Contra Dances

by Robert Cromartie
 

Al's Safeway Produce  contra, duple improper by Robert Cromartie

A1. Star left; Allemande left Neighbor 1&1/2.
A2. Women allemande right 1&1/2; Swing Partner.
B1. Circle left 3/4; Swing Neighbor.
B2. Long lines forward and back; Star right.

Written around 1989. Good for all experience levels and with almost any music. I specify a New England (wrist hold) star for this dance.  I no longer remember what the name means. I do know that the "Al" does not refer to Al Olson, although had I known at the time who he is, it might have.


Lark in the Oven  contra, duple improper by Robert Cromartie

A1. Right hand balance (4), then box-the-gnat with Neighbor (4); allemande right the same 1&1/2 to long waves, gents facing out (8).
A2. Balance the wave (right, then left), slide right a la Rory O'More; Balance the wave (left, then right), slide back.
B1. Allemande right Neighbor 1/2, Men cross to Partner passing right shoulders; Swing Partner.
B2. Right and left through; Circle left 3/4 and pass through.

Debuted to the music of Uncle Gizmo (Larry Unger, Amy Larkin, Carol Hamm), in the lower hall at the NEFFA festival, 1996. Named for Amy and Jonathan Larkin's as yet unborn child (now Silas).


Hey, Moe! contra, duple improper by Robert Cromartie

A1. Dosido Neighbor; Star right (hands across) and Men drop out at home.
A2. Women allemande right once; Swing Partner.
B1. Long lines forward and back; Women chain.
B2. Hey, Women start passing right shoulders.

Yet another Roll in the Hey.


B&B contra, duple improper by Robert Cromartie

A1. Balance and swing Neighbor.
A2. Women chain; Women lead a right hand star.
B1. Allemande left shadow; Swing Partner.
B2. Circle left 3/4 and pass through; Dosido (new) Neighbor.

Ron Buchanan calls the second part of A2 "sashay the star," but I'm not sure if he actually directs the dancers to rollaway and then star (I don't, but it's certainly danceable that way). Caller alert: Dancers waiting out just before the shadow allemande must stand proper (the "wrong" way around) or risk serious confusion as dancers cross to get to their shadows.


Another Second Time Around  contra, Becket formation by Robert Cromartie

A1. Circle left 3/4; Swing Neighbor.
A2. Circle left 3/4; Swing Partner.
B1. Long lines forward and back; Women chain on the left diagonal.
B2. (new) Women pull by with right hands, allemande left shadow 1/2+; Swing Partner (again).

Gene Hubert made significant contributions to this dance, but since he didn't include it in his collection, I hereby claim it for my own. Written for my wedding reception in 1991. The name...well, shucks, you figure it out.


Sun Dance and Moon Dance  contra, duple improper by Robert Cromartie

Moon Dance
A1. See-saw Neighbor; Allemande left Neighbor 1&1/2.
A2. Women balance and swing in the center of the set.
B1. Balance and swing Partner.
B2. Long lines forward and back; Circle left 3/4 and pass through.

Sun Dance
A1. Dosido Neighbor; Allemande right Neighbor 1&1/2.
A2. Men balance and swing in the center of the set.
B1. Balance and swing Partner.
B2. Right and left through; Circle left 3/4 and pass through.

Written and first called on Sunday, September 5, 1993, the last day of the first annual Harvest Moon Festival, put on by the Greenville, SC contra dance group. Intended to be done as a medley. I usually start with an unrelated dance, then change to Moon Dance, then after a few times do Sun Dance, and finally alternate between the two. I know of callers who walk through both dances, then alternate between them throughout. I like the surprise factor. Callers: watch out for the beginning of the B2 -- the dances are different.



The Gypsy Bride  contra, duple improper and double progression by Robert Cromartie and the String Beings

A1. Balance in a circle, spin one place right (as in Petronella), Balance the circle, spin one place right with an extra half turn and face the next.
A2. Balance and swing (new) Neighbor.
B1. Women chain, over and back.
B2. 1/2 hey, started by the Women passing right shoulders; 1's swing.

In the B2, the #1 man, immediately after passing the other man, must turn sharply over his right shoulder to meet his partner for the swing. While the 1's swing, the 2's should face up toward their new neighbors and get close to each other so they're ready to form the circle that starts the dance. Written to go with the excellent tune of the same name, which was written by Tom Trozak. The original version of the dance was written during our Fall East Coast tour in 1994, and it received its first walk-through at the Molly Pitcher Rest Area on the New Jersey Turnpike. Revised during an interminable afternoon on the Long Island Expressway. I later made significant modifications to bring it to this form. The String Beings are Laurie Fisher, Tom Trozak, Art Shuster and Mark Mueller. Published (with the tune) in the May-June 1995 CDSS Newsletter.


Be Here Now  contra, duple improper by Robert Cromartie

A1. Balance the wave (4); Women allemande left once (4); 1/2 hey, start passing Neighbor right shoulders (8).
A2. Balance and swing Neighbor.
B1. Men allemande left 1&1/2; Swing Partner.
B2. Circle left 3/4 and pass through; Dosido (new) Neighbor.

Starts in a wavy line across, women in the middle, Neighbor in right hand. The name comes from the site of Tuesday night contra dances in Asheville, NC, but is also a reminder to the dancers to be on time, especially for the balances in A1 and A2. Published in the November-December 1995 CDSS Newsletter.


Ex-Patriot's Jig  contra, duple improper by Robert Cromartie

A1. Balance and swing Neighbor.
A2. Right hand star (hands across); Women chain.
B1. Dosido shadow; Swing Partner.
B2. Long lines forward and back; Circle left 3/4 and pass through.

A variation of Patriot's Jig by Ted Sannella. It removes the short swing and extra ladies' chain at the beginning of the original, but the transition from swing to star right is not ideal (suggestions, anyone?).


Male Chauvinist Jig  contra, duple improper by Robert Cromartie

A1. Long lines forward and back; Swing Neighbor.
A2. Circle left once; Women chain.
B1. Women dosido once; Swing Partner.
B2. Right-and-left through; Men chain.

Decent glossary dance. Cute name. From about 1994.


Unruly Reunion contra, duple improper by Robert Cromartie

A1. Down the hall 4-in-line (1's in the middle), turn alone, return and fold the line.
A2. Circle left; Circle right.
B1. Dosido Neighbor; Swing Neighbor.
B2. Long lines forward and back; 1's swing.

I use this frequently as the first dance of an evening, especially when there are a fair number of beginners. Written for a dance I called at the Rule Family Reunion in 1991.


Pooh Bear's Holiday  contra, duple improper by Robert Cromartie

A1. Long lines forward and back; Allemande right Neighbor once (4), Women cross the set passing left shoulders (4).
A2. Balance and swing Partner.
B1. Down the hall 4 in line, turn as couples, return.
B2. Circle left 3/4; Swing Neighbor.

Good dance to begin an evening. The tune "Shenandoah Falls" is a perfect match for it. I've experimented with having the women cross by the right shoulder, but have never really decided which is preferable (see also Lark in the Morning). Pooh Bear is my daughter Hannah. Circa 1992.


Carpet Vectors  contra, duple improper by Robert Cromartie

A1. Balance and swing Neighbor.
A2. Circle left; Women chain.
B1. Circle right; Women chain.
B2. Long lines forward and back; 1's swing.

Gene Hubert, Larry Jennings and I had for some time discussed without clear consensus which was preferable -- circle left into a chain, or circle right into a chain. I went to sleep one night thinking about it and literally woke up the next morning with this dance in my head. Quite decent for an experiment. Good to use as the opener for a medley -- the circle right gets people to pay attention. The name comes from the arrows I drew in the carpeting of Thomas Graham's house to make some point about dance flow. From around 1992.


On Approval  contra, Becket formation and double progression by Robert Cromartie

A1. Allemande left shadow; Swing Partner.
A2. Long lines forward and back; on left diagonal: 1/2 hey, started by Men passing left shoulders.
B1. (new) Men allemande left 1&1/2; Swing Neighbor.
B2. Pass the ocean (4), Balance the wave (4), Rotate the wave (4), Balance the wave (4).

Written for Steve and Bettie Zakon-Anderson as a thank you for their ever-gracious hospitality (I told them I would write a dance for them but that they had to approve it...this was about the fifth attempt). Larry's Approval differs only in that the same two men do the allemande after the hey -- this yields a single-progression dance in sawtooth formation.


Hannah's Reel  contra, duple improper by Robert Cromartie
A1. Down the center 4-in-line (1's in center) (4), Dixie twirl (4), return and face Neighbor (8).
A2. 1/2 hey, st N R sh; Swing Neighbor.
B1. Women chain (8); pass through across & turn alone (4), balance in a circle (4).
B2. Circle left 3/4; 1's swing.

The Dixie twirl will have to be taught to almost all groups of dancers. In the B2, passing through, turning alone, and forming a circle in 4 counts is challenging; precisely timed calls are a requirement.

I originally set this dance to begin at B2. and called this "Interchanged Becket" formation. Larry Jennings pointed out that this is really just an improper dance that starts with the down-the-hall, and I now call it that way. For a weird variation, see Gene Hubert's Hannah's Enigma.  Written around 1994.



 
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