Several people have pointed out to me that the Friends of the Guiding Star Grange have issued a call for new formation contra dances. You should try writing one! These days, I work to write dances within the tradition of contra and not stretch things as far as I have in the past; but they asked, and I have a bunch of little wooden dancers Sophia gave me for my birthday that I want to use. So here’s a proposal for a new (I think) formation and dance.
It’s basically a longways triple minor, but the triplets run perpendicular to the long set.
Start in longways proper set. Take hands six from the top.
Couples 1 & 2 cross over.
All 3 couples quarter circle to the left.
(4) Right to your Partner, balance
(4) Pull by Right with Partner, Left with Neighbor
(8) Next Neighbor swing
(8) Lines of 3 facing up and down, forward and back
(4) Right to your Corner (not the neighbor you just swung) and balance
(4) Pull by Right with corner, left with Partner
2s & 3s turn to face 1s, 2s and 3s take handy hand with opposite
1s, with joined hand (Lefts if Gent wants to go backwards, otherwise he turns to face and it’s his Right and her Left)
(8) 1s zig and zag set, passing first by Right and second by Left shoulders
1s: Gent wheels lady around. 2s & 3s drop hands, turn 180, and take handy hand with new opposites (this is the progression)
(8) 1s zag and zig with half new set, passing Left then Right
1s: Lady wheels gent around to face folks just zagged and zigged with; 2s & 3s drop hands with opposite
(8) All 6 Circle Left 1X
(8) Partner swing
As for end effects, I really wish I had ~20 dancers to try this with to give you a better idea. It should be just the standard issues with triplets. If you get to the top and there’s one couple there, you’ll wait out once with them, and then dance once (they’re the 1s, you’re the 2s). When you get to the top and you’re alone, wait out twice more until you have a full set of 3 and then dance with the full set as 1s. Bottom of the set use ghost 3s, then wait out and come in as 3s.
I am not completely sure that this is actually a new formation. There are LOTS of dances out there, and I probably haven’t seen most of them. I know there are triple minors that rotate the minor set to perpendicular (Sacket’s Harbor); but I’d feel accurate saying this is a different formation than a proper longways triplet.
Other people might submit proper-becket formation, but I’ve already written dances for that configuration and they asked form something never used before. (I also wrote a tempest-style triplet, the fact that neither of those gets called or danced should clue you in to the types of crack-headed dances I used to write).
I hope the Friends of the Guiding Star Grange release a booklet/pdf of all of the submitted dances. It’d be fun to see what else people came up with. The winning dance will be called “The Greenfield Formation”. Since I hope there are even more awesome dances being submitted, I’m thinking of this dance as “Fridays with David”.