Contra Dances by Tom Lehmann

Last update: 8/30/07

Distinctive Dances  The ones marked with * have been received the best.  Enjoy!

24th of August*
Almost There*
A Gypsy for Jessica
Bill's Grits
Caught from Behind
Gypsy O'More
Indian Summer*
Mad Robin Swing
Petronella Stomp*
Rory's Big Circle
Stampede*
Star Swirl
Weaving Apart*
Weaving Together
Welcome Home*
Windup

Dance Camp Specials  Dances with very tight timing that should be called only to experienced halls or at dance camps.

Jessica's Ride The 24th, Once More Waiting for Her

Other Dances  Glossary and other perfectly serviceable, but not terribly distinctive, dances that I've written and use.

A Dancing Life
Beginner's Luck
Easy as Pie
Harmony Hey
O'More Combination
Practice Petronella
Rings and Things
Simplicity Star
Spring Break
Summer Fun

In the Pipeline (untried, but promising dances):  Imitation is Sincere 


Distinctive Dances

24th of August
by Tom Lehmann (8/03)

Improper (identify your group of four, who you'll work with)

A1  (8) Neighbor allemande right 1 1/2 to make long
        wavy lines: gents face in, ladies face out
    (4) Balance the wave
    (4) Gents cross, ladies flip one space right
        (all box circulate to form new wavy lines)
A2  (4) Balance the wave
    (4) Ladies cross, gents flip right
    (4) Balance the wave
    (4) Gents cross, ladies flip right
B1 (16) Partner gypsy and swing
B2  (6) Circle left 3/4
    (2) Pass through
    (8) (new) Neighbor do-si-do

Last time through:
B2  (8) Circle left all the way
    (8) Partner swing

Another look at the box circulate figure in Steve Schnur's 24th of June and Don Lennartson's 24th of October.  Coincidently, I came up with this dance on August 24th, while on my way to a calling workshop.

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Almost There
by Tom Lehmann (11/05)

Improper (form long, wavy lines: ladies face in, gents face out)

A1  (4) Balance this wave right and left
    (4) Slide right one place to make a new wave
        (as in Rory O'More)
    (4) Balance this wave left and right
    (4) Slide left one place
A2  (4) Box the Gnat (to put the ladies back to back in the center)
   (12) Right pull by to start a 3/4 hey (NR, GL, PR, LL, NR, GL)
B1 (16) Partner balance and swing
B2  (8) Ladies allemande right 1 1/2
    (8) Neighbor allemande left almost twice around (1 3/4) to long, wavy lines

Last time through:
B2  (6) Ladies allemande right just once around
   (10) Partner swing

A nice, zesty dance.

3/4 heys are hard for dancers to tell when they've gone far enough, so I emphasize that you balance when you meet your partner the second time.

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A Gypsy for Jessica
by Tom Lehmann (8/04)

Improper

A1  (8) Hands across star left
    (8) Gents drop out, ladies allemande left 1 1/2
        to face partner
A2 (16) Partner gypsy and swing
B1  (8) Circle left 3/4
    (8) Neighbor swing
B2  (8) Long lines forward and back
    (8) Star right; with the next...

Last time through:
B2  (8) Circle left 3/4
    (8) Partner swing

Written for Jessica Grist's 18th Birthday.  A descendant of Al's Safeway Produce by Robert Cromartie.

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Bill's Grits
by Tom Lehmann (8/05)

Improper

A1  (4) Neighbor balance by the right
    (4) Box the gnat to a right-hand star
    (8) Star right
A2  (8) Neighbor allemande right 1 1/2
    (8) Ladies allemande left 1 1/2
B1 (16) Partner gypsy and swing
B2  (6) Circle left 3/4
    (2) Pass thru
    (8) Neighbor do-si-do

Last time through:
B2  (8) Circle left all the way
    (8) Partner swing

A descendent of Rod's Grits by Bill Olsen.

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Caught from Behind
by Tom Lehmann (9/03, revised 6/07)

Improper

A1  (8) Star right, blend to
    (8) Circle left 3/4
A2  (4) (ladies tug partner) Gents rollaway
   (12) Partner swing
B1  (4) Balance the ring
    (4) Petronella twirl one place right
    (8) Neighbor swing
B2  (8) Right and left thru
    (8) Star left

Last time through:
B2  (4) Balance the ring
    (4) Petronella twirl one place right
    (8) Partner swing

The interest here is in A2, as partners roll each other into the swing.  Some of this kinesthetic feeling is repeated in B1, allowing the use of just one Petronella Twirl in this dance to not feel so odd.

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Gypsy O'More
by Tom Lehmann (3/05)

Becket (right barely; circle right 1/4 to start)

A1  (8) Ladies chain
    (8) Ladies lead 1/2 a hey to long, wavy lines
        (gents face out, ladies face in)
A2  (4) Balance this wave right and left
    (4) Slide right one place to make a new wave
        (as in Rory O'More)
    (4) Balance this wave left and right
    (4) Slide left one place
B1  (8) Ladies allemande left 1 1/2
    (8) Pass partner right for 1/2 a hey
B2 (16) Partner gypsy and swing
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Indian Summer
by Tom Lehmann (8/05)

Improper (step to a wave, ladies center with left hands; identify this wave)

A1  (4) Balance the wave
   (12) Neighbor swing
A2  (8) Gents allemande left 1 1/2
    (8) Pass partner right for 1/2 a hey
B1 (16) Partner gypsy and swing
B2  (8) Circle left 3/4 to a wave
    (4) Balance the wave forward and back
    (4) Pass through to form a new wave

Last time through:
B2  (8) Circle left all the way
    (8) Partner swing

A variation on Summer Sunshine by Paul Balliet.

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Mad Robin Swing
by Tom Lehmann (7/03, revised 5/07)

Improper (form long lines)

A1  (8) Long lines forward and back
    (8) Mad Robin (neighbor do-si-do looking across)
        ending with the ladies moving forward...
A2  (4) Ladies cross (pass right shoulders)
   (12) Partner swing
B1  (8) Couples promenade across the set
    (8) Ladies lead 1/2 a hey (right shoulder)
B2  (8) Ladies allemande right 1 1/2
    (8) Neighbor swing

Last time through:
B2  (8) Ladies allemande right just once around
    (8) Partner swing
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Petronella Stomp
by Tom Lehmann (5/03)

Becket (barely)

A1  (8) Gents allemande left 1 1/2
    (8) Neighbor swing, end in a ring
A2  (4) Balance the ring
    (4) Petronella twirl one place right
    (4) Balance the ring
    (4) Petronella twirl one place right to a left hand star
B1  (8) Star left
    (8) New ladies allemande right 1 1/2 (Gents shift left a step)
B2 (16) Partner balance and swing

Susan Petrick asked me to look at Becky Hill's Kitchen Stomp to see if I could use its Pretronella to Star transition without having the Petronella in two musical parts.  I came up with several dances; this is the best of the bunch.

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Rory's Big Circle
by Tom Lehmann (5/07)

Becket

A1 (8) Circle left briskly all the way round
   (2) Slide left to face a new couple
   (6) Circle left 3/4 to a wave (ladies center with left hands)
A2 (4) Balance this wave right and left
   (4) Slide right one place to make a new wave
       (as in Rory O'More)
   (4) Balance this wave left and right
   (4) Slide left one place
B1 (8) Pass neighbor right for 1/2 a hey
   (8) Neighbor swing
B2 (8) Gents allemande left 1 1/2
   (8) Partner swing
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Stampede
by Tom Lehmann (7/03, revised 9/03)

Becket (circle left 1/4, make a ring)

A1 (4) Balance the ring
   (4) Petronella twirl one place right
   (8) Neighbor swing, end facing down
A2 (4) Go down the hall, four in line
   (4) Turn as couples
   (4) Come back up
   (4) Ends fold to make a ring
B1 (4) Balance the ring
   (4) Petronella twirl one place right
   (8) Partner swing
B2 (8) Circle left briskly all the way round
   (2) Slide left to face a new couple
   (6) Ladies gypsy once around, make a ring...

Last time through:
B2  (8) Circle left
    (8) Partner swing

This dance works well with a driving tune.

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Star Swirl
by Tom Lehmann (5/06)

Becket (barely)

A1  (8) Circle left 3/4
    (8) Neighbor swing
A2  (8) Long lines forward and back
    (8) Star left
B1  (8) New neighbor allemande right 1 1/2 to a right hand star
    (6) Star right 3/4 (ending on the same side as partner)
    (2) Ladies turn back
B2 (16) Partner swing (long swing)

B2 can be gypsy and swing if desired, though there are some interesting twirls from a right hand star into a swing that your dancers may discover if you leave it a long swing...

A descendant of Star Trick by Cary Ravitz, replacing its Star Left 3/4, Left Allemande 1 1/2, Right Allemande 1 1/2, Star Right 3/4 transition with star-allemande-star, where dancers briefly "swirl" out of one star right back into another one.

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Weaving Apart
by Tom Lehmann (4/07, revised 7/07)

Becket (barely)

A1  (6) Circle left 3/4
    (2) Pass through
    (8) Neighbor swing
A2  (8) Circle left 3/4
    (8) Weave the line (with neighbor)
        (veer L-R-L forward past two couples)
B1  (8) Trail buddy do-si-do (individually)
    (4) Balance (by the right)
    (4) Box the gnat
B2  (2) Right pull-by
    (2) Left pull-by
   (12) Partner swing

The ends are almost continuously active in this dance.

Originally, B1 had no balance and B2 was balance & swing; however, dancers kept sticking in a balance before Box the Gnat, so, at Karen Fontana's suggestion, I moved the balance.

Weave the Line is typically used for progression; here, I use it as a "lost and found" device. See also Weaving Together, which I wrote at the same time.

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Weaving Together
by Tom Lehmann (4/07)

Becket, Double Progression

A1  (8) Left diagonal ladies chain
    (8) Right diagonal ladies chain (to trail buddy)
A2  (4) Long lines forward; across the set
    (4) Ladies give, gents take your neighbor home
        (ladies resist a bit!)
    (8) And swing
B1  (8) Circle left 3/4
    (8) Weave the line (with neighbor)
        (veer L-R-L forward past two couples)
B2 (16) Partner gypsy and swing

See also Weaving Apart.

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Welcome Home
by Tom Lehmann (3/02)

Improper (identify your current neighbor; you'll come back to them)

A1  (4) Neighbor balance by the right
    (4) Pass through
    (8) New neighbors star left along the set
A2 (16) Current neighbor gypsy and swing
B1  (4) Long lines forward; across the set
    (4) Gents give, ladies take your partner home
        (gents resist a bit!)
    (8) And swing
B2  (8) Circle left 3/4
    (4) Balance the ring
    (4) Partner California twirl

Last time through:
B2  (8) Circle left all the way
    (8) Partner swing

It helps if the men smoothly drop their right hand from the arch in the California Twirl to the neighbor balance by the right as they step forward.

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The Windup
by Tom Lehmann (8/02)

Improper

A1 (8) Neighbor do-si-do
   (8) and swing
A2 (8) Long lines forward and back
   (8) Circle left 3/4
B1 (8) Partner do-si-do
   (8) and swing
B2 (8) Ladies chain
   (8) Star left

Last time through:
B2  (8) Long lines forward and back
    (8) Partner swing
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Dance Camp Specials

These dances have been called.  They work, but have tight timing, such that I would call them only to experienced halls or at dance camps.
 
Jessica's Ride
by Tom Lehmann (4/05)

Improper

A1 (16) 1s | 2s gypsy and swing; face down | up
A2  (4) Circle left just 1/2
   (12) Neighbor swing; make a ring
B1  (4) Balance the ring
    (4) Just the 1s | 2s rollaway across the set
    (8) 2s | 1s 1/2 figure 8 up | down
B2  (4) 2s | 1s go up | down the hall
    (4) Turn as a couple
    (4) Come on back
    (4) Cast off around and into the middle

Last time through:

B2 (16) Everyone, swing your partner across the set

An alternating dance, with a 40 count "ride" and gypsy meltdown for whoever is currently active.

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The 24th, Once More
by Tom Lehmann (11/03)

Becket (right; circle right 1/4 to start)

A1  (8) Gents allemande left 1 1/2
    (8) Neighbor swing
A2  (8) Star left to make long wavy lines
        (gents face out; ladies face in)
    (4) Balance the wave
    (4) Ladies cross, gents flip one space right
        (all box circulate to form new wavy lines)
B1  (4) Balance the wave
    (4) Gents cross, ladies flip right
    (4) Balance the wave
    (4) Ladies cross, gents flip right
B2 (16) Partner gypsy and swing

A two swing variation on 24th of August.  The Star Left to waves is a bit rushed and some dancers find the change in focus to new neighbors confusing.

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Waiting for Her
by Tom Lehmann (12/04)

Becket

A1  (8) Circle left 3/4
    (8) Neighbor swing
A2  (8) Star left to new neighbors.  With them,
    (8) Star right to form long, wavy lines
        (gents face out, ladies face in)
B1  (4) Balance this wave right and left
    (4) Slide right one place to make a new wave
        (as in Rory O'More)
    (4) Balance this wave left and right
    (4) Slide left one place
B2  (4) Ladies cross (pass right shoulders); gents face in
   (12) Partner swing

A two swing neighbor Rory O'More dance, with a long partner swing.  However, Swing, Star Left, Star Right with the next to long wavy lines is a demanding transition.

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Other Dances

A Dancing Life
by Tom Lehmann (5/05)

Improper

A1 (16) Neighbor balance and swing
A2  (6) Circle left 3/4
    (2) (gents tug) Ladies rollaway
    (8) (ladies tug) Gents lead left 1/2 a hey
B1 (16) Partner gypsy and swing
B2  (8) Circle left 3/4, make a ring
    (4) Balance the ring
    (4) California Twirl

Last time through:
B2  (8) Circle left all the way
    (8) Partner swing

A simpler version of Jim Kitch's To Live is to Dance.

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Beginner's Luck
by Tom Lehmann (12/01, revised 3/02)

Improper

A1 (16) Neighbor balance and swing
A2  (4) Pass thru
    (4) California Twirl
    (8) Gents allemande left 1 1/2
B1 (16) Partner gypsy and swing
B2  (8) Ladies chain
    (8) Star left

Last time through:
B2  (8) Long lines forward and back
    (8) Partner swing

A simple glossary dance.

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Easy As Pie
by Tom Lehmann (8/04)

Improper

A1 (16) Neighbor balance and swing
A2  (8) Gents allemande left 1 1/2
    (8) Pass partner right for 1/2 a hey
B1 (16) Partner gypsy and swing
B2  (6) Circle left 3/4
    (2) Pass thru
    (8) New neighbor do-si-d0

Last time through:
B2  (8) Circle left
    (8) Partner swing

A glossary dance.  Left shoulder heys flow nicely into gypsies, but can be awkward since dancers are so used to right shoulder heys.  If a left shoulder hey starts in the center, however, this problem is avoided. This dance is the simplest expression of this idea I could come up with.

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Harmony Hey
by Tom Lehmann (6/03, revised 5/07)

Improper

A1  (8) Neighbor allemande left 1 1/2
    (8) Ladies lead 1/2 a hey (right shoulder)
A2  (8) Ladies allemande right 1 1/2
    (8) Partner swing
B1  (8) Gents allemande left 1 1/2
    (8) Neighbor swing
    (8) Star right

Last time through:
B2  (8) Circle left 3/4
    (8) Partner swing

A descendant of Jim Saxe's Harmony Supper Line, which I sometimes use to introduce a (half) hey.

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O'More Combination
by Tom Lehmann (8/02, revised 7/03)

Becket (barely)

A1  (8) Ladies chain
    (8) Star left to form long, wavy lines
        (gents face out, ladies face in)
A2  (4) Balance this wave right and left
    (4) Slide right one place to make a new wave
        (as in Rory O'More)
    (4) Balance this wave left and right
    (4) Slide left one place
B1  (4) Previous neighbor (in L hand) allemande left
   (12) Current neighbor swing
B2  (8) Circle left 3/4
    (8) Partner swing

A reasonable dance, but with little partner interaction.  For other attempts at 2-swing, neighbor Rory O'More dances, see Rory's Big Circle or Waiting for Her.

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Practice Petronella
by Tom Lehmann (5/03)

Becket

A1  (8) Gents allemande left 1 1/2
    (8) Neighbor swing
A2  (8) Long lines forward and back
    (8) Left diagonal ladies chain (to trail buddy); make a ring
B1  (4) Balance the ring
    (4) Petronella twirl one place right
    (4) Balance the ring
    (4) Petronella twirl one place right, spin extra
B2 (16) Partner balance and swing
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Rings and Things
by Tom Lehmann (6/07)

Improper

A1  (8) Circle left
    (8) Neighbor swing
A2  (8) Ladies chain
    (8) Ladies lead right 1/2 hey
B1 (16) Partner balance and swing
B2  (4) Balance the ring
    (4) Petronella twirl one place right
    (4) Balance the ring
    (4) California Twirl

Last time through:
B2  (4) Balance the ring
   (12) Partner swing

More than a glossary dance, but not quite distinctive, this dance may belong to someone else.  If so, let me know.

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Simplicity Star
by Tom Lehmann (11/05)

Improper

A1 (16) Neighbor balance and swing
A2  (8) Circle left 3/4
    (8) Partner swing
B1  (8) Long lines forward and back
    (8) Ladies chain
B2  (8) Star left
    (8) Star right

Last time through:
B2  (8) Circle left 3/4
    (8) Partner swing

A glossary dance intended for the first dance of an evening.  Identical, except for the last move, to Becky Hill's Simplicity Swing.

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Spring Break
by Tom Lehmann (5/02)

Improper (step to a wave, ladies center with left hands; identify this wave)

A1  (4) Balance this wave right and left
   (12) Neighbor swing, end facing down
A2  (4) Go down the hall, four in line
    (4) Turn as couples
    (4) Come back up
    (4) Ends fold to make a ring
B1  (8) Circle left 3/4
    (8) Partner swing
B2  (8) Circle left 3/4 to the same wave
    (4) Balance this wave forward and back
    (4) Pass through; make a new wave

Last time through:
B2  (8) Circle left
    (8) Partner swing

A variation on Summer Sunshine by Paul Balliet.  This has two circle lefts (both 3/4), but is a nice down the hall dance early in a program.

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Summer Fun
by Tom Lehmann (2/02)

Improper (step to a wave, ladies center with left hands; identify this wave)

A1  (4) Balance this wave right and left
   (12) Neighbor swing
A2  (8) Right and left through
    (8) Ladies chain
B1  (8) Ladies lead 1/2 a hey (right shoulder)
    (8) Partner swing
B2  (8) Circle left 3/4 to the same wave
    (4) Balance this wave forward and back
    (4) Pass through; make a new wave

Last time through:
B2  (8) Circle left
    (8) Partner swing

Another variation on Summer Sunshine by Paul Balliet.  I'm no longer happy with its 1/2 hey to swing transition and tend not to call this anymore.

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In the Pipeline

These have not yet been called; I'll call them at some future dance or Open Caller's Night.  Feel free to call them and let me know how they worked (or didn't work) for you.

Imitation is Sincere (4/04)
by Tom Lehmann

Improper (make a ring)

A1  (4) Balance the ring
    (4) Petronella twirl right one place
    (4) Balance the ring
    (4) Petronella twirl right to a wave (ladies left in center)
A2  (4) Balance the wave
    (2) Neighbor allemande right 1/2
    (2) Gents allemande left 1/2
    (8) Partner swing
B1  (8) Gents allemande left 1 1/2
    (8) Pass neighbor right shoulder to start 1/2 a hey
B2 (16) Neighbor gypsy and swing.
        With the next, make a ring...

Last time through:
B2  (4) Pass neighbor right; Ladies left pull-by
   (12) Partner swing

I liked Flaherty Will Get You Everywhere by Bob Isaacs (CDSS News #175), except that four balances is one too many for my taste.  Here is a two swing variation that remedies this.  After all, imitation is the sincerest form of Flaherty...

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