You are here

Dancing for beginners - Term 2 of 2021 - class #5

Submitted by Elyna Delynor on July 1, 2021 - 5:23pm
Printer-friendly version

Dancing for beginners - Term 2 of 2021 - class #5

Date: 18th June 2021

This series of blog posts is to act as a reminder to those who were at the class. Further questions can be directed to Elyna. Instead of referring to genders I will be speaking of Partner-A and Partner-B. If a man and a woman are dancing together, the man will be Partner-A and the woman Partner-B.

As usual, rather than reiterating full details on dances already covered, I will link to the previous class posts where complete information is given:

French bransles:

Washerwoman’s Bransle

Pinagay Bransle

Scottish Bransle

Italian dances:

Anello

Petit Vriens

Then we learned a new type of dance, an English Country Dance (often shortened to “ECD”).

Basic steps for the English Country Dances:

-        Slip-step (left or right) Like the sideways steps we use for bransles, but faster, in time to the music. Slightly syncopated in rhythm, like a sideways skip.

-        Siding, or Side (right shoulder or left shoulder) Each partner does a double forward towards their partner, but so they do not collide they angle their direction to their left, so their right shoulders end up aligned. They then double backwards into their original place, to end facing their partner.
(NB the instruction ‘right shoulder’ or ‘left shoulder’ refers to which shoulder ends up in the middle, so is opposite to which direction you will move. In this dance where there are pairs of steps, you will always move to the left first and the right second.)

-        Arming, or Arm (left or right) Each partner takes their partner’s inner elbow in their hand, so that both forearms are touching. Take care not to dig your thumb in as this will hurt! Both partners move right around in a circle using 2 doubles, ending up back in their original place.
(NB again the instruction ‘right’ or ‘left’ refers to which arm you extend to take your partner’s arm, and you will circle your partner in the opposite direction, so when ‘arming right’ you extend your right arm, and move to your partner’s left.)

-        Set and turn (left or right) A small single to one side, and then the other, and then a turn on the spot over in whichever direction the first single was taken. So a “set and turn to the left” goes: step left and close, step right and close, turn over your left shoulder all the way around. This takes a total of 8 steps.

Jenny Pluck Pears

-        You need a partner for this dance, Partner-A stands to the left of Partner-B. You also need two other couples, as this is a dance for three couples in a circle.

-        Before the dance starts, decide who will be Couple 1; standing in a circle, the couple clockwise from Couple 1 will be Couple 2, and the couple clockwise from them is Couple 3.

-        The steps for the first (circle) part are:

-        All take hands in the circle and slip-step to the left for 8 beats.

-        Dropping hands briefly, everyone set and turn to the left.

-        All take hands again in a circle and slip-step to the right for 8 beats.

-        Drop hands, set and turn to the right.

-        Next, let’s call this part the Chorus, as we will be using it again:

-        The music changes to a slower pace.
Couple 1 only: Partner-A takes Partner-B’s hand and places them into the middle of the circle, facing outward. Couples 2 and 3 wait their turn.

-        Next Couple 2 does as above, the other couples wait.

-        Then Couple 3 does as above. The three Partners-B are now in the centre of the circle facing out, and their relevant Partner-A is on the outside of the circle, facing them.

-        All reverence to your partner.

-        The music goes back to its original pace.
The Partners-A on the outside move around the circle in a clockwise direction for 8 beats, then set and turn (to the left) to whoever they end up opposite. This movement around the circle can be as graceful or as frenetic as the group decides, as long as no one gets hurt and it stays fun. As you know, I tend to gallop.

-        Partners-A then reverse the above instruction, moving anticlockwise back to their own partner, then set and turn (to the right) to them.

-        The music changes to a slower pace.
Couple 1 only: Partner-A takes Partner-B’s hand and retrieves them back to the edge of the circle. Couples 2 and 3 wait their turn.

-        Next Couple 2 does as above, the other couples wait.

-        Then Couple 3 does as above. Everyone is now in their original places in the circle, holding one hand of their partner.

-        All reverence to your partner.

-        The second part, each in their own couple and with their own partner:

-        Siding, right shoulder,

-        Set and turn left,

-        Siding, left shoulder,

-        Set and turn right.

-        Perform the Chorus again, this time with the partners reversing their roles in the pattern, so the three Partners-A go to the centre of the circle one by one and then are retrieved.

-        The third part, again each in their own couple and with their own partner:

-        Arming, right,

-        Set and turn left,

-        Arming, left,

-        Set and turn right,

-        Finally, perform the Chorus again, this time the same as the first, with Partners-B in the centre.

-        Make the final reverence big and dramatic, as this is the end of the dance.

-        If you want to practice at home use the music at this youtube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jE2asniQKE
They use the entire first repeat as an introduction, to find a partner and lead them to the floor.

Next we learned a new French bransle:

Pease Bransle

-        For this dance you do need a partner.

-        We begin with everyone holding hands in a circle, Partner-A standing on the left of Partner-B.

-        First part: 4 doubles, first to the left, then the right, then the left, then the right again.

-        Second part, drop hands:

-        Partner-A takes a big jump to their left, still staying in the circle, with feet together,

-        Partner-B takes a similarly big jump to their left,

-        Partner-A takes three little jumps to their left,

-        Partner-B takes a big jump left,

-        Partner-A takes a big jump left,

-        Partner-B takes three little jumps to their left.

-        Start again! Subsequent repeats are the same, there is no role reversal in this dance.

-        If you want to practice at home here is a three-repeat version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qaE8VgyrGxg

Finally, we learned a new English Old Measure:

Black Almain

-        In this dance you need a partner. This is a processional dance like the other Old Measures we’ve done so far (Earl of Essex Measure and Lorrayne Almain) so the couples line up behind the lead couple with all the Partner-As on the left and all the Partner-Bs on the right, with each couple holding hands.

-        Start with four doubles forward starting on the left, then right, left, right. After the last double, drop hands and turn inwards to face your partner.

-        Double backwards away from your partner,

-        Double forward to return to them. After the last double, turn to your left, so you and your partner are presenting your right shoulder to each other.

-        Double up/down the line away from your partner,

-        Turn back the way you came and double back to your partner, then turn left to face them again.

-        Partners-A set and turn to the left, their partners wait and watch,

-        Partners-B set and turn to the left, their partners wait and watch. At the end take both hands with your partner.

-        Change places with your partner using one double, moving to your left in a circle,

-        Take four slip-steps up the line (in the direction of the lead couple), Partner-A will move to their right and Partner-B to their left,

-        Change places with your partner with another double, moving left again to complete the circle,

-        Take four slip-steps back down the line in the opposite direction.

-        Drop hands and double backwards away from your partner,

-        Double forward to return to your partner.

-        Start again! It is usual to repeat this dance about four times. On even-numbered repeats, Partner-B does the set and turn bit first.

-        If you want to practice at home, this music is the best version I can find: https://youtu.be/it1kKa7IStM The sound quality is a bit messy but it should be good enough.

That’s it! Any questions let me know.

~Elyna

Blog classifications: