New Dance – Becketizied Proper Lines

Years ago, mostly as a bad joke, I challenged myself to write a Proper Becket; that is, a duple minor dance where proper groups of four Becketizied (yes, I verbed that). The initial configuration would be


M1 m2
W1 w2

M3 m4
W3 w4

M5 m6
W5 w6

Same color and same number pairs are partners, so you’re on the side of the set with your partner. But in both lines, the men are closer to the band. Extra couple listed to facilitate discussion of progression if needed.

I’ve had a few false starts over the years, but I think today’s may be the closest to danceable that I’ve come up with, so without further ado:

Middlebury Meltdown
Proper Becket by Luke Donforth

(2) With same gender travel buddy: All zig to the right
(4) Zag to the left past a new couple
(2) Zig to the right to face new new couple
(4) Left Hand Star 1/2 way
Along lines with opposite gender
(2) pull by Left
(2) with next pull by right

(16) Partner Balance and Swing

(8) Circle Left 3 places
Top Couple step between bottom couple to make a line of four facing down
(6) Down the hall four in line
(2) Middle two turn as couple, End people step down hall to a new line of four

(8) Up the hall four in line, bend the ends
(8) Circle RIGHT 3 places

End effects: When you read the top or bottom on the zag, you cross over and immediately come back in facing the other way. You’ll end up pulling past your travel buddy to reach your partner. If you reach the end on a zig (when there was a couple out), allemande travel buddy 1x by L and pull by your travel buddy and one more person (grand L&R around the oval) to find your partner.

The hope is that deliberately breaking the down the hall and back over a phrase will help cement the non-standard transition.

While I initially thought of this formation as a bad joke, it’s stuck with me because often members of the same gender don’t get much interaction with each other. I liked the idea of letting you travel with someone you don’t usually for a while.

The name refers to distracting myself with dance choreography while on the way to a job interview, to prevent obsessing about the upcoming interview.

A wiser caller than I once rhetorically asked “If you do contra corners at weekly dances, what’s left for festivals?” I’m not saying this is a good answer, but it’s an answer.