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Some unusual formations
Last update: 23 February 2020
Between Two (Ryng Dhui) Lines of 3, all facing anticlockwise around the room 32 bar galop A1 (8) Centre person with outside person, take 2 hands and galop anticlockwise around the room (8) Return A2 (8) Centre person with inside person, take 2 hands and again galop anticlockwise around the room (8) Return B1 (4) Centre person right arm turn with outside person (4) Centre person left arm turn with inside person (4) Centre person right arm turn with outside person (4) Centre person left arm turn with inside person B2 (12) Reel of 3, centre person pass outside person by the right shoulder to start (4) Centre people progress forward (anticlockwise) to the next line Note that the reel of 3 is quicker than usual, to allow time for the progression
Borrowdale Exchange 3 couples in a circle Scatter mixer 32 bar jig or reel A1 (16) All circle left and right A2 (8) Forward and back (8) Do si do partner B1 (8) Right-hand star holding hands with person opposite and with nobody else (8) Undo the star: the woman whose hand is lowest goes under (her new partner pulls her out while the others arch), then the next. Keep hold of the hands B2 (16) Promenade around and make new sets This can be done in groups of other than 3 couples. Indeed, as the dance continues, the dancers tend to make groups of fairly random numbers of couples
Bunyips Bandicoots Music: Sung by the dancers Easy Formation: A series of concentric circles, ie a small circle in the centre, a slightly larger circle around them and so on. Aim for 4 circles, but 3 is okay The dance is very simple: (8) Circle left (8) Circle right (8) To the middle and back (8) Turn single (hopping around rather than simply walking around) While singing (to the tune Frere Jacques): Bunyips, bandicoots, bunyips, bandicoots, Possums too, possums too, Wallabies and wombats, wallabies and wombats, Kangaroos, kangaroos Do it a few times so that everyone is familiar with the song and steps. Then comes the crunch: sing and dance it *as a round*. That is, just the centre circle starts, then the next circle joins in etc. At kids' dances I like to finish with this dance: it's easy, everyone can join in, the whole family can dance together, it's highly distinctive and very memorable. Here is a similar dance with a Christmas theme (it also includes a more difficult version in a square set).
CHOGM Pentrille by Norm Ellis Music: 5x64 bar jig or reel Medium Formation: 5 couples in a pentagon (really just a circle), numbered anticlockwise 14253 (yes, you read that correctly) A1 (8) Forward and back (8) Circle left A2 (8) Forward and back (8) Circle right B1 (16) Split the circle: everyone still holding hands, couple 1 go between lady 2 and man 5, then separate and go around the outside to their original place, dragging everyone else with them B2 (16) Split the circle the other way, lady 2 and man 5 going through couple 1 C (8) 1 swap with 2, 2s making an arch (8) 1 swap with 3, 3s making an arch (8) 1 swap with 4, 4s making an arch (8) 1 swap with 5, 5s making an arch D1 (16) Swing partner D2 (16) Promenade The numbering looks a bit unusual, but it makes sense when you get to the part where the 1s cross with each other couple in turn. The renumbering after each time through is not really a problem: couple 1 are obvious and they drive the dance. Note that it doesn't really matter if they split the circle in the wrong place, everyone still ends up where they are supposed to be.
Ghost of a Chance Peter Foster 27 Oct 2017 Gender neutral, 7 people: 3 facing 3 in a longways set and another person (the Ghost) at the top Actions for the 6 people in the longways set: A1 (8) Lines set twice (8) Pass through to the other side A2 (16) Reels of three on the sides, centre people start by coming in and up. Finish with the centre people still in the middle of the set facing up B1 (16) Stars of 3 people: right hand on the womans side, left hand on the mens side (if the centre people put out their outside hand, that is the appropriate hand to use) The stars will turn about twice (more or less) B2 (8) Collapse the stars into the lines of 3 (order does not matter) and go forward and back (8) Lines go forward and back again Actions for the Ghost: A1 (16) Ghost goes around the outside of the set looking for a suitable target person A2 (16) Ghost stands behind this person and follows them for the reel of three B1 (16) Ghost joins in the star and is free to switch to the other star if desired (and may even switch back if there is time) B2 (8) The star with the Ghost collapses into a line of 4 (order does not matter, except the Ghost must not be at the top), lines go forward and back (8) Lines go forward and back again, line of 4 shifts up one place to pop off a new Ghost Note that the stars in B1 are deliberately a bit random, collapsing into lines wherever the people happen to be. This randomises the lines a bit, so more people get the chance of becoming the ghost
Levi Jackson Rag by Pat Shaw Music: 5x32 bar rag Medium-Hard Formation: 5 couples in a horseshoe, ie 4 couples in a becket set with a 5th couple at the top. This top couple is facing down, others facing across, everyone standing next to their partner with the woman on the right A1 (8) Sides right and left WHILE top couple go halfway down the middle (tops go down just after the sides cross over) (8) Sides right and left WHILE top couple go down to the bottom A2 (8) Sides hands 4 with the couple across and circle left WHILE tops separate and cast to the top (8) Everyone do si do partner B1 (8) All 5 ladies chain: ladies right hand star, go 2 places around (past your partner, past the next, to the next), do a courtesy turn with this man (8) 5 ladies chain again. Stay in the ladies chain hold B2 (4) Promenade one place around the set (12) Balance and swing B1 is where the dance falls apart. Men must take an active part here, both to assist the women into the star and then to take the appropriate woman out
The Mediocre Seven by Peter Foster Music: 7x32 jig or reel Hard Formation: Seven couples arranged in an elongated square containing one couple at the top, one at the bottom, two couples on each side and one couple in the middle A1 (8) Top and middle couples, half ladies chain. Middle couple do an extra half turn, then... (8) Middle and bottom couples, half ladies chain A2 Centre couple swing WHILE (8) Others promenade 2 places around the rectangle… (8) …then forward and back. Finish in the nice neat rectangle formation B1 (8) Left hand star 3/4: women in the bottom square, men in the top square (8) With the one you meet, right hand turn 1+1/2 to put the other person in B2 (8) Left hand star 3/4, men in the bottom square, women in the top square (8) Swing partner You keep your partner but progress to a different position in the set. Do 7 times to get everyone home. In the second half, the stars are a bit tricky - just go 3/4 around, then turn whoever is standing there. Note that if the first star takes you into the middle then you will also be involved in the second star. In A2, the couple in the middle swing. This swing should use an equal hold (not a ballroom hold). Finish the swing with the man above, woman below, and let go of left hands. Then these people will be well placed to go into the subsequent stars. Don Richmond, of the Australian Colonial & Folk Dancers, has a fun addition for an extra challenge: in A1 have the sides do a ladies chain across and back while the others are doing the ladies chains up and down. So first the top square does a 4 ladies chain (as the bottom square just chains across), then the bottom square does a 4 ladies chain (as the top square chains across). Shouldn't be confusing at all... Based on The Magnificent Seven by Bob Archer.
Ninepenny Bit Peter Foster 16 Feb 2019 Square set, with an extra person in the middle (note gender free dance) 32 bar jig or reel A1 (8) Middle person right hand star with couple 1… (8) … and left hand star with the opposite couple (couple 3) A2 (16) Middle person reel of 3 with the side couples, starting right shoulder to couple 3 (side couples take promenade hold) B1 (16) Middle person give right hand (or left hand) to any person and swap places to bring them into the middle. This new middle person then swaps with any other. And swap again. And again B2 (16) Circle left and right around the new middle person, who can show off In B1, the swaps can be a touch chaotic. The middle person simply swaps with any of the other people in the set. The new middle person swaps with another, etc. There is no requirement that exactly 4 swaps are done, and no requirement that all the swaps are with different people. So this part is a bit random (deliberately so). The dance is really gender free, no need to have an opposite sex partner (besides, the set very quickly gets jumbled up). Adapted from the dance Fivepenny Bit
Push and Mini Shove Peter Foster 11 Feb 2017 4x32 jig or reel Three couples in a triangle, standing next to your partner (numbered anticlockwise 123) A1 (16) Couple 1 separate and go around the outside (men clockwise, woman anticlockwise) until they are standing behind a same sex person (so woman 1 is behind woman 2, man 1 is behind man 3). Gently push these people in to the centre and take their places, the pushed people go to the empty gap in the set (in this case, first place) and swing A2 (16) The same woman (with a different man) separate, go around to the same sex person and push them in to the centre for them to swing to the gap All are now reunited with partner, but progressed one place round the set B (32) Partner dosido Grand chain all the way around the set and swing partner (finish in progressed positions) The new number 1 woman leads the dance next time This is a 3 couple version of Push and Shove that was hastily thrown together when we had a sparsely attended dance
Saturday the Thirteenth 13 Feb 2016 12 person square (a square with a line of 3 on each side) by Peter Foster Music: 32 bar jig or reel Medium A1 (8) Head lines go forward and back (8) Side lines go forward and back A2 (16) Threesomes do a reel of 3 B1 (7) Middles right hand star 3/4 to face a new couple on the outside (3) Middles change left hand with one of these new people (6) These new people star right halfway to meet a new couple (see note) B2 (16) Threesomes basket Certainly a bit different For the reel of 3, I suggest starting with the middle person passing their right hand person by the right shoulder, although it doesn't really matter much who you start with. As the middles make the right hand star, the people left behind should move sideways toward each other to close the gap between them, so that they are a clearly defined couple. This makes it easier for the people in the middle to find them. In B1, after the initial star right 3/4, the middles stay in the centre, facing a new couple. The middles then select one of these people and do a left hand half turn to swap places, so they finish on the outside, the new person finishes in the middle. Then these new people star right halfway (across the set). This results in one person progressing right and another progressing across, so you will quickly get to meet everyone else in the set.
Southern Cross Music: 5x64 bar jig or reel Medium Formation: 5 people in a cross - imagine a square set with an extra couple in the middle, except they are single people rather than couples. Numbered anticlockwise, with number 5 in the middle A1 (16) 4 outside people circle left and right (number 5 can show off) A2 (16) Number 5 grand chain around the set: right hand to 1, left to 4, right to 3, left to 2 (5 finishes in the centre) B1 (16) Arches: 2, 5 and 4 take hands in a line of three and make arches. 1 and 3 go clockwise through the arches (ie through the arch on their left and returning through the other arch). Go through the arches twice (but if they use the centre person as a support they can go through lots of times...) B2 (16) Arches on the other axis, made by 1, 5 and 3 C1 (16) Reel of 3 up and down (with 1, 5 and 3) C2 (16) Reel of 3 across (with 2, 5 and 4) D (8) Progression: 5 swing with 1, leaving 1 in the centre (8) 5 swing with 2, leaving them in position 1 (8) 5 swing with 3, leaving them in position 2 (8) 5 swing with 4, leaving them in position 3 (5 finishes in position 4) These swings should use the crossed-hand hold
Spider Web Peter Foster 30 Nov 2019 32 bar jig or reel 4 couples in a circle, women on right of partner Each person is numbered from 1 to 8. These numbers do not change A1 (8) Everyone forward and back (8) Partner dosido A2 (8) Corner dosido (remember who it is!) (8) All circle left B1 (8) Drop hands and come back in the other direction single file (8) Lead person (1, then 2 etc) turn out and go clockwise around the outside as the others make a left hand star and continue moving B2 (16) Outside person is caught by their corner for a swing, then all swing corners The seven person left hand star is the spider web. The dancers can extend their right hands in an attempt to "catch" the lead dancer (the fly). But it is only their corner who succeeds in catching them for a swing, then the others also swing corner (tip for the men: your corner is behind you). The others should not swing their corners until the lead dancer finds their corner, otherwise it's easy for the set to get out of order. So if the lead person misses their corner, just keep going round until you see them again. Note that you only form the web when the lead person turns back. So there is the single file march, then get closer and take left hands to form the web as the lead person turns out. This is a partner change dance. It is rather important that people remember who their corner is this time through, especially for the lead dancer. That is why there are those 2 dosidos: dosido partner to say goodbye, then dosido corner to introduce yourselves. And remember who it is! Origin of Spider Web: at a bush dance I was given a thank you gift with a redback spider design, and a suggestion that I write a redback spider dance. I had no luck with that theme, but thinking instead about a spider's web I came up with this dance and we did it as the last dance of the evening.
Three’s a Crowd Lines of three around the room Mixer Music: 32 bar jig or reel by Peter Foster, 4 June 2012 A1 (8) Lines of 3 go forward. End people turn around to make a wavy line of 3 (8) Lines return (middle person going backwards) A2 (4) Balance forward and back (4) Middles turn right hand person (4) Middles turn left hand person, remake the wavy line (4) Balance forward and back B1 (16) Middle person move forward to a (semi random) new couple (end people can "launch" the middle person) B2 (16) Basket with your new threesome. Optionally finish with a different person in the middle Anyone not finding a new couple at the end of B1 should go into the middle of the room. They can then easily spot any spare couples. In B1, an alternative is for everyone to move forward, rather than just the middles. In this case, the "couples" need to keep pace with each other to avoid being separated For beginner dancers, leave out the balances in A2 (so just do right hand turn, left hand turn)
Troika Music: own tune Easy Formation: Line of three people, everyone facing the front (can also do it as threesomes around the room, all facing anticlockwise) A (8) 8 steps forward, on the 8th step raise hands and shout "Oy!" (8) 8 steps back, again shout "Oy!" B (8) Arches: centre and right hand person make an arch, left hand person go through the arch and around the centre person to place (others need to turn under their joined hands) (8) Arch on the other side C (12) Circle left 12 steps (4) 3 stamps (12) Circle right 12 steps (4) 3 stamps while breaking into a line of 3 (may optionally break in a different place to put someone else in the middle) When doing it around the room, the centres progress to a new line during the first part The band should increase the tempo as the dance continues
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Last modified 29 June 2008