Anglo File ****
|A1||Dolphin hey across: ones split new neighbors, turn left, and pass left shoulders with neighbor to begin|
|A2||Down the hall 4-in-line (ones in the center), turn alone
Return and bend the line
|B1||Circle left 3/4 and partners swing|
Left-hand star — for transition into next hey, release star early and twos cast up the outside (see note)
For the uninitiated, the dolphin hey is a hey for three (across the hall in this case) that is done by four dancers. The ones act as a unit, one following the other as if attached by a magnetic field. Whenever the ones loop back into the set on one end of the hey or the other, they turn as individuals, changing who leads. This happens once at each side of the set, so at the end of the hey, all are back where they began. Much playful eye contact is possible for those who wish.
The transition from B2-A1 is a key moment. Ones maintain the momentum of the star, one of you continuing to follow the other, as you loop left into the dolphin hey with new neighbors. Twos: note that you are moving up the outside to progress. On the R-file the counterclockwise momentum of the star will, more or less, send you there. On the L-file, loop right out of the star to cast up the outside and flow into the hey.
Ross’s Reel #2 *****
|A1||Neighbors balance and swing|
|A2||(4) Ones allemande right just over half and take left hands with a neighbor to form a wave-of-4 on the right diagonal (the pair above is with a current neighbor — partner of the one you swung; the pair below is with a new neighbor)
(4) Balance this wave
(4) Ones a strong right-hand turn back to the same wave
(4) Balance again
|B1||Ones turn contra corners (first corners are in the wave)|
|B2||Ones balance and swing, end facing down|
Originally composed in 2003. Revised in June 2020. Changes have not yet been road-tested.
Finish the neighbor swing in time for ones to be ready with their right hands in A2. Then, finding the correct neighbor will be key to forming the diagonal wave. The twos are facing diagonally right, just as they will to turn their first contra corner (but the active person in the wave is not your first corner; their partner will be your first corner).
The dance is named for Ross’s Reel #4, a grand old tune that fits the dance well. This is Ross’s Reel #2, because I revised the original version, “Ross’s Reel.”
Trip to the Shore **
|A2||First corners change places; partners balance
|B1||Second corners change places; partners change places
Circle left once around, hang on
|B2||Dive for the oyster, dig for the clam; shoot through the hole to the promised land|
“First and second corners” are the same as contra corners, except (this being an easy dance) you only interact with corners from your own foursome.
A Turn for the Better ****
|A1||Circle left once around
|A2||First corners (within your foursome) change places (4), second corners change as well and then join hands with the other #1 dancer (4)
Circle left 3-hands just over 1x, until ones are in the center and twos are across from each other; ones make an arch and pull the two through
|B1||Partners balance and swing|
|B2||Balance the ring, spin to the right as in Petronella
Balance the ring, California twirl
When the corners change places in A2, they pass by right shoulder (the default).
Based on Paul Balliet’s Threes Company and Lisa Greenleaf’s Threes Crowd.
Flex Time ***
|A1||Balance the ring, Petronella spin one place to the right and take hands-4 again
Couple above, “mountaineer loop” (see note)
|A2||Balance the ring again, California twirl to face new neighbors, take hands-4
Couple now above, mountaineer loop
|B1||Circle left halfway and neighbors swing|
|B2||Circle left 3/4 and partners swing (the next round begins with these neighbors)|
The mountaineer loop is a figure borrowed from southern big circle dancing. It starts and ends in the same hands-4. Bottom couple make an arch. Without anyone releasing hands, top couple dive under the arch, and then separate and dance back to place. When they separate, of course, they do release each other’s hand, but all other hands stay connected. The couple making the arch will turn toward one another under their own hands to make it all work, a move sometimes called “wring the dishrag.”
I am not the first to use the mountaineer loop in a contra dance. Becky Hill’s dance Roll Over Johannes uses the same figure. Larry Edelman’s square dance sequence called Geezy Peezy also uses the figure. He calls it “rip-and-snort,” a term borrowed from Herb Greggerson. Greggerson’s rip-and-snort is a figure for eight people, but in Geezy Peezy it is done with four, making it identical to the mountaineer loop.
For Those Who Dared ****
|A1||Shift left and circle left 3/4
Those below half figure eight up between your partners
|B1||Same two turn contra corners|
|B2||Same two allemande right 1-1/4
Partners swing on the side
Omit the progression (shift left) the first time through.
This is my variation of a dance by Linda Leslie called “For Those Who Paired.” Linda based the title on Tony Parkes’s contra corner dance “For Those Who Cared.”
Nifkin Lounge ***
|A1||Balance the ring and spin to the right (as in Petronella)
|A2||Full chain, over and back|
|B1||Balance the ring and spin to the right
|B2||Left diagonals change places (passing right shoulder), right diagonals the same
Circle left halfway and shift left to new neighbors
Named for a space on the campus of SUNY ESF (Environmental Science and Forestry) where we had a little dance one late night.
Noble and Generous Cetacean ****
|A1||Slide left to new neighbors, circle left 3/4
Neighbors swing, face down
|A2||Down the hall 4-in-line, turn as couples (putting ones in the center)
Return and hand cast all the way (back to a line across), ones face right-wall and twos face in
|B1||Dolphin hey, starting right shoulder…|
|B2||One more change of the hey to bring all to original sides, and partners swing|
Omit the progression (slide left in A1) the first time through.
Based on a dance called HumanKind, by Echo Lustig. (My title goes with another species.) Her dance got me thinking about how I might make contra dances that used the dolphin hey. The result was a pair of dances: this one and Anglo File (where you can find a description of the dolphin hey).
Some Pig ***
Becket, counterclockwise and double progression
|A1||Balance the ring and spin to the right as in Petronella
Balance the ring, California twirl
|A2||Next neighbors balance and swing|
|B1||Pass through across the set, turn away from this neighbor
New neighbors swing
|B2||Circle left 3/4 and partners swing|
Buttermilk Biscuits **
|A1||Ones half figure-8 down the set
|A2||Down the hall 4-in-line
Turn alone, return and face neighbor
|B1||Neighbors balance and swing|
|B2||Long lines forward and back
Ones half figure-8 up the set
The Duchess of Sussex ***
|A1||Ones allemande right once and fall back to place
Ones allemande left 1-1/2, changing places
|A2||Neighbors balance and swing, end facing up in a line-of-4|
|B1||Lines forward and back (toward the band)
Ones cross up the middle and cast (unassisted) down while twos meet, lead up, loop away from each other, and face back in; all end in progressed places
|B2||Right and left through over and back|
A pseudo-chestnut based on the classic dance, Queen Victoria.
Wild Idea ****
May 2020 / March 2023
|A1||Circle left 1x
Balance the ring, spin to the right (as in Petronella)
|A2||Those now [above go down] [below go up] the center two-by-two, turn alone
Return, cast off with partner
|B1||Pass through across and partners swing, end facing across|
|B2||(~6) Half open right-hand chain: those with right hand free pull by, neighbors allemande left until those who pulled by are facing in again
(~10) Ones chase counterclockwise up around twos: “First around two and your partner cut through” (see note)
In A2, alternate the words in the first set of brackets with those in the other set of brackets every other time.Modeled on Martha Wild’s dance, Best of Friends. Wild Idea is a bit more complex than Martha’s dance. Eliminating alternating the calls in brackets would be one way to make it somewhat simpler.
The final chase figure for the ones is sometimes called “the old side door” in Appalachian dances. The ones are crossed over at this point. The chase (up and around the twos) returns them to their original side. So, ones may take an alternate path, but should strive to end on original sides. Here is the official path: Ones end the open chain below the twos with one person facing out and the other facing across toward their partner’s back. The one in the lead turns left, dances up the outside one place, crosses the set, and dances down the outside to end on original side. Their partner follows, across the set and up and around a neighbor, but then takes a shortcut down the center to end on their original side. The suggested timing (for callers) is because the open chain does not really need 8 counts, and the chase will benefit from being a bit less rushed.
David’s Triplet #8 ***
|A1||Mirror heys-for-3, threes between twos (2s casting down) to begin; include 1 additional change to end in 1-3-2 order|
|A2||Ones down the center, turn alone
Return and cast off
|B1||Ones turn contra corners|
|B2||Ones balance and swing, end facing up (and cast down into next round)|
Ends in 3-1-2 order. Repeat twice more to place.
I also have imagined a variation (David’s Triplet #8.1?) where a dip and dive replaces the mirror hey. As with the hey, the dip and dive starts from the bottom and includes one extra change. During the dip and dive, couples California twirl at each end to face back in. At the start of every round, new ones at the top also twirl to swap (technically a star thru, but “face up and California twirl” gets them there). Similarly, in A2, twos at the bottom do one last California twirl while ones start down the center. This is all rather quirky, and I’m curious to see how dancers react when they try it:
Triplet, starts with 2s improper
|A1||Twos facing down/others up, dip and dive all six:
– To begin, ones twirl to swap while threes dive between twos
– Include 1 additional change to end in 1-3-2 order
|A2||(4) Ones down the center while twos (who have just reached the bottom) twirl to swap and fall back to line proper
(4) Ones turn as a couple (all are now proper)
(8) Ones return and cast off to end in middle place
|B1||Ones turn contra corners|
|B2||Ones balance and swing (end facing down)|