Original Dances‎ > ‎

Mazurkas

The Hambo Sandwich
(extracted from Odd Delights)

Form a line of 3 same-way-facing dancers, with a dancer of either gender in the middle but ideally with a M on the left, a lady on the right.
Start with dancers on left and in middle with l.f. free, and dancer on right with r.f. free.
Dance as many times as will.
Play any hambo tune.

A1

All forward in line with 3 waltz balances then, with a non-turning hambo step, all curve into basket with arms around neighbours shoulder – the dancer on the left and right doing a usual man-woman 1 hambo step of r-l-together and l-together-r respectively while the dancer in the middle does the less usual together-r-l

Turn in basket hold with 3 hambo-steps – always trying to have each right foot go directly forward along l.o.d. then open out back into a line with 1 waltz step

A2

Repeat A1

B1

L.end release neighbours’ hands and put r.arm around the waist of the middle dancer and cw swing them 1 ¼  around with 2 waltz steps while the middle dancer raises their r.h. and lassoos the r.end dancer acw 3/4 around the outside of those swinging; then the l.end releases the middle dancer and catches the r.end dancer on their l.arm and waltz-swings with them while they raise their l.h. and lassoo the middle dancer cw around on the same joined hand as before

the l.end dancer slides off the r.end dancer, catching their r.h. in their l.h. as they do so and taking hands also with middle dancer to reform the circle of 3 and straight away the l.end dancer raises both their hands and turns ½ ? cw over their r.sh., looping own l.h. over their own head, then wheel as a  sweet-heart hold trio cw.

B2

The l.end dancer then unloops themselves acw while looping up cw under their raised r.h. the middle dancer and guiding them across to their (the l.end’s) l.arm and then wheel the new sweet-heart trio acw. 

The l.end dancer unloops and draws back to their right the middle dancer while acw looping the r.end dancer under their (the l.end’s) l.arm and guiding them across to their r.arm; rotate this last sweet-heart trio cw and then, by l.end M releasing hand of r.end, all unwind back into starting line.

Although a complicated dance when broken down step by step, there is a certain logic to the figures. The A part is a basic 3 person Hambo danced twice and the B part essentially two different waltzed figure. The first waltzed figure, the swing while someone is orbiting around the outside happens first on one end of the dance then on the other. The second figure, the twisting into a 3 person sweet-heart hold happens three times. Although the left end dancer (usually a man) leads all the twisting, all 3 dancers take a turn at being twisted into the middle of a sweetheart trio – first the left end leader themselves, then the middle dancer then the right end tail. 

Although the direction of the wheeling might seem random at first, the direction you wheel on each occasion is the direction the left end dancer, the effective leader, is moving just before each trio has to wheel. The leaders twisting of themselves cw in the first sweetheart leads to a cw wheel, the leaders moving acw around the outside of the middle dancer as they are twisted in the second sweetheart onto the leaders’ left arm leads to an acw wheel, and the leaders cw motion around the right end dancer as the later is drawn into the third sweetheart on the leader’s right leads to another cw wheel.

 The Lacework Mazurka
(extracted from Odd Delights)

Form couples facing along l.o.d. holding l.hs over r.hs in low promenade hold.
Start weight on r.f., l.f. free.
Dance as many times as will, alternate with ‘The Zig-Zag’ Mazurka, or put in a larger medley.
Play any mazurka set.

A1

Promenade forward with 2 hop-drop-kicks, then with 5 steps M passes W across to inside, both finishing pointing right foot.

Counterpart, M passing W back to outside and both finishing facing pointing left foot.

A2

Wheel acw (M b.) with 2 hop-step-steps (i.e. hobbles – M with clicking) then with 5 steps M rolls W twirling once about across to inside finishing W on left of M, r.hs crossed over l.hs, both pointing right foot.

Counterpart, wheeling cw (M improper & b) then M rolling W with cw twirl back to outside, finishing facing, l.hs again crossed over r.hs and left foot free.

B1

Swing cw on crossed hands with 2 hop-drop-kicks, then run with 5 steps, swivelling on the last to point right foot back in acw direction. 

Counterpart, finishing releasing each other’s l.h. and holding r.hs while pointing left foot.

B2

Right hand turn with 2 hop-drop-kicks then with 5 steps M pass W behind his back to his left side

Wheel cw in this ‘neck’ hold with 2 click-step-steps then with 5 steps M twirls W around in front back to his right side, finishing both pointing left foot ready for promenade.

This Mazurka offers a relatively simple but flashy vehicle for enjoying the delights of two ‘hop-first’ steps, the ‘hop-drop-kick’ travelling step and the ‘hop-step-step’ wheeling step. The former is done whenever there is distance between partners and the later whenever partners are side-by-side. These steps constitute the first 2 bars of every 4 bar phrase. The second bars always consists of 5 gentle running steps which finish pointing the free outside foot. 

The dance can compliment in a medley the slightly more challenging Zig-Zag Mazurka. To change for the ‘Lacework’ to the ‘Zig-Zag’ you need do nothing other than be prepared to do the opening promenades of the ‘Zig-Zag’ with the left hands rather than right crossed on top, and then release the left hand to turn on the right hand. The second time through the ‘Zig-Zag’ you can do the promenades with r.hs joined on top. To transition back to the ‘Lacework’ you need to be sure to offer right hand under left hands when taking the final cross hand hold.

Where The Zig-Zag Mazurka makes a feature of sharp angles, tight dizzy turns and dramatic triple heel-clicks, The Lacework Mazurka makes a feature of gracefully interlacing of arms, smooth running and pointing that floats restfully in the air.

 The Russian Gypsy Queen
(extracted from Odd Delights)

Form couples facing along l.o.d. holding inside hand
Start opposite feet, M l.f., W, r.f.
Dance as many times as will.
Play any slow waltz or mazurka.

A1

Promenade with 1 redowa (glide-cut-leap), 3 kicks, 3 walking steps then 2 steps to change sides / same on other foot on other side and change back into ballroom hold

A2

In ballroom hold 1 redowa to turn cw ½ about and open out a little looking over shoulder along l.o.d., 3 kicks continuing along l.o.d. over shoulder, 3 walking steps then 2 stamps to face / counterpart

B1

Do an outward mirror turn single w. 2 glide-hop-hops do – the 1st one gliding along l.o.d. then turn in ½ around with hops and finish back-to-back and the 2nd gliding along l.o.d. then turning the other ½ around with hops and taking trailing hand to become front hand then with next 2 glide-hop-hops turn partner cw / hobble along l.o.d. w. glide-cut-hop, turn ½ cw with a glide-cut-leap redowa; wheel as a couple cw with 2 hobbles. Finish releasing the waist-shoulder side of the ballroom hold to open out improper, i.e. M on outside W on side.

B2

Counterpart of B1 – but this time make the mirror glide-hop-hop turn go inward so the M always can take the W’s r.h. with his l.h. (unlike in B1, the first glide on B2 has to be turning ¼ inward and followed by a ½ turn on the hops so as to  finish what amounts of a ¾ turn back-to-back and the second glide can then be along the l.o.d. followed by a ½ turn on the hops joining and taking the front hands back to form the trailing point of an over-the-shoulder looking ballroom hold), M always takes W in natural ballroom hold (so in counterpart dancers will be lead with shoulder rather than hand when turning or hobbling along l.o.d.) and always turn/wheel cw in the last 3 bars. Finish sliding back out into proper open inside hand hold.

 

The title of this dance is not so much a homage to Valentina Ponomareva, the diva with the 4 octave range who bills herself on albums etc as ‘The Russian Gypsy Queen’, as to several late 19th century mazurka sequences, the essences of which I thought might be more easily remembered for social dance use and thus more widely enjoyed if they could be crafted together into a single 32 bars sequence.  Thus, A1 is the same as Gilbert’s 1890 The Russia – except I have used the final 2 stamps to change sides rather than about face and dropped Gilbert’s against l.o.d. dance counterpart as it doesn’t make for a useful free style around the room variant. In A2 I have echoed the opening sequence with a turning sequence using the same footwork. The middle 4 bars of B1 are the same as the pre-counterpart half of the popular Gitana (i.e. Gypsy) Waltz and the last 4 bars of B1 are the same as the pre-counterpart half of the Czarine (Russian for ‘Queen’ - i.e. the 3rd bar of B1 serving as both the end of the Gitana waltz sequence and beginning of the Czarine sequence). The counterpart halves of the Gitana and the Czarine are danced when you dance the counterpart of the B1 sequence in B2.

The B sequence turns seemed a good way to add interest to the dance while transitioning from an inside hand to a ballroom hold but I couldn’t decide between outward and inward turns, both presenting an awkwardness at different points. The solution I settled on was to turn outward for the first and inward for the second (or M always over left shoulder, W always over right shoulder). That way the easy hand is always taken at the end of the turn and the M’s right arm can always come around unobstructed to take the W around the waist for the ballroom hold turns. Indeed, the counter part in this dance is neither an exact M dance W’s role style counterpart or an everything in opposite direction.

 The Zig-Zag Mazurka
(extracted from Odd Delights)

Form couples facing along l.o.d. in low promenade hold, l.hs joined over r.hs
Start weight on r.f., l.f. free.
Dance as many times as will.
Play any slow waltz or mazurka. 

A1

Promenade forward on alternate left, right, left and right diagonals with 3 hop-drop-kicks and 1 click-click-click (hopping 3 times on left foot)

Repeat but starting on right diagonal and finishing with a click-click-click on left diagonal while hopping 3 times on right foot and dropping l.h. to finish facing holding r.hs

A2

Starting with outside (left) foot free and hopping on inside (right) foot, right hand turn with 3 hop-drop-kicks and then with 1 click-click-click (a ‘triple click’ hopping 3 times on left foot) pull directly right sideways towards and belly-to-belly past partner, finishing catching l.arm on partner’s waist and putting right hand in the air. 

With outside (right) foot free and hopping on left foot, turn with 3 click-step-steps, then with 1 click-click-click (hopping 3 times on left foot) slide out into holding partner’s left hand.

B1

Starting with outside (right) foot and hopping on inside (left) foot,  left hand turn with 3 hop-drop-kicks and then with 1 click-click-click (hopping 3 times on right foot) pull directly left sideways towards and belly-to-belly past partner, finishing catching r.arm on partner’s waist and putting left hand in the air.

With outside (left) foot free and hopping on right foot, turn with 3 click-step-steps, then with click-click-click (hopping 3 times on right foot) slide out into holding partner’s right hand.

B2

The Knott: Change from right hand cw turn to crossed hands acw swing with 3 hop-drop-kicks, the first one both going forward cw on right hand, the second man turns over outside (left) shoulder, and the third woman turns over outside (right) shoulder, and then joining left hands over right hands with click-click-click (hopping 3 times on left foot) swing acw.

Knott the other way: Drop the right hand and change from left hand acw turn to crossed hands cw swing with 3 hop-drop-kicks, the first one both going forward acw on left hand, the second man turns over outside (right) shoulder, and the third woman turns over outside (left) shoulder, and then joining right hands over left hands with click-click-click (hopping 3 times on right foot) swing cw—finishing swivelling a little to both face forward along l.o.d.

 

In this sequence I was attempting to combine a figure (the waist-waist tour) and a step sequence (different ‘hop-first’ mazurka steps followed by a ‘triple-click’) I had not used in any earlier dance. As with The Lacework Mazurka with which this dance can make a nice pair, I settled on the given choreography for 3 main reasons.

Firstly, it distributes evenly across the 32 bars actions that are on the spot and ones that move forward, turns that go cw and ones that go acw, holds that are close and ones that are distant, step sequences that change feet and ones that don’t, and phrases that tire and those that are forgiving.

Secondly, the step pattern has a certain memorable logic to it - each 4 bar phrase starting with 3 fancy ‘hop-first’ steps (hop-drop-kick steps if at a distance from partner, click-step-steps if close beside partner) and finishing with a ‘triple click’ (hopping 3 times on the same foot while doing travelling heel-clicks). 

Thirdly, the foot and weight flow fits well with changing need—e.g. the foot that is free before every ‘tour’ is on the most useful side for executing that tour—which for all these tours is the ‘outside’.