Longways Set Formation: Line-up in two long lines that run from head of the hall, to the foot. You should face your partner, who is standing in the line opposite yours. Traditionally, men compose the line to the caller's right. At the command "take hands four", the top 2 couples take hands in a small ring of four, couples 3 and 4 take hands, and so on down the line.
As the dance progresses, couples will come out at the ends. They will wait only once through the sequence, and another couple will then be there to dance with them.
FYI: I heartily recommend the Country Dance and Song Society as a worthwhile investment of your time, money and effort. The organization encompasses and supports all kinds of traditional dance and music. Membership supplies you with great newsletters, discounts on the bookstore's items, an annual members list and dance camp opportunities. Also available is information on where to contra dance in the U.S. and abroad. Contact CDSS for more information: http://www.cdss.org/ CDSS E Mail: email@example.com 413-268-7426
Washington Quickstep - Traditional Contra Dance Level: Very Easy
duple improper* Music: Palm Sunday (jig); Da Full Rigged Ship
(Shetland jig) Tempo: dotted quarter note = Metronome Marking 120
A1 Star Right
A2 Active couple down the middle
Turn alone, come back, cast off with inactives
B1 Right and Left Through (across set)
Right and Left back
B2 Long lines forward and back
Active couple Swing
(end facing down, towards next couple)
Washington Quickstep is an old favorite, and very easy for beginner callers and dancers. A gent should always put the lady he swung on his right side as they end a swing.
*Improper dance formation - Couples must trade places with their partners during that "down" time at the ends. If you travel down the line as an active, after you wait out once, you become inactive, and vice versa. If the dance is substantially different for active and inactive roles, you must point this out. Otherwise, you will have couples getting lost when they come into their new roles, because they forget to watch!
Jefferson Reel - Traditional Contra Dance Level: Easy
duple proper * Music: Bonaparte Crossing the Rhine (an old-time reel);
Bonnie Isle O'Whalsay (reel from Shetland Isles)
Tempo: quarter note = MM 120
A1 Circle Left
A2 Star Right
B1 Actives down the outsides
B2 Down hall in lines of 4 (actives in middle)
Actives arch, ends pop through**
*Proper formation: Gents on the caller's right; ladies on the caller's left.
**The inactives leave ends of the line, meet partner, walk under the arched hands of the actives. Everyone is now facing their new neighbors. The whole line moves back to place in this position, actives walking backwards, inactives walking forward. Jefferson Reel can be danced proper or improper, so is good for single-gender or family dances.
FYI: If you have any questions concerning any of the enclosed dances, please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Nueces (c) 1997 Barb Smith Level: Intermediate
duple improper Music: 100 Pipers (jig); The Kitchen Girl
(reel from New England)
Tempo: dotted quarter note = MM 120/half note = MM 120
A1 Neighbor Balance, Box the Gnat (right hand)*
A2 Star Left
Partner Balance, Swat the Flea (left hand)**
B1 Gypsy your partner+
Partner Swing (end facing neighbors, actives up, inactives down)
B2 Balance Ring of Four, Circle Left 1/2
Do-si-do Neighbor 11/2 to progress
* Box the Gnat - right hands, form arch, Lady moves under arch while Gent moves to the Lady's place.
** Swat the flea - same as Box the Gnat but holding left hands.
+ Gypsy - a more overt version of English "siding". With right shoulders facing, walk around your partner while keeping arms down by your side and gazing into your partner's eyes.
Note: When executing the do-si-do, keep arms down by your side.
I have begun writing dances named for Texas rivers. The Nueces ("new aces") empties into the Gulf of Mexico at Corpus Christi. You will need lots of room between couples in line for this one.
Permanent Wave (c) 1997 Barb Smith - Contra Dance
Level: Intermediate duple improper - Sicilian Circle formation*
Music: Riding on a Load of Hay (reel); Sweeney's (reel from Ireland)
Tempo: quarter note = MM 120
A1 Ocean Wave Balance**, Ladies travel forward to next wave (4 beats),
Balance this wave, Ladies Allemande Left halfway while Gents travel forward
A2 Ocean Wave Balance, Swing partner (12 beats, end facing across set)
B1 Circle Left 3/4 (to original position)
Dip and Dive (inactives arch first)+
B2 Dip and Dive (yes, again!)
Allemande Right your neighbor 11/4 (to form a wave with this couple)
*Sicilian circle - Is, in essence, a contra dance longways set that has been bent around so the ends meet. Have couples line up as spokes in a wheel, facing another couple, with all ladies standing to the right of their Gents. Since there are no ends, you stay in your active or inactive role throughout the dance.
**Ocean Wave Balance - To begin this dance, have ladies take left hands in the center to form a wave with the set of four. For teaching purposes, they must already be in that position to begin the count. Actives will still be facing clockwise, inactives counterclockwise. When dancing, it happens automatically at the end of B2.
+ Dip and Dive - 1 couple arches, opposite couple moves under the arch, they make an arch and bring it back over the 1st couple.
This dance was written for the band of the same name, because of my great fondness for them, gained after many wonderful gigs together.
Cora Bigwood - flute; percussion
Jackie Dodson - bass
George Eggleston - mandolin; vocal
Eden MacAdam-Somer - fiddle
Frances Newton - guitar; horn
Amy Price - fiddle
Kate Murray-Schultz - hammered dulcimer; autoharp
Barb Smith - caller
Produced by Permanent Wave Recorded and mixed in Houston, Texas at
Third Stone Studios Recording Engineer: Anders Johansson
Cover Design: Earl Schultz Band Photo: Tom MacAdam-Somer
For bookings and additional copies of Permanent Wave please contact us: email@example.com 211 Leghrand Ct., League City, Tx. 77573
(c) 1997 Permanent Wave All rights reserved
The CD costs $12.00 + $3.00 for S&H. For bookings or to purchase copies of the CD contact: Cora Bigwood or write to 211 Leghrand Ct., League City TX 77573.
The CD may be purchased on-line at the Bandstore and Contracopia. Selections are available for listening in various formats.
Selections are available in MP3 format along with additional information.