Contradance Calls to the Tunes

 

 

Rattlesnake Rag   —–  Jeff Spero  8/22/02

Duple, Improper

Tune: “Rattlesnake Rag” by Michael Mendelson

 

A1   Long lines forward and back

        Partners right hand balance, box the gnat

A2   Neighbors star right once-and-a-quarter

        Partners swing

B1    Promenade across the set

        Pass through to an ocean wave (4)

        Balance the wave (4)

B2   Women allemande left once-and-a-half

        Neighbors swing

 

Author¹s notes:  When teaching the dance, note that the star in A2 is with the same people that were in their original hands four, but when calling the dance, I’d advise to prompt new neighbors after the first time through to acknowledge the progression following the long lines.  Also, when teaching the A2, let the dancers know to move that star along quickly so they can get in a nice, long swing with their partners!

 

 

Fermat’s Farewell  —–  Jonathan Southard 7/1998 - 10/2000

Duple Improper

Tune: “Fermat’s Farewell” by Michael Mendelson

 

Becket (single progression)

Start in line of four facing down hall, side by side with partner.

 

A1   Down hall and back

A2   Circle left 3/4 (6)

       Step forward into line of 4, holding right hands with neighbor, ladies in center (2)

       Balance 4 in line (4)

       Balance 4 in line again (4)

B1   Do-si-do next neighbor [progress]

       These two ladies in center, allemande left 1 ½ (8)

B2   Balance and swing partner

 

Author’s notes: The dancers slide very smoothly from circle in the A2 part straight into the line of four for the balances.  I am indebted for this idea to Becky Hill ("First English Jig").  When the dancers are arranged four in line it may help to point out that the one they will do si do is in front of them, slightly to their right, in the next line of four.   Also remind them to end the partner swing facing down the hall, ready to start the next round.

This dance puts some balances in unusual places.   Balances usually come at the start of phrases, to accompany the strong downbeat commonly found there.  But Fermat's Farewell, the tune, cried out to have balances in these places. Those, plus the down-the-hall-and-back, were the starting point for the dance and the other moves filled themselves in.