Contras, etc. (Untested)

Tried and True Contras
Beta Contras
Master List of All Dances

Duple improper

Becket formation

Duple proper


Anglo File ****
July 2021
Duple improper

 A1 Going down between neighbors and angling to the left, ones pass left shoulder with neighbor for a dolphin hey across
 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
 B2 Chain across
Left-hand star; for transition into next hey, release star and #2 on left file loop right (see note)

The transition from B2-A1 is a key moment. Ones continue the momentum of the star to bear left into the dolphin hey with the next neighbors, passing the new #2 on the right file. The other #2 (on the left file) is the only dancer who loops right out of the star.  

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Ross’s Reel #2 *****
June 2020
Duple improper

 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)
(8) Balance this wave twice
(4) These neighbors allemande left once and give right to partner
 B1 Ones turn contra corners
 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.”

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Trip to the Shore **
June 2020
Duple improper

 A1 Neighbors do-si-do
Neighbors swing
 A2 First corners change places; partners balance
Partners swing
 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 right diagonals and left diagonals respectively.

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A Turn for the Better ****
May 2019
Duple improper

 A1 Circle left once around
Neighbors swing
 A2 Right diagonals change places (4), left diagonals 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 the extra two dives 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.

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Flex Time ***
March 2022
Becket, counterclockwise

 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.

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Nifkin Lounge ***
October 2019
Becket, clockwise

 A1 Balance the ring and spin to the right (as in Petronella)
Neighbors swing
 A2 Full chain, over and back
 B1 Balance the ring and spin to the right
Partners swing
 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 Cornell University Campus where we had a little dance.

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Noble and Generous Cetacean ****
July 2021
Becket, clockwise

 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.

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Some Pig ***
June 2020
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

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Buttermilk Biscuits **
July 2020
Duple proper

 A1 Ones half figure-8 down the set
Ones swing
 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

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Wild Idea ****
May 2020
Duple proper

 A1 Circle left 1x
Balance the ring, spin to the right (as in Petronella)
 A2 Those now above, down the center two-by-two, turn alone
Return, cast off with partner
 B1 Pass through across and partners swing
 B2 Allemande left 3/4 to cross the set while others turn out over right shoulder and move up or down the outside (all are now across from partner)
Balance the ring; just the twos California twirl (ones face the next)

Modeled on Martha Wild’s dance, Best of Friends.

The figures in B2 are more common in English country dancing, as are “meanwhile” figures. It might help some dancers to know that the figure moves everyone one place clockwise — imagine circling left one place and that is where you end up. Those who allemande go a little more than half to end across from where they began. The others move up or down the set one place to where their partner just was.

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