Tetrahymena Twirl

join and separate in arches, star, and gent turn

by: Martha Wild

formation: improper

ones split the twos to handy hand allemande, so twos are progressed and above ones for the swing.

handy hand allemande neighbor 1 1/2
twos swing and form ggll line
down the hall , gentlespoons turn as a couple, ladles turn alone
up the hall and bend into a ring
balance the ring
pass through across the set for 4
star right 3 places, hands across (7/8ths places) ones hands below, twos hands above
balance the star
twos arch, gentlespoon one pull ladle one under arch for 4
ones swing and split the twos

Martha Wild notes:
-at 'gentlespoons turn as couple' the left hand man should lead the couple turn to avoid confusion
-After the pass through, people turn individually to their right as they put their right hands in for the star.
-The star right is simpler than it sounds - if it is turned 7/8, the #2 couples are back on the sides they started, across the set from each other, while the #1 man and woman are in the center of the set, the man below the #2s, the woman above them.
-When couples take hands, the #1 hands should be underneath.

This is my absolute favorite dance of those I’ve written, and it is MUCH easier to dance it than to explain - but really not that hard to teach - the notes are mostly for your benefit. This is a fun, satisfying, but unusual dance and I’ve had lots of positive feedback from dancers and callers, and have had the chance to enjoy dancing it myself.

This was written after attending a reunion conference for my thesis advisor, Dr. Joseph Gall. I studied the intricacies of Tetrahymena ribosomal DNA in his lab, and on the plane back wrote a bunch of dances as a tribute to him. This is the one I like best. Tetrahymena are ciliated protozoans, similar to Paramecia. Few people know that the moves in this dance symbolize the sexual reproduction of Tetrahymena, which are diploid, and fuse with each other (not unlike the couples in the star), popping a micronucleus through (the arch and under) to start a new generation with hybrid vigor.

User: Allison Jonjak