Thanks again to those who advised me on my dance-leadership presentation!
I'm satisfied with the experience considering its weird cross-purpose (e.g.
I was hoping to intrigue a few of them for dancing, but really didn't have
time to provide them with more than a tiny peek into the whole concept
thereof, and what I was actually being evaluated on was "myself as a
Here's what I finally wound up teaching them--slightly revised again from
what I sent out the other day.
"Bare to the Bone"
Lark-Aeryn Speyer, 2009
1-2 Circle L
3-4 Circle R, face partner
5-6 step R & honor pt, step L & honor pt
7-8 2-hand turn partner, face the center
1-4 forward & back (into the center) *twice*, face partner
5-6 2 changes grand chain (4 counts each), beginning R to partner
7-8 meet NEW partner (the 3rd person) with a 2-hand turn, face center
My musician (a fiddling classmate) and I did not have time to practice just
with the two of us--I didn't even actually get to hear her play the tune all
the way through until the "let's listen to the tune" moment, so that was
sub-optimal, because of course there were some parts of her interpretation
that I hadn't planned on! As you may have noticed if you checked the tune
to "Bare to the Bone," it's got a sort of syncopation that's difficult
get a strong beat out of for walking, so my classmates had a little trouble
moving in time. That's of course my fault for never even pointing out the
beat and suggesting they place their feet to it.
We did the whole thing (verse + chorus) twice through.
I had planned out "teaching points" to try to make it smooth and with some
semblance of the beautiful, but I dispensed with everything except telling
and showing them the moves, basically, because I was supposed to wrap up the
whole thing in 5 minutes flat (yeep!). So it was a little bit wild, but
people smiled (even laughed!) and moved, so it can't possibly have been all
In sum: I realize I did nowhere near to justice to the folk dance
traditions. And if anyone thinks I did a disservice to folk dance, I hope
you'll just write me off no more than a tiny drop in the bucket of
misperceptions. But, although I doubt my classmates will act on any
interest I may (or may not) have awakened, it is my evaluation that I did
provide them with a memorable and positive experience regarding moving and
music and holding hands.
Which is kind of like dancing, I hope.
One of them even told me that she was initially apprehensive, but started
thinking, "Hey, I can do this!" as I was teaching. So that I liked.
There is no conceivable beauty of blossom so beautiful as words,--none so
graceful, none so perfumed. It is possible to dream of combinations of
syllables so delicious that all the dawning and decay of summer cannot
rival their perfection, nor winter's stainless white and azure match their
purity and their charm.
--Thomas Wentworth Higginson