Petronella Spin-Offs

The classic contra dance Petronella started life as a Scottish country dance, and before it was borrowed by New Englanders it already had a distinguished pedigree. Petronella is the very first dance in volume 1 of The Scottish Country Dance Book, published by the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society.

For years I tried to maintain a list of as many contra (and related) dances as I could find that were influenced by Petronella. Between Petronella itself and its many “spin-offs,” my list eventually reached about 300. But, I’ve called it quits. If you are interested in finding dances with this move, you need only go to The Caller’s Box, an amazing database of contradance choreography. From the front page, search for Petronella under figures. As of this writing (November 2019) a search yields an extraordinary eight-hundred and eighty (880) dances! We are clearly heading toward 1,000…

Of course, Number 1 will always be the traditional dance itself – Petronella (no applause necessary…)