Silly Dancing

by Lord Richard the Poor

Dancing is fun. This is fairly obvious. It is so much fun, that people tend to get quite silly when doing certain dances. This article is to alert you to this danger or help spread it, depending on your point of view.

One common form of silly dancing is to perform a given dance to different music (usually something mundane). Most of the time the dance, or the music, must be distorted to fit the other one. In Bransle Montarde, the distortion is minimized when the dance is for lines of four. The music then fits a 4-4-4-4 pattern of beats, which is extremely common. Among those tunes with this pattern are "Clementine", "Mack the Knife", and the "Gilligan's Island" theme. The distortion disappears completely when Horses' Bransle is done to the theme from "Leave it to Beaver"; they are a perfect match (try it!).

Hole in the Wall is another popular dance which allows and encourages silliness. The generally long lines make the dance monotonous, and relief appears in the form of changing the steps. "Kidnapping" is when a person from outside the line jumps in at the point where one couple is circling around behind the other, and usurps the place of one member of the active couple. There are also ways of circling in a silly manner; you can stick your arms straight out and make airplane noises, or shout "And awaaay we go!" or "A little travelin' music, Ray!" and dance around like Jackie Gleason.

Another way is to switch sides with your partner as you come out of the circling and pass between the other couple. At a recent event I did this when dancing outside at dusk; no one noticed anything until it was time for the palming maneuver. Their confusion was marvelous to behold. It would not have worked as well in the light, of course.

On a final note, I have heard Gathering Peascods referred to as "Gathering Codpieces". A quick trip to the dictionary revealed that the words "peascod" and "codpiece" are derived from the same roots and both mean, in effect, "a sack for small things".

-- Lord Richard the Poor