BackSicilian Circle Dances



Behind You!        Print this dance

Format: Sicilian Circle.     Dance: Colin Hume, 1990.     Music: 40 bar American reels

A1:Ladies right-hand turn.  Do-si-do the man behind you.
A2:In these new fours, men right-hand turn.  Do-si-do the lady behind you (original opposite — all now in original places).
B1:In original four, ladies chain across.  Promenade ¾.
B2:Face this person (now in progressed position): grand chain 3 hands around the two big circles.  Swing number 4.
C:Promenade ¾.  Flutter wheel.

It's a reverse triple progression.  But dancers (in England at any rate) probably wouldn't want to know that and wouldn't worry about it; they'd just accept that they finished facing in their original direction with their original partner.  Just don't ask them to go back after two walkthroughs!

Malarkey        Print this dance

Format: Sicilian Circle.     Dance: Colin Hume, 2000.     Music: 32 bar hornpipes

A1:Right-forearm turn opposite (step-hop) twice and a bit more, and move on to the next.  Left-forearm turn twice and a bit more, and move on to the next.
A2:Right-hand star (1-2-3-hop).  Left-hand star.
B1:Single file to the right in two big circles (men in the lead, ladies following opposite).  And back.
B2:Do-si-do partner.  Cross-hand swing (or better, give a right-forearm hold and then join left hands above or below to keep in closer and allow you to control the swing better).

Dedicated to the band Malarkey, led by Chris Jewell.  I know Chris gets fed up with playing a whole evening of set tunes chosen by the caller (even though he does an excellent job of this).  Most bands have their own tunes which they would like to play, and the caller should take notice of the fact.  Chris Jewell plays melodeon, fiddle, keyboard and accordion, and plays them well — he had a reputation at Folk Camps for playing Levi Jackson Rag on melodeon.  When I ring him before a dance to give him my programme, and then ask him what he wants to play, he always suggests a set of hornpipes.  So here's a dance to hornpipe rhythm, and I'm not going to write a tune for it or he won't be able to play his own favourite set.  You need a bit of oomph to get the arm turns twice around and on to the next in four bars of music.  Make sure you use up all the music for the right-hand star, and then you can go straight from the left-hand star into the single file without having time to face in and get confused.

Nottingham Swing Sicilian        Paddy McGinty's Goat: Music in PDF, MIDI and ABC formatAdded 6-Nov-18Print this dance

Format: Sicilian Circle.     Dance: Jovial Beggars.     Music: 16 bar hornpipes

A:Right-forearm turn opposite (step-hop) once and a bit more, and move on to the next.  Left-forearm turn once and a bit more, and move on to the next.  All that again.
B:Ones (the couple with the man on the outside) give two hands and do two chassées through the twos as they chassée outside the ones, and back; ones cast round the twos who lead through them.  All cross-hand swing.

Created by the Jovial Beggars display team as an adaptation of the traditional Nottingham Swing for display purposes.  You've really got to move to fit the A part to the music, and why not — it's a display dance!  For another of their display dances, see Dorset Twelve-Hand Reel.  Now you can see where I got the first move in Malarkey from!  See also the page on Display Dance.

Sicilian Figures        Print this dance

Compiled by: Colin Hume, around 1984

Format: Sicilian circle.  Music: 32 bar jigs/reels

First sequence
A1:Circle left.  Circle right.
A2:Ladies chain over and back.
B1:Balance and swing partner.
B2:Forward and back.  The couple with the inside man arch: move on to the next couple.
Second sequence
A1:Do-si-do partner.  Do-si-do opposite.
A2:Right and left through, and back.
B1:Balance and swing partner.
B2:Forward and back.  Inside man arch: move on.
Third sequence
A1:Do-si-do opposite.  Swing opposite — finish in each other's place.
A2:Do-si-do partner.  Swing partner — finish in each other's place.
B1:Right-hand star.  Left-hand star.
B2:Promenade all the way round this couple, and on to the next.  Forward and back.

Nothing particularly original in all this, but useful for teaching figures.  I got the idea from Brenda Godrich when we were running the “Beginners” sessions at Cecil Sharp House.  You teach the first sequence and dance that say five times.  Then the second.  Then the third, and at that point you keep the music going and bring back the first two sequences, first as learnt, then with variations.  It teaches the basic figures, it's fun, and people rise to the challenge of coping with the same figures in a different order.

When I started dancing the standard was “Put the lady back where you found her” after a swing, and this was how the old contras worked.  But in modern contra dancing you always finish a swing with the lady on the right, so I put together the third sequence to reflect this — you also get to swing people other than your partner, which is useful.

Under New Management        Under New Management: Music in PDF, MIDI and ABC formatPrint this danceRecordings

Dance and Music: Colin Hume.  Published 1990.

Format: Sicilian circle.

A1:Do-si-do opposite.  Right-hand turn opposite three-quarters, men left-hand turn half-way, right-hand turn partner half-way to finish in a column (like spokes of a wheel) with the ladies back to back.
A2:Keeping right hands joined, balance forward and back; long swing (6 bars).
B1:Lead forward to the other couple; fall back.  Circle left.
B2:Ladies chain across.  Ladies cross left shoulder; men cross right shoulder, and turn your back on this couple to start again with the next.

I was thinking what a good dance Brian Jones's “Escort to Leicester” is, although you hardly see your partner, and this dance suddenly appeared.  It has a similar start, but you dance with your partner more of the time.