Home: Calls of the Wild - Contradances by Martha Wild

This site is a work in progress, and I'm not a web designer, so please bear with me as it evolves.

Most of the dances that I have composed are listed on this page. I have divided them into different groups to help you peruse them. I have many dances that have partner swings without neighbor swings - I enjoy dances like this as well as dances with both partner and neighbor swings. As a dancer I don't enjoy dance programs where every dance has both a partner and a neighbor swing - far too frenetic and dizzying. In addition, programming of that sort usually results in every other dance having a circle left and swing somebody, and I find that gets tiresome. So, that's my two cents - you are welcome to your own coinage. Luckily our dance community does not insist on everybody being active all the time. In any event, I write dances that I think I'll find fun to do, and I hope you like them, too. If you have questions or comments, you can e-mail me at mawild at sbcglobal dot net.

One more comment about having every dance with two swings: I have talked to some new people who did not return to contra after the first time, as a follow-up. Their primary comment was that it was too dizzying, and there was too much swinging. Remember, for new people, swinging is awkward and often uncomfortable, not smooth and flowy as we are used to it. If you don't believe me, try swinging with someone in the other direction. Not role reversed - counterclockwise, left foot to left foot. At first you may find that it is not that easy to get it smooth. Well, this is what those new people are experiencing every time they swing, and if you have 24 counts worth of swing in a dance, that's a lot of discomfort and possible dizziness. You may drive them away before they get good at it. So if you are desperately trying to get new people, consider making the first half a bit more enjoyable for them and saving all those triple swing dances for the second half!

Note: I have begun using the word "spiral" instead of the "g-word." Haven't updated all the dance instructions here - but the new ones will use it.

Martha Wild

P.S. September 2016 - New stuff: These worked well recently - Four Cubed Contra, and Gateway to Julian #2 and #3.

December 2016 - New stuff: Box the Compass Triplet, and Another Hey Weaver - people enjoyed these.

June 2017 - New stuff: Update of Robins and Vireos, now #2. Got to dance it myself - this is so much better that it has replaced #1. Gateway to Julian #1 and #4 work nicely as well. South Cascades has good flow. The 4 face 4 "Diving Ducks Redux" was well-liked by the dancers. San Diego Sleighride is fun, especially if you switch the "actives" swing between the ones and twos.

January 2018 - New stuff: Tilt-a-whirl. Inspired by Terry Meets the Gypsy. People enjoyed this one. And The Mad Dancers has been updated to a version I like even better.

More new stuff: Right of Way, inspired by an English Country dance. Proper, somewhat odd, but people were having a lot of fun with it.

February 2018 - New stuff: Dam Robins, inspired by another English Country dance. Looked as if people were having a lot of fun doing it. I'll have to see if someone will call it so I can try it.

March 2018 - Also, Madam I'm Adam, another version of the double mad robins, and fun.

May 2018 - Added Heather's Cookie Redux, which I forgot to add when I wrote it. A two-swing version of Heather's Cookie. Also Gate Expectations, more gates and a right hands high figure.

September 2018 - Eileen Watt's Reel for Contra - an advanced triplet with a double dolphin hey for four. It works!

November 2018 - Comeback Contra - mad robin, ricochets and half heys

Arch and under figures:

Mad robin :

Ricochet hey:

Star promenade:

Wave balance:

Full hey (without ricochet):

Star wrong (formerly called gypsy star):

Hey for three:

Mixers:

Proper but still fun :

Poussette figures :

Gates :

Complete list of dances:

Admirable Butterfly

Duple improper October 15, 1997

A1 Women to center, balance in a wave, back out

Men to center, balance in a wave

A2 Men allemande left 1 ½

Star promenade partner and butterfly whirl

B1 Half hey, women passing right shoulder

Swing partner

B2 Right and left through

Women chain

One of the butterfly series of dances. I went through a butterfly whirl phase, and quite a few dances resulted. Some may quibble with the fractions I’ve used here and elsewhere in this website. To those purists I would say that this is less confusing to dancers than saying 1 ¼ - if they are within whirling distance of their partner, they’ll find them.

Another Hey Weaver

Becket November 29, 2016

A1 Circle left 3/4, pass through up and down

Swing your neighbor

A2 Long lines forward and back

Men allemande left 1 ½

B1 Pass partner by right, women half hey while the men ricochet

Women ricochet, while the men half hey

B2 Gypsy and swing your partner

This dance uses the half hey/ricochet moves that I first encountered in Cary Ravitz's "Hey Weaver" dances. However, I wanted it to end with the gypsy and swing, so the heys are left shoulder in the middle. The flow seems to go very well.

The Bee's Knees

Duple improper July 17, 1992

A1 Balance in a wave across, women allemande left half way

Balance in a wave, box the gnat with partner (men end back to back in middle)

A2 Hey (pull past partner by right to start)

B1 Gypsy and swing partner

B2 Circle left ¾ and pass through

Do-si-do the new neighbor once and a little bit more

Alternate B2:

Women chain across

Do-si-do the new neighbor once and a little bit more

This dance has appeared in California Twirls. It was the first dance I wrote, and I had a lot of chutzpah to name it The Bee’s Knees! But I do like the box the gnat into the hey, and the do-si-do into a wave. I initially wrote it with the ladies chain, but I like the circle left ¾ version better. The date is incorrect, my computer files don't go far enough back, so this is the first time I have a record of calling it.

The Bella Moth

Becket June 12, 2017

A1 Women allemande right 1 ½

Star promenade neighbor, butterfly whirl

A2 Hey, men passing left shoulders

B1 Gypsy and swing your neighbor

B2 With the next couple, circle left ¾

Swing your partner on the side

This is similar in places to Chris Page's "Heart of Glass for Guys" and my own "Smooth Music #4". As I look at it now, I realize it could be done as a duple improper dance starting with the circle left and swing your partner on the side. Someone may well have put together the sequence that way. But I wanted it to end with swinging your partner, and that is why it took this form. Since people were not expecting in the middle of the dance to look for a new couple I told them to turn their back on their neighbor at the end of the swing and look for the next couple.

Best of Friends

w. help from Jeremy Korr and James Hutson

Duple proper February 13, 2004

A1 Mirror do-si-do same sex neighbor (or plain do-si-do optional)

Balance in a circle, circle left ¾

A2 Women down center (alternate with men up center), turn alone

Return and hand cast with partner

B1 Pass through across the set and swing partner

B2 Women chain

Ones half figure eight above

Note: This dance has seen a couple of versions. The balance prior to circling is my improvement - the circle left ¾ had a tendency to go too far without it. The hand cast leaves better spacing for the pass through across the set than the usual cast off. James Hutson suggested doing the mirror do-si-do, in which the ones split the twos, which flows nicely from the figure 8. Jeremy Korr suggested alternating every other time with the men coming up the center, initially only the women processed; this gives equal time. If it’s a beginner crowd though, stick to one direction.

This dance was written in honor of my true women friends, thanks for being there.

This dance can be seen here (with a plain do-si-do, and a regular cast off): Best of Friends w. Mary Wesley and Echo Summit Super Trio

and here: Ooh La La weekend

Black Cat Mixer

Circle mixer, couples facing in April 29, 1995

A1 Forward and back

Forward and back again

A2 Circle left

Single file circle right, at end women tap shoulder of man in front

B1 Do-si-do (tapped and tapper)

Swing this one

B2 Promenade, couple swoop left to face in at end

As any one who has danced contras or international dancing can probably tell, this is a variation on La Bastrangue. I modified it for a “one night stand” dance that I knew would have a host of beginners. Knowing which woman is on your left, trying to turn them under in a certain direction, and swinging for a long time are difficult tasks for beginners. Walking single file and tapping the potentially clueless person in front seems to get the right people together, and the do-si-do takes up part of the swing time. This limits the damage wrought by beginners, though there is still opportunity to promenade with the man and woman reversed. Because people can be identified as tappers and tappees, it can work in a gender-free context as well.

This dance can be seen here being done in Japan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8f-_fKoTtS0

Bluebirds in Burlingame

Becket March 21, 2013

A1 Circle left 3/4, pass through

Swing your neighbor

A2 Long lines forward and back

Men allemande left 1-1/2

B1 Star Promenade your partner and butterfly whirl

Women do-si-do once

B2 Balance and swing your partner

Written while I was watching a bluebird family on a walk in my neighborhood.

Here are some folks dancing it in France, though I think they are starting on the A2 - which is fine with me. Oiseaux Bleu en Burlingame

Blue-eyed Pogo

Duple improper February 26, 2000

A1 Allemande left neighbor one and one half

Do-si-do the next neighbor once

A2 Balance and swing your original neighbor

B1 Circle left three quarters

Swing partner

B2 Circle left three quarters

Allemande right neighbor one and one half

A tribute to my cat Pogo, blind from birth, who died suddenly at 6 ½ years.

This dance has the interesting feature of interaction with three different neighbors in quick succession, from the allemande right with the soon to be history neighbor to the suddenly present neighbor to the preview neighbor, and yet it’s still a single progression. Note that you can participate in the allemandes and do-si-dos across the top and bottom of the set and when you are out.

Box the Compass Triplet

Triplet, middle couple improper May 25, 2016

A1 Middle couples box the compass*

A2 (Continue box the compass)

B1 Middle couple balance and swing, end facing down

B2 Bottom two couples balance the ring, circle left halfway^

Top two couples balance the ring, circle left halfway

* Box the compass is contra corners except that one goes to all four corners. The middle couples, because they are crossed over to start, will have their first two corners be of the same gender role, and the last two corners will be the opposite gender role. Of course, because it is a triplet, if someone goes to the wrong person, unless they want the same one their partner is heading for, things will work out.

^ Point out that as the bottom couple becomes the middle they can do a little flip to face up and balance the next ring.

Note: The top couple occasionally gets into trouble if they insist on swinging along with the middle couple as they tend to open up facing down and on the wrong side. Not sure if it's worthwhile warning them or would only encourage impatient behavior.

Brad and Kris Reel

Duple Improper June 16, 2015

A1 Mad robin, women in front to the right

Gypsy star - women take right hands, men left, proceed 1X in direction women are facing

A2 Gypsy and swing your partner (in center of set)

B1 Down the set two by two, ones turn as a couple, twos turn alone and move up (cast up) to join the end of a line of four with their ones

Come back up

B2 (4) Circle left 1/2

(12) Swing your neighbor

This is essentially Uncentennial Reel variant 2 with yet another variant - but there's so much changed now that I think I can give it a new name.

Bring Back My Bonnie

Duple improper February 14, 1997

A1 Long lines forward and back

Swing your neighbor

A2 Men go forward for four counts, bring partner back to your side in four counts

Swing partner

B1 Women allemande right one and one half*

Men allemande left one and one half

B2 Scoop up partner, star promenade and butterfly whirl

Women chain

Alternate variants of A1 are: Balance and swing your neighbor OR Do-si-do your neighbor, swing neighbor

Alternate to B1 women's allemande: women can gypsy or even swing.

Alternate to B2 women chain: Circle left 3/4 and pass through, which works better with the do-si-do your neighbor alternate for A1.

* On the women’s allemande, they are exchanging places with the other woman. It is important that they “get out of the way” so the men can allemande.

This is basically a combination of “January Joinery” by Tom Paul and “When Was the Wedding” by Eric Hoffman. A2 IS NOT A GIVE AND TAKE. If I had wanted one, I would have written it that way. One can have the men “lure” the women back with their eyes only; that can lead nicely into the swing. Have the women wait to be lured - instead of running across to join their partner. I enjoy calling this and “mixing it up” for the women, letting them chain for a while, then having them allemande or gypsy or finally swing each other.

Butter Lips

Becket July 28, 2001

A1 Slide left and circle left ¾

Do-si-do neighbor once*

A2 Long lines forward and back

Women allemande left 1 ½

B1 Hey, start women passing partner by right shoulder

B2 Gypsy and swing partner

* The tricky part here is that when you do-si-do once, the women end up back on the left of their neighbor, and often the experienced dancers have the most difficulty with this. There is method to my madness, however, because the women can allemande left from the left more easily and pass smoothly into the hey and gypsy. I also like the do-si-do once into long lines. This was inspired by Gene Hubert’s "Butter"; I have had occasion to call my cat Pogo “Butter Lips”.

A1 alternate: After the circle left, do a mad robin facing your partner across the set, with the women moving to the right in front of the men.

Cherokee Kerfluffle

Duple improper, double progression October 29, 2009

Music: Cherokee Shuffle - This is a crooked tune with 10 measures in the B part. Many Old-Timey bands know it. Similar tunes may also work, but they must have 10 measures in the B part, not 8.

A1 Balance and swing neighbor

A2 Long lines forward and back

Women allemande right 1 1/2 (alt: women gypsy)

B1 (16) Balance and swing your partner

(4) Ones make an arch on their side. As man #1 gates woman #1 forward, woman #2 pops under to progressed position. Man #2 stays in place, man #1 only pivots like a post.

B2 (8) Balance in a ring with new couples, petronella turn

(8) Balance the ring, petronella turn

(4) California twirl

It may be useful to point out that there is NO balance before the California twirl.

I like the tune Cherokee Shuffle, and there is a dance out there that uses it, but I'm not as keen on that dance.

Chicken Bingo

Duple improper

A1 Do-si-do your neighbor

Ones swing

A2 Ones down the center, turn alone

Come back up and cast off

B1 Right and left through twice (alt: Women chain twice)

B2 Circle left

Star left

A simple starting dance for short sets that is good for teaching the right and left through or the chain. The story of Chicken Bingo itself (not the dance) will appear at a link in the future.

Christmas '96

Duple improper, double progression December 25. 1996

A1 Star left

Circle left back

A2 Balance the circle, pass through up and down set

Swing the next

B1 Circle left ¾*

Swing partner

B2 Balance neighbor with right hand, box the gnat

Star right 3/4

*Alternates for this B1 circle are:

1) Men go forward, lure partner back

2) Women allemande right 1 ½

3) Women gypsy 1 ½

If a program has too many "circle left and swing somebody" moves, I often alter this for variety.

Comeback Contra

Duple improper July 31, 2018

A1 Long lines forward and back

Mad robin, women passing to right in front of partner

A2 Women cross by left shoulder, spiral around partner

Swing partner

B1 Men allemande left 1 ½ to face neighbor

Women half hey while the men ricochet*

B2 Women ricochet while the men half hey

Swing neighbor

*Men pass women by the right shoulder to start the women's half hey, the men then loop around and ricochet with one another. The women then come in and ricochet while the men begin their half hey.

This dance was written for our “Comeback Contra” dance, which took place after the church had spent about two months renovating the hall, during which we had no dances. Unfortunately, the church removed all the acoustic tile that had been soundproofing the hall, with the result that the dancers could barely hear a word I said even without the music, as my voice echoed and reechoed, becoming a muddled and muffled roar. It became immediately clear that any dance that couldn’t be taught or called using only one or two word phrases was not going to happen. I ditched this dance, therefore, and called a very simple program requiring little teaching and less prompting. A few months later, when soundproofing material was again added back to the hall, I was able to do the dance.

Consider Hydrogen

Duple improper August 11, 2000

A1 Women chain up and down the set

Do-si-do partner

A2 Allemande right partner 1 ½

Men allemande left 1 ½ WHILE women orbit clockwise to other side*

B1 Balance and swing partner

B2 Women chain across

Balance partner (right hand) and half square through

* I usually call this whole sequence “orbit”. This dance requires space along the lines for the chain up and down. I like the half square through into ladies chain up and down transition - bit of a surprise at first.

This dance was written in honor of the late great physicist Richard Feynman, who taught at Cal Tech. There were only two questions on his Quantum Mechanics final exam - the first was “Consider hydrogen.” Of course, if you really look at this dance, perhaps it should be called “Consider Helium” or at least consider helium without the neutrons.... But that is hard on helium, so after a brief attempt at fusion (after building up spin energy in the do-si-do and allemande right), the combined orbits undergo fission and we’re back to hydrogen atoms in balance and swing your partner. By the way, the second question was “Do something elegant.”

Crosswalk

Duple Proper June 29, 2001

A1 Ones down the outside

Ones up the outside to place, cross to partner’s side

A2 Circle right

Circle left

B1 Do-si-do neighbor

Swing neighbor

B2 Long lines forward and back

Ones swing, end facing up

Here’s another easy version of the “cross” figure found in Hot Cross Bunny.

Crunchy Bees

Duple Improper July 7, 2014

A1 Do-si-do your neighbor (facing you in another wave)

Swing your neighbor

A2 Right and left through (alt: Promenade across)

Balance the ring, petronella turn (alt: Circle left 3/4)

B1 Balance the ring, twirl partner under using inside hands (reverse California twirl, Texas twirl etc. - your partner is on the SAME side of set with you, but woman is on left)

Swing partner

B2 Pass through to an ocean wave, balance the wave

Women turn by the left 1/2 way, balance the wave

After the twirl, partners are facing out but have the correct hands joined to give a little pull and step nicely right into a swing. Some people try other hands or have trouble doing the reverse California twirl, but it is a fun move done correctly - it may be worth demonstrating as some people try taking right hands and doing a box the gnat or other variations that don't flow.

The name is a musical direction - someone once told me that contra music is like peanut butter, smooth or crunchy. This requires a tune with Crunchy B parts.

Dad's Lancers Mixer

Mixer, Circle of couples facing in January 27, 2008

A1 Balance and swing your new partner

A2 Promenade in Varsouvienne position, forward four steps, turn, backing up in same direction four steps, reverse direction forward four steps, turn, backing up in same direction four steps

B1 Women turn back, allemande right once with the man behind them

See saw partner

B2 Do-si-do neighbor and end facing into circle between your old partner and your neighbor

Forward and back

My Dad visited many, many years previous to this and danced here when I was calling. I wrote a version of this for him to do, and I was fairly happy with the promenade part, but not with the rest. I played around with various versions of this for a long time until I tried this version out, and it works well. I usually have to demonstrate the promenade or people crash into each other. Tell the dancers that after the do-si-do they should be standing between their old partner and the person they did the do-si-do with, who is their new partner.

Dam Robins

Duple improper February 14, 2018

A1 Balance and swing your neighbor

A2 Mad robin with the men moving to the right in front

Mad robin with the women moving to the left in front*

B1 Women cross by the right and spiral their partner

Swing partner

B2 Women chain

Star left

*The first mad robin is immediately reversed back along the same track. People start to emphasize the change of direction with various hops, skips, or jumps. Easy enough to do early on, but interesting for everyone. This was inspired by the English Country Dance "Love Always" by Brooke Friendly and Chris Sackett.

Dark Vanessa

Duple improper December 11, 1998

A1 Women to center, balance in a wave, come back out

Men to center, balance in a wave

A2 Men allemande left once and a quarter to partner

Star promenade partner, butterfly whirl

B1 Women do-si-do once (or gypsy, or allemande right once)

Swing partner

B2 Women chain

Long lines forward and back

Another in the butterfly series of dances - the name comes from the mention of this butterfly in the beautiful Nabakov poem at the center of his wild and wonderful book “Pale Fire” - “…my dark Vanessa, crimson-barred, my blessed, my Admirable butterfly..”. If you haven’t read Pale Fire, I recommend it highly.

If you would like two swings, you can change the B2 to circle left 3/4 and swing your neighbor, or women allemande left 1-1/2 and swing neighbor.

This dance can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OsQG0n5wKr4 with music by Sagebrush and Shamrocks, James Hutson calling.

Die, Boromir!

Duple improper July 29, 1999

With help from Rich Ernst

A1 Balance and swing neighbor

A2 Women walk forward four counts to partner, bring him back (lure) for four counts

Swing partner

B1 Pass through to an ocean wave, balance

Women allemande left ½, neighbor allemande right ½ (aka left swing through), balance in a wave

B2 Walk in the direction you are facing 8 counts

Walk back, pass your old neighbor

Alt. A2: Men allemande left 1 ½, swing partner.

Yes, I’m a Lord of the Rings fanatic; no, I don’t really hate Boromir. Let’s just say this dance was named at the time with malice toward one. The allemandes are quick, two steps each. When I first called the dance, I had only one allemande and the dance didn’t work the way I thought it was going to. As I was about to throw the card away in disgust, Rich Ernst, one of our regular dancers, yelled out that it could work if they just did two allemandes quickly – and it did. In the B2 walk, dancers can loop across the top or bottom of the set, women on an outside track, men on an inside track. A2 can be done as a give and take but it's on your head – I prefer to do it this way.

Ding, Dong, the Witch Is Dead

Duple improper October 24, 2000

A1 Women do-si-do (or gypsy)

Women swing (unisex style)

A2 Men allemande right 1 ½

Men Galway swing*

B1 Balance and swing your partner

B2 Half a hey, women start right shoulder (Alternate: right and left through)

Women chain across

* Men's Galway swing is done with a hold that provides some personal space. The men maintain the right allemande hold, and they cup the other man's right elbow with their left hand, this makes for a very strong and stable, tetrahedron-like hold and a powerful swing. This swing also appears in Smog Check.

This contra was written for a Halloween dance. The “Ding, Dong, the Witch is Dead” riff from “The Wizard of Oz” is fun to throw into a tune if the band knows it. You are at liberty to have the women do the same swing as the men.

Diving Ducks Redux

Four face four September 4, 2015

A1 Lines of four forward and back

Dip and dive around the set*

A2 (Continue the dip and dive)

Women chain up and down the set^

B1 Couples face across, women allemande right 1 1/2

Swing your neighbor+

B2 Men star left halfway

Swing your partner**

Did this dance on July 1, 2016, and it received good reviews, so I'm adding it to the canon. It's "redux" because an earlier version did not work as well, so I modified it and this one passed the test.

* Dip and dive (arch and under) around the set: Couple on the left of each line of four makes an arch, couple on the right prepares to dive. The first "dive" is up and down the set with the couple that one is facing, and then the couples turn to face across the set. At this point the couple that arched dives, and the divers arch to cross the set. Couples then face up and down the set again and repeat. It may work better to explain that this is essentially promenading in a circle with dipping and diving thrown in until you are back to place. Four steps per "dive", or 16 total counts to get around.

^ At this point and the next instruction it is important to orient the women to chain UP and DOWN the set, and then face across and allemande ACROSS the set. It is also useful to have the women in each line identify each other at the start of the dance. The woman in your own line is the woman you will always allemande right with!

+ End the swing facing the people you are working with (men's original direction).

** End the swing facing original direction

Dixie Twirl Redux

Duple improper July 29, 2010

A1 Long lines forward and back

Swing your neighbor

A2 Lines of four down the set,

Dixie twirl and come back up

B1 Circle left three quarters

Swing partner

B2 Promenade across the set

Women chain

The dance was written after doing Dixie Twirl Contra (author unknown). In a Dixie twirl the two middle people make an arch and the rightmost dancer leads through the arch to the other side, while the leftmost dancer heads across the set to face up. All dancers continue to hold hands and sort it out. This inverts the line for the return.

East Meets West

Duple improper March 1, 2003

A1 Long lines forward and back

Star wrong ¾ (gypsy star)*

A2 Gypsy and swing partner

B1 Promenade across set

Start a full hey (women pass right shoulder)

B2 Finish the hey

Women chain

* Women take right hands across, men take left hands across, and the gypsy star is forward for the women. I like to call it a “star wrong” because it is easy to say and doesn’t confuse people as much as calling it a gypsy star; that sounds too much like “gypsy” and inevitably someone does. Calling it a star right because of its direction confuses the men.

Written for Kate and Vamsi Potluru’s wedding. Kate is American, of Irish descent; Vamsi is Indian. They asked me to compose a dance for their wedding with the stipulation that it had a satisfyingly long gypsy in it, and it was to be called East Meets West. This dance is full of symbolism - the long lines are East meeting West, the gypsy star into a gypsy satisfies their request and is very romantic, the men leading the women with their eyes, the women moving forward, and the sensation of different paths to reach the same end. In the promenade the couple begins life together, then comes the hurly burly of life in the hey, the hey that crosses cultural boundaries (and musical ones), and finally, one must accede to the demands of society and the contra convention and chain across to continue the dance. If the music feels more as if it is in phrases of 8 rather than 16 in the B part, it will work well for the second half. Resist any temptation to switch the promenade and the hey - this is a satisfying dance as written, and a nice one for introducing the hey to beginners, as the entrance to the gypsy star is fairly simple.

Eileen Watt's Reel for Contra

Triplet Adapted September 22, 2018

A1 #1 couple down the center, turn as a couple

Come back up and cast off with the 2s (hand cast may be preferable)

A2 End couples take right hands and balance, and petronella turn to their right individually to face each other along the center line of the set.

^Middle couple (1s) balance (there may not be space to take right hands) and petronella turn to their individual right into the center line, and between either the 2s or 3s, but facing each other through an intervening person

B1 ^With the same gender role pairs acting as a unit, dolphin hey for "four" along the line, starting with those who are facing another person passing right shoulder

As in a normal dolphin hey, the pairs change leads when they reach the other end of the hey. This only happens ONCE, not on the return trip; important to emphasize that.

B2 ^As the same gender role pairs reach the end of the hey, the person in the lead veers immediately to the right, followed by the second of the pair. The lone same gender role person should at this point be positioned near the tail end of this line and turns sharply to follow their gender role line. This is done by both the lady's line and the gent's line, to reform the set in a new order.

All quickly swing their partner - new ones face down, new 2s and 3s face up to finish.

^This is my contra-suitable adaptation of a Scottish dance called Eileen Watt's Reel, composed by John Wilkinson. This contra version is definitely an advanced dance, and it's been tried and is a lot of fun. The best way to explain the orientation in A2 and the action in B1 and B2 is to refer you to the videos https://www.scottish-country-dancing-dictionary.com/video/eileen-watts-reel.html and Scottish dance instructions https://www.scottish-country-dancing-dictionary.com/dance-crib/eileen-watts-reel.html of Eileen Watt's Reel that can be found at the links indicated. My A1 part is different, and we tend to balance before we turn, where the Scots do the opposite, and we swing at the end. Otherwise it is pretty similar.

Notes on the dance for contra: A slower reel is a good idea for starters, though it needs some bounce for the balances - we did this to "On the Danforth" and that worked very well. The hey must be done tightly so that it finishes within the B1, no large loops on the end. People leading the lines to the right need to know where they are going and head there so that everyone has time for a satisfying partner swing.

Fiddle Camp Frolic

Duple improper April 7, 2015

A1 Pass neighbor by right shoulder to start a full hey

A2 Gypsy (or balance) and swing neighbor

B1 Women go forward, bring partner back

Swing partner

B2 Men allemande left 1/2, allemande right neighbor 1/2 to a wavy line

Balance the wave, walk forward

At the transition, walk forward as if to form a new wave, then veer right past neighbor to start the hey. The B1 can be a give and take but I prefer this as I have always found give and take to be a clumsy figure for most dancers.

Fiery Skipper

Becket July 14, 2014

A1 Slice left

Circle RIGHT ¾ (memorize the faces of your neighbors)

A2 Women pull partner out to the right to promenade the set in the direction faced, turn as a couple

Promenade the set back and turn to face across at original neighbors

B1 Men allemande left 1 ½

Star promenade your neighbor

B2 Women gypsy right 1 ½

Swing your partner

Alternate: B1 Men allemande left 1X, star promenade your partner B2 Women gypsy once, swing your partner. A fiery skipper is another butterfly.

Fiery Skipper #2

Becket April 15, 2015

A1 Slice left

Circle left ¾ (memorize your neighbors)

A2 Men pull partner out to left and promenade along the major set

Promenade back and face across

B1 Men allemande left 1 ½, scoop up neighbor

Star promenade and butterfly whirl

B2 Women gypsy right 1 ½

Swing your partner

Realized that it was not absolutely necessary to do this with a circle right as above.

A Flurry of Robins #1

Duple improper September 9, 2004

A1 Long lines forward and back

Mad robin, women pass inside to right

A2 Half hey, start women passing left shoulder

Swing neighbor

B1 Circle left ¾

Swing partner

B2 Promenade across

Women chain

Alternate B1 – Women allemande right (or gypsy) 1 ½, swing partner

A Flurry of Robins #2

Becket September 9, 2004

A1 Long lines forward and back

Mad robin with men moving right in front of the women to start

A2 Hey, start men passing left shoulder

B1 Gypsy and swing partner

B2 Right and left through

Promenade across and a little bit more*

*If the couple moves a little bit further after the promenade across, they will meet a new couple across the set.

A Flurry of Robins #3

Becket September 9, 2004

A1 Long lines forward and back

Mad robin, men moving to right in front of partner

A2 Half hey, men pass left shoulder to start

Swing partner

B1 Circle left ¾

Swing neighbor

B2 Women chain across

Promenade across and a little bit more*

*If the couple moves a little bit further after the promenade across, they will meet a new couple across the set.

These were all written in a flurry of activity.

Four Cubed Contra

Duple improper September 15, 2016

A1 Balance and swing your neighbor

A2 Long lines forward and back

Women chain across

B1 Four in line down the set

Swing your partner

B2 Four in line up the set, bend the line

Balance the ring, women cross by left shoulder to new neighbor

This dance is based on a dance that I collected some years ago called "Four Square Contra", that had no partner swing. I threw the partner swing into the four in line, and then switched up the very end as now the women cross instead of the men. I like this progression.

Gate Expectations

Duple improper April 15, 2018

A1 Long lines forward and back

Men allemande right 1-1/2

A2 Balance and swing your partner

B1 (4) Down the hall four in line

(4) #1 man right hands high with the women, #2 man turn alone

(4) Up the hall four in line

(4) 2s gate the ones up and around

B2 (4) Pass through across the set

(12) Swing neighbor

I added the timing in the B parts as it helps to provide a good neighbor swing. Four steps down before the right hands high keeps things on track. Dancers unfamiliar with the gate may need prompting as they switch parts - "1s keep moving forward!" For this reason I would consider this an intermediate level dance. Dancers enjoyed it.

Gate Idea

Circle Mixer May 31, 2018

A1 Balance and swing your partner, end side by side facing line of direction, take inside hands

A2 Balance together, apart, roll woman across to the left

Balance together, apart, roll woman across to the right

B1 Gate the woman forward 1 1/4 into the big circle

All go forward and back

B2 Women walk in and back out

Men walk in, turn to left, and come back out to new woman now on their right

I've always liked the mixer Ice Cream in the Sink, by Kathy Hirsh, except that it would be nice to get 2 rollaways instead of the pass the woman under on the second balance together. So I came up with this way to get two.

Gateway to Julian #1

Becket September 9, 2015

A1 Slice left

Women chain across

A2 Mad robin, woman moving to left in front of neighbor

Men gate neighbor woman forward and around

B1 Men gate NEXT neighbor woman (on their left) forward and around

Women gypsy left 1 ½

B2 Balance (or spiral) and swing partner

For the gates, after the mad robin, neighbors take inside hands and the woman moves forward while the man backs up. They then take inside hands with the next neighbor along the line (for teaching purposes you can have them briefly take hands in long lines and then drop present neighbor's hand), and again the men back up while the women move forward. The dance is therefore a double progression, but start it with a simple forward and back to make the end effects a bit easier to deal with. Similarly keeping it as a double progression lessens the end effect issues.

This dance flows very nicely - tell men to have their hands out ready to catch and gate the woman forward after the mad robin, and put their left hands out for the woman coming from the left to catch on to for her gate. Tell people to use the music - take all your time on the mad robin.

Gateway to Julian #2

Becket September 9, 2015

A1 Slice left

Women chain across

A2 Mad robin, woman moving to left in front of neighbor

Men gate neighbor woman forward and around

B1 Men gate NEXT neighbor woman forward and around

Swing your ORIGINAL neighbor

B2 Women spiral (or allemande) right 1 ½

Swing your partner

Similar to Gateway to Julian #1, except this has two swings. Single progression. Worked well.

Gateway to Julian #3

Becket September 9, 2015

A1 Slide left and circle left ¾

Swing your neighbor

A2 Women chain

Chain back

B1 Mad robin, woman moving to left in front of neighbor

Men gate neighbor woman forward and around

B2 Women spiral (or allemande) right 1 ½

Swing your partner

Only one gate in this one - basically a simpler version of the dance with two swings, though now the clichéd circle and swing neighbor to unbecketize is included.

Alternate A2: full hey. If the full hey option is used it might be better to switch the B1 as in Gateway to Julian #5, with the gate followed by the mad robin.

After debuting this dance, one woman told me that at first she thought it would be too English Country, but then she really liked it.

Gateway to Julian #4

Becket September 9, 2015

A1 Slide left and circle left ¾

Swing your neighbor

A2 "Queen Bee Hey" - Ricochet hey with the women passing right shoulder, men pushing off*

B1 Men gate neighbor woman forward and around

Men gate NEXT neighbor woman forward and around

B2 Women spiral left 1 ½

Swing your partner

This is a double progression. It could be done as a single progression without the slide, but that doubles the end effects so this may be more satisfying for the dancers. This worked quite well, with the ricochet into the gate flowing smoothly.

Gateway to Julian #5

Becket September 9, 2015

A1 Slide left and circle left ¾

Swing your neighbor

A2 "Queen Bee Hey" - Ricochet hey with the women passing right shoulder, men pushing off*

B1 Men gate neighbor woman forward and around

Mad robin, woman moving to left in front of neighbor

B2 Women spiral right 1 ½

Swing your partner

This does not have the double gates, but inserts the mad robin figure instead. Single progression.

Hay for Heather

Duple improper

A1 Allemande right neighbor 1 ½

Women allemande left 1 ½

A2 Hey, pass partner by right shoulder to start

B1 Spiral and swing partner

B2 Long lines forward and back

Circle left ¾, pass through

This is one of the “bunny dances”, written while caring for my friend’s rabbit, Heather. Heather eats hay, not hey, so that isn't a typo in the title.

This dance has appeared in California Twirls.

Heather's Cookie

Duple Improper February 5, 2006

A1 Balance partner with both hands, poussette once around neighbors*

A2 Hey, start women passing left shoulder^

B1 Women cross by left shoulder, swing partner

B2 Women chain

Women do-si-do (Alt: Long lines fall back and go forward!)

* Begin the poussette with the men pulling back

^ As the poussette ends, the two couples “merge”, with the men backing up a bit more, so that the women can start the left shoulder hey

This dance was inspired by the English country dance "Companions" by Victor Skowronski where a poussette is followed by a hey. I’ve fussed with the last eight counts of this dance, initially trying a circle left; it is usually too slow for people to be in place for the balance. The women’s do-si-do once around works, but it must be emphasized that they return to place and face their partner across the set for the balance – it can help if the men stay still while women do-si-do and step forward when women get back to their place. It is more English, and rather satisfying, with a fall back and advance but consideration must be given to the dance space available. This is, oddly, not one of the bunny series of dances - in this case, Heather is a real person, who was involved in a test walkthrough to see if the timing of the balance and poussette would work out. She was trying to eat a cookie at the time, and one dancer suggested I call the dance Heather’s Cookie, which seemed a good way to remember the occasion.

Heather's Cookie Redux

Duple Improper

A1 Balance partner with both hands, poussette once clockwise around neighbors*

A2 Half hey, start women passing left shoulder^

Swing neighbor

B1 Men allemande left 1 ½

Swing partner

B2 Women chain

Women do-si-do

* Begin the poussette with the men pulling back

^ As the poussette ends, the two couples “merge”, with the men backing up a bit more, so that the women can start the left shoulder half hey

This is a later version with a neighbor and a partner swing.

Heather's Hop

Duple proper, double progression July 17, 1992

A1 Long lines forward and back

Ones gypsy LEFT 1 ½

A2 Gypsy right neighbor

Swing neighbor

B1 Allemande left next neighbor 1 ½ (alternate: swing! next neighbor!!)

Women chain

B2 Women chain back

Ones half figure eight above

Yes, there is no partner swing. But the ones get to flirt with their gypsy. It can be made more challenging by the double neighbor swing. I have to admit that there have been dances where I was not sorry to miss out on a swing with the person who asked me to dance, and so I occasionally return the favor and do a dance out there for all the kind people who go out of their way to dance with everyone, heedless of personal sacrifice.

Another in the Heather-the-bunny series of dances. This has also appeared in California Twirls.

Heather's Hop Redux

Duple proper, double progression June 19, 2014

A1 Ones swing

Ones turn the swing into a gypsy!

A2 Balance and swing neighbor

B1 Allemande left next neighbor 1 ½ (alternate: swing! next neighbor!!)

Women chain

B2 Women chain back

Ones half figure eight above

A revisit of Heather's Hop to put a partner swing in.

The Heat Is Off

Becket August 14, 2010

A1 Women chain

Half hey across set (women start right shoulder), end in long wavy lines*

A2 Balance the wave, turn neighbor by the left ½ way

Balance the wave, men cross while women turn to the left

B1 Balance and swing partner

B2 Right and left through across the set

Promenade across and a little bit more

*Women are facing in and men are facing out in the long wavy lines

Hot Cross Bunny

Duple proper, double progression June 11, 1993

A1 Ones down the outside.

Come back up and cross to partner's place*

A2 Circle left once (zesty!)

Do-si-do neighbor 1 ½

B1 With next neighbor gypsy and swing

B2 Long lines forward and back

Ones swing, end facing up

I often write dances because I have a hole in my program and everything I try to fill it with has a conflict - so I pick a bunch of figures I don’t have and determine whether I want a balance or a gypsy and one or two swings and try to come up with something. This was the result of such a stew, and it’s a dance that I use often (or some of its variations) to fill the hole. The goal was a proper dance that was a double progression with the ones swinging, facing up, and going down the outside, with both a neighbor and a partner swing. The name comes from bunnysitting my friend’s rabbit Heather, and listening to her rattle her cage on a hot day while I composed. She wasn’t really cross, but that fits with the cross to partner’s place, where, by the way, the women cross “in front” i.e. closer to the twos

This dance has appeared in California Twirls.

Hot Cross Bunny #2

Duple proper January 23, 1999

A1 Ones down the outside

Come back up and cross to partner's position

A2 Circle left once

Do-si-do neighbor once*

B1 Balance and swing neighbor

B2 Long lines forward and back

Ones swing, end facing up

* Alternate circle right, can then balance in a circle if desired prior to neighbor swing.

A single progression version of Hot Cross Bunny without a gypsy, easy dance. Short lines work best.

A video of this dance appears here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUu94FZCL8w, with the Walker Family playing, and here: https://www.youtube.com/all_comments?v=QSXK0Zb2TDY with Smoke and Mirrors playing.

Hot Cross Bunny #3

Duple proper, double progression January 11, 2001

A1 Ones down the outside

Come back up, cross to partner's position

A2 Circle right!

Allemande left your neighbor 1 ½

B1 Balance and swing the next neighbor

B2 Long lines forward and back

Ones swing, end facing up

A balance version of Hot Cross Bunny. I like the circle right into the allemande left and giving right hand for the balance with neighbor.

The Hotel Washington

Duple proper June, 2006

A1 Mirror do-si-do*

1s swing

A2 1s down the center, turn alone

Return and cast off with the 2s

B1 Circle left once

Swing your neighbor

B2 Long lines forward and back

1s half figure 8 above

* It may be useful to point out that men will always do a right shoulder do-si-do, women will always do a left shoulder do-si-do.

Can be a good dance at the end of a hot, non-air-conditioned evening if lines are short.

Hula La

Duple proper March 10, 1998

A1 Man #1, woman #2 balance, box the gnat

Star right once around*

A2 Balance the star, "upperhanded" couple arch, "underhanded" man pull woman under to his side and swing, overhand man follows suit

B1 Circle left three quarters

Swing partner

B2 Women chain

Ones half figure eight above

* Hands-across star, men are below women in the star.

I wrote this originally without the balance of the star, but the balance defines the move and works much better. This was written after a Hawaii dance camp, where Larry Edelman called a three couple circle mixer with the arch and under figure. I liked it so much I wanted to put it into a contra. You’ll find it here and in Tetrahymena Twirl.

I'll Get You and Your Little Dog, Too

Duple Improper, double progression June 13, 2014

A1 Chase - woman 1 faces out, and leads man 1 below the first neighbors, then out and around the second neighbors,

both come up between the second neighbors, casting off up the middle with the second neighbors (w1 with m4, m1 with w4).

As they pass the 2s initially, all 2s should take a step up the set

A2 Circle left 3/4

Swing partner

B1 Circle left 3/4

Swing neighbor

B2 Star right (hands across style)

Star left with the new couple below once around (hands across style)

The last star left leaves the #1 woman facing out to start the chase again. The twos need to step up slightly as the ones start their chase or the dance will drift towards the bottom of the set. In addition it should be made clear that the twos are not posts as they cast off but need to actively back up which will help adjust the set towards the top as well. Since it is a double progression most couples will get a chance to do the chase. Ask the 2s to help point new ones in the direction they need to go.

I'll Take the High Road, and You'll Take the Low Road

Duple improper June 8, 2011

A1 Handy hand allemade 1-1/2 (ones in center)

Twos swing (above the ones) and face down

A2 Twos half figure eight below

Long lines forward and back

B1 Ones head to their personal right to start a four person hey across the set with the couple either above or below them!* (hey will include another number one person except on the ends).

B2 Ones gypsy and swing partner

Ones start the hey by passing their first corner by the left shoulder. You will be passing the number one of the opposite gender from another set above or below the 2s by the right shoulder in the center, but this will happen naturally if people stay close to their corners as they pass left and go around them. After passing the last time on the outside beeline to partner for the gypsy and swing. As the ones swing, twos should make sure that they are above their recent neighbors and ready to start the dance with the next ones with the handy hand. This should happen naturally but sometimes one of the ones moves further than his/her partner and they are a bit askew.

This is an advanced dance.

I Will Follow Him

Duple improper July 20, 2013

A1 Gypsy and swing neighbor

A2 Mad robin, men in front

Men start ½ hey by left shoulder, women begin but gypsy left and go back

B1 Gypsy and swing partner

B2 Men allemande left 1 ½

Women join in behind partner, star left once around

It’s nice to have a mad robin with your partner, where you get to swing your partner afterwards. See "Mike's Mad Robin" for a better description of the 1/2 hey where the women gypsy and go back, or what Susan Michaels calls "Whoa Nelly".

Job Hunt Jig

Duple improper July 30, 1999

A1 Balance neighbor by the left hand, swat the flea

Women chain

A2 Promenade across (or right and left through)

Long lines forward and back (alt. circle left once around)

B1 Balance and swing your partner

B2 Men chain from the left side using the left hand

Star right

Alternate A2: Replace promenade with right and left through, and/or replace forward and back with circle left once around

Job Hunt Jig #2

Duple improper July 30, 1999

A1 Balance neighbor by the left hand, swat the flea

Women chain

A2 Promenade across (or right and left through)

Long lines forward and back (alt. circle left once around)

B1 Balance and swing your partner

B2 Circle left 3/4

Balance the circle, California Twirl

Alternate B2: Circle right three quarters, see saw the neighbor 1-1/2

John Wullich's Reel

Duple improper January 9, 1999

A1 Do-si-do neighbor

Allemande right neighbor one and one half

A2 Hey, men start by passing left shoulder

B1 Men cross by left shoulder, swing partner

B2 Right and left through

Circle left three quarters and pass through up and down

For John Wullich, contra dancer, Morris man, geologist, leader of wonderful hikes in the Anza Borrego desert, who never let grass grow under his feet. We miss you.

Julian Sleigh Ride

Duple improper April 15, 2015

A1 Long lines forward and back

Long lines forward and back

A2 Ones do-si-do

Ones swing or 2-hand turn

B1 Four in line down the set (ones between the twos)

Turn alone and come back up, bend the line and all face up and take inside hand with partner

B2 Ones arch and move forward, twos back up under, twos arch, ones back up under

Ones arch and move forward, twos back up under, twos arch, ones back up under (end with ones below the twos and form long lines on the sides again)

This is a simpler variant of San Diego Sleigh Ride that I wrote for use at barn dances. I call barn dances at the Julian Fiddle Camp frequently and have children and adults with limited dancing experience participating, so dances where it doesn't matter if someone ends up on the other side are very useful. See the video of Nantucket Sleigh Ride (by Kirsten Koths) for a good visual of the move.

Kimberly's Labor Day Reel

Duple improper August 29, 1992

A1 Balance in a wave across, allemande right neighbor ½

Balance in a wave, men allemande left ½

A2 Balance and swing partner

B1 Four in line down the set

Wring the dishrag and come back up*, bend the line

B2 Circle right!^

Circle left, pass through up and down

* For the wring the dishrag, the leftmost man makes an arch with the woman next to him, and he moves forward across the set while the woman on the right ducks under the arch, all retaining hands, until the line is inverted. Dancers should begin wringing the dishrag after 4-6 steps down - if they wait until after eight steps they’ll never get back.

^ The music defines how far to circle right. Obviously the dancers circle left until they are back where they began for the pass through. It works out nicely in time for the balance, trust the music.

Written in honor of my niece Kimberly’s birthday; she was born, appropriately enough, on Labor Day.

Kimberly's Road Trip Reel

Becket July 9, 2001

A1 Women allemande right 1 ½*

Men allemande left 1 ½

A2 Star promenade partner, butterfly whirl

Half hey across the set

B1 Balance and swing partner

B2 Star left once

Promenade across set and one more place^

* Women go to other woman’s position and get out of the way of the men. The men inevitably seem to move around while the women are allemanding, and the women often try to go to the wrong side of the men, which gets in the way of the men’s left allemande. I recommend teaching that the women should pass right shoulder with the opposite man when they finish. Men don’t move!

^ Promenade across and loop as a couple to the left (one should end up as if you slid right one place from original spot, and be facing new neighbors). Don’t make a big deal of teaching this – it usually works just to say “Promenade across the set and a little bit more until you are facing a new couple across the set.”

In honor of my niece Kimberly's road trip and visit to me after high school graduation, in the company of five other young women, all of whom were a delight to have in the house, even if one of them had to be taught how to peel and chop an onion - her family having grown up on takeout.

King Bee Hey

Duple improper February 21, 2004

A1 Do-si-do neighbor

Allemande right neighbor 1 ½ (for two swings, this can be done as a neighbor swing)

A2 "King Bee Hey" - Ricochet hey with the men passing left shoulder, women pushing off*

B1 Men pass left one more time, swing partner

B2 Men allemande left 1 ½

Women join in behind partner for a hands across star left 1X

*The men dance the full hey, passing left shoulders in the middle. The women start the hey passing right with their partner, but then the women meet in the middle and push off, backing up to the right and then back to where they started, repeat. This effectively makes little clockwise circles on the floor for the women.

^ On the men allemande left, the women have to let the men get around once and then as their partner passes they move in behind him to join the left hand star. A bit of a moving start on the part of the women helps, as does knowing what your partner looks like from the back.

I’d danced Huntsville's Queen Bee, where the women dance the hey while the men meet in the middle and push off backwards. It looked like a lot of fun to do the push off, hence this “King Bee Hey”.

Klezmer Mixer

Circle Mixer November 11, 2004

A1 Allemande right partner for 7 steps, on beat 8, stomp, yell "hey", throw free arm in the air

Allemande left partner similarly

A2 Do-si-do partner

Swing partner

B1 Promenade, end facing into the circle

B2 Forward and back, roll woman to left in front of partner on the way back

Forward and back again, turn to face new partner

This dance is really fun if you have a good Klezmer type tune that makes people want to shout and stomp. "Carpathian Tune" (Footloose: Trip to the Moon CD) comes to mind. One can push off the joined left hands into the do-si-do. Simple and enjoyable for one-night stands. The dance went through a variety of modifications since its creation to simplify it and ended up like this. Can do another roll-away at end if people don't get confused, or switch which forward and back it is done on. I find this order is less confusing.

Labor Day Dance

Duple Improper, Double Progression May 25, 2002

A1 Do-si-do neighbor

Swing neighbor

A2 Ones half figure eight above

Ones swing

B1 Down the hall, four in line with the next, turn alone

Come back up

B2 Circle left 1X

Star left

Lady Madonna

Duple Improper December 21, 2007

A1 Balance and swing neighbor

A2 Women allemande right 1 ½

Swing partner

B1 Down the set four in line

Face partners for half a hey (pass partner by right shoulder)

B2 Up the set four in line, bend the line

Balance the circle, men cross by the right shoulder

This dance goes well with the eponymous tune. Note that the dance can be switched up during the dance or done differently by changing as follows:

A2 Men allemande left 1 ½, Swing partner

B2 Up the set four in line, Balance the circle, women cross by right shoulder

Lampbrush Loop

Duple improper June 5, 2003

A1 Hey for three across the set, ones as a couple*

A2 Down the set four in line (Ones in center)

#2 man and #1 woman turn as a couple, others turn alone, come up the set

B1 Bend the line and circle RIGHT (the music will tell you how far)

Star right back^, hands across, #1 hands below #2^

B2 Balance the star, twos form an arch, #1 man pull #1 woman under arch

Ones swing

* Start with #1 man passing left shoulder with #2 woman.

^ Star right back until the #2s are back to their side of the dance, and #1s are either above or below them in center of set.

Here you get the hey for three of Nils’ Maggot and the arch-and-under figure of Tetrahymena Twirl, though there is only an 8 count swing for the ones. Use short lines if possible so all get a chance to be the ones.

This is another in the Joe Gall series of dances. Joe studied the lampbrush loops of frog eggs, wonderful structures where you can actually see the DNA being transcribed from the genes of the chromosomes. It looks something like the brushes used to clean out lamps in the old days before electricity, a lot of bristles coming out of a long central core, hence the name “lampbrush loop”. An opposing set of genes would look a bit like the two loops of a hey for three, as well.

Levitty

Duple Improper February 21, 2014

A1 Circle left once around, retain hands

Ones arch, twos duck under and release each other's hand to invert the circle and form a line of four facing down

A2 Four in line down the hall, turn alone

Come back up and face your neighbor in the line

B1 Balance and swing your neighbor

B2 Long lines forward and back

Ones swing

Called Levitty, for Anna Levitt, the awesome fiddler in our local band Crooked. Whoo-hoo! Shout-out to a great band. So wonderful to have you play for us, folks!

Love 'Em and Leave 'Em Mixer

Mixer, Couple facing couple scattered about the room February 14, 1991

A1 Circle left

Balance your neighbor twice (alternate: Balance the circle twice)

A2 Do-si-do your neighbor

Allemande right neighbor 1X, allemande left partner 1X

B1 Gypsy and swing neighbor

B2 Promenade randomly with this new neighbor and find a new couple

This dance was originally called “The Day After Valentine’s Day” as it was called first on Feb. 15, 1991. You will notice that after obtaining your new partner, you spend all your time flirting with the new neighbor, with only a cursory allemande of that partner you previously spent so much time flirting with. Perhaps one is regretting Valentine’s Day? The allemande move is similar to the “Georgia Rang-Tang” of square dancing.

A variation of A2 is to skip the do-si-do and do a full Georgia Rang-Tang, allemanding neighbor, partner, neighbor, and partner again!

Love 'Em and Leave 'Em Contra

Duple improper Date unknown

A1 Circle left once

Balance the circle twice

A2 Do-si-do your neighbor

Allemande right neighbor 1X, allemande left partner 1X

B1 Gypsy and swing neighbor

B2 Long lines forward and back

Ones swing

I wanted to get the Georgia Rang-tang move from the mixer into a contra. It can be done – but it should be done with sets that have lots of room.

Lucky Penny

Duple Improper June 26, 2013

A1 Long lines forward and back

Men allemande right 1 ½

A2 Scoop up partner, star promenade, butterfly whirl

Women gypsy left 1X

B1 Gypsy right partner

Swing partner

B2 Men go forward four steps and draw women to their side either by taking hands or with their eyes (not a give and take)

Swing neighbor

Alternate 1: B2) Circle left ¾, swing neighbor

Alternate 2: B2) Women allemande left 1 ½, swing neighbor

Penny is a little torbie I adopted from the San Diego County Animal Shelter.

Madam I'm Adam

Duple improper March 13, 2018

A1 Balance and swing your neighbor

A2 Mad robin, women to the left in front

Mad robin, men to the right in front

B1 Men cross by left shoulder and spiral partner

Swing partner

B2 Right and left through across the set

Circle left 3/4, pass through up and down the set

This is similar to Dam Robins, except the men end up crossing the set to their partner. The mad robin reverses itself in A2.

The Mad Dancers

Mixer, Circle of couples facing in April 29, 2001

A1 Balance partner and box the gnat

Grand right and left four changes

A2 Balance #5 and box gnat

Grand right and left back

B1 Balance and swing partner

B2 Forward in the big circle, on the way back men roll partner to the left in front of them

Forward and back again (new partner is now on woman's left, man's right)

Some people get disoriented by the box the gnat. Take the time to orient people as to which direction they are going, and make sure you don’t start with clusters of newcomers all in one corner, which tends to happen in the lineup of a mixer. I have deliberately invited beginner couples to join the circle in other places, and they get trained well then. The name has nothing to do with how the dancers felt upon doing it – it comes from a play of the same name, and as this can get rather fast and frenzied, I thought it suited. I usually tell dancers at the very end to turn their back on their old partner to face the new to emphasize who you are now dancing with. Dancers who don’t generally like mixers have told me they enjoyed this.

Mad Hey for Shadrack

Duple Improper Variant of Tony Parkes's dance Date unknown

A1 Long lines forward and back

Mad robin, women to right in front of men

A2 Hey, start women passing left shoulder

B1 Women cross one more time to swing partner

B2 Women allemande right 1-1/2

Swing your neighbor

Didn’t put a date on this when I put it together. It was inspired by Tony Parkes "Hey for Shadrack" with a mad robin instead of a do-si-do, but the B part is switched around since the women, instead of the men, cross to partner in B1.

A video of this dance can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6jC8HyiOQA, with Perpetual Emotion and Frannie Marr.

Mad, Mad World

Duple Improper August 8, 2008

A1 Long lines forward and back

Mad robin (women to the right in front of men)

A2 Women pass by the left shoulder and gypsy partner

Swing Partner

B1 Pass through across the set and California Twirl

Mad robin (men pass to the right in front of women)

B2 Men pass by the left shoulder and gypsy neighbor

Swing neighbor

The women can give a little tug to the men after the California twirl to start their mad robin.

Note: This dance can be done without the gypsies to a slow slip jig.

This dance has appeared in the CDSS news Spring 2014.

Video links can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHscaBxLW5c, with Firecloud and Lynn Ackerson

And here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrQcayS9CrM, with Perpetual Emotion and Susan Petrick

And here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wwNM9YBPnM with Eel House and Brian Hamshar

And here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9d7GxLTLJ5c with Stolen Goods

And here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OM8UAupcZD8, with Joyride and Bev Bernbaum

And here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SS2yQLn3ieM, with Whiskey Starship and Bill Fay

Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

Duple Improper August 31, 2008

A1 Long lines forward and back

Mad robin (women to the right in front of men)

A2 Women start a left shouldered half hey, men begin but gypsy left each other, go back and

Swing Partner

B1 Pass through across set and California Twirl

Mad robin (men pass to the right in front of women)

B2 Men start a left shouldered half hey, women begin but gypsy left each other , go back and

Swing neighbor

UNTRIED

Maggie's Maggot

Duple improper August 2, 1996

A1 Long lines forward and back

Men cross to partner, bring her back* (alt. women allemande left 1 ½)

A2 Balance (or gypsy) and swing partner

B1 Star left

Promenade across with partner

B2 Right and left through

Women chain

*If you wish to do a gypsy, have the men bring the women back with just their eyes.

There is a tendency for the swings to be askew, so that people might star with the wrong couple. If you had the men cross, tell people to look a little to the left for the couple to star with, and don’t star with a couple you previously danced with (unless you are repeating the walk-through, some people are SO literal!). If an allemande was done, have the women star with the woman they did the allemande with. Maggie was a gentle and timid long-haired black cat that I had for 18 years.

Magone's Maggot #1

Duple improper January 23, 1999

A1 Women do-si-do once

Men allemande left 1 ½

A2 Balance (or gypsy) and swing partner

B1 Star right

Star left

B2 Promenade across

Women chain

I love the star left into promenade into chain, it flows so nicely. It is important with an inexperienced crowd to point out where they start the stars, and that they need to get back here to start the promenade.

Barbara Magone is a magnificent piano accompanist (Cape Breton, Scottish, Irish) and I recommend any CD that has her on it (The Fiddler’s Friend is a good one). This is a simple dance so it may have been composed by others prior to me.

Magone's Maggot #2

Duple improper January 22, 1999

A1 Long lines forward and back

Women go forward, bring your partner back

A2 Balance (or gypsy) and swing partner

B1 Star right

Star left

B2 Promenade across

Women chain

There can be some difficulty with identifying neighbors at the star, tell people to star with people they have not starred with before (excluding walkthrough, of course, if they are back to place). They can also notice their neighbors as they go forward and back (see comments on Maggie's Maggot). It is important with an inexperienced crowd to point out where they start the stars, and that they need to get back there to start the promenade.

Note: Some people might substitute the call “Give and take” in the latter half of A1, but I would find it too repetitive with the long lines figure occurring immediately before.

Magone's Maggot #3

Duple improper March 30, 2001

A1 Long lines forward and back

Swing neighbor

A2 Women go forward four counts, lure partner back in four counts

Swing partner

B1 Star right

Star left

B2 Promenade across

Women chain

I like this version, as people know who their neighbors are from the first swing, and therefore they star with the right people after the slightly skewed partner swing. The women can take hands and bring their partner back or just lock eyes.

Mallomars

Duple improper, double progression

A1 Balance and swing your neighbor

A2 Ones half figure eight above

Ones swing

B1 Down the hall four in line with the NEXT couple, turn alone and come back

B2 Women chain

Women allemande right 1-1/2 to new neighbor

This was inspired by the Marshes of Mallow. I like double progressions where the ones swing, as usually everyone gets a chance to be ones. I have other reasons for liking solo swings, as long as there is fairness: as a dancer, I actually like to watch the other couple swing - I like to see the flash of their eyes, the swirl of the skirt, the smiles on the faces, the way they twirl. It's a time to rest for a moment and take in the entire scene, and it's often desirable on a hot evening without air conditioning. And it really frosts me when the couple not swinging decides to race across to one side, or even stay in the middle, and swing as well, often cramping the style of those that are swinging, and generally arriving selfishly late where they should be after the stolen swing, interrupting the flow of the dance for everyone else.

March of St. Timothy

Becket September 10, 1998

A1 Slice left

Women take four steps in, balance in a wave in the center

A2 Men take four steps in (women back out), balance in a wave in the center

Men allemande right to form a wave across (partner in left hand), balance the wave

B1 All march forward (can bend around the ends, following same sex line)

All march back

B2 Balance and swing your partner

If the band knows March of St. Timothy, it is a funky march that can work. But other marches and reels can work well, too, just as long as they encourage balancing on the off beats in the A parts. Encourage dancers to meet and greet the folks they are passing in the march. Dancers may slap hands as they pass.

Men in Tow

Duple improper July 28, 2001

A1 Allemande with handy hand (#1s inside)

Twos swing (above the #1s)

A2 Woman #2 leads man #2 around in a hey for three*,

B1 Twos down center passing two couples

Woman cross in front to her side, each come back up outside own side^

B2 Long lines forward and back

Ones swing and face down

*Man should twirl woman out of swing and switch hands. Woman puts right hand to her shoulder, partner is behind her with his right hand in hers. This move came from an international dance (forget which country) that I tried at a festival. Woman starts hey by passing woman #1 by right shoulder, and man trails closely behind her.

^#2 woman crosses in front of partner to her side, both come up the outside, ending ABOVE their ones.

This dance is very unequal, but I’ve called it for short lines near the end of an evening and dancers enjoyed it. Originally it had no name, but I called it in La Verne and the dancers there christened it “Men in Tow”. Use a ragtime tune or something funky to go with it.

A Midsummer Night's Dream

Duple improper August 5, 2003

A1 Star right, hands across style

Balance the star, women back out briefly and then come back in, as men “Rory” across and men take left hands*

A2 Women rejoin right hands for a star wrong (gypsy star) ¾ (men backing up)

Swing neighbor

B1 Allemande left men 1 ½

Swing partner

B2 Women chain

Balance partner by right hand, half square through

* Women need to move out during the end of the balance to give the men room to pass, then immediately rejoin. The men do a Rory O’More type turn, passing “belly to belly” while spinning over their right shoulder into the other man’s place.

I was intrigued by the idea of having the men do a Rory O’More style turn here into the star wrong figure. I also like the half square through into the star right. Make sure the music says “Balance” at the second half of A and B.

Mike's Mad Robin

Becket September 1, 2006

A1 Women chain across

Long lines forward and back

A2 Mad robin, men in front*

Half hey for men, “Whoa Nelly” for women^

B1 Gypsy and swing your partner

B2 Star left once

Promenade across and a little bit more@

* For this mad robin, the men move to the right in front of the women to start.

^ The men start a left shouldered half hey. The women start to follow the hey pattern, but as the women pass left shoulders, they turn it into a gypsy left around each other and back to their partners. Susan Michaels likes to call this move “Whoa Nelly!”

@This is like Kimberly’s Road Trip Reel. If the promenade moves a little further along the set after passing across, a new couple will be encountered.

I wrote a dance similar to this for friend and local dancer Mike Hante, on the occasion of his 60th birthday – he particularly wanted a mad robin in it. I was disappointed in the flow when I called it for him, so I reworked it and tested this version out; it definitely passes muster, so this is now his dance.

Monarch Grove

Becket June 14, 1998

A1 Slide left and circle left ¾

Swing neighbor

A2 Long lines forward and back

Men do-si-do BY THE RIGHT SHOULDER

B1 Men allemande left 1 ½

Star promenade your partner and butterfly whirl

B2 Women do-si-do once

Swing partner

This is one of my favorite butterfly whirl dances. I wrote it when I called a dance in Santa Barbara, and was staying with friends whose house backs onto the Monarch Groves there. We took a walk in the groves and saw millions of butterflies hanging like dead leaves from the branches, and then the clusters burst into orange clouds as the morning light touched and warmed them. What I like about it is the leisurely do-si-do the women get to do before they swing their partner, just once around and plenty of time to swing.

I emphasize the right shoulder because one of my fellow local callers used to substitute a left shoulder do-si-do in this. I’ve danced it as the man both ways, and I like it much better my original way - there is a satisfying shift of weight right at the change of the tune, as the hands slap into the left allemande, and it orients one better than spinning round and round in eternal counterclockwise circles, where the men get lost and scoop the wrong person and are late etc. etc. etc. Need I say more?

This dance can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_Dnx7AT8w4 with music by Sagebrush and Shamrocks and James Hutson calling

Mourning Cloak

Duple improper September 5, 1997

A1 Men allemande left one and one half

Star promenade partner, butterfly whirl

A2 Women gypsy one and one half

Swing neighbor

B1 Circle left three quarters

Swing partner

B2 Circle left three quarters, pass through

Balance in a wave, allemande right neighbor ½

I teach this by first doing the balance in a wave and allemande right neighbor to get men into position for the start. Actually, that’s how the dance originally began, but I couldn’t get the swings in the right place, so I started it in a different spot. I toyed with having it be a Becket, starting at the B1, but it’s such a cheat to immediately turn it duple improper. Music should have a good balance in the middle of the B2. Better done with more experienced dancers, who can make it to the balance. I’ve toyed with doing the allemande right neighbor and balance in a wave as the last eight – but it requires a tune with a great last 4 beat balance, not true for many tunes.

Mourning Cloak may seem like a sad name, but it’s a handsome butterfly that was quite common in New York where I grew up.

Nils's Maggot

Duple improper September 1, 2002

A1 Handy-hand allemande 1 ½ times

Twos swing

A2 Hey for three across set, #2s as a couple, start men passing left shoulder

B1 Four in line down the set (MMWW)

Turn as same sex couples and come back up, bend line

B2 Twos half figure eight below

Ones swing as soon as they pass by, and face down

This is my second favorite dance. This was unnamed for a long time, and Nils Fredland began calling it. He liked it so much he told me he was calling it "It's Awesome" but that was too much, so now I call it “Nils’s Maggot”. A “maggot”, by the way, is an old-fashioned word for a whim or fancy.

Ozymandius

Duple improper January 9, 1998

A1 Allemande right your neighbor one and one half

Men allemande left one and one half

A2 Balance (or gypsy) and swing your partner

B1 Down the set four in line

Turn as couples and come back up

B2 Circle right ¾

Allemande left your neighbor one and one half

The hard part here is that circle right. I like this series of allemandes, also to be found in the dance, Blue-Eyed Pogo. This one is named after my cat Ozymandius, King of Cats, aka The Great and Powerful Oz, Ozmosis, Ozmolality, Ozmium, etc. The best cat ever, so smart, so interactive, so personable. I miss the little guy.

Paddy on the Computer Chair

Duple improper August 20, 2000

A1 Allemande left neighbor 1 ½

Women chain

A2 Hey, start women passing right shoulder

B1 Balance and swing partner

B2 Women balance (right hands), box the gnat (#1 woman lead)

Star right

Written as usual to fit in a particular spot; I wanted a star transition and a hey. My red-haired cat Paddlepaws (aka Paddy) took my chair while I wrote it; Irish musicians will appreciate the name.

Painted Lady

Duple improper August 3, 2011

A1 Men walk in to form a wavy line in the center, balance

Men back out, women walk in, balance

A2 Women allemande right 1 ½ times

Scoop up partner, star promenade, butterfly whirl

B1 Half a hey, start men pass left shoulder

Swing partner

B2 Long lines forward and back

Women chain

Another in the butterfly series of dances. The Painted Lady is a common butterfly here in California, and one year millions of them swarmed over the fields and yards here. Driving the freeway was a terrible experience, as every mile flattened more and more of the pretty, fragile creatures on the windshield and grill of the car, but there was no way to avoid them. So here’s a memorial dance to expiate my guilt. A reasonable fit as the women here are the ones who pick up the men, so to speak.

Puce Set 1

Duple improper January 16, 2000

A1 Ones balance and swing

A2 Down the set four in line, ones in the middle, turn alone

Come back up the set, bend the line

B1 Poussette* with partner around other couple one and one half times, begin with the men moving forward (men push)

B2 Balance and swing your neighbor

For later in the evening with fewer beginners, alternate every other A part as follows:

Switch every other A part:

A1 Twos balance and swing

A2 UP the set four in line, twos in middle, turn alone

Go back down the set, bend the line

Alternate A1 part, if two balance and swings is too challenging for a beginner group:

A1 Long lines forward and back

Ones swing

This is generally an easy dance for beginners, unless swings are a problem. I like to use the alternate A part every other time to make it an “equal” dance - then most people can be patient and not get in the way of whoever is the swinging couple by stealing a swing.

Ragtime Annie Reel

Becket July 3, 2014

Music: Ragtime Annie or other 40 bar reel

A1 Slice to the left (first time do forward and back)

Men gate the women forward and around

A2 On the left diagonal, women chain

Women do-si-do across the set 1X

B1 Balance and swing neighbor (the one you chained to)

B2 Star left 3/4 (until partner is present)

Swing partner

C1 Balance the ring, petronella turn

Balance the ring, petronella turn

Note that the dance requires a 40 bar reel. Ragtime Annie is one, and the dance fits that tune well, but other tunes should work. Start the dance with a forward and back and then you will not have a couple out at the top for most of the dance every time. It is a double progression becket with the slice left.

Rara Avis

Becket July 17, 2003

A1 Square through, butterfly whirl with partner at end*

A2 Women allemande right 1 ½ (alternate, women gypsy)

Swing neighbor

B1 Women chain on the right diagonal

Long lines forward and back

B2 Balance and swing partner

* Give right hands to your neighbor and start a square through, left to partner, right to neighbor. When you give left hands to partner the last time, the men move forward and scoop the women up with their right arm and courtesy turn/butterfly whirl them once around (or a bit more).

Susan Michaels gave a contra workshop at the Summer Solstice called “Rare Birds and Odd Ducks” in which she featured a number of old or new dances with figures rarely used. One older dance included a full square through, which done in the traditional manner, would have used four steps for each hand change of the square through. She had updated the move, as we tend to do it faster with time to spare, so she included the butterfly whirl with one’s partner at the end, making it a very interesting figure. The rest of the old dance however, left swinging to be desired, so I isolated the move and put it in this context. I particularly like not telling people where their partner is before saying “Balance and swing your partner”, just for the look of surprise as they realize that they are holding hands with them.

The Responsible Woman

Duple improper August 29, 1992

A1 Women do-si-do once

Men do-si-do left 1 ½

A2 Balance and swing partner

B1 Right and left through

Women chain across

B2 Hey, women start passing right shoulder

The responsible women have to identify the next woman for the do-si-do. I like the symmetry of the left shoulder do-si-do for the men; if you try to make it right shoulder, it takes a little longer for them to get around for the balance, and it also tends to skew the swings more. This dance has appeared in “California Twirls”. I find this to be a good dance for teaching the hey.

Right of Way

Duple proper January 19, 2018

A1 1st corners take right hands, take left hands*, buzz step swing in this hold clockwise, end where started

A2 2nd corners take left hands, take right hands, buzz step swing counterclockwise!, end where started

B1 Circle right! 3/4 (men end above women)

Swing partner on the side

B2 Women chain across

1s figure 8 above through 2s

* The giving of hands takes four counts - two counts for the first hand, two for the second

The circle right into swing your partner may seem odd, but people commented that it was "a very satisfying change of direction" once they'd done it a couple of times. The 2s coming together after the 1s pass in the figure 8 can help the 1s get around in time. This dance is most fun if it is run at a good clip to make the buzz steps swings exciting; people stepped up to getting the figure 8s done in time. Melinda Page suggested Right of Way as a name since the 1st corners do have to get out of the way!

Robins and Vireos #2

Duple improper November 10, 2014, updated March 27, 2017

A1 Couples do-si-do once

Mad robin ACROSS the set (eyes on neighbor, women pass in front of their partners)

A2 Balance and swing neighbor

B1 Women allemande right 1 ½

Swing partner

B2 Circle RIGHT 1 1/4 (12 counts)

As couples, veer to right, then veer left to pass neighbors and face a new couple (4 counts)

Women pass right on the couple do-si-do.

The mad robin is done facing up and down the set. The men have a "poise point" where they shift directions as they lightly tug their partner in front of them for the mad robin.

Alternate B1: Women gypsy right 1 ½, or men can go forward and bring partner back, but please don't make this a give and take. I find it a highly unsatisfying figure in terms of timing and flow and do not want it to destroy the flow of this dance. I much prefer the four steps forward and drawing your partner back.

This needs to be done with a lot of space in the lines - suitable for late in the evening if the crowd has thinned. Have people take hands in long lines and stretch out the sets. Though the mad robin across might seem to be rather tight with everyone passing through the middle, the veering and couple do-si-do beforehand tend to make enough space to allow it to be performed comfortably and dancers had no quibbles with it.

This is an update of my first version, where the veer seemed to require too much time. This works a LOT better, and dancers liked it.

Running the Gamut

Duple improper January 14, 2000

A1 Do-si-do your neighbor

Swing your neighbor

A2 Men allemande left 1 ½

Half hey across set (men pass partner by right to start)

B1 Balance (or gypsy) and swing partner

B2 Circle left once and a quarter (12 counts)

California twirl partner (4 counts)

Alternate A1: Balance and swing neighbor

This is a dance I wrote to be an early dance in a program, done at a leisurely pace, introducing the half hey, but it is also a really good last dance done at a good clip with a satisfying partner swing. Initially I called it “Number One” to remind me to put it early and because I thought it might already exist, but James Hutson says I can claim it as my own. Since it works at the beginning or the end, I gave it this title.

San Diego Sleigh Ride

Duple improper August 1, 2014

A1 Balance and swing your neighbor

A2 Down the set four in line, turn as couples

Up the set, bend the line, and all face up taking inside hands with partners

B1 Ones (below) arch and over, twos back up under the ones arch (4)

Twos arch and over, ones back up (4)

Ones arch and over, twos back up (4)

Twos arch and over, ones back up (4)

B2 Twos face ones at end, circle left once around

Ones swing and face down (can alternate with twos swing and face up with more experienced dancers)

This dance was written after I saw a Youtube video of Nantucket Sleigh Ride (by Kirsten Koths), which has this arch and under figure. The people doing it looked like they were having a very good time, but the rest of the dance had no partner swing. I have modified this to include one, or at best an alternating partner swing. Feedback was positive.

Skoodge

Duple improper June 5, 1998

A1 Balance neighbor by the right hand, box gnat

Star right

A2 Circle right back

Men allemande left one and a half

B1 Balance (or gypsy) and swing partner

B2 Women chain

Balance your partner by the right hand and half square through

I call this "Skoodge" because I was trying to describe how one should keep hands after the box the gnat and turn it into a right hand star, and someone said that you just skoodge it together, so skoodge it is.

Smog Check

Becket June 7, 1997

A1 On the left diagonal right and left through

Right and left through across the set

A2 Women chain across

Women give right hands and balance, box the gnat*

B1 Men join in with a right hand star (hands across)

Men Galway swing^

B2 Balance and swing your partner

*Woman closest to the band leads the box the gnat. Star is a hands across style, but men may take allemande hold at this time.

^ Men's swing is done with the Galway swing hold that provides some personal space. The men maintain the right allemande hold, and they take the other man's right elbow with their left hand, this makes for a very strong and stable, powerful swing. I like to leave the men swinging at the end.

This dance was written as I waited across the street in a Coco’s for my car to pass its smog check. Seemed a manly sort of a name for a manly dance.

South Cascades

Becket July 15, 2016

A1 Half a hey on the left diagonal (women pass right to start)

Half a hey across the set

A2 Women chain across

Long lines forward and back

B1 Men do-si-do once

Swing your neighbor

B2 Women allemande right 1 1/2 (or gypsy, or circle left 3/4)

Swing your partner

This dance is based partly on the Penn Fix dance North Cascades. The right and left through figures were replaced with the half heys. The chain and forward and back are reversed for better flow. And then the B parts were switched about to allow two swings instead of one. OK, I guess it's not just a variant....

Split Infinity

Duple Improper July 2011

A1 Wave balance (4),

Half a hey (women passing left shoulder in middle) (8)

Wave balance (4)

A2 Half a hey

Swing your neighbor

B1 Circle left three quarters

Swing your partner

B2 Circle left three quarters, pass through

Do-si-do the next 1-1/4

Starts with the women in the center taking left hands for the first wave balance. Women then pass left shoulder to start the hey. Everyone will switch positions in the wave with their same sex neighbor when they form the wave again. This requires a bouncy tune, single jigs are useful, or something like Rock the Cradle Joe, to get the balances in both parts of the A1.

Summary of the Invention

Duple improper February 10, 1995

A1 Balance and swing your neighbor

A2 Men do-si-do once

Balance partner (man’s right hand, woman’s left), star through

B1 Circle left ¾

Swing partner

B2 Women chain across

Star left

I’ve always liked the star through balance. If you teach the right and left hand balance clearly, this can satisfy all levels early in the evening.

Swallowtail

Duple improper September 5, 1997

A1 Women allemande left halfway*, balance in a wave across set

Allemande right your partner halfway, balance in a wave

A2 Men allemande left 1 ½

Star promenade neighbor, butterfly whirl

B1 Women gypsy 1 ½ (or do-si-do)

Swing partner

B2 Long lines forward and back

Circle left ¾, pass through up and down set

This is my favorite dance in the butterfly whirl series. I prefer having the women gypsy because it is quicker and they get a longer partner swing. Swallowtail jig actually works well with this - but other tunes and reels will, too.

*I like to say halfway here, because as the women walk forward they are oriented up and down, not across, and it makes more sense than other fractions that purists might like to confuse people with.

Swinging on a Gate

Duple Improper May 16, 2014

A1 Balance and swing your neighbor

A2 Long lines forward and back

Men gate the women forward and around

B1 Women gypsy 1-1/2

Swing your partner

B2 Circle left 3/4

Balance the ring, pass through

Alternates: The women could do an allemande right in B1, or a do-si-do.

This is a simple but fun dance, with the English Country Dance style gate propelling the women nicely into the gypsy. It works really well early on - could be used as a first dance if not too many beginners, I've used it as a second dance and the flow is nice.

Tag, You're It

Duple improper August 5, 2011

A1 Interrupted hey for three*

A2 Ones gypsy and swing

B1 Four in line down the set, ones in the middle, bend the line

Twos swing (Ones stand back)

B2 Four in line up the set, twos in the middle, ones gate the twos around

Long lines forward and back, men roll neighbor woman to right in front of them as they step to the left to progress.

*The interrupted hey for three works as follows: Woman #1 essentially walks a half figure eight alone through couple #2, but couple #2 dances the whole thing as a hey for 3. Woman #1 passes left shoulder with woman #2, end in partner’s place (or just behind him). Man #1 then finishes the half hey for three by doing what seems to him to be another half figure 8 with couple 2, passing right shoulder now with woman #2 who has crossed the set and turned back on her portion of the hey for 3. It's easier to do than explain.

This is called “Tag, You’re It” because the woman can tag her partner to gently remind/propel him into his portion of the half figure eight/hey. I took this move from an English country dance (Autumn Moon, by Gary Roodman) that I enjoy. For couple #2, the hey for three should feel continuous. For the #1 couple, each part feels more like a half figure 8. On the 4 in line up the set, the #2 couple is in the middle.

Ted's Turns

Mixer, Circle of couples facing in July 15, 2014

A1 Forward and back

Women go forward, return facing out to form a wave (note that your NEXT partner is in the hand that is not attached to your partner)

A2 Wave balance, Rory-O'More turn to the right

Wave balance left first, Rory-O'More turn to the left

B1 Allemande right partner once

Swing neighbor

B2 Promenade the set

This and Ted's Waves were written with Ted Sanella's mixer "Love and Kisses" as an inspiration.

Ted's Waves

Mixer, Circle of couples facing in January 12, 2001

A1 Forward and back

Women go forward, return facing out to form a wave

A2 Wave balance, allemande right partner 1X

Wave balance, allemande left neighbor 1X

B1 Do-si-do partner

Swing neighbor

B2 Promenade the set

This and Ted's Turns were written with Ted Sanella's mixer "Love and Kisses" as an inspiration.

Tetrahymena Twirl

For Dr. Joseph Gall

Duple improper June 15, 2003

A1 Handy hand allemande neighbor 1 ½

Twos swing*

A2 Down the set four in line^ (mmww), men turn as a couple@, women turn alone

Come back up, bend the line

B1 Balance in a circle, pass through across the set^^

Hands across star right 7/8** w. #1 hands below #2 hands***

B2 Balance the star, #2s arch, #1 man pull #1 woman under arch

Ones swing

* In the handy hand allemande, the ones split the twos, so the twos are progressed and above #1s for the swing.

^ The line is man/man/woman/woman, twos in the middle.

@ The left hand man should lead the couple turn to avoid confusion

^^ After the pass through, people turn individually to their right as they put their right hands in for the star.

** The star right is simpler than it sounds - if it is turned 7/8, the #2 couples are back on the sides they started, across the set from each other, while the #1 man and woman are in the center of the set, the man below the #2s, the woman above them.

***When couples take hands, the #1 hands should be underneath. (Be sure to say “hands” or the couples may think they are in the wrong place.)

Please don’t let the number of notes in this dance dissuade you from doing it. This is my absolute favorite dance of those I’ve written, and it is MUCH easier to dance it than to explain - but really not that hard to teach - the notes are mostly for your benefit. This is a fun, satisfying, but unusual dance and I’ve had lots of positive feedback from dancers and callers, and have had the chance to enjoy dancing it myself.

This was written after attending a reunion conference for my thesis advisor, Dr. Joseph Gall. I studied the intricacies of Tetrahymena ribosomal DNA in his lab, and on the plane back wrote a bunch of dances as a tribute to him. This is the one I like best. Tetrahymena are ciliated protozoans, similar to Paramecia. Few people know that the moves in this dance symbolize the sexual reproduction of Tetrahymena, which are diploid, and fuse with each other (not unlike the couples in the star), popping a micronucleus through (the arch and under) to start a new generation with hybrid vigor.

Tilt-A-Whirl

Duple Proper January 3, 2018

A1 Forward and back

Four person gypsy right 1 1/4*

A2 Gypsy and swing partner

B1 Men allemande left 1 1/2

Swing neighbor

B2 Pass through across the set, California twirl

Ones half figure eight up through the twos

In A1, people can keep eyes on their diagonal opposite as they gypsy around. One and one quarter puts the men above the women in the set, and the gaze shifts to partner. Teaching may be easier if it is taught initially with a hands across star, then have people leave the hands out. I was concerned that it would seem like too much clockwise motion, but people did not find that an issue, perhaps because the second half has little.

*This is NOT a single file promenade, though it walks the same path. This is meant to be a four person gypsy, where all lean in towards the center and look mostly towards the person opposite them, not at the back of the neighbor in front of them. This has a completely different feel to it. In addition, by leaning in, you will get closer and get around 1 1/4 much easier than if people try to walk the distance in 8 counts.

Tinker Tailor

Becket June 30, 2013

A1 Slice left

Half hey, women pass right shoulders

A2 Two hand turn your partner 1X (counterclockwise)

Women chain across

B1 Long lines forward, and men “wrap” women up as they go back

Star promenade, unwrap the women at the end (looks like an odd line of 4)

B2 Roll women across in front of men, women pass by right shoulder

Swing partner

Alt B1: Long lines forward and back/Star promenade, butterfly whirl

B2: Women gypsy/allemande right 1 ½ and swing partner

This dance borrows heavily from Kirsten Koths’ exquisite “Tailor Made”. But I think it’s easier in case the crowd is not up to the original.

Uncentennial Reel variant #1

Original by Al Olson

Duple Improper

A1 Do-si-do your neighbor

Gypsy star - women take right hands, men left, proceed 1X in direction women are facing

A2 Gypsy and swing your partner (in center of set)

B1 Down the set two by two, ones turn as a couple, twos turn alone and move up to join the end of a line of four with their ones

Come back up

B2 (12) Circle left 1-1/2

(4) Pass through up and down

All I've changed here is that originally the second half of A1 was a star right. Altering it to a gypsy star allows more partner interaction and works well. Note that when the twos turn alone, they can make it much more flirtatious by looking at each other, pushing off, and casting up to the end of the line. Dance should be done when there is plenty of space to allow the center set swings to be comfortable.

Uncentennial Reel variant #2

Original by Al Olson

Duple Improper

A1 Forward and back

Gypsy star - women take right hands, men left, proceed 1X in direction women are facing

A2 Gypsy and swing your partner (in center of set)

B1 Down the set two by two, ones turn as a couple, twos turn alone and move up to join the end of a line of four with their ones

Come back up

B2 (4) Circle left 1/2

(12) Swing your neighbor

This puts a neighbor swing in, and switches the do-si-do to a forward and back as that works nicely out of the neighbor swing. Dance should be done when there is plenty of space to allow the center set swings to be comfortable. As above, dance should be one when there is plenty of space to allow the center set swings. Nice at the end of the evening.

The Usher

Duple proper February 9, 2013

A1 Ones face up, go down the outside below their neighbors and up the center between them

Four in line up the set, ones turn as a couple

A2 Four in line down the set, bend the line

Twos swing

B1 Circle left once

Swing neighbor

B2 Forward and back in long lines

Ones swing and face up

Valentine's Card

Becket January 24, 2013

A1 Mad robin, men to the right in front

Half hey, men start passing left shoulders

A2 Gypsy and swing partner

B1 Men gypsy left 1-1/2

Swing neighbor

B2 Women chain

Slice left

Vicious Headache

Duple Improper August 31, 2003

A1 Women do-si-do once

Balance partner and star through*

A2 Three changes of a vicious circle, balance the circle^

B1 Pass through across the set, swing partner

B2 Women chain

Half hey (women pass right shoulder)

Alternate B part:

B1 Swing partner

B2 Long lines forward and back

Women chain

* Take star-through hands with partner (women’s right, man’s left in this case)

^ A vicious circle might require explanation. Dancers form a circle, and move two steps (one place) to the left, whereupon the women roll in front of the man on the right back to the place they were at the start while the men continue moving to the left. That’s one change (four beats), repeat 3X for three. The effect is that the men keep moving around the circle and the women keep rolling back to the same place. If weight is given and timing is IMPECCABLE, the balance will happen at the end of A2. If not, it will likely morph into the beginning of B1, giving a shorter swing. For a longer swing, try the alternate B.

On August 30th, 2003, I called a zesty contra in Pasadena, and decided to call a dance I had just seen in the CDSS newsletter, “Vicious Circle”. The newsletter dances are usually keepers, and it looked intriguing, so contrary to my usual practice of testing out dances on my own forgiving community, I tried it out at the zesty contra, with semi-disastrous results. It called for four changes of a vicious circle and the dancers, quite good ones, tried desperately to fit it in to a tune that was actually at a reasonable speed, and it didn’t happen. I had nightmares about it (I take this too seriously), and woke up the next morning with this dance written in my head, and a wicked headache. I called this that night in Santa Barbara, explaining its origins, and it worked quite well, though the drift of the balance that I expected did occur; however, it was enthusiastically received. I offer it here as a more doable version of the vicious circle move.

Wandering Skipper

Duple improper July 22, 2004

A1 Men allemande right 1 ½

Scoop up partner, star promenade, butterfly whirl*

A2 Hey, women start left shoulder

B1 Gypsy and swing partner

B2 Women chain

Long lines forward and back

* In this butterfly whirl, the direction is reversed! The men are on the right side of the women, but they still back up.

A deceptively simple dance, made interesting by the reverse nature of the butterfly whirl, which permits the flow of the hey into gypsy. Another of the butterfly series –a Wandering Skipper is, in fact, another lovely lepidopteran.

When Hester and Peter Met

Duple improper March 23, 1997

A1 Allemande right neighbor 1 ½

Men allemande left 1 ½

A2 Gypsy and swing partner*

B1 Balance neighbor and star through^

Balance in a circle and petronella turn

B2 Balance in a circle and petronella turn

Balance in a circle and petronella turn**

* I tell people to end their partner swing close enough to their neighbors to make the next balance on time.

^ Women give left hand to neighbor man’s right hand.

**Just turn a bit more and you can slap right hands into that next allemande.

I wrote this dance for the wedding of friends Hester and Peter, and asked Susan Michaels, who was the caller at their reception. if she would be willing to call it. She did, and it was great fun to dance. This wedding dance is full of symbolism – initially interacting with other people, then the couple meet, and it’s a joyous meeting with much stomping, whirling about, and clapping.

One needs to pay attention to hitting the balance on B1, I love the way doing a star through leaves one in the circle ready to start the petronella balance sequence. Too often the first balance in a circle is hard to make.

When Was the Baby?

Duple improper

A1 Do-si-do your neighbor (alternate A1: Balance and swing your neighbor)

Swing your neighbor

A2 Long lines forward and back

Men go forward, lure their partner back

B1 Balance and swing your partner

B2 Women chain

Star left

This dance is a mixture of Erik Hoffman's "When Was the Wedding?" and David Kaynor's "Baby Rose" so its impertinent title seemed like a natural choice.

Whoa Mule

Duple improper, double progression December 20, 1996

A1 Balance and swing neighbor

A2 Ones balance and swing

B1 Four in line with the next couple, ones in the middle, #1 man and #2 woman turn as a couple*, others turn single

Come back up

B2 Face into the center and women start a right shouldered hey^

* Women end up in the center of the line

^In B2, the line does not bend, all people in the line turn in to face the middle so the women are facing each other with the men behind them.

This is a simple dance, and the sequence without the unusual turn in B1 probably occurs elsewhere, but the unusual turn is the key. It allows the hey to begin in a slightly advanced position, compared to just bending the line and having the women start the hey. Bending the line into a hey is unsatisfying for the woman on the inside, and gives a longer path to the woman on the outside, often making her late for the balance. With the unusual turn, there is plenty of time to enjoy the hey and yet balance your new neighbor on time.

The dance was written specifically to go with the Old Timey tune of the same name, a whopping good tune if you can get it. If not, make sure you have a tune that says BALANCE NOW at the beginning of the A, with capital letters!

Worker Bee Hey #1

Duple Improper September 24, 2006

A1 Down the set four in line (ones inside)

Turn as couples and return*, face in to the center^

A2 “Worker bee” ricochet hey@, twos start by passing right shoulder, ones push off

B1 Twos gypsy and swing, end swing facing up!

B2 Handy-hand allemande ~1 ½ times (twos step inside)**

Ones swing and face down

* A little odd as the men are on the right of the women for the turn.

^ The line is not bent, all just turn to face center, twos facing each other, ones behind.

@ In this case, couple two does a full hey, passing right shoulders to start, while the ones meets at the center and push off backwards in little counterclockwise circles.

** Ones need to position themselves a little above the twos as they are swinging and face down to help them with the handy-hand allemande when they finish the swing.

I thought it would be nice to do the push off of the ricochet hey from Huntsville's Queen Bee with one’s own partner. The result was these three dances. I like this one as both the ones and the twos get their own swing.

Worker Bee Hey #2

Duple Improper September 24, 2006

A1 Do-si-do neighbor

Swing neighbor

A2 Four in line down the set

Turn as couples, come back up

B1 Face in, “Worker Bee” ricochet hey, ones start^

B2 Ones gypsy and swing

^ Worker bee hey is as described in Worker Bee Hey 1.

This is an easier version, but unequal. If done with short sets at the end of the evening, however, it can be satisfying.

Worker Bee Hey #3

Duple improper September 24, 2006

A1 Handy hand allemande 1-1/2

Twos swing and face up!

A2 Four in line UP the set (ones join on the outside of the twos)

Turn as couples and return, face the center in a line

B1 "Worker bee" ricochet hey, ones start by passing right shoulder, twos push off^

B2 Ones gypsy and swing

^ Worker bee hey is as described in Worker Bee Hey 1.

The Wrong Star

Duple improper July 3, 2015

A1 Mad robin, women to right in front

Gypsy star 3/4 (star wrong) with women taking right hands, men left, women move forward

A2 Gypsy and swing your partner

B1 Four in line down the set, couple on left (2s) slide to right in front of couple 1, who slide to left

Turn alone and come back up, bend the line

B2 Balance in a circle, circle left 1/4*

Swing your neighbor

*The circle 1/4 is merely a teachable way to have the men draw the women to their side along a circular path. I prefer this to just saying draw your neighbor to your side and swing, because I would like people not to be skewed relative to each other when the mad robin is to start. The "sliding glass door" approach to turning the four in line about is seen also in Erik Weberg's "Now We Are Four". I have the 2s moving in front of the 1s for the sliding glass door move as the #1 man can lead the #2 woman into the move as he passes behind her. I like to use the term "Star Wrong" when I call this because I find that the term "Gypsy Star" can lead to confusion where the dancers hear only the "gypsy" part and start to gypsy a partner or neighbor instead of proceeding to the star. This dance flows nicely.

Xs and Os

Duple improper August 1, 1996

A1 Star left, hands across*

Men allemande left 1-1/2

A2 Gypsy (or balance) and swing your partner

B1 Pass through across the set, California twirl

Circle left once around

B2 Women balance by right hand, box the gnat^

Star right, hands across

*The stars are meant to be hands across, though the men may find it more satisfying to take allemande hold for the left hand star in order to continue their allemande left.

^The #1 woman, who is closest to the band at this point, assumes the lead role for the box the gnat, turning the other woman under. They keep hands after the box the gnat and the men join right hands to form a star.

I like the California twirl in B1, rather than a right and left through, because people are ready to begin the circle sooner, and it is important to move the circle all the way around so that the women are ready for their balance.