Contras (New England)


Last updated:  January, 2022


Proponents of Contra-dance cite its advantages as:

  • most participants are ‘active’ most of the time - c.f. a single ‘working couple’ in barn dances,
  • greater interaction with ‘neighbors’,
  • all couples generally perform the same steps simultaneously - although half are going in the opposite direction,
  • figures are walked, so there's no need to ‘skip’, ‘step-hop’, ‘rant’ etc..

Couples perform Contra-dance in longways lines, ‘as many as will’.  Minor sets are normally ‘duple’, usually ‘improper’, occasionally ‘Becket’…  rarely quadruple minor i.e. Quadrille.

Since it doesn't involve any taxing stepping or energetic figures e.g. galoping down a set, ‘balance & kick’ or ‘basket’, Contra's well-suited to the more mature dancer.  Nevertheless, this doesn’t imply that Contra isn't amenable to frivolous flourishes e.g. transitions between balancing, circling or starring…  and swinging, which can all be embellished with twirling… or, for unashamed, flamboyant ostentatiousness: the “dip” (where the man tucks a leg behind his lady’s right, she rotates her trunk slightly Ccw., he supports her back or cradles the back of her neck with his left hand and, leaning forward, taking her weight with his right arm around her waist - her right hand around his shoulders - gently lowers her backwards, horizontally, over his thigh…  “Kick that lovely leg!”  A ‘back-breaker’ - not for the novice.)

But ultimately, Contra doesn't offer quite the variety - the ‘cherries’ - afforded by figures such as ‘Strip the Willow’, ‘Dip & Dive’, or ‘Thread the Needle’.

* * *

32-bar Contra dances usually comprise at least six separate figures (c.f. six or less figures for European country dances) - so possibly a bit more demanding to remember.

Accompaniment is often contemporary reels - performed by string bands.



You want to see a demonstration of Contra?
Here's a sample, danced with youthful exuberance:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HlfylsylXo

What you're watching (this dance sequence is “M.A.D.  About Dancing” by Robert Cromartie):

Formation:  duple minor, ‘1’s improper.

Start in a crossways wavy line (ladies in the centre).


(Bars 1-4) Balance the Wave,
Allemande by the right (as a variation: ‘Swat the Flea’),
(5-8) Balance the Wave,
Men Allemande left (completely around) - returning to neighbour to…
(9-16) …Balance (meet two-handed, stomp, push-back, stomp) man twirls lady Ccw. under his left arm, & Swing neighbor.

(17-24) (In fours, holding hands) Circle left three places,
Swing partner,
(25-28) Circle left three places…  to a crossways wavy line (partners face the same way - ladies in the centre),
(29-30) Balance the Wave,
(31-32) Pull-thru’.  (progressing)




The Amazing Sarah Wilcox

Author:  Tom Hinds


Watch at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQHzh83-SAI

Music:  The Squid, The Seagull.

Form:  Longways line of couples.  Duple minor.  Reverse progression.

Preparation:  Take hands in fours from the top.  ‘2’s improper - they progress ‘downwards’.


A1:   Circle left three places,  (4 bars)
swing Partner.  (4)

A2:   Circle left three places,  (4)
swing Neighbor.  (4)


B1:   Lines Forward & Back,  (4)
Square thru’:  chain three around (across first - R-L-R  i.e. partner-neighbor-partner).  (4)

B2:   All facing out (lady on the right) in long lines, hold hands at chest height…  if waiting-out, re-join the line, to balance (lean/slide towards current neighbor, tap, then previous neighbor),  (2)  lady rolls, two-handed, Ccw., in front of her neighbor, across to her left to a new neighbor,  (2)  or, if at an and, to partner.
Balance (towards new neighbor, then previous neighbor),  (2) end couples balance partner (round the end of the set - still facing out)
California twirl new neighbor - to all face-in.  (2)  end couples wait-out a ‘go’.




Amy Absconds

by:  Ted Hodapp


Watch at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8QZA5oqmvY   (Called by Hank Morris)

Form:  Longways line.  Duple minor.

Prep:  Take hands in fours from the top.  ‘1’s swap places (improper).  Face neighbors to form a crossways, wavy line (ladies in the centre).


A1:   Balance the Wave - right then left,  (2 bars)
Rory O’More roll/spin Cw. to the right,  (2)
Balance the Wave - left, then right,  (2)
R. O’M. roll left.  (2)

A2:   Hinge right 90°, men cross the set by the left,  (2)
Swing your partner.  (6)


B1:   Promenade across the set (passing to the right of one’s neighbors), could complete with a lady’s Cw. twirl,  turn to face back…   (4)
Join hands to circle left three places.  (4)

B2:   R-L pull-by along the line,  (2)
Allemande right next person,  (2)
Left pull-by back along line,  (2)
Allemande r. neighbor.  Forward to a new neighbor.  (2)  or, if reached an end, turn-around - as a couple, change designation and wait-out a go; if already waiting-out, re-join.




Aqueous

Author:  Don Flaherty


Watch, from 4m43, at:  https://youtu.be/joM0I6jEwIU

Form:  Longways line of couples.  Duple minor.

Preparation:  Take hands in fours - from the top.  ‘1’s improper.  Each couple faces another couple.

Suspended, wood-board flooring enhances stomping.


A1:   Balance & Swing neighbor.  (8 bars)
Finish with the lady on the man’s right.

A2:   Minor sets circle left (Cw.) three places.  (4)
Swing partner.  (4)


B1:   Longways lines forward, stomp & back tap/stomp.  (4)
Ladies chain across the set (optional Cw. twirl).  (4)

B2:   Longways lines forward and balance (meet partner by the right hand, tap, lean-back, tap).  In minor (two-couple) set, Right-Left Pull-by cross by r. h. to partner…  hinge 90° right, l. h. along the line to neighbor.  (4)
Lines forward, balance and repeat pull-by (to complete a ‘square’)…  (4)  if reached an end, turn-around - as a couple, change designation and wait-out a ‘go’; if already waiting-out, re-join.




Becket Reel  (variant)

by Herbie Gaudreau


Watch at:  https://youtu.be/MpcKR7rFfSA

Form:  Becket Contra lines  i.e. a longways line of couples (lady on the man’s right-hand side) facing another, similar line.  For men, their ‘shadow’ is the lady on their left - for ladies, it's the man on their right.


A1:   Ladies chain across the set…  & back.

A2:   Continue into a Hey (reel of four) across the set (in the middle, pass by left shoulders)…  and back.


B1:   Allemande left shadow (if at an end, one’s ‘shadow’ is opposite), returning to…
Swing partner (ballroom hold, buzz step).

B2:   Right and Left thru’ with the couple on your left diagonal - as a flourish, ladies can finish by twirling Cw. under their man’s left arm as he rotates ¾ Ccw..  A top couple and a bottom couple remain in position and wait-out these four bars.
Right and left thru’ with the couple across the set.  (Everyone's ‘progressed’ Cw..)




Dr Bluhm’s Delight

Author:  Rick Mohr


Watch at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5Okqiiiiys

Form:  Becket Contra lines.  Minor sets that are adjacent crossways could align themselves with each other - allowing wavy lines to be extended.


A1:   In fours, circle left three places.  Men return to place with their neighbor.  (Optionally, then, since the lady's on the man’s left, he could twirl her Ccw. into… )
Swing neighbor.

A2:   Lines (lady on the right-hand side) forward and back.
Left hands across to star Ccw. ½-turn - men cross-over sides (twirl Cw.?) & face back.  Ladies continue to circle a further ¾-turn to their neighbor, with whom (facing in alternate directions) they form a wavy line.


B1:   Balance the Wave, ladies release their l. h., so that neighbors can Allemande right two-thirds (240°) Cw., the man meets, by the l. h., a man from his adjacent, minor set, men who are waiting-out, rejoin,  (4 bars)
Balance (right then left), men Allemande left ¾ (Ccw.) to return for “right hand to partner”.  (4 bars)
Ejected couples rejoin.

B2:   Balance to partner, then to the left, men acknowledge each other, before…  (2)
Swing partner.  (6)
Slip left along the line slightly to progress.  End couples wait-out a ‘go’.




Box the Gnat (Contra)

Author:  Becky Hill


Watch at:  https://youtu.be/24fwMiIUxF4 or:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Vt8ppsd-ZU - Barefoot with Mary Wesley

Form:  Longways line of couples.  Duple minor.

Preparation:  Take hands in fours from the top.  Duple, ‘1’s improper.  Face neighbor.



A1:   Right-handed Balance neighbor (along the line), ‘Box the Gnat’ with neighbor,  (4 bars)
face across, right-handed Balance partner, ‘Box the Gnat’ (end-up crossed-over diagonally).

A2:   Double-handed Balance & Swing neighbor.


B1:   Face across, ladies Allemande right once around,
swing Partner.

B2:   Cross sides with a right (to neighbor) & courtesy turn (or right & ‘Swat the Flea’) with partner - ready to:
Ladies chain across -, ending with a shortened courtesy turn (man completes his Ccw. turn) to progress along the line to a new neighbor.

Repeat…  or, if at an end, dance A1 & A2 with partner, then, while waiting-out during B1 & B2, swap places and designation.




Chinese New Year

Author:  Chris Page


Watch at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jcpi3Via1t8

Music:  Chivalry and Farewell to the Taliban.

Form:  Longways line.

Prep.:  Take hands in fours from the top.  ‘1’s improper.  Form a longways wavy line, men face out - neighbor on his r.h.s..


A1:   Balance the Line,
Box circulate,
Balance the Line,
Box circulate.

A2:   Balance the Line,
Box circulate,
Swing Partner.


B1:   Circle left three places,
Swing Neighbor.

B2:   Long lines forward & back,
right-hand balance partner, pull-by right with partner to cross the set into longways waves (men facing out, ladies facing in - so ‘progressed’).  If at an end, then Balance the Line (A1), swap lines (three times?) & designation, and swing partner.  Men end-up facing out.  Rejoin at the subsequent A1.




Chuck the Budgie

Author:  Rick Mohr


Watch at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KevQxr-saFw

Music:  35s: Perpetual e-Motion - Cluck Old Hen;  34s: Great Bear - The *Randomanians;  32s: Perpetual e-Motion - *Flying Tent.

Forms:  Longways line of couples.  Duple minor.

Preparation:  Take hands in fours from the top.  ‘1’s improper (change places with partner).  Minor sets that happen to be adjacent crossways could align themselves with each other - allowing wavy lines to be extended.


A1:   Men forward to Allemande left (turn 180°),  (3 bars)
returning to “Swing your neighbor”.  (5 bars)

A2:   Hold hands in fours, circle to the left three places to…  (4 bars)
Swing your partner”  (4 bars).


B1:   Re-form longways lines, go “forward & back”,
Ladies Allemande right 1¼ around (a turn plus c.120°).  “Still holding right hands, raise left to your neighbor” - to form a crossways wavy line.

B2:   Balance the Wave,  (2 bars)
Ladies release r. hands and Allemande left ¾ around (turn 270°) their neighbor to meet a new neighbor, and, without releasing left hands, make a longways, wavy line.  (2 bars)
Balance the Line / Longways Balance,  (2 bars)
Everyone releases their l. hand, and new neighbor Allemande right ¾.  (2 bars)  End couples turn-back - as a couple - and wait-out a ‘go’.

Restart:  men forward to Allemande left…




Coconut Cream Pie

A variation on “Apple Pie Quadrille” by Ron Beeson

Author:  Lynn Ackerson


Watch at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=02tHRtMTO74

Music:  The Great Bear Trio - *Garbage in A.

Form:  Longways line comprising two adjacent, crossways couples facing two crossways couples (Quadrille), i.e. each minor set comprises four-facing-four people.


A1:   Lines of four, Forward & Back,  (4)
center four Right Hand Star (hold wrists)…  while ‘ends’ do whatever they want.  (4)

A2:   Allemande left partner, once around,  (4)
new center four Right Hand Star…  new ‘ends’ do whatever they want.  (4)


B1:   Balance (meet double-handed, push-back to a single-handed [man’s right] lean-back) & Swing partner.  (2, 6)

B2:   As a group of eight, Circle left ½,  (4)
Balance the Ring (pull-in, stomp, etc.),  (2)
California Twirl partner to turn-about and face a new line of four.  (2)  The progression is forward - but everyone has swapped lines.  At ends, pairs of couples turn-back and wait-out a ‘go’.




Crow Flight

by Rick Mohr


Watch at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rmkCOobA60

Form:  Longways.

Prep.:  Take hands in fours from the top.  ‘1’s improper.  Form a longways wavy line - men facing outward, ladies facing inward.


A1:   Balance the line, roll right (‘Rory O’More’ turn), past the retiring neighbor to a new neighbor,
Swing neighbor.

A2:   Circle left three places,
Men pass their partner by the right to lead a ½-Hey across.


B1:   Balance & Swing partner.

B2:   Men Allemande left once around,
Allemande neighbor right 1¼ around - back into a longways wavy line.




Enchanted

by Cary Ravitz


Watch at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Nlh9wXS0Cc

Music:  32s: Lift Ticket - Gobby-O and Coffee

Form:  Becket, Ccw. progression.


A1:   Hold hands in fours, circle left three places,  (4)
Ladies lead a ½-Hey, starting by passing by the right.  (4)

A2:   Neighbors Balance & swing.  (8)


B1:   Long lines go forward, partners gypsy ½-way round, long lines reverse back,  (1+2+1)
Hands across to Star left three places.  (4)

B2:   Ladies Allemande right with the next lady, to…  (2)
return to Swing partner.  (6)




Expert Bits

Author:  Peter Stix


Watch at:  https://youtu.be/NsV-eqS8Fk4

Music:  31s:  Perpetual e-Motion - Eleanor Rigby.

Form:  Longways line of couples.  Duple minor.

Preparation:  take hands in fours from the top.  ‘1’s ‘improper’.  With couple-facing-couple, nudge slightly right to form a crossways, wavy line - men in the center.  Minor sets that are adjacent crossways could align themselves with each other - allowing wavy lines to be extended.
The eventual progression for couples is forward - along the major set.


A1:   Balance the Wave,  (2 bars)
Men R. O’M. roll/spin Cw. towards their right (in front of the other man) - back to partner,  (2 bars)
Swing partner.  (4 bars)

A2:   Ladies Chain across & back - completely around their partner into a crossways wavy line (ladies, in the center, meet with right hands).  (4)


B1:   Balance the Wave,  (2)
Ladies R. O’M. spin Cw. across to their right,  (2)
Swing neighbor.  (4)

B2:   Couples (lady on the right) cross thru' the set (ladies meet by the left with a ¼ turn), to form a crossways wavy line,  (2)
face towards neighbor to Balance the Wave,  (2)
Pull forward (and slightly to the right) to the next neighbors,  (2)  (If at an end, turn-back - as a couple - and wait-out a ‘go’.)
Allemande left a full-turn into a crossways wave - men in the middle…  (4)




Fiddler’s Fling

by Cary Ravitz


Watch at:  https://youtu.be/p-vLYUngnz8

Form:  Longways line of couples.  Duple minor.

Preparation:  Take hands in fours from the top.  ‘1’s improper.


A1:   Balance and swing neighbor.  (8 bars)

A2:   Men Mad Robin their neighbor,  (4)
Ladies pull their partner to poussette Cw. ½ around their neighbors.  (4)


B1:   Couples make a gypsy star with their neighbors:  men take left hands while ladies take right hands - other hand to partner.  Turn the star three places Cw. (men reverse),  (4)
Partner Swing.  (4)

B2:   Right and left thru’ across,  (4)
Ladies’ chain across - continuing along the line to meet the next neighbor.  (4)  End couples change places and wait-out a ‘go’.




Heartbeat Contra

Author:  Don Flaherty


Watch at:  https://youtu.be/K8Z2hYA1s6I

Music:  36s: Sam Bartlett - Mary Devlin’s;  35s: C.R. Logston - a *Highlanders’ Farewell jam;  34s: Pete’s Posse - The Echo, Flook - Larry Out the Bin/Elzic’s… , La Bottine Souriante - Sheepskin and Beeswax;  32s: Perpetual e-Motion - Bridge the Gap.

Form:  Longways line of couples.  Duple minor.

Preparation:  Take hands in fours from the top.  ‘1’s improper


A1:   Balance the Ring,  (2 bars)
Petronella turn - twirl ¾ Cw., diagonally to the right, clap-clap,  (2)
Repeat.  (4)

A2:   Balance the Ring,  (2) … then optionally, the lady could twirl Ccw. under neighbor’s l. arm into:
Swing Neighbor.  (6)


B1:   Ladies Gypsy around to cross over…,  (4)  or swing or twirl or do something!
Swing Partner.  (4)

B2:   Holding hands in fours, circle left three places,  (4)
Balance the ring,  (2)
California Twirl partner to turn-about and face new neighbors.  (2)
…or, if at an end, turn-back as a couple, and wait-out a ‘go’.




Hay/Hey in the Barn

Author:  Chart Guthrie


Watch at:  https://youtu.be/J-cOGs9rCXw

Form:  Longways line of couples.  Duple minor.

Preparation:  Take hands four from the top.  ‘1’s improper.


A1:   Neighbors two-handed balance & swing.  (8)

A2:   Ladies chain across to their partner.  (4)
Continue smoothly into a ½-Hey, start with ladies passing right shoulders.  (Men end-up crossed-over, ladies end-up on their ‘home’ side.)  (4)


B1:   Partners balance & swing.  (8)

B2:   Ladies chain across,  (everyone’s crossed-over.)  (4)
½-Hey, ladies pass right shoulders to start.  After men pass each other in the middle, by the right shoulder, they veer to their right to cut-the-corner and progress-on to meet a new neighbor.  (4)  On reaching an end, turn-back - as a couple, and wait-out a ‘go’.




Hopscotch Reel

by Chris Page and Bob Isaacs

Watch at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DizBlj9OqpY

Form:  Longways, duple minor.  Becket.  Novel B1 figure.


A1:   Hold hands in fours, circle left three places,  (4 bars)
swing neighbor.  (4)

A2:   Balance the Ring,  (2)
Petronella turn,  (2)
Balance the Ring,  (2)
Petronella turn.  (2)


B1:   Hands-across, star left three places,  (3)
Men walk forward to next star - while ladies continue to star left,  (1)
Men Hands-across (to future neighbor) and star left,  (3)
Peel-off to return to partner.  (1)

B2:   Balance & Swing partner.  (8)  End facing slightly right to progress.




Joel’s In The Kitchen

Author:  Sue Rosen


Watch at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fk_uEyEIgFs  or:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Czf6_4AUTAI

Music:  34s: Mean Lids - Trip to Pakistan/La Sansonette, Michael Daves - 28th of January;  32s: Hotpoint String Band - Haphazard Breakdown.

Form:  Becket Contra lines.


A1:   Longways Line Forward & Back,  (4)
Ladies Chain across.  (4)

A2:   In a circle of four, Balance the Ring,  (2)
Twirl one place Ccw. (to the right) - as Petronella,  (2)
Repeat.  (4)


B1:   Balance the Ring,  (2)
Cross thru’ the set (pass partner by the right);  then pass neighbor by the left (along the line), i.e. men down the center of the set,  (2)
Continue-on to Swing (no balance) the next neighbor.  (4) or, if at an end, swing partner, and wait-out…  or, to re-join, swing the approaching, new neighbor.

B2:   Circle left three places (ladies cross sides),  (4) (the lady's on the man’s left - so optionally, she could twirl Ccw. into:)
Swing Partner.  (4)




The Last Resort

by Kathy Anderson


Watch at:  https://youtu.be/mM5vNzFxxBs

Music:  34s: Great Bear - Benton’s Hallucinations.

Form:  Becket lines.  Cw. progression.


A1:   In fours, holding hands, circle left three places,  (4)
couples Weave the Line  (If ejected at an end, the couple, as a pair, turn-back,… then, after Allemande right with the following couple, wait-out a turn - until the next ‘A1’.)  (4)

A2:   Allemande right with the subsequent, advancing neighbor (or, if ejected at an end, Allemande partner right), to return to the new neighbor,  (4)
Swing that neighbor.  (4)


B1:   Longways lines go forward & back,  (4)
ladies Allemande right once completely around - crossing back to their partner.  (4)

B2:   Men Allemande left,  (3 bars)
Swing partner.  (5)




Love at First Swing

Author:  Bob Isaacs


Watch at:  https://youtu.be/hxUxb7ONcqA
or:  https://youtu.be/fUvT6O-rq08

Form:  Longways.  Becket lines.  The progression is Cw. (effectively).

Prep.:  Form lines of four across the set, everyone facing down the line.


A1:   Lines advance four steps,  (2 bars)
ladies, while holding hands with the inner man only, curl round in front of him:  the ‘outside’ lady (his r. h. side) arches, the ‘inside’ lady ducks (remember the order after crossing rows at the ends) under it - turning the man half-Cw.,  (2)
four steps forward (returning),  (2)
‘Outsides’ curl inward - dragging the line into a circle of four.  (Ladies return to their partner’s right.)  (2)

A2:   Keeping hands joined, balance in, lean back, release hands and Petronella turn (rotate ¾ Cw., while also moving Ccw. into the next position round), ‘clap-clap’…  (4)
Repeat.


B1:   Balance in, lean back, California twirl(this figure produces the Cw. progression)
meet and swing the next neighbor along the set.  (End couples need to turn-back - as a pair - and wait-out a ‘go’.)

B2:   In fours, circle left (Cw.) three places,  (the lady could optionally twirl Ccw. under her partner’s l. arm - ready to:)
Swing partner.




Mad Mad World

Author:  Martha Wild


Watch at:  https://youtu.be/qHscaBxLW5c

Music:  *On the Danforth.

Form:  Longways line of couples.  Duple minor.

Preparation:  Take hands in fours from the top.  ‘1’s improper.


A1:   Lines forward & back,
Mad Robin - lady first.  At ends, turn-around - as a couple - and wait-out a turn, rejoin at next A1.

A2:   Ladies cross - passing to the right - to partner,
Gypsy once around partner,
Swing partner.


B1:   Couples Pass through (to the left of neighbor) across the set,
California twirl partner,
Mad Robin (men first) around partner.

B2:   Men cross - passing to the right.
Gypsy once around neighbor…  into Swing neighbor.  (Finish with lady on right.)




Mange Tak  (“Many Thanks”)

Author:  Ron Buchanan


Watch at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PnGW9fGvIw4

Music:  Toss the Possum - *Apple Blossom (34s); *Catharsis (31s).

Form:  Longways lines of couples.  Duple minor.

Preparation:  Take hands in fours.  ‘1’s improper.  Similar A and B halves.


A1:   Balance & Swing neighbor.  (8)  (end with lady on the r.h.s.)

A2:   Couples cross thru’ the set (to the left of oncoming partner) to form a crossways wavy line,  (2)
Balance the Wave,  (2)
Hinge neighbor right 90°, men cross the set - passing by the left,  (2)
Hinge partner right 90° - along the line (to ‘shadow’).  (2)


B1:   Allemande l.,  (3)  If at an end, Allemande person opposite  i.e. still your ‘shadow’.
Back along the line to swing partner.  (5)

B2:   Couples (lady on right) cross thru’ (to the left of oncoming neighbor) to form a wavy line,  (2)
Balance the Wave,  (2)
Hinge partner right, men cross - passing by the left,  (2)
Hinge neighbor right, progress along the line to a new neighbor.  (2)  At ends, change designation and wait-out a ‘go’.




The Nice Combination

by Gene Hubert


Watch at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ScnQJa_2nDc

Form:  Longways, duple minor.

Prep.:  Hands four from the top.  ‘1’s improper.


A1:   R. h. Balance and Swing neighbor.  End in a line of four facing downward.

A2:   Lines down the set, turn as a couple, and back - outsides bend the line into a circle,  (4)
circle left three places.  (4)


B1:   Balance and swing partner.

B2:   Ladies Chain across,  (4)
Hands across to L. h. star.  Three places around, peel-off - to progress.  (4)




Oh, Hi Turtle!

by Emily Rush

As called by Robert Cromartie


Watch at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hmanTMdXRM

Music:  35s: Mean Lids (increase tempo by c.10% for a very danceable:) - Red Prairie Dawn.

Form:  Duple minor.

Prep.:  Hands four from the top.  ‘1’s improper.  Men face out.


A1:   Balance the line, ‘Rory O’More’ roll/spin Cw. to the right,
Balance the line (left first), R.O’M. roll left.

A2:   Facing neighbor, R-L pull-by along the line (around the corners), Allemande right 3rd neighbor…  to L-R pull-by back to place (men circulate Ccw.),
Gypsy part-around 1st neighbor…


B1:   Ladies cross the set (to the left of the on-coming lady - back to partner),
Balance & Swing partner.

B2:   Ladies chain,
(keeping the lady on the right) left hand star three places around,
right hand to a new neighbor.




Pedal Pushers

by Bob Dalsemer


Watch at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqnoHv9ASZI (at ContraCopia)

Music:  34s: Buddy System - Breakwall;  32s: Nightingale or Graham Townsend - Pop Corn Reel.

Form:  Longways line of couples.  Duple minor.

Preparation:  Take hands in fours from the top, ‘1’s improper.


A1:   Two men Allemande left 1¼,  (3 bars);
Continuing in-hold, they pick-up their partner around her waist, bring her back to man’s side,  (3)
as a couple, wheel around once (Ccw. - man backing).  (2)

A2:   Two ladies walk around each other (gypsy) Cw.,
return to swing partner, end-up facing across in a circle of four.


B1:   Balance the Ring;  (2)
pass thru' (to the left of neighbor);  (2)
turn individually to the right and, in groups of four, walk/promenade (single) three places around (back to place).  (3)  Men turn-back to face neighbor.  (1)

B2:   Two-handed Balance & swing departing neighbor.  End couples change places and wait-out a ‘go’.




A Pirate’s Life for Me (variation)

by Nathaniel Jack


Watch at:  https://youtu.be/s3rfdV8M7l8

Music:  34s: Barefoot - Spontaneity;  32s: The Fretless - *Samuel’s Maids.

Formation:  Longways.  Duple minor.  Raucous!

Prep.:  Hands four from the top.  ‘1’s improper.


A1:   Balance & swing neighbor - end with lady on the right.  (8 bars)

A2:   Pass thru’ (to left of partner) to cross…  and facing neighbor, form a crossways wavy line,  (2)
Balance the Wave,  (2)
Rory O’More right,  (2)
men continue rolling right to catch left hands, Allemande left once around to return to their line.  (2)


B1:   Balance & swing partner.  (8)

B2:   Ladies do-si-do (twirl) 1½ Cw. to cross-over,  (4)
Gypsy (with twirling?) Cw. completely around neighbor (turning thru 270°), to progress (left) to next neighbor.  (4)




Rock Creek Reel

by David Harris


Watch at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gipgTTjXdfo

Music:  Imperial March medley.

Form:  Longways.

Preparation:  Take hands in fours from the top.  Duple, ‘1’s improper.


A1:   Men forward to form a longways line,  (2 bars)
Balance the Line right and left,  (2 bars)
As the men back out, ladies forward to a line,  (2)
Balance the Line.  (2)

A2:   Ladies Allemande right - twice around,  (4)
Swing partner.


B1:   Holding hands in lines of four, go down the hall (six steps), turn-back (possibly with a California twirl) as a couple,  (4)
return, outsides curl-round to join hands and…  (4)

B2:   Circle left three places,  (4)
Swing neighbor.  (4)




Rock the Cradle, Joe

Author:  Ridge Kennedy


Watch at:  https://youtu.be/fN4rJGBFJ9M  (Caller: Darlene Underwood)

Music:  33s: Perpetual e-Motion - Turnpike Warrior.

Form:  Longways line of couples.  Duple minor.

Preparation:  Take hands in fours from the top.  ‘1’s ‘improper’.  With couple-facing-couple, nudge slightly left to form a crossways, wavy line - ladies in the middle.  Minor sets that are adjacent crossways could align themselves - allowing crossways lines to be extended.


A1:   Balance the Wave,  (2 bars)
R.O’M. roll/spin (Cw.) across to the right, in front of your neighbor,  (2)
Back in wavy lines, balance to the left, then right,  (2)
R.O’M. (Ccw.) back left, in front of neighbor.  (2)

A2:   Taking two hands with neighbor, lean back, pull together and swing.  Finish in longways lines.  (8)


B1:   Lines forward, taking hands with partner, the man pulls his partner back to his side for a swing.  (8)

B2:   With the lady on her partner’s right, in fours, circle left three places into…  (4)
…a crossways wavy line of four (ladies in the center) holding hands,
Balance the Wave,  (2)
lean back and pull through (optional twirl) to meet an approaching couple with whom to form a new, crossways, wavy line.  (2)  ( …or, if at an end, turn-back - as a couple - and wait-out a ‘go’.)




Rocket City Romp

by Cis Hinkle


Watch at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOTuEiujFjk

Music:  Perpetual e-Motion - Eleanor Rigby.

Form:  Longways.

Preparation:  Take hands in fours from the top.  Duple, ‘2’s improper.


A1:   R. h. balance, r. hand pull-by along the line, l. pull-by to cross the set,  (3)
Swing neighbor,  (5)

A2:   Lines forward & back,  (4)
ladies Allemande right once around to cross the set to partner,  (4)


B1:   Balance & Swing partner,

B2:   Ladies chain to cross back to neighbor,  (4)
r. h. balance & pull-by partner to cross the set,  (3)
l. h. pull-by along the line to a new neighbor.  (1)




The Baby Rose

by David Kaynor


Watch at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1IcCDRtiBE

Music:  The Retrospectacles - Catharsis/The Red Crow.

Form:  Longways line of couples.  Duple minor.

Preparation:  Take hands four from the top.  ‘1’s improper.


A1:   Neighbor Balance & Swing.  (8 bars)

A2:   Circle left three places,  (4)
Partner do-si-do.  (4)


B1:   Partner Balance & Swing.  (8)

B2:   Ladies chain to neighbor,  (4)
Star by the left, Ccw. - peeling off to face the next neighbor.  (4)




Rory O’More

A semi-contra - as ‘2’s remain relatively passive…  and there's no ‘Swing neighbor’ figure.


Watch at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jPqECMr9Y8

Music:  Double-jig.  35s: Lissa Schneckenburger - Rory O’More;  32s: Rodney & Elvie Miller - Rory O'More/Saddle The Pony.

Form:  Longways lines of couples, duple, ‘proper’.

Preparation:  Take hands in fours from the top.  ‘1’s need to familiarize themselves with their right and left diagonal (1st and 2nd corner).


A1:   ‘1’s cross the set - passing by right hands, cast down below the ‘2’s (who move up), and up the middle, where, arm around waist, they single-turn the ‘2’s.

A2:   ‘1’s, in the centre of the set, in a longways line (with their partner on their right), Balance the Line (right then left),
Rory O’More’ spin/roll Cw. to the right,
Balance the Line (left then right),
R. O’M.’ roll left.


B1:   ‘1’s Allemande right (turn 180°).
‘1’s Allemande their contra-corners:
Allemande left (180°) the person on the right diagonal (their 1st corner),
Allemande right partner,
Allemande left their 2nd corner (left diagonal).

B2:   ‘1’s (all?), in the centre, Balance & SwingEnd couples change their designation and wait-out a turn.




Serendipity

by:  Chris Page


Watch at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTO9CYt7-eU

Music:  33s: Nova - …/*Snow Boots (c.: Kathleen Fownes);  32s: Tempest - The Stride (c. Winifred Horan)/Man of the House/The Holly Bush.

Form:  Duple minor.  Becket lines.  Ccw. progression.


A1:   Ladles Allemande right once around,  (8 beats)
neighbor swing.  (8 beats)

A2:   Circle left three places,  (8)
Allemande partner right 1¼ (c.430°) to form longways wavy lines - men face in, ladies face out.  (8)


B1:   Balance the Wave,  (4)
Box circulate, hinge 90° right to a crossways wavy line,  (4)
Balance the Wave,  (4)
forward to next neighbor (or wait-out… or rejoin), hinge 90° right to a longways wavy line - men face in, ladies face out,  (4)

B2:   Balance the Line,  (4)
Box circulate - men cross, ladies loop right,  (4)
partner swing.  (8)




Salute to Larry Jennings  (variant)

by Ted Sannella and Russell Owen


Watch at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMrprJLONTA

Music:  36s: Sam Bartlett - Mary Devlin’s;  34s: Celtic Fiddle Festival - The Primrose Lass.

Form:  Becket Contra lines i.e. two longways line of couples (lady on the man’s right-hand side) facing each other.  Consider the set as a squashed circle.


A1:   In fours, circle left three places.
Do-si-do neighbor.

A2:   Facing neighbor, three R-L pull-bysIf at an end, continue round to cross lines - as if the set is a squashed circle…  (men go Cw.),
½ Allemande left the fourth person.  Continue R-L back to neighbor.


B1:   Swing neighbor.

B2:   Forward to meet partner, two-handed…  man takes lady back to his side…  they swing.

Progress by making a new circle of four with the couple diagonally to the leftEjected end-couples wait-out (but could try A1 with partner and then risk joining-in for A2).




Simplicity Swing

Author:  Becky Hill


Watch at:  https://youtu.be/X6t9qAaAPG4

Form:  Longways lines of couples.  Duple minor.

Preparation:  Take hands four from the top.  ‘1’s improper.


A1:   Balance & swing neighbor.  (8)  (Optionally, twirl lady Cw. into… )

A2:   Circle left three places,  (3)  (man could then optionally twirl his partner Ccw. into… )
Swing partner.  (Lady could twirl Cw. into… )  (5)


B1:   Longways lines forward, stomp, & back, stomp,  (4)
Ladies Chain across.  (4)

B2:   Star Ccw. (holding left wrist of person in front) once around,  (4)
peel-off to do-si-do (with an optional twirl) around new neighbor.  (4)
or, if reached an end, swap rows and wait-out a ‘go’ (or swing one’s partner).




Slapping the Wood

by Don Flaherty


Watch at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4czDm3Jr4xk

Music:  Various artists - The Road to Errogie;  30s: Anna Ludlow - *The Hurricane.

Form:  Longways line of couples.  Duple minor.

Preparation:  Take hands in fours from the top.  ‘1’s improper.  Couples face along the line to their neighbors.


A1:   Holding inside hands with their partner, couples do-si-do neighbors,
Swing
neighbor.

A2:   Ladies chain across,
Everyone ½-Hey (ladies start by passing right shoulders) to cross sides.


B1:   Balance & swing partner.

B2:   Holding hands in fours, Circle left three places,  (4)
Balance the Ring,  (2)
California twirl to turn-about and face new neighbors.  (2)  Ejected end-couples change places and wait-out a ‘go’




Smile with Your Voice

by Bob Isaacs


Watch at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBTYgxUSgb4

Form:  Longways, duple minor.

Preparation:  Take hands in fours from the top.  ‘1’s improper.  Face neighbor.


A1:   Allemande neighbor left 1½ around,
ladies pass by the right to lead a ½-hey across.

A2:   Balance & swing neighbour.


B1:   Circle to the left three places,
Balance & swing partner.

B2:   Pass across, ladies hinge (quarter turn) by the left, through to a crossways wave,
Balance the Wave,
ladies hinge left,
turn neighbour (270º) by the right.
End couples leave or re-join.




3-33 (“Three Thirty-Three”)

Author:  Steve Zakon-Anderson


Watch at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8e4SoZZ-_cc

Music:  Rainy Night in Montague.

Form:  Longways line of couples.  Duple minor.  Consider the set as a squashed circle.

Preparation:  Take hands in fours from the top.  ‘1’s improper.  Face neighbor.


A1:   Take right hand with neighbor, balance and pull-by right (men move Cw., ladies Ccw.),  (2 bars, 1 bar)  If at an end, balance the opposite person (partner) then continue round the corners.
Pull-by left with #2 neighbor,  (1)
Take right hands with #3 neighbor, balance and Box the Gnat.  (2, 2)

A2:   Facing-back, Pull-by right #3 neighbor,  (1)
pull-by left #2 neighbor,  (1)
Swing original neighbor.  (6)  If left at an end, swing partner - ending swapped-over.  The couple waits-out during B1-B2…  and, facing the line, continues normally from the subsequent A1.


B1:   Circle left three places,  (3)
Swing Partner.  (5)

B2:   Long lines go forward & back,  (4)
Ladies do-si-do Cw. 360º around each other  (4)  …  to swap sides and restart - offering r. hand to new neighbor.




There and Back Again

Author:  Heather Carmichael


Watch at:  https://youtu.be/-OYxzs9BnPQ

Form:  Longways line of couples.  Duple minor.

Preparation:  Take hands in fours from the top.  ‘1’s improper.  Start in cross-ways wavy lines - ladies overlap in the centre.  Minor sets that are adjacent crossways could align themselves - allowing wavy lines to be extended.


A1:   Balance the Wave,  (2 bars)
slide or Rory O’More roll Cw. to the right,  (2 bars)
Catching neighbor to Allemande left nearly twice around.  (4)  returning (behind) to:

A2:   Balance & swing previous neighbor.  (2, 6)


B1:   Circle left three places,  (4)
(since his partner's on his left - the man could twirl her Ccw. into:)
Swing partner.  (4)

B2:   In a circle of four, Balance the Ring,  (2)
Ladies pass as they cross through and couples form a wavy-line with their original neighbors (from A1),  (2)
Balance the Wave,  (2)
pull forward to a new neighbor.  (2)  The progression comprises:  back one couple, followed by forward two couples.  End couples need to stay alert!




Triskaidekaphobia

Author:  Kirston Koths


Watch at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kry9sy4dqco

Form:  Longways lines.

Preparation:  Take hands in fours from the top.  Duple minor.  ‘1’s Improper.


A1:   Balance & swing neighbor.

A2:   Men Allemande left 1½,  (4)
Swing partner.  (4)


B1:   The four in a line (M2 L2 M1 L1) walk down the hall,  (2, 2)
Turn into a ‘cozy line’:  keeping hands held, the center pair arch, turn away from each other backing under their arch, the ends join free hands behind… the foursome then returns to place,  (2)
Form a cloverleaf (still holding hands, center pair duck, ends arch over)  (2)

B2:   In the cloverleaf, circle left 1¼ (until ‘1’s above, ‘2’s below),  (5)
Partners ‘Star through’:  release neighbor’s hand, man carries his r. arm (holding partner’s left) over his partner’s head (as in a ‘California Twirl’) - end facing neighbor,  (1)
Pass through - along the line (ladies in the center).  (2)




Uplift

Author:  Chris Page


Watch at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vkoHYsye8xM  (but executed haphazardly.)

Form:  Becket Contra lines.


A1:   Circle left three places,
Swing neighbor.

A2:   Long lines forward (stomp… ) & back,  (4)
Ladies chain across.  (4)


B1:   Ladies Chain across diagonally to the left man (‘shadow’ - who’ll shortly be their new neighbor) - so starting the ‘progression’),  (4)
Balance the Ring,  (2)
Petronella turn (¾ Cw. - men keep their line).  (2)

B2:   Balance the Ring,  (2)
Ladies roll away - c. 1¼ turns Cw. - to their right along the line, back to their partner,  (2)
Swing partner.





United We Dance

by Bob Isaacs

Watch at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxLe7dJIpt4
or:  https://youtu.be/7F0l3s5cZY8

Form:  Longways line of couples, duple minor.

Prep.:  Take hands in fours from the top.  ‘1’s improper, men face out.  Holding hands in a long line…


A1:   Balance the line,
R.O’M. roll to the right,
Balance the line,
R.O’M. roll left.

A2:   Balance & swing Neighbor.


B1:   Circle left three places,
Swing partner.

B2:   Ladies Chain (lady could raise her left arm to twirl Cw. under man’s left arm into… ),
Left hand Star (Ccw.).  At the third place, peel-off (progressing).




Flourishes - A Few Twirls

Hands are held loosely - allowing relative rotation.
The couple face each other

  • with either hand, the man raises the lady's right hand and leads her into a Ccw. twirl;
  • with either hand, the man raises the lady's left hand and leads her into a Cw, twirl;
  • right hand to right hand.  They raise their joined hands, the lady turns Cw. under their arch; almost simultaneously, he follows Ccw. - or the obverse:  l. hand to l. hand, she turns Ccw., he follows Cw.;
  • left hand to left hand.  Lady twirls Cw. under her partner’s left hand (‘Swat the Flea’ - a left-handed ‘Box the Gnat’).  Man can then rotate ½ Ccw. leading her around him…  or alternatively, he can rotate ½ Cw. swapping the lady’s left hand, behind his back, to his r. hand for her to twirl out, Cw., under it.

The couple face each other, crossed-hands:

  • r. above l..  Raise r. arms.  Lady under-arm twirls Cw. to the right of her partner - he rotates Ccw..  They end-up facing each other - but with l. above r.;
  • l. above r..  Raise l. arm, then r., lady twirls through Ccw. to the left of her partner (i.e. a two-handed ‘Box the Gnat’);
  • l. above r..  Man raises his left arm, and draws lady to roll-in Ccw. to his r. arm (at shoulder height), so that she's adjacent to him, both circling slowly Cw..  Holding both hands, they raise their lefts so the lady can twirl-out Cw..  Still holding both hands, she can circle behind her partner…  and both continue a double, ‘rolling’, two-handed twirl - he Ccw., she Cw. …  alternately she-behind-him / he-behind-her.




Suggested Contra Recordings  (mainly 32-bar reels - slowest first)

39s: Mean Lids - Amber Fields;

37s: Becky Tracy - Arizona;

36s: We Banjo 3 - Good Time, Old Time, The Fretless - *MacLeod’s Farewell/Palmer’s Gate, The Faux Paws - Southport, Sam Bartlett - Mary Devlin’s, Gillian Boucher - Harem Scarem/Humours of Lissadell;

35s: Perpetual e-Motion - Vladi on the Trans-Siberian, Cluck Old Hen, Mean Lids - Midnight Wander, Red Prarie Dawn;

34s: The Great Bear Trio - *Benton’s Hallucinations, The Gardener, Flook - *Larry …/Elzic’s Farewell, George Penk, Clyde Curley & Susan Songer - Merriweather/Sally Ann Johnson set, Buddy System - Acorn Stomp/Black … , Barefoot - Spontaneity, Firecloud - Smith Mountain/High Avalanche Danger, Michael Daves - *The 28th January, Pete’s Posse - *The Echo, Hotpoint Stringband - *Bus Stop Reel, Mean Lids - Feel the Bubbles/Sally in the Garden, Trip to Pakistan, Máiréad Nesbitt – *The Butterfly Reel, Skidoo, Syncopaths - The Hut on Staffin Island/Johnny Wilmots Fiddle/Frank’s Reel;

33s: Tidal Wave (Contra Quebecois) - Reel à Bruce/Reel De Terrebonne/Reel Du Nord, Perpetual e-Motion - Turnpike Warrior/Mom/Kandahar set, The Great Bear Trio - *The Randomanians, Jenny’s Groove, Big Bandemonium - *Flying Tent, Hotpoint Stringband - Big John MacNeil/Elzic’s Farewell set, Jeff City/Dolly McFadden’s Favorite/… set, Pete’s Posse - The Bunny Tree, Contranella - Walking Home/D Tune, Nightingale - Ballygow/The Bus Stop/MacDonalds, Come Along Jody/… Dog, Nova - …/Snow Boots, Brendan Block - Flight of the Penguins/Fleur de Mandragore, Genticorum - *Reel Circulaire, Genticorum or La Bottine Souriante - Sheepskin and Beeswax, Retrospectacles - Catharsis/Red Crow, Stringdancer - Bad Axe Breakdown;

32s: Perpetual e-Motion - Sandy Boys/Beth Cohen’s set, The Great Bear Trio - Contra Dance, The Hat Thief, Lake City/The Monarch (30s), George Penk, Clyde Curley & Susan Songer - Mad River/…/Hey Little Girl set, Andrew and Noah (Van Norstrand) Band - *Elusive Goose, Cascade/Dial Pancake, The Faux Paws - Rainy Night, Toss the Possum - Blackberry Blossom, Elzic’s Farewell, The Lost and Nameless Orchestra - Dizzy Molly/Julia Delaney/… McNeil, The Dam Beavers - *Dirt, Contranella - *Esquimaux/New Year/… , Downtown/Aquarius/… , Syncopaths - The Very Last Straw, Spootiskerry/Morning Haggis, Tom Adler & Co. (incl. Rob Pine) - Sweet Nell, Hotpoint Stringband - Juneteenth/Opera Reel, Warsaw/*Haphazard Breakdown set, The Gothard Sisters - *Against the Grain, Nightingale - *Barter’s Hill/Lucy Campbell, Béla Fleck - *Frosty Morning, Tidal Wave (Contra Music Of Quebec) - Set des Frères Pigeon/Répertoire Gerard Lajoie/Reel St Michel, The Fretless - *L’acteur/Ginger & Judah, Maybe Molly (not original’s title), Brendan Carey Block - Flight of the Penguins/Mandragore;

31s: The Great Bear Trio - *Garbage in A, Buddy System - *Ride the Wheel, Mean Lids - Waterbound, Firecloud - *Sandy Boys/… , Nova - Snow Boots, Toss the Possum - Catharsis, Andrew & Noah - Flying Cloud Cotillion/Que, Hanneke Cassel - *Dot the Dragon’s Eyes, The Green Lads - Pop, Perpetual e-Motion - *Eleanor Rigby;

30s: Blazin’ Fiddles - Pat The Budgie, The Great Bear Trio - Rec Hall/Redstone Reel/Allen Street, Giant Robot Dance - Sheepskin & Beeswax, Pete’s Posse - Fine Times, The Green Lads - Road to Errogie, Anna Ludlow - *The Hurricane, Perpetual e-Motion - Greasy Coat/Sally Ann;

35s-29s: Nova - Epic Reel/Trip to the Market/The Coalminer.

Electro/Techno (tempo shown for 32-bars - but rarely conveniently structured as 32 bars, so trickier to incorporate than normal).
34s: Firecloud - Smith Mountain/High Avalanche Danger, DR Shadow (Benjamin Smith) - Hills;
33s: DR Shadow - First Chance, Vitamin String Quartet - Billie Jean;
32s: Perpetual e-Motion - *Flying Tent, Bridge the Gap, DR Shadow - *Glory in the House, Midnight, Drop, In the Bucket, Cluck This, Destiny, Firecloud - *Eyeball Tacos, Twister, Niteworks - Beul na h-Oidhche, Vitamin String Quartet or Taylor Davis - *Thriller, Organic Strings or Alexandr Misko - Billie Jean, Vitamin String Quartet - ;
31s: Firecloud - *Get Serious, Niteworks - Highlanders’ Farewell, Erhan ShukriBillie Jean.


Numerous Contra tune recordings can be accessed directly from this index.



Arcadian (’Cajun) dance

Music tempo: c. 95 beats per minute.

As for so many styles of dance, the chassé forms the basis of Cajun dancing.

Two-Step footwork - in 4/4 time, all shuffle steps, upper body relatively stiff.
Chassé left:  the man moves his left foot diagonally left (the lady moves her right foot diagonally back), close the right to the left, move left foot diagonally left, close the right to the left (or slightly behind the left) with a tap (or kick diagonally to the right);
change direction, chassé right:  the man moves diagonally right with the right foot, close the left to the right, diagonally right, close left to right with a tap/kick-left. (8 beats)

Lady’s twirl:  man spreads legs, couple two-handed lean back, pull together, then the lady twirls Cw. under man’s left arm…  or Ccw. under his right.

A fun variation:  (footwork is simply two-step.)  Starting face-to-face (perhaps after completing a lady’s Ccw. spin), the lady holds the man’s right hand with her left and she rotates half Ccw. to the left of her partner so that she’s standing beside him, facing the same way, on his right, with her left arm wrapped in front of her.  He puts his left hand behind his back so that his partner can hold it with her right (wrapped in front of her).  They’re now side-by-side, both holding each other’s hands - right to (lady’s) left.  Still holding his partner’s r. hand, the man then releases his r. hand so that he can twirl once Ccw., passing in front of her.  They end-up side-by-side again - but now he’s on the lady’s right.  She holds her left hand behind her back and he wraps his right across, in front of him - so that he can hold it.  Continue ad infinitum.


Cajun Music
42s:  The Cajun All-Stars - Cousin Lilly, Lost Bayou Ramblers or Lee Benoit - Bosco Stomp;
40s:  Lost Bayou Ramblers - Bayou Perdu, Renee Stomp, The Cajun All-Stars - *Mamou Jam;
39s:  The Cajun All-Stars - *Newz Reel, Jesse Lege and Friends - Mamou Hot Step;
38s: The Savoy-Doucet Cajun Band - Evangeline Special, La Queue De Tortue, *Lacassine Special (minor vocal content), The Savoy Family Band - Tite Robe Court (some vocal content); 36s:  The Balfa Brothers - Indian On A Stomp;
35s:  Dewey Balfa, Marc Savoy, D. L. Menard - Liberty.



Sample Repertoires

  Each session starts with a sedate dance and ends with a raucous, energetic one.

Socially-spaced (i.e. minimal contact, no partner-progression.)  Use wrist-grip (more hygenic) for ‘stars’.

"OXO" Reel [replace circling with elbow turns - so "( ( X ) )"! Reel]: unidentified - OXO Reel set.
Virginia Reel (40-bar, non-Strip-t-W. version): Colin Dewar - V.R. Medley.
Four Around Four: "WttD", CD1, 07 The Ranchers - Jigs, 34s: Celtic Fiddle Festival - Stan Chapman’s/… ;  33s: Mark Arrington - *The Kesh, 30s: Brendan Block - *Kate’s.
Thread the Needle: Michael O' Donoghue - Haymakers Jig, Old School Band - Shearer’s Gem/Whittle Springs (32s); Kevin Burke & Cal Scott - *The Green Fields of Woodford/Seanamhac ….
The New Mrs Arrowsmith: Patrick Street - Down by the Old Fairy Fort/The Whistler… .
T.A.G. (stars): Syncopaths - *East of Glendart/… , Bronwyn Leigh.
Hullighan’s Jig: Gordon Pattullo’s Band - Hullighan’s Jig (62s).
Boston Tea Party (single Dip 'n' Dive): The Dunne Family - Strike the Gay Harp/Jimmy Ward’s/Doberman’s.
Bridge of Athlone: Cheviot Ranters - The Frost is all Over/Pet of the Pipers/Smash the Windows.
Bottoms Up (Thread the Needle): Tiger Moth - *Oats and Beans and Barley Grow.
The Heartbreaker (Ladies’ Star [grip wrists] and 4 ladies Chain): French Charleston - Ain't She Sweet, Viscounts - Eyes of Blue.



Eclectic, circa 1½ hr per session.

  • Broken Sixpence:  39s: Sam Bartlett - Rumblestrip;  36s: Sam Bartlett - *Mary Devlin’s;  34s: Sharon Shannon - Woodchoppers;  33s: Altan - *The Triple T.
  • The Heartbreaker:  96 bpm: Tony Evans, 108 bpm: The Viscounts - Five Foot Two, Tony Evans - Ain’t She Sweet;  122 bpm: The Belgrade Dixieland Orch. - Yes Sir, … ;  126 bpm: Michael Holliday - Swanee.
  • Cotton Eye Joe:  Geslison & Groberg, Rednex - C.E.J. - best on suspended, floor-boards.
  • Country Bumpkin:  37s: The String Sisters - The Crow’s Visit;  36s reel: Country Fiddle Band - Miller’s Reel (4 x rpts.);  35s reel: Fiddlers3 - Billy Thom’s/Rannie …/… ;  32s jig: Steamchicken - Nobber’s New Jigs.
  • Stoke Golding:  49s: Trinculo - Any Jig Will Do/Tall for a Night;  48s: Natalie MacMaster - *Patricia Kelso’s;  46s: Fiddlers Dram - Peel the Tatties/The Pig in the Kitchen/The Barony Jig.
  • Nottingham Swing:  52s (32-bar): Steamchicken - *… Devil's Dead/Party … ;  25s: Martin Simpson - *The Keel Row;  24s: Banter/Bellowhead - *Kafoozalum, 23s: Steamchicken - Gobbys … .
  • Break

  • Mouth of the Valleys:  38s: Celtic Fiddle Festival - Loch Leven Castle/… McDonald’s/…;  36s: Gillian Boucher - Harem Scarem/Humours of Lissadell;  34s: Máiréad Nesbitt - *The Butterfly Reel;  33s: The Gothard Sisters - *The Bandit.
  • Foula Reel:  39s: Spælimenninir - Da Shaalds o Foula;  32s: The Ranchers - WttD, CD1, 07 Jigs, Celtic Fiddle Festival - *Maureen’s Fancy/… /Swinging Jig double-jig set, Olive Hurley - Shandon Bells/Nova Scotia/… jig set;  29s: Drams - Strip the Willow.
  • Champenoise:  33s: Die Irrlichte, 31s: Duivelspack or 27s: Les Genoux - Chapelloise/Jump at the Sun.
  • Georgia Rang-Tang (American Square), (24-bar):  26s: Rattle on the Stovepipe - *Chinquapin Hunting;  (16 bars in 17s): Ron Block - Devil in the Strawsack.
  • United We Dance (Contra):  36s: The Fretless - *Macleod’s Farewell/Palmer’s Gate;  33s: Pete’s Posse - The Bunny Tree;  32s: Hanneke Cassel - Dot the Dragon’s Eyes;  31s: Great Bear - Garbage in A.
  • Bouquet Waltz (American Square), (c.1m20 for once thru'):  40 bars in 40s: David Holt & Josh Goforth - *Billy Wilson;  24 bars in 23s: Uncle Earl - Backstep Cindy.
  • Suicide Square - double-jig:  33s: Jim Macleod - Rory O'More/The Lynmore Jig/… ;  32s: Dave Swarbrick - The Swallow’s Tail/Rakes Of Kildare/Blackthorn Stick, Tiger Moth - *Oats and Beans …/Hullichan;  31s: The Scottish Fiddle Orch. - Jake’s Jig/Well for Water;  29s: Drams - Strip the Willow.
  • Break

  • T.A.G.:  jig:  35s: Syncopaths - *East of Glendart/… , *Bronwyn Leigh;  32s: Kevin Burke & Cal Scott - *The Green Fields of Woodford/Seanamhac Tube … .
  • Chuck the Budgie (Contra):  35s: Perpetual e-Motion - Cluck Old Hen;  34s: Great Bear - The Gardener or *The Randomanians;  32s: Perpetual e-Motion - *Flying Tent.
  • Dip ‘n’ Dive (American Square), (c.36 or 56-bar!):  16 bars in 20s: Mick O’Brien & C O’R - *Rolling in the Ryegrass set;  16 bars in 17.5s: Corrina R. Logston - Highlanders’ Farewell;  16 bars in 17s: Ron Block - *Devil In The Strawstack;  20 bars in 22s: Dirk Powell - Sally Anne.
  • Oh, Hi Turtle! (Pull-by)/Amy Absconds (Balance the Wave, Pull-by and R O'M)/Heartbeat (Petronella) Contra:  34s: Pete’s Posse - The Echo, Toss the Possum - Apple Blossom;  32s: The Fretless - Samuel’s Maids, The Dam Beavers - *Dirt, Syncopaths - Spootiskerry/Morning Haggis;  31s: Buddy System - *Ride the Wheel.
  • Zig Zag:  37s: String Sisters - *The Crow’s Visit;  36s: The Fretless - *Macleod’s Farewell/Palmers;  34s (jig): Kevin Burke & Cal Scott - *The Green Fields of Woodford/Seanamhac … ;  33s: Brittany Haas - *Malley’s/E-B-E Reel;  32s: Tidal Wave - *Reel a Bruce/De Terrebonne/Du Nord set, Alasdair Fraser & Haas - Calliope House/*MacArthur Road/Frank’s Reel -> Natalie MacMaster - *Three Reels.
  • Waves of Tory:  5 x 48-bar jig: WttD, CD1 - 11 WoT (Shandon Bells/Devil in Dublin/Coleraine); 44s: Eliza Carthy - Zycanthos Jig/Tommy’s Foot/… ;  42s: The House Band - Zakynthos Jig, Threepenny Bit - Coffee Zycanthos.
  • Orcadian Strip the Willow:  Jigs:  50s (slip): Mark Arrington - Foxhunter’s;  46s: Fiddlers Dram - Peel the Tatties/The Pig in the Kitchen/The Barony Jig;  44s: Maire Breatnach Band (or Street Fiddlers) - Nead Na Lachan/Moll Roe;  30s: (skip-step) Leahy - Wedding Day, Blazin’ Fiddles - Thursday Night … (16-bar jig).



Kids’ Programme:  Cumberland Reel, Pat-a-Cake Polka, Farmers Jig, Muffin Man, Bridge of Athlone, Virginia Reel, OXO Reel, Clopton Bridge.

Cumberland Reel
Form:  4, 5, or 6 couple longways set (facing partners).
Music: 32 bar reel or jig.
A1:  Top two couples right hand star then left hand star back.
A2:  1st couple galop down the centre and back to the top; lead a single cast (boys to the left, girls to the right).
B1:  1st couple make an arch at the bottom, the rest promenade up through the arch to progressed places.
B2:  New top couple lead a promenade round to the left (double cast) and back to places, all follow.
Repeat for the remaining couples.
Source: EFDSS Community Dances Manual.

Farmer’s Jig
Form:  4-couple longways set (facing partners).
Music: 32-bar jig.
A1:  All four couples face up and advance up the set, turn and return to place.
A2:  Partners give two hands to each other and galop up the set, then galop back to place.
B1:  In groups of four, right-hand star; back with the left.
B2:  First couple lead a single cast, boys to the left, girls to the right.  First couple make a two-handed arch at the bottom, others, holding inside hands, walk up through the arch and up the centre.
N.B. All couples remain facing up, ready to restart the dance.  Repeat 3, 4 or 5 times.
Source: Everybody Dance (EFDSS 1972).

Muffin Man
Form:  Circle (girls on boys’ right).
Music:  32-bar polka.  35s: Call of the Pipes or 34s: Shiftin' Bobbins
A1:  All to the centre and back twice.  (To progress:  for the second time forward - boys cross behind partner.)
A2:  Face partner, take both hands:  four galop steps into the centre and back, repeat.
B1:  Promenade partners.
B2:  Swing partners.
Repeat - as desired.
Source: Everybody Dance (EFDSS 1972).