Contra dances

121st Birthday Party

Improper duple formation. Written in 1996 in honor of the 121st birthday party (combined) for Gail Thomas, David Sorensen, and Nancy Conrad (greater Charlotte, NC). Easiest to teach starting at A2, then walk through more than twice.

A1 Balance N; box the gnat
  Pass through up & down the lines, allemande L the next (previous neighbor)
A2 Balance & swing N
B1 Circle L 3/4
  Swing P
B2 Long lines forward & back
  Women allemande L 1 1/2 to face a new neighbor

 

Affordable Art

Improper duple formation. Written in 1997 and named after the pick-up band of the evening, Charlotte NC.

A1 Pull by N (R hand); Allemande L the next
  Swing your neighbor
A2 Ones pull by across the set (R hand); allemande L same-sex N
  Ones swing, end facing down
B1 Down the hall 4 in line, turn alone
  Return
B2 Circle L
  L hand star

 

Contrariwise

Becket formation. Written in 2012 for the Indianapolis dance. Oval: take hands along the lines, join at the ends, and move.

A1 Oval to the L
  Oval to the R, ending with the 2 women across from each other
A2 Women turn contra corners, last time allemande R to face P
B1 Swing P
B2 R&L on (slight) L diagonal
  R&L across (may also be a slight diagonal)

 

Dennis the Short

Improper duple formation. Named for the monk who worked out our calendar…the man responsible for the fact that the second millennium ended in 2000.

A1 Balance N, box the gnat
  Men allemande L 1 1/2
A2 Balance & swing P
B1 Ladies chain across
  Balance P, box the gnat (across the set)
B2 Circle L
  Balance the circle, pass through up & down the set

 

Disappearing Act

Improper duple formation. Your partner & neighbors disappear for a while, hence the title. However, they return before the end of the sequence. The circle L in the first part of B2 is with your neighbors from the previous figure; you circle L in the second part of B2 with your current neighbors before progressing…don't need to tell dancers this; it's a pleasant surprise…works well if called after a Becket dance to get folks used to diagonal chains. Written in 1996.

A1 Balance & swing N
A2 Ladies chain on the L diagonal (if you can)
  Ladies chain across the set
B1 Star R 3/4 to meet your P
  Swing P (all but ends swing on the side of the set)
B2 Circle L 3/4 with couple across the set (not your orig. neighbors), pass through
  Circle L 1/2 with the next couple, California twirl P to face new N

 

Elvis in the Copper Mine

Improper duple formation. First called in Valparaiso, IN, 2 days after amazing rescue of 33 miners trapped in a collapsed copper mine in Chile for 69 days. One kept other miners' spirits up by singing Elvis Presley songs. Ones chain in B1: pull by RH in center, courtesy turn on the outside. After the long lines figure in B2, #1 men must move down the set to meet P for swing; some #1 men choose to roll away in front of #2 women to get in place.

A1 Balance & swing N
A2 Star R (wrist grip)
  Ones allemande R 1 1/2
B1 Same-sex N allemande L (twice if you can)
  Ones chain
B2 Long lines forward & back
  Ones swing

 

Ghost of a Chance

Improper duple formation. Written 2008 for the University of Chicago dance, on Nov. 1, the Day of the Dead.

A1 Swing N
  Men chain
A2 Men allemande L
  Swing P
B1 Hey for four
B2 Long lines forward & back
  Circle L 3/4, pass through to new N

 

Independence Boulevard

Improper duple formation. Written in 1996 for the Charlotte, NC dance community. Independence Boulevard was under construction the whole time Julie and I lived near Charlotte, so driving involved lots of stops & starts & weaving back and forth...the storyline of this dance.

A1 Balance the circle, Circle left 1/2
  Balance the circle, Circle right 1/2
A2 Balance the circle, swing your neighbor
B1 Hey for four
B2 Long lines forward & back
  Ones swing, end facing down

 

June's Gypsies

Improper duple formation. Written in 1996 for June Neumann, Charlotte, NC. Works very well in short sets because the couples out at the ends can do 3/4 of the dance.

A1 Gypsy N
  Swing N, end swing facing across, join hands in a large oval
A2 Oval to the L
  Oval to the R
B1 Women cross the set, passing R shoulders; gypsy P
  Swing P
B2 Ladies chain across
  Star L

 

Lunar Eclipse (or Take a Bite of the Moon)

Improper duple formation. Written 8 Nov. 2003, the night of a full lunar eclipse, at the Midland, MI dance.

A1 Star R
  Circle R 3/4, P roll away with a half sashay
A2 Women allemande L
  Swing P
B1 Circle L 3/4
  Swing N
B2 Ladies chain across
  Star L

Oshtemotion

Becket formation. Written 2010 for the Kalamazoo, MI dance (Oshtemo Grange). The contra corners are turned by W in R line, M in L line (neighbors...not the usual Ones). You're turning on the side with same-sex neighbors. The allemande R in the center means the swing starts a little late.

A1 Hey for four
A2 Contra corners, finish with allemande R 1/2 to face P
B1 Swing P
B2 R&L on L diagonal
  R&L across

Queen for a Day

Improper duple formation, double progression. In A2, as soon as the Ones have gone up through the Twos, the Twos walk towards each other, touch palms, turn as a couple halfway, and fall back into line. Written April 2013 for the Indianapolis dance. The Hoosier Tones requested a dance with two balance & petronella turns to fit "Another One Bites the Dust," their 2nd tune in a 3-tune medley, hence the title.

A1 Balance the circle, Petronella turn
  Balance the circle, Petronella turn
A2 Ones half figure 8 up through the Twos; Twos do a 2-hand turn 1/2
  Ones swing, end facing down
B1 Balance & swing new N
B2 Ladies chain
  Circle L 3/4, pass through

Where There's Spokes There's Tires

Improper duple formation. Written 2007. Title is from a pun in a 1970s-era supermarket puzzle book.

A1 Do-si-do N
  Gypsy N
A2 L shoulder hey for four
B1 Balance & swing N
B2 Long lines forward & back
  Ones swing

 

Updated 4/25/13