CONTRALAB

Home

Calendar

Membership

Articles

Definitions

List of Dances

Links

 

Updated June 8, 2017

Articles & Excerpts

Chairman's Corner (Spring 2017)

 

       We are fast approaching the 66th National Square Dance Convention in Cincinnati and hope that many of you are registered.  Judy Weger and Lissa Bengtson have been busy planning and preparing an exciting Contra program for the Convention.  It begins with the Energizer dance on Tuesday evening, featuring Tony Parkes and the Full Moon Country Dance Orchestra.  Wednesday morning Tony Parkes will be presenting our Contra educational program.  Wednesday afternoon is our Contralab meeting following by the Board meeting. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday will have full days of dancing with live bands all three evenings.  All of these events will be held in the Contra room at the Convention venue.

We look forward to once again seeing all of our dance friends at the Convention.  That is the real bonus of attending a National Square Dance Convention.  See you there.


Duane Olson

 

 

 

A book we recommend for you written by Paul Moore:

As I Saw It

Click on the above to get to new page giving details about this book.

 

 

Excerpts from the Spring 2017 Quarterly:

“Variety is the Spice of Life”

 

All American Promenade

Author: Roger Whynot

Formation: Improper Duple

Music: Standard Reel

 

A1     (face corner) * Inside out Do Sa Do;

          Handy Hand Allemande;

A2     **1’s (as a couple) Hey for 3; ;

B1     1’s Down the center;

          Come back and Cast Off;

B2     Long lines Forward and Back;

         1’s Swing – end facing down;

*This is a mirror image, so is the allemande.

**1’s with arms around each other – start the hey by passing left shoulders around #2 lady.  2’s dance the hey individually.

Note the title of the above dance regarding the discussion following these dances.

 

Jenny Reel

Author: Unknown

Formation: Several Circles of 3 couples each

Music: Any strongly phrased 64-count music

 

A1     Circle Left; Circle Right;

A2     Do Sa Do Partner; Right Hand Star across;

B1     Lowest level Pull Thru and Swing;

          Middle level Pull Thru and Swing;

B2     Top level Pull into a Swing;

          Scatter Promenade, making new circles of three couples;

 

Description:

  1-16              All six dancers Circle Left (8 counts), and then Circle Right (8 counts).

17-24              Recent Promenade Partners Dosado with each other.

25-32              Those directly across the circle of six join right hands to make a 3-level Star.

33-40 The gent with the lowest handhold pulls the lady across under the two higher handholds.  Those two dancers step aside from the Star and begin to Swing.

41-48              The gent with the new lowest handhold pulls the lady across under the higher handhold and they begin to Swing.  Then the remaining two dancers pull into a Swing.

49-56              All couples Promenade randomly around the floor.

57-64              Each Couple joins with two other couples to make new circles of three couples.

 

Note: Unknown choreographer, idea researched by Susan Morris at the Don Armstrong Memorial Dance, May 2002 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Presented by Susan at the CALLERLAB BDPLS in Kansas City, April 2009.

 

All American Promenade
Author: Jim Arkness

Formation: Couples facing counter-clockwise around the hall, lady on the man's right, with both hands joined at waist height in Promenade handhold (shake rights and join lefts under); opposite footwork for the man and the lady.
Music: Something with a lively feel such as “Some Old Side Road” on C Bar C 88 (32 count dance)

 

A1     Walk Forward 4, Turn & Backup 4;

         Walk Forward 4, Turn & Backup 4;

B1     Balance Together, Apart, Roll her Across;

         Balance Together, Apart, Girls Twirl Back;

Description for “All American Promenade”:

     Starting with outside feet (gent’s left and lady’s right) and both hands joined in Promenade handhold (join right to right and then join lefts under), couples walk forward counter-clockwise around the hall three steps. Dancers turn towards their partner on the 4th step to face clockwise. The lady is now on the left side of the gent. Couples back up four steps continuing to move counter-clockwise around the hall.  (1-8)

     Couples reverse their direction of travel and walk clockwise around the hall three steps. Dancers turn towards their partner on the 4th step to face counter-clockwise.  Couples back up three steps clockwise around the hall ending with weight on the outside foot and touching with the inside foot on the 16th count.  During the last three steps couples change their handhold to join adjacent hands (the gent’s right with the lady’s left).  (9-16)

     Still facing counter-clockwise couples step (or jump) together and touch with the outside foot next to the inside foot in 2 counts.  Then dancers step apart on the outside feet and touch the inside foot beside the outside foot in 2 counts. (17-20)

      The lady rolls across in front of the gent to the inside by doing a full turn to her left in three steps while the gent does a 3-step vine to his right.  Both end facing counter-clockwise. (21-24)

     Dancers join adjacent hands (the gent’s left and the lady’s right) and repeat counts 17-20.  (25-28)

     Dancers raise their adjacent hands and the lady twirls to her right under them and releases the handhold. The lady continues her twirl moving back to the outside of the next gent.  The gent moves forward to join Promenade handhold with the lady who was ahead. All dancers take four steps during this twirl to end with their outside feet free ready to begin again.  (29-32)

 

Discussion on “Gay Gordons”

 

There seems to be quite a similarity between the Gay Gordons, La Chapelloise, and All American Promenade, and other named dances as you will see below.

 

Pat: The first mixer you sent, "All American Promenade" is really an old time traditional dance called the "Gay Gordons". I've used it for many years, and the caller who taught us used it, too. I also saw it at a

folk dance near Appleton many years ago where it was called the “Gay Gordons”.  So, I can't attribute it to Jim Arkness.

 

Dottie: It is not the Gay Gordons that my parents used to dance, which was close to the Gay Gordons version described in Dance A While. In that case the Part B is very different.

     I will grant you that there is debate about the creator. Jim's name

came from the internet along with the exact choreography described.

That is the way it has been taught to me by two different people.

Neither used his name, but they did call it the All American Promenade.

However, I have not found any discussion of why it is attributed to

him or who he is.

     In Dance A While there is a dance of the same name with similar (but not identical) choreography that is attributed to Doc and Winnie Alambaugh, Alhambra, California. In that case the part B is similar but the lady does not turn under the handhold.

     The dance as I described it is also very close to a Belgian Folk Dance called The Blacksmith. In the internet description of that dance, the progression in the last bar is a bit different with both dancers

turning. However, Sue Hulsether taught us the dance that I described

and called it The Blacksmith.

     Hmm.. Perhaps you can just include a discussion of this confusion.


Note – It is also interesting that one of the Improper Duples by Roger Whynot is also named “All American Promenade”.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

     The Gay Gordons is a popular dance at céilidhs and other kinds of informal and social dance in Scotland. It is an "old-time" dance, of a type popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, in which every couple dances the same steps, usually in a circle around the room.

     The name alludes to a Scottish regiment, the Gordon Highlanders.

Gay Gordons instruction from Wikipedia:
A standard ceilidh instruction:

    Formation: couples in a circle around the room facing anti-clockwise, ladies on the right.

    Music: 2/4 or 4/4 march: "Scotland the Brave", "The Gay Gordons".

Bars    Description

1-2      Right hands joined over lady's shoulder (man's arm behind her back) and left hands joined in front, walk forward for four steps, starting on the right foot.

3-4      Still moving in the same direction, and without letting go, pivot on the spot (so left hand is behind lady and right hand is in front) and take four steps backwards.

5-8      Repeat in the opposite direction.

9-12    Drop left hands, raise right hands above lady's head. Lady pivots on the spot. (The man may set).

13-16 Joining hands in ballroom hold, polka (dance step) round the room.

       Repeat ad lib. In order to make the dance progressive, the ladies may leave their partners between bars 12-13 and move to the partner before them in the circle.

       For Scottish country dancers, the grip in the first eight bars is allemande hold.

       A live demonstration was performed by the Royal Scottish Country Dancing Society[1] in 2007.

 

La Chapelloise

       The Chapelloise is a traditional folk dance with change of partners (a so-called Mixer), belonging to the standard repertoire of a Bal Folk. Its most common name in France and the French-influenced European Bal Folk scene is Chapelloise, but the dance has many other names too.

History of the dance

       The French name “La Chapelloise” is derived from a village in eastern France, Chapelle-des-Bois: Legend says that André Dufresne was teaching the dance there in the 1970s, and since participants did not remember its original name, the dance got famous by the name of the village where the workshop took place.

       The dance was introduced in France in the 1930s by Alick-Maud Pledge.  It is often claimed that the dance is of Swedish origin and that its original name is “Aleman's marsj” (Guilcher 1998, Oosterveen 2002, Largeaud 2011 and countless websites). However, the spelling “marsj” is not Swedish (it looks rather Norwegian) and the choreography bears no similarity with Swedish folk dances.  Instead, this dance is known in Scandinavian dance collections (Swedish, Danish and Norwegian) as “All American Promenade”. This, together with its dissimilarity to Swedish folk dances and its similarity to other mixer dances in Britain and America, pinpoint rather to a non-Swedish origin of the dance. The Norwegian dance collector Hulda Garborg (1862-1934) is reported to have learnt the dance in the USA and brought it to Norway, but its description in a Scandinavian language was published much later. The association of the dance with Sweden stems perhaps from the fact that in Denmark, the All American Promenade is most often danced to a Swedish tune: Gärdeby Gånglåt, attributed to the Swedish fiddler Hjort Anders Olsson (1865-1952).

       In Belgium, the dance is called “Jig”/“Gigue” after the music most commonly played to the dance or “Aapje” (an acronym for “All American Promenade”, AAP).

       Sometimes it is claimed that the “All American Promenade” was choreographed in the 1960s by Jim Arkness; but a description of this dance was published already in 1953 and the dance is probably derived from the British Gay Gordons: The “Gay Gordons” dance was mentioned already in 1907, was known to all Aberdeen folk dancers in 1950, and its dance description was published by Douglas and Helen Kennedy in 1959: Its first eight measures are identical to the Chapelloise/AAP, but the “Gay Gordons” lacks the change of partners which is typical for the Chapelloise/AAP.

From: http://celticbompa.com/oldcb/Website/BFdances.html

 

       Jig/Gigue. A puzzling dance, at least from one historical point of view, its origin being attributed to England, Ireland and France depending on the source (See my blog for research started March 2004). Nevertheless, it is one of the most popular dances at a Boombal. Paraphrasing Wim Claeys: "Guys, pick a lady and join the dance. If she is ugly, don't care. After 8 bars, you'll get another one". And according to this dance description, he's right. When the musicians play Irish jigs, I like to dance it in the Irish Ceili style, replacing in the second part the "hops in and out" (pas de Basque) by an Irish jump 2 3, and the walking step when changing partners' sides by a side step initiated by a cut when leading the lady to my left side, and a jump over when leading her back. When the musicians play the Irish jig very well, I also replace the promenade steps by "advance and retire" steps using jump 2 3 or skip 2 3 whether or not a double jig or single jig is played. Then I'm just hoping the dance doesn't last more than 5 minutes, 'cause dancing like that is hard work and makes me hungry ! By the way, here is the nice Cape Breton jig Kitty of Oulart (mp3; 1 MB) from Kinnon Beaton.

       Now interestingly, this dance seems also to be known as the All American Promenade, the choreography being ascribed to Jim Arkness (see also a discussion in Dutch about this topic). In Sweden it is also danced to marches instead of gigues as you can see on this video (wmv, 4.7 Mb). The dancing teacher Hugo Moule claims this dance to be the progressive version of Gay Gordon, a Scottish Ceilidh Dance.

       The Irish Ceili jig that comes most close to this dance, is the Two hand Jig.