hook: Magical half hey progressions
by: Michael Fuerst
formation: improper, but with 1's below 2's
Initially have dancers line up improper and emphasize they will progress in the direction they are now facing. Then
(a) Have everyone exchange places with their neighbor, so the 1's are below the 2's.
(b) Have dancers note the new person now next to them (on gentlespoons's left and ladle's right) as both their 2nd neighbor, and special person in the dance
(c) Also have dancers note a 3rd neighbor, two persons beyond beyond the second neighbor
gentlespoons allemande left 1½
ladles chain to neighbor, and roll away with half sashay
gentlespoons start a half hey - rights in center, lefts on ends, end facing "special person" (aka 2nd neighbor) ⁋
gentlespoons start a half hey - lefts in center, rights on ends, end facing 3rd neighbor
3rd neighbors gyre left shoulders once
2nd neighbors swing
Before teaching B1, advise dancers there will be two 1/2 heys, each having gentlespoons passing shoulders, then partners passing, then ladles passing, before stepping to face a next neighbor
Dancers reaching the end of the set must face back in with the gentlespoons on the right, ladles on the left!!
(Actually, dancers reaching the end of the set after the first 1/2 hey of B1, should turn alone, wait during left shoulder gyre, and then face back into the set, with the gentlespoons on the right. But this nuance is more confusing than helpful, and its neglect only results in those out the end gyre-ing a person of the same role.)
This dance borrows the two half-hey idea from Dan Pearl's "Eye of the Storm", and the roll away before a hey from "A Proper Potpourri."
Dancers gave this a lengthy ovation after its debut on Saturday night at the 1996 Breaking Up Thanksgiving dance weekend outside Chicago.
Martha Edwards of St. Louis would regularly bring her then teenage son Alex to many contra dance weekends. In a surprisingly short time, Alex became a most skilled dancer, and a favorite partner for all the ladles. Alex, Martha and I maintained a running joke about the impossible task of my writing a dance which everyone in the hall except Alex could do. On Saturday afternoon during the above weekend, I advised Alex and Martha that I'd call such a dance that evening. Alas, Alex was missing from the dance floor at the critical moment, so hence the dance now had a name. As of January 2015, Alex had never danced this.