5) (#6)


Contras

Apogee
by Chris Page
Becket
A1 Partner promenade, shift right to N2 [1]
   Ladies chain [2]
A2 Women allemande right 1 & 1/2 while men orbit counterclockwise 1/2 [3]
   Neighbor N2 swing
B1 Gents chain [4]
   Men allemande left 1 & 1/2 while women orbit clockwise 1/2 [5]
B2 Partner gypsy
   Partner swing
[1] The progression happens here. Promenade across, and in the courtesy turn loop a little further counterclockwise around the major set to face N2.
[2] To flow into the orbit figure, consider an open ladies chain, where women pull by right, and then neighbor N2 allemande left 1. The transition also works well with a twirl substituted for the courtesy turn.
[3] In tight quarters, it helps if men from other sets intersect by passing each other by left shoulders.
[4] I strongly recommend an open gents chain, where men pull by left, and then partner allemande right 1. Not only will this be less confusing than a regular gent's chain, but the women will have proper momentum into the orbit.
[5] As per [3], except women pass right with each other.

The original version of this dance had a left diagonal right and left through in the A1, making it double progression. I tested the revised version on 7/22/2012.

A Bevy of Butterflies
by Bob Isaacs and Chris Page
Improper
A1 (new) Men allemande left 1 & 1/2 [1]
   Partner star promenade
   Counterclockwise (normal) butterfly whirl
A2 Women gypsy right 1
   Partner swing
B1 Right and left through
   Women allemande right 1 & 1/2
B2 Neighbor star promenade [2]
   Clockwise butterfly whirl [3] [4]
   Neighbor swing
[1] At this point, men may need to be alerted to look for a new man on their left diagonal.
[2] The woman's left arm should be above the man's right, to assist the transition into the swing.
[3] This sort of melts into a swing.
[4] I've noticed the folk process dropping this whirl and heading straight for the swing. Just be aware it was in the original composition. And that it's ultimately your dance, to adapt as you wish.

My first popular dance, and one of my co-authored dances.

Videos: (#1) (#2) (#3) (#4) (#5) (#6) (#7)

Chain the Corner
by Chris Page
Becket
A1 Men allemande left 1 & 1/2
   Neighbor swing
A2 Circle left 1
   Neighbor N1 pull by right
   Neighbor N2 courtesy turn [1]
B1 Ladies chain to partner
   1/2 hey (WR,N2L,MR)
B2 Partner balance
   Partner swing
[1] These two figures together are sort of a ladies chain along the side of the set.
End effects: Re-entry is indecent, with men on the right and women on the left.

The indecent progression creates a longer courtesy turn in the A2.

This was the dance that developed from "Ladies Chain Circle Mixer." The untested complex extension of this is "Chain the Triangle." See also "A Grand Day Out" for another take on this idea.

Videos: (#1) (#2) (#3)

Chinese New Year
by Chris Page
Improper (long wave) [1]
 
A1 Balance long waves
   Box circulate [2] 
   Balance long waves
   Box circulate [3] 
A2 Balance long waves
   Box circulate [2] 
   Partner swing
B1 Circle left 3/4
   Neighbor swing
B2 Long lines forward and back
   Square through (right-hand balance partner, pull right by partner, left by neighbor) to long waves [4]
[1] Starts in long waves, right hand to neighbor, men face out, women face in.
[2] Circulate: Women cross the set to their partner's place, men loop right to their neighbor's place.
[3] Circulate: Men cross the set to their neighbor's place, women loop right to their partner's place.
[4] With the pull-by left, keep left hands and take right hands with a new neighbor to reform long waves. For better entry, consider an allemande left 1/2 rather than a pull-by left so that everyones' hands are at the correct height for long waves.

Written for Joyce Fortune of the Bay Area, won at the auction of the 2010 Spring Fever dance camp at Monte Toyon, CA. She requested a dance with long lines, some balances, and a swing/circle/swing transition. (A surprisingly tough set of requirements to fulfill.) This sequence was the option she liked best.

Published in the 2013 Spring CDSS Newsletter.

Videos: (#1) (#2) (#3) (#4) (#5) (#6) (#7) (#8) (#9)

Double Cat Bounce
by Chris Page
Improper
A1 Neighbor balance
   Neighbor swing
A2 1/2 hey with ricochet (ML,PR,W ricochet) [1]
   Partner swing [2]
B1 Ladies chain
   1/2 hey with ricochet (WR,PL,M ricochet) [3]
B2 Circle right 3/4
   Neighbor allemande left 1 & 1/2
[1] Women ricochet: Women, when they reach the center, extend both hands to each other and push off each other, going backwards and to their right. (Instead of crossing the set, they stay on their original side.) What they're doing is walking a small clockwise circle on their side, while always facing the same direction. After looping around, men assist their partners into a swing.
[2] While it's possible and nifty for the man to scoop up his partner with his right arm into the swing, the woman needs to be aware of her left elbow and arm, specifically the location of her elbow relative to her partner's jawbone.
[3] Men ricochet: Men, when they reach the center, extend both hands to each other and push off each other, going backwards and to their left. (Instead of crossing the set, they stay on their original side.) What they're doing is walking a small counter-clockwise circle on their side, while always facing the same direction. After looping around, women assist their partners into a circle right.
Typo fixed on 4/29/2011, where I had labelled the second pass of the B1 hey as "NL."

While inspired by the signature transition of Nathaniel Jack's "Dead Cat Bounce," it felt more like a starting point than a simple re-editing.

The starting figure for the A1 is a bit problematic. I stole the mirror image of B2 from "Delphiniums and Daisies," assuming the timing would work out fine. The trouble is that in "Delphiniums and Daisies," the B2 is proceeded by a swing, so it'll start a bit late. In "Double Cat Bounce," the B2 is preceeded by a 3-pass ricochet hey, so it'll start a bit early. The upshot is that dancers will likely finish the B2 about one or two beats early. You can either let them add a free spin at the end of the dance to use up time, or convert the A1 into a neighbor gypsy and swing, allowing a blurrier transition. In the end it depends upon the music.

And speaking of music, I've noticed that slower tempos tend to exacerbate this problem, leaving dancers with more idle time at the end of the B2.

Video: (#1)

On the Prowl
by Chris Page
Improper
A1 (3) 1/2 clockwise mad robin [1]
   (2) Single file promenade clockwise 1/4 [2]
   (3) Partner gypsy [3]
   (8) Partner swing
A2 (3) 1/2 clockwise mad robin [4]
   (2) Single file promenade clockwise 1/4 [5]
   (3) Neighbor gypsy [3]
   (8) Neighbor swing
B1     Long lines forward and back
       Ladies chain
B2     Hey with ricochet (WR,NL,MR,PL,WR,NL,Men ricochet) [6]
[1] A mad robin is a sideways do-si-do.
For the half mad robin, you merely trade places with your neighbor, men sidesteping to their left and women to their right, women passing in front of their neighbor.
[2] A no-hands circle left 1/4 in your groups of four. Ideally while looking at your partner.
[3] The gypsy is optional, but fun. If done, it is brief -- halfway around at most.
[4] This time the men sidestep to their right, women to their left, men passing in front of their partner. Use the connection from the swing to tug into this.
[5] A no-hands circle left 1/4 in your groups of four. Ideally while looking at your neighbor.
[6] Men ricochet: Men, when they reach the center, extend both hands to each other and push off each other, going backwards and to their left. (Instead of crossing the set, they stay on their original side.) Everyone is now progressed and looking at their partner to start the dance again.

Written for my best friend and then-fiance (now wife), Melinda Layden. The title is a reference to her.

The pieces of A1 are meant to be one larger figure, where you're looking at your partner as you approach for the swing.

Teaching the A1 is tricky. I've said that you look at your partner, and men eventually swing their partner on the other side. The single file promenade I also teach as 'men cross while women back up on the side'. Demos can also help.

Patience
by Chris Page
Improper
A1 Long lines forward and back [1] [2] 
   Men allemande left 1 & 1/2
A2 Partner something and swing [3] 
B1 Partner promenade
   Women allemande right 1 & 1/2
B2 Neighbor whatever and swing [3]
[1] At this point, men may need to be reminded to look for a new man on the left diagonal.
[2] For a slightly more complicated variant, add a roll away (men roll away new neighbor) as the lines go back.
[3] Caller's choice to fit the music or program. (Balance and swing, gypsy and swing, do-si-do and swing, or swing and swing.) Or caller can make it the dancer's choice.

I'd learned about the partner choice/neighbor choice swing concept from Bob Isaacs, which is when the caller leaves it up to the dancers on how to negotiate a 16-count swing. For a neighbor choice swing, it helps to have significant pre-swing neighbor interaction to size each other up. This dance lacks that, though you do spend 24 seconds in the same minor set before swinging. The optional roll-away gives more neighbor interaction.

This particular sequence was written for an April Fool's dance, where I wanted a double choice swing dance simple enough to fit in the first slot. This sequence may already exist, but I haven't run across it during a casual literature check. And most long-swing beginner dances follow the form of:

A1 Neighbor swing
A2 Someone cross the set
B1 Partner swing
B2 Progress

Videos: (#1) (#2) (#3) (#4)

Rollin' Outta Barstow
by Chris Page
Improper
A1 Neighbor gypsy
   Neighbor swing
A2 3/4 hey with ricochet (ML,PR,WL,NR,M ricochet) [1] 
   Men roll away neighbor [2] 
B1 Clockwise mad robin, men in front to start [3] 
   Men cross set, passing right [4] 
   Partner swing
B2 Ladies chain
   Star left 1
[1] This first is a normal half hey. Then as men step back into the center, they ricochet while the women loop around, getting ready for the next figure. (If the men didn't ricochet, this would count as a 3/4 hey with 5 passes.)
Men ricochet: Men, the second time they reach the center, extend both hands to each other and push off each other, going backwards and to their right. At this point all are facing across, next to their neighbor, with man on the right, woman on the left.
[2] To help the transition into this, men should keep their hands out after they ricochet. As women loop around, they can catch the man's left hand in their right hand. The momentum of the hey should flow directly into the roll away.
[3] A mad robin is a sideways do-si-do, men starting in front of their neighbor.
This mad robin is meant to be done quickly, in six steps. The other two steps are used up by men crossing the set.
[4] Men quickly go straight across the set. It's a bonus if women continue the flow of the mad robin by shifting slightly to their left, but that detail's likely not worth teaching.

Written for Steve Hoskinson (of Barstow, CA), winner of the auction dance raffle at Harvest Moon, Santa Barbara, 2013.

Videos: (#1) (#2)

Soaring
by Chris Page
Becket, counterclockwise
A1 (8) Long lines forward and back
   (8) Ladies chain
A2 (6) Women allemande right 1 while men orbit counterclockwise 1/2 [1]
   (4) Partner courtesy turn [2]
   (6) Promenade
B1 (2) Shift right to face N2 [3]
   (6) Hands-across star left 3/4 [4]
   (8) Men allemande left 1 & 1/2
B2     Partner gypsy
       Partner swing
[1] In tight quarters, it helps if men from other sets intersect by passing each other by left shoulders.
[2] There's a courtesy turn after the orbit. Think of this plus the orbit as a bizarre ladies chain variant.
[3] The progression happens here. Promenade across, and in the courtesy turn loop a little further counterclockwise around the major set to face N2.
[4] Women drop out on their original side.

It's possible to include a neighbor swing -- just convert the A1 into circle left 3/4, neighbor swing. But then the transition into the women allemande/orbit will require finessing -- men need to assist their neighbor into the middle, and use that same assist to shift backwards and to the right.

Square Deal
by Chris Page
Becket
A1 Circle left 3/4
   Neighbor N1 swing
A2 Right diagonal ladies chain to shadow [1]
   Star left 1
B1 Square through (right-hand balance partner, pull
      right by partner, left by neighbor N2, repeat all that)
B2 Partner balance
   Partner swing
[1] The diagonal ladies chain has the potential to cause issues. One is that dancers are more used to ending the swing on the left diagonal, whereas here they need to cut the swing early to aim on the right diagonal. The other is that men need to stay put as the women pull by to start the ladies chain. If the men move, the appropriate other couple for the star will be on the slight left diagonal.

This is the end result of thinking about a number of other partner square-through on the side dances. The original, "The Third Time's the Charm" by Roger Diggle, had some parts where I wasn't happy with the timing or the crowding in the center. Then I found a very nice fix-up, "Free the French Four," also by Roger Diggle.

It's a great dance, but I kept thinking about ways to include a neighbor swing. Erik Weberg wrote one called "Stir Crazy." "Square Deal" is my attempt at the same theme.

Videos: (#1) (#2) (#3) (#4) (#5) (#6)

A Sure Thing
by Chris Page
Improper
A1 Partner 1/2 clockwise pousette [1] [2]
   Neighbor swing
A2 Men allemande left 1 & 1/2
   1/2 hey (PR,WL,NR,ML)
B1 Partner gypsy [3]
   Partner swing
B2 Ladies chain
   Circle right
[1] See the glossary for an explanation of pousette. Starts with women moving forwards. Takes about 4-6 beats.
[2] The swing entry is similar to the ricochet hey/swing transition. As the half pousette is almost done, men let go of right hand; women let go of left hand. Women raise their left arm, and step straight backwards as men catch their back with their right arm, going directly into the swing. (By this point you drop the other hand with your partner.)
[3] Or balance and swing.

For the partner version of this, see "Trust."

Videos: (#1) (#2) (#3) (#4) (#5) (#6) (#7) (#8) (#9)

True Grit
by Chris Page
Improper
A1 Women allemande right 1 & 1/2 [1]
   Partner swing
A2 Men allemande left 1 & 1/2
   Neighbor swing
B1 Long lines forward and back
   Star right 1 [2]
B2 Right and left through
   Star left 1
[1] Men may need to shift a tiny bit left so they're directly between the women. That way they'll be neatly facing the other couple for the rest of the dance.
[2] Wrist-grip star. Once you're across from your partner, transition into a partner pull by right to begin the right and left through.

This takes the common transition of right and left through/star left, and combining it with the star right/right and left through transition of "Rod's Grits." So far I've only found one other dance to do both -- "Allie Oop's Special Day" by Ken Gall.

Twirly Corners
by Chris Page
Becket
1A1 Slice left, while men rollaway partner [1]
    Top two people (M1+W2) do-si-do
1A2 Same two people turn contra corners
1B1 Same two people balance
    Same two people swing
1B2 Partner balance
    Partner swing

2A1 Slice left, while men roll away partner
    Bottom two people (W1+M2) do-si-do
2A2 Same two people turn contra corners
2B1 Same two people balance
    Same two people swing
2B2 Partner balance
    Partner swing

[1] Face the new couple on the left diagonal, come forward, and push straight back. A progressive form of forward and back, as in "Hey Man" by Paul Balliet.
The roll away happens during the second half, as you go straight back.

Contra corners has you interacting with two out of three sets of people: (Partner/shadows, Opposite-role neighbors, and same-role neighbors). In this one, the center person you allemande right with is your opposite-role neighbor, and the others are your same-role neighbor. So it's all done with neighbors.

This dance wound up being a simplification of "Uncommon Corners" by Don Flaherty. In that dance, after the neighbor swing, he used shadow interaction to resolve with a partner swing. In the above dance, I slipped in the roll away for the same effect.

Written for local dancer Debby Baldwin, who really likes contra corners.

Video: (#1)


Complex contras

I prefer simpler dances to more complex dances, as contra is about being in the moment, not about a mental exercise. But sometimes I come up with a complex idea that can't be expressed simply yet still might deserve treatment. Hence, this section.


Hopscotch Reel
by Bob Isaacs and Chris Page
Becket [1], counterclockwise
A1 Circle left 3/4 [2]
   Neighbor swing
A2 Balance ring
   Petronella turn
   Balance ring
   Petronella turn
B1 Hands-across star left 3/4
   Men walk forward to next star while
      women allemande left 1/4 [3] [4]
   Hands-across star left 1
B2 Partner balance
   Partner swing
[1] At the beginning of the walkthrough, your shadow is on the far side of your partner.
[2] This is when you notice you're facing new neighbors.
[3] Men let go, leave their star, and walk forward to the next star while women keep turning to complete a full turn of the star. Men will join the star directly behind their shadow.
(Men stay on their side of the set for the walk forward, and do not cross the set.)
A nice teaching tip I picked up from Will Mentor -- freeze the action after the first star. At this point, men can see their shadow in front of them in the next star. Men want to walk forward, ending up where their shadow is currently standing. Meanwhile women turn by the left 1/4.
[4] End effects: Men go to where their shadow is.

The star-to-star transition is like "Susie's Reel" by David Kaynor, but unlike "Susie's Reel," you don't go into the multi-set interlocking action directly out of a swing. This makes it much more forgiving.

Note the co-authorship of this dance.

Videos: (#1) (#2)

Serendipity
by Chris Page
Becket, counterclockwise
A1     Women allemande right 1 & 1/2
       Neighbor swing
A2     Circle left 3/4
       Partner allemande right 1 & 1/2 to long waves (men face in)
B1 (4) Balance long waves
   (3) Box circulate [1]
   (1) Neighbor allemande right 1/4 to short waves of four (women in center)
   (4) Balance short waves
   (3) All drop hands, walk forward to next wave
   (1) New neighbor allemande right 1/4 to long waves (men face in)
B2     Balance long waves
       Box circulate [2]
       Partner swing
[1] Circulate: Men cross the set to their neighbor's place, women loop right to their partner's place.
[2] Circulate: Men cross the set to their partner's place, women loop right to their neighbor's place.

Named because this sequence started life as a four-face four, turned into a square, mutated into a keeper square, and briefly flirted with becoming a grid square, until I realized I had a "simple" contra.

While this dance has gotten good feedback, be warned it is rather clockwise. I've since tested (1/1/2016) a rewrite of the A1/A2 to fix this problem:

Serendipity 2
by Chris Page
Becket, counterclockwise
A1 Men allemande left 1 & 1/2
   Neighbor swing
A2 Ladies chain to partner
   Partner promenade across, let go of left hand, women turn around 180 degrees to form long waves, men facing in [1]
B1 As in the original
B2 As in the original
[1] The direction the women turn depends on the promenade hold, but either version works.

Videos (of original): (#1) (#2) (#3) (#4) (#5) (#6) (#7) (#8)


Four-face-fours

There's a lot of unexplored choreographic space with four-face-fours, as you've got twice as many people to work with. You can put in just about any 32-beat-or-less square dance figure in it. And that's just a subset of what you can do.


The Illusion of Eight
by Chris Page
Four-face-four
A1 Balance ring [1]
   Petronella turn
   Corner swing (C1)
A2 Balance ring [2]
   Petronella turn
   Next corner swing (C2)
B1 Ladies grand chain
   Partner promenade halfway [3]
B2 Partner balance
   Partner swing [4]
[1] All eight form the ring. Partner is in one hand, corner is in the other.
[2] All eight form the ring. The person you just swung is in one hand, next corner (original opposite) is in the other.
[3] Once again, all the couples promenade halfway to progressed place, just like promenading in a square. During the walkthrough, it can help to identify their final position.
There's no time for a courtesy turn -- the transition to the partner balance as the same as in "Levi Jackson Rag."
[4] Face new neighbors. Couples swap sides as they progress.

Men face their original direction after each swing.

Written as an experiment to convert moves for four people into moves for eight. With the exception of the grand chain and the ring balances, nothing here is really for all eight. But it feels like it is.

Half the time you swing both neighbors, the other half you swing one neighbor and your trail buddy from your line of four. The second half of the dance is exclusively with your partner.

Video: (#1)


Triple Minors

A forgotten dance form with many difficulties, most significantly that modern dancers have no experience with them. It's something I'm poking around with. For progressions and technical notes, see this link. Those notes only describe single-progression triple minors, however.

Whirlpool
by Chris Page
Triple Minor -- Triad Formation [1]
Double progression [2]
A1 Balance ring [3]
   Petronella turn
   Balance ring
   Petronella turn
A2 Balance ring
   Petronella turn [4]
   Men star left [5]
B1 Grand right and left (PR,L,R,PL,R,L) [6]
B2 Partner gypsy
   Partner swing; face next [7]
[1] Starting formation: Take a standard proper triple minor. Ones and twos cross over, and then twos and threes circle left 1/4. I describe it as ones improper, twos and threes Becket. For more on Triad formation, see "TLC Tempest."
[2] Twos and threes progress up, staying with each other, but swapping sides as they travel up. Ones progress down past two couples.
End effects at the top: Every third time through the dance, two couples get spit out at the top. The both wait out improper, one below the other. One will get in the next time, the other will have to wait until the time after that.
End effects at the bottom: Couples just wait out on the sides, Becket-like, for a full hands-six to form. Since this is double progression, there shouldn't be any couples at the bottom accidentally trapped there forever.
[3] All six. For the petronella turn, everyone move one position to their right.
[4] Everyone is now progressed. All the remaining moves finish where they started.
[5] Men ease out of the star a tiny bit early so everyone's facing their partner around the circle of six.
[6] Within the group of six.
[7] Or balance and swing. After the swing, ones face down. Twos and threes face uppish and across, having swapped sides.

There's no need to mention who are twos and threes. Just call them "side couples".

After testing "Because It Was There," I realized a grand right and left was a good thing to put in a regular-length contra. This was the result, which worked surprisingly well. It's also helped by a low piece count.


Square dance breaks

As I've started learning to call squares in a region pretty well unfamiliar with them, I'm looking hard for very simple breaks that a) require almost no teaching time, and b) cover any swing deficit in the main figure of the square. I really doubt any of these are original, but I'm including them in hopes that others might find them useful in their own crusades.

Petronella Swing Break
Square dance break figure
A1 Balance the ring (all 8)
   Petronella turn
   Corner swing
A2 Balance the ring (all 8)
   Petronella turn
   Next corner swing ("someone new")
B1 Balance the ring (all 8)
   Petronella turn
   Next corner swing
B2 Balance the ring (all 8)
   Petronella turn
   Partner swing

As long as they know petronella turns and who their corner is, they're set to go. If they're aware of the concept that a corner is a place rather than a face, then there's no need to walk through any of this.

This is a quick way to swing everyone. Men go nowhere, women go around the square.


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