Tag Archives: circle

A Long Courtship – Becket – Don Veino 20181209

Type: Contra Dance, Becket Left/CW
Status: Proven

This dance came out of a discussion Will Mentor and I had about writing a dance which built up and defied expectations regarding when you’d get together with your partner. It was briefly titled “Finally!” during testing. Have received really positive dancer feedback on this (it’s pretty cool when dancers seek you out at the end of the evening to praise/discuss a particular dance – you know it brought them joy. 🙂 ).

A1
Ladies Chain, Mad Robin CCW (Ladies front first) & look away from these NBRs
(w/Next NBRs) Circle Left 1/4x and continue into…
[see alternate original A1 notation below]

A2
Circle Left 3/4x, Neighbor Swing

B1
Full Hey (Gents Pass Left to start) BUT LADIES BOUNCE BACK SECOND TIME

B2
Partner Gypsy & Swing

End effects: Wait out crossed over on left to slide into A2 circle.
Tune suggestions:
Video: Me calling at the Greenfield, MA Shooting Star Series, 3/8/19
See also:
First called by me at Concord Scout House Monday Contras Series on 1/28/19.

Pumpkin Spice Madness – DI – Don Veino 20181006

Type: Contra Dance, Duple Improper
Status: Proven

Keep calm.
Pumpkin Spice is everywhere!

We’re in that season again – where everything gets offered in some form of pumpkin spiced variant. I find most such things (but for pancakes or other baked goods) totally foul but the other residents of our household seem to relish them. So I figure I just have to embrace the amusement of the Pumpkin Spice Madness season and trust it’ll come to an end soon! At least I got a decent dance theme/title out of it. 🙂

A1
Ring/4 Balance, Gents Swap (passing left – in essence, Partner Lady rolls the Gent while staying put)
Ring/4 Balance, Ladies Swap (passing right – in essence, Neighbor Gent rolls the Lady while staying put)
[Alt: Ring/4 Balance & Petronella Slide/Twirl 1 place, repeat]

A2
Neighbor Balance & Swing

B1
Mad Robin CW (Gents in front first) 1x, Gents Cross (to P)
Partner Swing

B2
Circle Left 3/4x, Pass Through (up/down)
Next Neighbor Dosido into Ring/4

End effects: none
Tune suggestions: Bouncy French Canadian, Jigs
Video: Guiding Star Grange 10/27/2018, Laura Johannes at Scout House Monday Contras (Petronella var.) 1/7/2019
See also:
First called by me at Monday Contras series, Concord Scout House on 10/8/2018

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.

The Bubbles Incident – Becket – Don Veino 20180620

Not THE bubbles incident - but close to another!
Not THE bubbles incident – but close to another!
Type: Contra Dance, Becket Left/CW
Status: DRAFT

I was playing with new ways to do a Down-the-Hall dance – in particular, how to achieve the progression. I hit on the idea of a ring of dancers going down and then twirling to change facing direction into a new ring before coming back up… and realized this could work in a duple longways as well as a 4-face-4 setting – this is the longways dance.

The title here was inspired by an event with our daughter in her first grade class at school. They were doing bubble painting, where the kids blow bubbles into liquid tempera paint with glycerin and then use the bubbles to create a design on paper. However, our daughter got so carried away with the fun and laughing that she forgot you needed to blow out and ended up sucking the painty bubbles into her mouth – yuck! The rings/4 here reminded me of the bubbles in that infamous family incident.

While not yet tried out, I expect you’ll want to have the lines stretch down a bit to make room for rings/4 going down the hall… but not too far.

A1
Long Lines Forward & Back
Circle RIGHT 3/4x (to the 1s face up, 2s down)

A2
(~7) Ring/4 Down the Hall (2s are walking forward, 1s backward as the 2s steer)
(~2) Turn Alone (inwards, glance at partner as continue turning to face next couple)
(~7) New Ring/4 Up the Hall (2s are walking forward, 1s backward as 2s steer)

B1
Ring/4 Balance, Gent Roll Partner Away across
Neighbor Swing

B2
Ladies Allemande Right 1+1/2x (Alt.: Circle Left 3/4x), Partner Swing

End effects: Wait out Indecent (Gent on Right, Lady Left) to enter the A2 Ring. The rest is somewhat straightforward but just to be complete: twos pay attention to the line’s movement so as to be in place to form the new ring at the bottom (and scoot out of the way when ejected at the top). New ones wait out at the top for the twos to come up the hall to you.
Tune suggestions:
Video:
See also: the 4-Face-4 mentioned above and another slightly crazier DI dance (coming soon!)

First called by PERSON at VENUE on DATE

The Oddball In Charge – Mixer for 5, 7 or ? Dancers – Don Veino 20171210, rev. 20180112

a.k.a. “The Magic Charm”

Type: Circle Mixer for odd number of dancers, Gender-free
Status: Proven

At smaller venue dances you may find yourself at the beginning or end of the evening below the comfortable number of dancers for a contra or square dance for an extended time. The Levi Jackson Rag or Triplets are nice but then you have the situation where you have 7 willing dancers or just 5 and there’s something up such that you as a caller can’t easily jump in to dance and call…

So I wanted to create another dance that would fit this situation and have some chance to work with beginning dancers – fitting the traditional tunes that smaller venue bands’ repertoires often contain. This is one attempt at such a thing.

Since writing this dance, I’ve not run into a situation where I could use it! I hadn’t wanted to share it until I had a chance to try it out with dancers but some local callers facing the same venues asked for the dance as word got around (we all dread the tiny crowd issue). It became a private joke because for a long time it held some weird form of protective charm power for our group – a caller would have 7 people and walk through this dance… and then a wave of dancers would show up such that they could swap to a conventional contra or square. We’d have an upcoming gig where we expected it would be used and then have to report back that we didn’t. And then one night Linda Leslie called to a crowd of 7 people at the start and 5 at the end of an evening – so they danced it twice as bookends with success.

Some people might object to the term “Oddball” – it’s not intended to be negative but rather as descriptive. I’d be sure to explain to dancers that we all sometimes feel like the Oddball in a situation, and this dance will give you several times to experience the power of that unique role. There can be a somewhat competitive aspect to the B parts – encourage folks to watch out for each other and be safe!

Starts with an even number of dancers in a ring with an extra dancer (“Oddball”) in the center. Minimum 5 or possibly up to 9 (or more?) dancers – works with any mix, i.e. “gender free.” If there’s any question of who does what, have dancers note the Oddball (the person in the center at the moment) is always in charge (so they select and raise their hand for the twirls, etc. – FWIW, some dancers have played this back as “the Oddball is always the Gent/Lark”).

A1
Ring Balance, Petronella Slide/Twirl Right
Ring Balance, Petronella Slide/Twirl Right

A2
Oddball picks any outside dancer to LH Balance & Swat the Flea to swap (center person lifts, outside twirls under)
New center/Oddball reaches out RH at angle to Balance and Box the Gnat (center lifts, outside twirls) to swap with the other adjacent outside dancer

B1
This New Oddball Circle Left 1x (with grace in 8 counts) with the dancers who did the twirls (anyone bracketed by this set of Oddballs if more than 5 dancers in set)
Oddball look away to Circle Right with the other remaining dancers (use up remaining 8 counts)

B2
Everyone find another dancer to Balance and Swing (Gender Free Swing in some form)
[end with the one dancer left over in the center and all the others form a ring to…]

End effects: N/A
Tune suggestions: Written for trad tune Petronella, other traditional tunes may work
Video:
See also:

First called (twice!) by Linda Leslie at the East Sandwich, MA Grange on January 20, 2018.

Clap Happy – Gender Free Longways or Circle – Don Veino 20180115

Type: Longways or Circle Family/Ceilidh Dance – Gender Free
Status: Proven

Clap Happy being danced
Clap Happy dancers!
This dance always gets smiles with the right crowds. Very useful for those community dances where you want want to sense the crowd or provide some variety without the possibility of a crash and burn. Works well as a keeper with smaller kids paired to a bigger kid or parent. Can be used as a mixer with older kids or adults.

In larger crowds run this in multiple “longways for as many as will” sets with partners opposite.

In smaller venues as a circle dance, I get folks to take hands in a single circle with Partner, then have them adjust to have one person in each couple face me or put their back to me in the center so the couples form radial spokes for two concentric circles. Then I have them compare wingspans and move the bigger folks to face in on the outside circle and narrower wingspans to face out from the inner circle.

Starts facing Partner opposite:

A1
(8 @ 1 beat/move) Clap two hands over (own! 🙂 ) left leg, under left leg, over right leg, under right leg, in front at waist, behind back at waist, in front again and then two handed “high five” with Partner
(8) Repeat pattern
[Encourage adjustments for mobility issues as required – can clap high/low instead of over/under leg, etc.]

A2
(8) Partner Right Elbow turn 1x
(8) Partner Left Elbow turn 1x (so back at starting spot)

B1
(8,8) Facing Circles or Big Oval to your own personal RIGHT (opposite direction from Partner) and back left
[as a keeper, left is return to Partner – as mixer, go one person past Partner to next]

B2
(keep or new) Partner Balance & Swing (two-hand, whatever – end in place, facing in or out)

End effects: Never out
Tune suggestions: Bouncy 32 bar jigs, marches – bouncy A1 is key to the fun!
Video:
See also: Probably some traditional dances that are similar…
First called by me at Hancock UCC Barn Dance on 1/20/2018.

Two Hearts Beat As One – DI – Don Veino 20180203

Type: Contra Dance, Duple Improper
Status: Proven

For my wife Sage on our 10th Valentine’s Day. Written independently but likely strongly inspired by my recollection of Don Flaherty’s Heartbeat Contra – the A parts are the same and the B parts are a sort of inverse, with a unique twist via a Gent’s Balance and Pull By.

A1
Ring/4 Balance, Petronella Slide/Twirl
Ring Balance, Petronella Slide/Twirl (now on side with N)

A2
Neighbor Balance & Swing

B1
Gents LH Balance & Pull By
Partner Swing

B2
Circle Left 3/4x, Ring/4 Balance
2s Arch, 1s Duck through to new Ring/4

End effects:
Tune suggestions: Jigs work great
Video: Monday Contras, 5/7/2018
See also: Heartbeat Contra by Don Flaherty
First called by me at the Concord Scout House Monday Contras dance on 5/7/2018.

Filet Mignon – DI – Don Veino 20170918

Type: Contra Dance, Duple Improper
Status: Proven

The instant I heard Simon Riopel’s tune L’Air Mignonne played by Eric Boodman I knew I must write a dance to match. This dance plays with dancer expectations re: Rory O’Moore moves, so it may take a couple of cycles for them to settle down into the A1 and then folks start to really smile and enjoy the tune. The dance had a couple of names through drafting but the final decision was made when Julie Metcalf told me she always associated “filet mignon” in conjunction with the tune – the band lobbied hard for that title. 🙂

I originally featured a “funky” hey in the B2 (see below) – it fits the music perfectly and has a nice “snap” ending action via a catch right, half allemande with Neighbor to re-form the starting wave… but it requires a careful teach/demo and some dancers simply never get it. The primary version below is a simplification with a more conventional hey, which can end ~1 beat early – so encourage dancers to relax into the overall easy going pace to form the wave on the last beat. (Feel free to go with the Funky version if you have a suitable crowd.)

Starts in Wave/4 across, Neighbor by Right and Ladies Left hands in center.

A1
Rory Wave Balance Right & Left, Twirl/Slide Right, Catch Left hand
Neighbor Allemande Left 1+1/4 to long waves (Gents face out)
[Progression]

A2
Wave Balance Fwd/Back, Box Circulate (G loop right, L cross set)
Partner Swing

B1
Circle Left 3/4, (the new) Neighbor Swing

B2
Full (actually, 15/16) Hey, Gents Pass LEFT to start – end with Ladies catch left, RH to N
OR
[“Funky Hey” (two rights don’t make it wrong) version B2: Ladies pass TWO RIGHTS (Lady, Partner) to start a Full Hey (then Gents pass Left in center, N by R, etc.) ending by catching Right with N for an Allemande Right 1/2x to reform the Wave across. The double pass at the start saves ~2 beats which then get tagged on for the ending N Allemande Right.]

End effects:
Tune suggestions: Simon Riopel’s tune L’Air Mignonne, obviously. 🙂
Video: “Funky Hey” Version at Monday Contras 5/7/2018
See also:
First called by me at Concord Scout House Monday Contras dance

Strolling & Rolling – Becket – Don Veino 20170725

Type: Contra Dance, Becket Left/CW
Status: DRAFT

This dance sprang out of my interest in doing something unique out of a Partner Roll Away. I’ve experienced other callers’ attempts at making a roll away feed something with Partner focus like a roll to a swing – and there’s always been some significant flow issue, because the lingering tension from the last contact in the roll got in the way. This dance was crafted specifically to use that tension to launch the next action: entering a hey.

This is most likely an intermediate level dance due to the need for timely and slightly differing action in the A2 as well as the need for good dancer technique to make the roll to heys timing work and everyone end up in the right places. Because all the hey action is focused on Partners, the dance should provide effective recovery points that would keep it out of “advanced” territory.

So far this dance has been walked through successfully but not yet called/danced. I’ve since leveraged this roll to hey into a 4 Face 4 dance, Lobster Roll.

A1
Left Diagonal Circle 3/4x, Swing Neighbor
[first time through, circle is straight across]

A2
(8) Ladies Chain (to P) to face down the hall (so Courtesy Turn = different fractions for 1s and 2s)
(6,2) Down the Hall in Line/4, Gents Roll Partner w/HS (face Partner across set)

B1
Half Hey (pass P Left to start, end in mirror position of start, facing up, Ladies on left of P)
(6,2) Up the Hall in Line/4, Gents Roll Partner w/HS (face P across set)

B2
Half Hey (pass P Right to start, end in mirror position of start, facing P)
Partner Swing

End effects: Wait out on left diagonal to enter in the circle
Tune suggestions: Strongly phrased/driving smooth tunes
Video:
See also: Lobster Roll, The Right In Tension

First called by PERSON at VENUE on DATE