The Pepper ShuffleSource: Composed by John Sweeney
Formation: Becket Sicilian Circle - #1s on the inside
Music: 32 bar reels or jigs. I usually dance it at around 114 bpm.
Notes: Set up a normal Sicilian Circle; then get the dancers to circle left one place in their fours so that #1s are facing out and #2s are facing in.
The Gallops are done as a couple, holding both hands. The Slips are done individually. But the same footwork is used: Side, Together, Side, Together..., while facing your partner. This move first appeared in The Picking of Stickes, pre-1650, wherein it is called a "Shuttle". That's what I have always called this move. But then I looked more closely at the handwriting and realised that it is probably "Shuffle". Hence the name of the dance!
Travelling Right Hand High, Left Hand Low; Left Hand High, Right Hand Low: Holding hands in a line of three, the man raises his right hand and brings his hands together; the left-hand lady goes through the arch, followed by the man (who does half a turn), while the right-hand lady dances around the other two. Immediately the man raises his left hand and lowers his right hand; the ladies keep moving forwards, the other one now diving through the arch followed by the man. If you relax your arms, don't grip, and keep moving, then this move flows very smoothly. The move is very popular in Square Dancing, but actually goes all the way back to Pepper's Black in 1651. Hence the name of the dance!
Why does a dance based on 17th century moves have a Swing? Well, check that old handwritten document again; you'll find phrases like, "every man shall turne his mayde as long as he please...turne all againe soundly...then all men and woemen turne round as before as fast as they can". Sounds like a swing to me! But if you prefer a Two-Hand-Turn (which is actually a form of Swing!) then please feel free to use that instead.
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