I'm searching for a contra dance I vaguely remember from my pre-calling
days. (I would have danced this in Philadelphia at Glenside around 2002.)
The distinctive figure was:
The very top couple and very bottom couple of the set sashay towards the
center for 8 beats.
Those two couples sashay back to place for 8 beats.
It was probably preceeded by long lines forward and back.
Any ideas based on that scanty recollection?
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Hi Chris, Peter Amidon here.
Here are two dances that have the opposite couples sashaying in,
although neither dance has exactly what you described:
Formation: 8 or 10 couples (it also works with 9 or 11, but not quite
as well). Let's say it is 10 couples:
Top five couples are the 'Ups' and bottom five couples are the 'Downs'.
Music: If you are doing the strip the willow figure, then you can use
the Willow Tree medley on Chimes of
Dunkirk CD or the music in the book. Otherwise, any jig or reel.
Al: Top couple sashay to bottom. Top gent leave partner at bottom and
sashay back up with bottom lady.
A2: Bottom couple sashay up with Top gent's partner, and sashay back
to bottom with own partner.
B1/B2: Top and bottom couples strip the willow to the middle; Top
couple with the 'Ups' and bottom couple with the 'Downs'. (Or the
outside couples simply sashay to the middle of the set). When they
reach the middle, same two couples make a 'House' of four arches: two
side arches and two head arches.
C: The remaining 'Ups' cast down and the remaining 'Downs' cast up.
When the meet someone at the side, take their hand and go with them
under the side arch. Then, inside the house, take partner's hand and
go out the appropriate 'Up' or 'Down' arch and back to place.
To repeat the dance, the Arching couples drop their hands and step
back to their new places in the middle of hte set. The new top and
bottom couples lead the next time through the dance.
You can replace the strip the willow figure with the outside couples
sashaying into the middle to make the four-way arch.
from Warren Doyle
adapted by Peter Amidon
formation: Four longways sets laid out like a giant X. The head
couples are the ones closest to the corners of the room. The bottom
couples are the ones in each set closest to the center of the room.
Between the four sets is a space that I will call 'no man's land'.
A1 (16): Each of the four sets take hands in a ring and circle R (8)
Each of the sets circle L (8)
A2 (16): Dosido partner (8)
Two hand turn partner (8)
B1 (16): Top couples in each set sashay down through their
own set, through 'no man's land' and up through the
middle of the opposite set till they get to the top of
the other set.
B2 (16): Active couples sashay to the bottom of this new set they are
in (not back to their original set). (8)
Long lines forward and back. (8)