Here are a handful of dances that I’ve written, with more to come soon! (I’ve got more on the back-burner, but I only post dances here once they’ve been tested and vetted.) If any of these dances strike your fancy, please do call them, spread them around, etc.! I ask only that (if you feel like it) you drop me a line and let me know how it went. Feedback is always welcome, as are requests.
Hellooo Nurse! (improper)
A1: neighbor balance and swing
A2: gents alle. L 1 1/2
B1: long lines forward, on the way back gents roll partner away with a half-sashay
gents right-hand chain to N
B2: left-hand star 1x
current neighbor alle. L 1 1/2
Notes: written January 2017, called shortly thereafter at Brooklyn Contra. I wanted a dance with a gents’ right-hand chain that was otherwise dead easy, and this is what I came up with. Note that the allemande in B2 is with your CURRENT neighbor, i.e. the one you starred with (this is the biggest point of confusion for experienced dancers used to looking for new neighbors out of a left-hand star).
Gimmie the Good Stuff (becket L)
A1: circle L 3/4
(with N, lady in the lead) slice L, lady roll neighbor gent away on the way back
A2: ladies chain across (to shadow)
ladies alle. R 1 1/2
B1: swing N1 (the one you yearned with)
B2: ladies pull by on R diag., swing P
Notes: written fall 2015 at The Good Stuff diner, beta tested by CDNY dancers. With the swing>swing transitions, encourage dancers to roll out of one swing and straight into the next. End effects: make sure you’re waiting out on the correct diagonal (to come in in A1, wait on the left diag., to come in at B2, on the right).
Life in Boxes II (improper)
A1: w/ N2, bal. & box the gnat
pull by N2 by R, N1 by L, right-hand balance N0
A2: N0 box the gnat, pull by, swing N1
B1: circle L 3/4
P swing (on gent’s home side)
B2: circle L 3/4 and pull by N1 by R
new N alle. L 1 1/2 (this is your new N1)
Notes: Written summer ‘16 while packing up my life to move, first called at Concord Thursday Jan. ‘17. N1 = current neighbor, N2 = next neighbor, N0 = previous. This dance is technically reverse indecent, but teach improper and start/end the walkthrough with the second half of B2 (current N alle. R 1 1/2).
Train to Trenton (improper)
A1: N spiral & swing
A2: circle L 3/4
B1: ladies cross (passing R), N spiral L 1x
ladies chain (to P)
B2: promenade across (w/ P)
circle R 3/4 & pass thru. up/down by the L shoulder
Notes: Written on (surprise) a train to Trenton (en route to Contracopia) fall ‘16, first called soon after at Princeton. Satisfying hey-like figure along the sides at end/beginning, a promenade that actually flows (b/c it comes out of a courtesy turn), and a promenade –> circle R transition. Promenade may take much less time than dancers are used to b/c of the momentum coming out of a courtesy turn, but this leaves time for a leisurely pass-through.
Treasure of the Soda Bar (improper)
A1: neighbor RH bal. and box the gnat
gents allemande L 1 1/2
A2: half hey (pass P by R on the side)
B1: circle L 3/4
B2: square through (RH to P across, bal. and pull by across, pull by L with N on side, repeat, look along side for a new N)
Notes: A1 is from James Hutson’s “Treasure of the Sierra Madre”. This dance was tested at Soda Bar in Brooklyn, hence the title, and first called at Glen Echo FND in August 2016.
Gluten-Free Petronella (becket L)
A1: bal. the ring and spin right
bal. the ring and gent roll neighbor lady away (with half-sashay)
A2: bal. the ring and Nevada twirl partner (to face new Ns)
swing new neighbor
B1: ladies chain (to P)
half hey (ladies passing R)
B2: partner balance and swing
Notes: Written Winter ‘16 as an alternative to Chris Ricciotti’s “Greenfield Petronella”; I wanted to preserve the balance-y feel of the dance and the CA twirl –> new neighbor swing, but wanted a single progression. (This variation has a Nevada twirl instead–just a California twirl that starts with the gent on the right/lady on the left.) First called at Mt. Airy in May ‘16.
Happy Jew Queer (becket L, 2x prog.)
A1: ladies chain across (to N)
(w/ N) promenade across (to lady’s home side)
A2: circle R 3/4 and ladies roll partner away
ladies chain on L diagonal (to next N)
B1: ladies chain on R diagonal (to shadow #2)
circle L 1x with shadow #1 (turn away from the one you just chained with)
B2: gents roll shadow away (4)
partner swing (12)
Notes: Written for Zoë Madonna around New Years 2016 because she wanted a dance with a roll-away into a swing, and workshopped by some lovely dancers at NEFFA ‘16. All roll-aways include a half-sashay. At the beginning of the dance, shadow #1 is beyond your partner, shadow #2 is beyond them. Emphasize that the circle right in A2 must be fast so that partner rollaway can happen and leave the ladies ready to chain at the next phrase (perhaps prompting the circle early, as promenades out of a courtesy turn take less than 8 beats). In A1, chain with the neighbors straight across (these will be new neighbors).
Too Many Joshes (improper)
Starts with a wavy line of gents in the center
A1: gents bal. L then R, allemande L 3/4
A2: ladies allemande R 1 1/2
B1: gents chain by L (to N)
circle L 3/4
B2: gents chain by R (to N)
gents allemande R 1 1/4 to a long wave (taking L with a new gent)
Notes: Written late Feb. 2016 for Michal Richardson (in reference to the state of our local dance), and workshopped at NEFFA ‘16. The parameters I was given was that the dance have a lot of action for the gents, and be as confusing and counter-intuitive as possible–I hope I’ve managed this while achieving flow at the same time. The chain in B1 looks like a typical gents’ chain (gents begin and end on the left), while in B2, the gents do a typical “ladies’ chain”, beginning and ending on the RIGHT.
Faking Communion (becket L)
A1: circle L 3/4 (in a ring with N1)
(gents in lead) zig L, zag R, zig L (passing N2 to meet N3)
A2: spiral N3 by R 1x
turn back to swing N2 (your new N1–dance restarts in hands-4 with them)
B1: star L 3/4 (until opposite home with P)
gents turn back over R sh to spiral P 1 3/4
B2: gents start half hey (by L) to home side
Notes: Written May 2015, premiered at CDNY March 2016. So named because this dance is full of fake-outs. The part that trips everyone up is the star in B1–it doesn’t turn as far as you expect. When teaching, emphasize that it’s the GENTS’ responsability to end the star by turning back to spiral P.
Pink Martini (becket R)
A1: bal. the ring and spin right, spinning extra to face new neighbors
swing new neighbor
A2: bal. the ring and spin right (2x)
B1: bal. ring and gents roll neighbor lady away with a half-sashay
gents pull by R (2), allemande shadow L 1x-ish (6)
B2: look for partner, spiral and swing
Notes: Locate your shadow at the start of the dance: look along your side of the set past your partner, shadow will be the first opposite-role person you see. Coming back into the dance at the middle of A1 or the middle of B1, dancers should reenter SWAPPED (i.e., lady on the left, gent on the right). Written in summer 2015 for Kate Fais on the occasion of her dying her hair pink, and first called January 2016 at the Youth Trad Song Weekend contradance.
Message from the Future (becket L) [VIDEO]
A1: ladies chain to neighbor
mad robin, ladies in front first (i.e. CCW)
A2: ladies pass R to start a 3/4 hey (LR, PL, GR, NL, LR, PL)
when gents meet in the middle for the second time, spiral R 1x
B1: partner spiral and swing (opposite home side)
B2: circle L 1/2 and slide L to new neighbors (6)
with these new neighbors, circle L all the way (10)
Notes: Can’t for the life of me remember the genesis of the title. Written summer 2014, first called January 2016 at the Downtown Amherst contradance. Teaching note: emphasize that the chain in A1 is to your neighbor (there’s a lot of circling and not-quite-square phrases and it’s useful to have that point of reference).
Train Delay (becket R)
A1: (ladies look on R diagonal for a new lady) ladies allemande R 1 1/2
A2: ladies chain to partner
left-hand star 1x
B1: w/ shadow, bal. and box the gnat
do-si-do shadow 1 1/2
B2: partner b&s
Notes: Written on a stuck train to Princeton, NJ, late 2014, and first called March 2015 in Silver Spring, MD. In the second half of B1, pull by R at the start of the do-si-do for some extra momentum.