Allie's Man

Source: Composed by John Sweeney
Formation: Contra; Improper

A1 Men Allemande Left 1 & 1/2; Partner Swing
A2 Ladies Allemande Right 1 & 1/2; Neighbour Swing
B1 Right & Left Through
Long Lines Go Forward & Back
B2 Circle Left; Star Right

Any suitable 32-bar tune.

This is a very simple contra dance that I use as the first dance when teaching technique. These are the workshop notes:

Relax! Is there any part of your body causing unnecessary pressure on any part of your partner?

Thumbs are nasty weapons!

Practise this hand shape so you get good connection without gripping - see my Allemande page.

Connect and relax. Be responsible for your own weight! Don't "Give weight"! Keep your arms firm but elastic.

Swings can take up 30 minutes of an evening! See my Swing Workshop page. Make it a gentle counter-balance - you can still spin fast! The Caller is the only Leader, but in a flourish one person can lead briefly.

Use connection to help each other; as an exercise try: Circle Left; Star Right (Wrist Lock) - do you finish at home after going around twice? The Wrist Lock Star has been growing in use from the 1950s, and is now used nearly everywhere in the USA. Put your arm in front, not to the side - no thumbs - they go on top so that you don't grip! Use connection to help this move and to start the next one.

Now let's practise all that in Allie's Man.

Do good Allemandes. Your muscles are to counter centrifugal force, not to fight your partner - don't use muscles you don't need! This applies to swings as well - practice your swings. We dance that five times through then progress one more place and discuss how to spin out of an Allamande: Provide a platform for your partner with your hand so they can push off it; you don't push them! Dance it five more times trying to add some spins.

Thanks to Christin Swearingen for pointing out that using Circle Left; Star Right (rather than my original Star Right; Circle Left) gives a better flow into the next Allemande Left.

Back to Dance Index

I'd love to hear from you if you try this dance.

Feedback is very welcome on any aspect of these dances or Web pages.

Please contact John Sweeney with your comments.