Monday, August 28, 2006

Gnatty's Tarantism

In honor of Naddy who deserved a dance, and just to use a great word. A tarantism is an uncontrollable urge to dance. Thanks to the anonymous person who brought the word to our attention.

A duple minor improper contra

1-4: 1s balance
5-8: 2s balance
9-12: 1s swing
13-16: 2s swing

17-20: 1s box-the-gnat
21-24: 2s box-the-gnat
25-28: 1s swat-the-flea
29-32: 2s swat-the-flea

33-40: All do-si-do partner
41-48: All see-saw partner

49-52: With right hands joined, balance your friend
53-56: Box-the-gnat with your friend
57-60: 2s arch and 1s join hands and chasse under
61-64: 1s cast around 2s to join the next set.

Recommended Music: Shakin' Down the Acorns, Track 6-- Devil's Dream/Flowers of Edinburgh/Drowsy Maggie. This song features the hammered dulcimer, which helps bring out the "gnat" idea, and it has continuous movement.

Terms for the dance:

-Balance (your partner or friend) -- partner/friend move--4 counts-- The couple faces each other with both hands joined (less commonly with one hand joined) and takes two steps toward each other, and then two steps apart. Balances may also be done in lines or circles.

-Swing-- partner/friend move-- 4 counts (often twice in 8 counts)-- Two dancers stand side by side facing in opposite directions, they then hold each other while moving forwards; the result is that they move together in a tight circle, and if they know what they are doing they can move rapidly and smoothly.The simplest instruction is to stand beside your partner right shoulder to right shoulder, take half a step back, and then put your right feet in so the feet are adjacent. To swing you simply walk round keeping each foot on its circle, taking your weight on the inner foot, and using the outer foot to push you round like working a scooter. Remember to pick the inside foot up to move it round the circle - some people tend to keep their inner foot nailed to the ground.The standard hold is a Ballroom hold: the man puts his right hand in the middle of her back (and this arm does all the work; she rests her left hand on his right shoulder, and they hold the other hands loosely out to the side. --for more holds visit the dance terms page

-Box the Gnat--a turn--4 counts--A couple meet offering right hands, they change places with the woman going under their joint raised arms, and turn to face each other still holding right hands. This means that they swap positions, and end up facing back the way they came.

-Swat the Flea--a turn--4 counts--A couple meet offering left hands, they change places with the woman going under their joint raised arms, and turn to face each other still holding left hands.

-Do-si-do (also Back to Back or Dos-a-do)--two person move--8 counts--(this figure returns you to your starting position)Commonly performed with your partner. Face the other person and pass right shoulders, pause and fall back to where you started, passing left shoulders. It should be noted that you continue to face the same direction the entire time. Some gents like to set their arms perpendicular to the ground on top of each other in front of them... (Indian style). Ladies often hold their skirts.

-See Saw (left shoulder do-si-do) --two person--8 counts--Instead of starting the do-si-do with the right shoulder, the dancer starts with the left shoulder. (Two dancers begin facing each other, move so as to pass left shoulders, then back-to-back, then right shoulders, ending where they began.

-Arching is simply joining hands to form an arch that other couples can pass under

-Chasse is a fancy French word for what is essentially a form of skipping. Join hands with your
partner and in a galloping fashion go where directed

-Cast around 2s--simply walk out and around the 2s, in this case in four counts. You can add a skip or two for fun.

(all of the terms used in this dance can be found in our post on our dance terms page.)


natalie said...

Oh, I love that new word! :-) How lovely! Thank you so much... I've never had a dance named after me before, and this one sounds really fun. Now, if only I could figure out what all those gnat boxing, flea swatting moves are... or maybe you'll just have to arrange for teaching me in person sometime. :-)

natalie said...

Ooooooh, clarified terms. Thanks! I'll have to print this out and practice it... it'd be a shame not to know my own dance. :-)