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Clapless Petronella Timing

March 21st, 2007
dance  [html]
Last monday (3/12) I was at the scout house in concord and bob isaacs called a dance ending (B2) as follows:

  • Balance, Petronella turn
  • Aleman neighbor left 1/2
  • Half hey on to the next (for a balance and swing)

Giving standard lengths for the actions you'd have something like:

  • (4) Balance
  • (4) Petronella turn
  • (2) Aleman neighbor left 1/2
  • (6) Half hey on to the next (for a balance and swing)

The problem with this timing, though, is you don't make it through the hey in time for the balance and swing. Heys are hard to do exactly on time, and because this was a hey to the next you needed more time to do an extra pass.

One fix is to realize that the petronella really is two beats of spinning followed by two beats of clapping, wiggling, stamping or standing there. And that people could skip out on those second two beats and go straight into the aleman, leaving plenty of time:

  • (4) Balance
  • (2) Petronella turn
  • (2) Aleman neighbor left 1/2
  • (8) Half hey on to the next (for a balance and swing)

The caller (bob) did not say this is how people were to dance it, but said instead something like "if you don't stop to clap after the petronella you'll have momentum to make it through the hey in time for the balance". When I talked to him at the break he claimed that the petronella still took four counts and that people should be able to do the hey in time if they had momentum, as it was three passes in six counts. Thinking about this more I really don't see how one could retain the momentum of the spin into the aleman while pausing between them for two counts. I also think that when I danced this I was going immediately into the aleman out of the spin. But bob knows what he's talking about.

If this dance really does have a two count petronella turn, I'm not sure what to make of it. Dances that have swings after petronellas, like cure for the claps and my good morning mr sanders are more fun if you cut the petronella short and spin into the swing. This feels different to me, though, perhaps because it forces you to go into the aleman immediately if you don't want to be rushed while spinning into swings is just better flow and more swing.

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