Contra Dances I've Written (and am willing to share)

Terms of use: When calling my dances, I ask that you mention the title and author, and think of me when booking dances in your area. And think of me when you're in a happy mood, for the karmic benefits. --Jerome Grisanti

Please Don't Leave Us, Mary Kathleen!

Bei Mir Bist du Schoen

Trip to Mars

Indy Practice Lap

Cottonwood Contra

Rerouted to Tulsa

Waylaid in Tulsa

Kimmswick Diamonds

Libra Boys

Gateway to the South (aka Jerome's Dixie Twirl contra)

Rory O'Nella

Just a Splash


The Dances:

Please Don't Leave Us, Mary Kathleen!

By Jerome Grisanti

  Becket Contra (clockwise progression. Identify ones and twos in improper formation before beginning, then rotate left to Becket. Partners swing and end cozy, facing down the hall) Composed February 2015

A1

With partners cozy, go down the hall four in line. Twos turn as couple (remaining cozy) while ones advance one couple. Come back up the hall four in line (ones falling back, twos forward, ladies in middle of line)
A2 As couples, balance right. Partners butterfly whirl once around.
Ladies allemande Right 1 1/2.
B1 Neighbors Swing (16-count swing)
B2 Circle Left 3/4,
Partners Swing, end cozy, facing down the hall.
Notes: Worked well with swingy medley that included Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen, or was it Minor Swing? With a different tune, balance & swing in B1 might be appropriate). For Mary Kathleen Porter, upon her threatened move to Atlanta.
First danced on Feb 22, 2015, in Lawrence, Kansas. 

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Bei Mir Bist du Schoen!

By Jerome Grisanti

  Duple Improper Contra (Identify left file and right file in before beginning) Composed October 2015

A1

Circle Left once round (8),
Neighbor Swing (8).
A2 .Down hall four in line, left file turn alone while right file turn as couple to end in line facing up with men on ends) (8),
Return, face your neighbor (8).
B1 With neighbor, Right hand balance (4),
Neighbor pull by right (2), Men pull by left (2)
Partner swing (8).
B2 Circle L 3/4 (8)
Balance, California Twirl (8)
Notes: Written for the tune Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen. 
First danced in November 2015, at CDSS event/Pilgrim's Progression in Lawrence, Kansas. 

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Trip to Mars

By Jerome Grisanti

  Improper Contra Composed February 2015

A1

Neighbor Balance & Swing

A2

Long lines forward, roll away on your way back (women in front of men),

Star Right 3/4

B1 Shadow Left Allemande once,
Partner Swing
B2 Ladies Chain,
Balanced square thru 2 places, starting with partner across the set, then neighbor, to find new neighbor
First danced on Feb 22, 2015, in Lawrence, Kansas.

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Indy Practice Lap

By Jerome Grisanti

  Becket Contra Composed July 3, 2012

A1

Long lines forward & back,
Ladies chain

A2

Right-hand to partner, balance, square thru two places,
Next Neighbor right-hand Balance, Box the Gnat

B1 Pull into half hey, men passing Left shoulders,
Neighbors swing
B2 Circle Left 3/4,
Partner swing.
First danced on July 3, 2012, in Indianapolis Indiana.

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Cottonwood Contra

By Jerome Grisanti

  Duple Improper Contra Composed April 2012

A1

(new) Men allemande Right Once (or so),
Neighbor Do-si-do

A2 Same Neighbor Balance & Swing
B1 Ladies allemande Right 1 1/2,
Partners swing
B2 Pass the Ocean, Balance the wave,
Partner allemande Right 1/2, Men allemande Left 1 1/4 (to next man)
Inspired by (but significantly departs from) the English dance called Cottonwood. In B2 the women may have to realign themselves while the men allemande.

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Rerouted to Tulsa

By Jerome Grisanti

  Duple Improper Contra Composed Jan. 2011
A1 Neighbor balance (4), box the gnat (4),
Pull by to previous neighbor (2), allemande Left once around (6).
A2 Ladies chain (8),
Ladies start a half hey (8)
B1 The captain announces a delay, please continue the hey another 8 beats across the phrase while the runway is cleared (8),
Partners swing on gent's side (8), but you're not home yet.
B2 Long lines go forward and back, yearning left as you go forward (with slight turbulence, to face original neighbors), partners roll away as you back up (8).
Star Left 3/4 to face new neighbors (and give a right hand to next new neighbor).
Note: The basic idea is to make you wonder whether you're progressing or not, like changing a direct flight to one with stops in several directions opposite from the final destination.

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Waylaid in Tulsa

By Jerome Grisanti

Duple Improper Contra * Composed Jan 2010
A1: Neighbor balance (4), box the gnat (4),
Pull by to previous neighbor (2), allemande Left once AND A HALF around (6).
A2: MEN chain (8),
MEN pass right to start a half hey (8)
B1: Partners BALANCE & swing on gent's side (4, 12)
B2: Long lines go forward and back, yearning left as you go forward, partners roll away as you back up (8).
Star Left 3/4 to face new neighbors (and give a right hand to next new neighbor).
A variation of Rerouted to Tulsa (with differences in all capital letters)

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Kimmswick Diamonds

By Jerome Grisanti

Duple Improper Contra -- Intermediate -- composed May 2010
A1 (Next) neighbor allemande right 1 3/4 to wavy lines (men in middle). Balance the wave, spin to right as in Rory O'More but reform into diamond of four, women in the middle of the set facing up and down, men on side facing into the set.
A2 Balance diamond, Petronella turn,
Balance diamond, Petronella turn.
B1 Balance diamond, women lift your arms and twirl into your partner's arms. Men catch her & swing. (works best if women twirl reverse of petronella rotation).
B2

Long lines forward & back,
Men allemande left 1 1/2 (and look for your next neighbor)

Notes: From hands four I have dancers find the diamond shape by first swinging the neighbor, then forming a ring and rotating 1/8 to the right. Then rotate back and unswing your neighbor to start teaching the sequence.

I composed this dance during the five-hour drive to Kimmswick Dance Weekend in May 2010. Based on Rory O'Nella, but I wanted to add spinning into your partner's arms. It made more sense for the women to spin and the men to catch, so I came up with this.

An alternate A2a is: Neighbor box the gnat, allemande right 1 1/4 to wave.

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Libra Boys

By Jerome Grisanti & Susan Moffett

Duple Improper Contra -- Intermediate -- finalized Nov 2007
A1

Balance the ring of four (4), circle left halfway (4), ladies allemande left halfway to form wavy lines (4), balance the wavy lines.

A2

Partners allemande right 1 1/2,
Men pass left shoulders to start a half hey.

B1

Partners balance & swing

B2

Ladies Chain ,
Balance the ring, symmetrical turn single* to face new neighbor.

Notes: Symmetrical turn single can be prompted as "flirt and twirl." The A1 transition from the circle to the allemande is the "hook."

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Gateway to the South (aka Jerome's Dixie Twirl contra)

By Jerome Grisanti

Duple Improper Contra -- Medium/Easy -- composed Aug 2005
A1

Long lines go forward & back
Neighbors swing

A2 Down the hall in lines of four, Dixie twirl*, return
B1

Circle Left 3/4,
Partners swing

B2 Promenade
Ladies Chain
Notes: Dixie Twirl: Middles (inactives) make an arch, active lady ducks through and crosses the set, pulling the inactive man under. Active man walks around to other side of set. In effect, the line of four turns as a line to face back up.

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Rory O'Nella

By Jerome Grisanti

Duple Improper Contra -- Intermediate -- composed Aug 2005
A1 (Next) neighbor do-si-do 1 1/4 to wavy lines (women in middle). Balance the wave, spin to right as in Rory O'More but reform into diamond of four, men in the middle of the set facing up and down, women on side facing into the set.
A2 Balance diamond, Petronella turn,
Balance diamond, Petronella turn
B1 Men step toward partner, Balance & Swing
B2

Circle left 3/4, ooze into a wavy line of four.
Balance the wave, drop hands and walk forward to next neighbor

Notes: From hands four I have dancers find the diamond shape by pointing to the floor betwen them and the person to their right. Then form the diamond while holding hands four. Then rotate back and start teaching the sequence.
Alternate B2: Ladies chain, star left

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Just a Splash

By Jenny Lavery & Callers Workshop at Hands Four 2006, Berea Kentucky**

Duple Improper Contra -- Medium/Easy -- composed Apr 2006
A1 Neighbor Balance & Swing
A2 Circle Left 3/4, Partner swing
B1 Long lines to splash*, Right & Left thru
B2

Hey for four, ladies start by passing Right shoulders. Instead of second pass, men push back (splash) to progressed position.

Notes: *Splash figure looks like the little slap that people on the ends of long lines often give, only everyone does it with two hands. Emphasize pushing "up" rather than forward. The title refers to how a southern lady responds to an offer for more bourbon: "Oh, just a splash."
Orient men to next neighbor at beginning of walkthrough so they'll know where pushback ends.

**Callers present included Susan Moffett, Jerome Grisanti, Steve Bennett, Judy Goldsmith, John Coffman and Kathy Coffman. Jenny intented the signature "splash" move.

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This page last updated on: Wednesday, April 1, 2015