Jens Dill (2015)
Longways 3-coouple set
For Jody (Ruth Anne Fraley, 2015)
1s (holding inside hands) set left & right to 2nd lady
1s and 2nd lady circle left 3 (1+, end in a line facing 2nd man with 1st man in the center
1s and 2nd lady set left & then right to 2nd man
1s and 2s circle left (1+, until the 1s are below
1s (improper) turn in place, changing hands to face 3rd lady
1s (holding inside hands) set left & right to 3rd lady
1s and 3rd lady circle left 3 (1+, end in a line facing 3rd man with 1st lady in the center
1s and 3rd lady set left & then right to 3rd man
1s and 3s circle left (1+, until the 1s are below, all proper Top: 2-3-1)
(Face center) set left & right (in place)
Circle left (back to here)
(1s arch) 3s followed by 2s pass down through the arch, separate, and cast up (end Top: 3-2-1
(Top two couples) gate (3s down) while 1s two-hand turn
(At the bottom, 2s and 1s take inside hand with partner) sidestep forward two steps to the right and two steps to the left to pass each other while 3s two-hand turn
At the top, 3s and 1s take inside hand with partner) sidestep forward two steps to the right and two steps to the left to pass each other while 2s two-hand turn
(At the bottom, 2s and 3s take inside hand with partner) sidestep forward two steps to the right and two steps to the left to pass each other while 1s two-hand turn, melting into
1s closed waltz down the center to the bottom while 2s and 3s take hands and side-step up on the sides
© Jens Dill, 2015
The dance was written by Jens Dill in memory of his loving wife Jody Distler-Dill (September 10, 1942 - June 14, 2015) who became the heart and soul of the Friday Night Palo Alto English dance. It was premiered at Jody's memorial dance on September 10, 2015. This is her obituary.
The tune, "For Jody" was written by Ruth Anne Fraley and was first performed at the Palo Alto English Dance on June 19, 2015.
Jens says "The A part is a 'meet-and-greet' that symbolizes the way Jody greeted people and welcomed them into the dance. B1 continues the theme, now with everyone moving together. The remaining B figures symbolize the evening's dance program, ending by melting into the 'last waltz' that Jody always claimed at the end of the evening."
Tempo: not too fast. The figures in the B part have a lot of movement in them and feel rushed at a quicker tempo.
The choice to set left first and then right flows naturally into the circle left. Setting the other way does no harm.
The 3-hand circles do not need to be rushed; there is plenty of time. The active couple usually get all the way around in three bars, and the inactive lady uses the last bar to swirl into place on the right end of the line. The 4-hand circle moves fairly briskly to get around five places with time for the ones to turn to face third couple. The 6-hands round in B1 moves briskly. It is helpful to take hands during the setting and pull the circle tighter so there is less distance to travel.
In the transition from the 6-hand circle to the arch, it is helpful for the 1s to tug gently on the hands of the 3s to guide them down through the arch, and the 3s to tug gently on the hands of the 2s to encourage them to follow, everyone letting go of hands as soon as the downward momentum is set.
The direction of the gates naturally propels the 3s together at the top for their two-hand turn at the start of B2, and also allows the 2s to continue turning in the same direction to face down to the 1s.
The sidestep-and-turn figure in B2 is taken from the Scottish dance "Bob Campbell" (The Canadian Book of Scottish Country Dances ).
The sidestepping derives from the strathspey setting step, which is why it is always to the right first and then to the left. Contra dancers will tend to want to weave instead (pass to the right on first pass, left on the second), but in this dance all passes start by moving forward to the right.
Probably the hardest part of the dance is the transition from the "Bob Campbell" figure to the "Last Waltz". It helps to keep count. The "Bob Campbell" sidestep happens three times. The transition is easy for the 1s: they are already in a two-hand turn (their second, since they also turned two hands at the end of B1 while the 2s and 3s were gating). The 2s and 3s have just sidestepped past each other at the bottom. The 2s were moving up, and would want to keep hands and sidestep past the 1s, while the 3s would want to come together and start their two-hand turn. INSTEAD, both couples have to remember to step out to the sidelines to make room for the active couple to waltz to the bottom. The 3s can try to remember that they only do one two-hand turn, and when they are tempted to do the second, they should step away instead. The 2s don't have it so easy, and they are the ones who have to get out of the way first. But they, at least, are facing the 1s and can take a visual cue if the 1s make their closed waltz hold tight to signal the change of figure and gently nudge themselves directly toward where the twos should be letting go of their inside hands.
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