Feeling Gravity’s Pull – DI – Don Veino 20180710

Type: Contra Dance, Duple Improper
Status: Proven

I wanted something smooth and stately which swapped around the idea of who typically does certain sorts of moves (e.g.: in this dance, it’s the Ladies who cast the Gents – not the other way around) plus avoided overused elements like allemandes and circles to keep things unique. This one came along pretty easily, once I thought of deconstructing a normal Figure 8 so only one party would walk that path – which is what the Gents do in the A2 here.

Dancers report liking this very much and the Ladies “bounce-back” in the A2 was a dancer-invented alternative.

During development, this was also known as “The Eyes Have It” because of all the eye play possibilities, but I discovered that title was already taken. Yes, I’m a big fan of very early R.E.M. music.

A1
Neighbor Gypsy, Swing

A2
Gents Swap Places (passing left) and face out
Gents Loop Left *WHILE* Ladies Slide Left+ (so each move into Partner’s starting place)
(inside hands) Ladies Gate the Gents 1x
[+Alternative for the Ladies here: Walk forward on the slight left diagonal to bounce back into the left hand position next to Partner Gent]

B1
Pass Through straight across, Partner Swing

B2
Gents pass Left for a Full Hey (EXCEPT Ladies Bounce Back the FIRST time)

End effects: none
Tune suggestions: Smooth/romantic/driving
Video: First trial at Concord Scout House Monday Contras series
See also:
First called by me at Concord Scout House Monday Contras series on 9/17/18.

Mad For Ogontz – DI – Don Veino 20180808

Type: Contra Dance, Duple Improper
Status: Proven

At CDSS Ogontz Family Camp 2018 Steve Zakon-Anderson wanted to teach Mad Robin to the 11s & 12s group but didn’t have a suitable dance. We couldn’t find one in my deck either, so I wrote this one. This one I wrote for MR newbies but an experienced dancer has since told me it is their “new favorite all-time dance” because of the “great smooth flow” :-).

Encourage dancers to really relax into the B1 & B2 timing to avoid arriving early for the A1 (you may need to stretch out the lines to allow for this). I’ve noticed dancers sliding past and curling back to their next Neighbor to smooth that out, should it happen (rather than stopping dead and then starting the Gypsy).

A1
Neighbor Gypsy, Swing

A2
Gents Allemande Left 1+1/2x, Partner Swing

B1
(8,8) Long Lines Forward & Back, Half Hey (Ladies Right start)

B2
(8,8) Ladies Chain, Mad Robin CCW (Ladies thru center first) to next

End effects: none
Tune suggestions: flowy with strong 8 beat hinting, particularly in the Bs
Video: Top Hill Music dance at the Greenfield, MA Grange
See also: Rainbows Over Ogontz, Fairly Nicked From Nick
First called by Steve Zakon-Anderson at CDSS Ogontz Family Camp on ~8/9/2018.

Bonus Round/Repeatronella (in Dublin) – DI – Don Veino 20180726

Type: Contra Dance, Duple Improper
Status: Proven

This is a set of dances approaching the same two-Neighbor-Swing theme in different variations. Dancers seem to really like these and they can scale in difficulty from working with more beginner dancers or as a “dance trance” later program slot with experienced folk, through to some uniqueness with the “in Dublin” variations.

I sometimes use the base versions of these as a way to compensate after calling a beginner friendly no-Neighbor-Swing dance like Delphiniums and Daisies for a mixed capability crowd. One can also play with calling the variations in different combinations in a single program slot.

BONUS ROUND

A1
LLFB, (New) N Swing

A2
Line/4 Down the Hall, turn as couple,
Line/4 Up the Hall, bend the line
[“in Dublin” variation:
Line/4 Down the Hall as in Dublin Bay*,
Line/4 Up the Hall as in Dublin Bay, bend the line]

B1
Circle Left 3/4x, Partner Swing

B2
Circle Left 3/4x, Neighbor Bonus Swing

REPEATRONELLA

A1
LLFB, (New) N Swing

A2
Line/4 Down the Hall, turn as couple,
Line/4 Up the Hall, bend the line
[“in Dublin” variation:
Line/4 Down the Hall as in Dublin Bay,
Line/4 Up the Hall as in Dublin Bay, bend the line]

B1
Ring/4 Bal, Petronella to Partner Swing

B2
Ring/4 Bal, Petronella to Neighbor Repeat Swing

*Down|Up the Hall as in Dublin Bay: Line/4 takes 4 steps down, dancers turn single (in this dance, toward Neighbor as they do) to face up to re-form the line and continues down the hall 4 steps. Line/4 takes 4 steps up, turns single to face down, and continues up the hall.
Should be used sparingly – some dancers have a strong aversion to backing up blind.

End effects: none
Tune suggestions: high energy tunes – Repeatronella and “in Dublin” variations require strong 4 beat chunks – or smooth/flowing for Bonus Round, as a breather between higher energy dances.
Video: Repeatronella variation at Concord Scout House Monday Contras series, Bonus Round variation at Portland, ME PICD
See also:
First called by me at several places on several dates starting with Bonus Round in Dublin at Mystic, CT Pie Dance on 7/28/18 with Gotham Carnival Trio.

Fairly Nicked From Nick – Becket – Don Veino and Nick Howe 20180815

Type: Contra Dance, Becket
Status: Proven

In a conversation with Nick Howe following Ogontz Family Week 2018, we reviewed a draft of his 2017 “The Cuckoo and The Robin.” Nick’s dance features a double Mad Robin sequence (CCW into CW) to a Circle Left to Swing. I liked his idea for the transitions and it inspired me to take a shot at flipping the Mad Robin rotation and grafting on other parts to arrive at this co-author dance nicking Nick’s core idea.

This dance has been called several times to great dancer feedback. While you probably want to stress with dancers to take big graceful 8-beat Mad Robins in the B1, the subsequent circle acts as a timing shock absorber should everyone rush them. Energetic music seems to drive dancers to really haul on that bit while flowing/romantic encourages them taking up the time.

A1
Slice Left, Ladies Allemande Right 1+1/2x

A2
Neighbor Balance & Swing

B1
(Gents thru Middle First) Mad Robin CW around THIS Neighbor,
(Gents thru Middle First) Mad Robin CCW around NEXT Neighbor

B2
(w/orig. Ns) Circle Left 3/4x, Partner Swing

End effects: If you’re in the dance and nobody’s at the end for the second Mad Robin, either Mad Robin around a ghost or SeeSaw your Partner across and back to your side to continue with the Circle. If you’re out, cross over and come in temporarily for the second Mad Robin then wait on the left diagonal for the slice.
Tune suggestions:
Video: Thursday Contras at the Concord Scout House, Inc., Top Hill Music dance at the Greenfield, MA Grange.
See also: Mad for Ogontz
First called by me at the NEFFA Thursday Contras dance at the Concord Scout House on 9/20/2018.

So Long and Thanks for All the Fish – 4 Face 4 – Don Veino 20180528

Type: Contra Dance, 4 Facing 4 – single progression, alternating sides
Status: Proven

Don't Panic!
Don’t Panic!

I’ve become slightly obsessed with Dolphin Hey dances. In this case I was striving for one that automatically alternates who gets to act as the traveling pair, so there’s no need to have differing choreography in alternating cycles. A 4-Face-4 achieves this – but note the resulting hey is unusual in that it’s Trail Buddies (not Partners) that are traveling as a pair together.

The key teaching point (over how to do the Hey) appears to be stressing who is doing the roll-away (I’ve found saying “the most recent person you swung” is better than “original corner”).

You may get a chuckle out of Hitchhiker’s Guide fans when you tell dancers the title. 🙂

A1
Long Lines Forward & Back, Corner Swing
[Those swinging on the outsides of the set separate from their corner (take a step apart) after the swing and face across, so there are clear columns of 4 across the set. Trail Buddies who swung (in the center) face to their original left toward the outside of the set. Note partners are in separate columns/4.]

A2
Center Trail Buddy pair starts a Dolphin Hey* across the set (passing the solo Lady by the left with the TB Gent in the lead).
[after the hey, all end up back in their swing ending positions]

B1
Ring/8 Balance, Gents Roll Away their Original Corner (one you swung, R->L) and face Partner
Pass Partner by Right to Weave the Ring/8 half way
[back to Partner, in progressed location]

B2
Partner Balance & Swing (end facing direction of progression)

*Dolphin Hey: Borrowed from English Country Dancing, this is a hey for four traveling the path of a full hey for three. One “couple” (in this dance, the designated Trail Buddy pair) travels as a unit while the other dancers travel solo. The pair stay in their respective orientation relative to the sides of the hall so that they alternate the leading position as they travel the hey together. In this dance that means the Gents lead out to the left, then the Ladies lead the pass back across the set and the Gents lead the finishing partial pass back to the center.

End effects: none
Tune suggestions: Driving with strong 8-beat phrasing, or romantic with flowy A2 and well hinted 8 beats elsewhere. Not unsurprisingly, Tom Kruskal’s fits – it’s the tune for Christine Robb’s ECD, Sapphire Sea, which got me interested in the Dolphin Hey to begin with.
Video:
See also: Sapphire Sea; my other Dolphin Hey dances, not yet posted
First called by me at the NEFFA Thursday Contras dance at the Concord Scout House on 9/20/2018.