Virginia Reel Circle Mixer #24

Source: Composed by John Sweeney
Formation: Circle Mixer - Men on the inside, facing out

A1 Partner Arm Right
Partner Arm Left
A2 Partner Dosido
Partner Seesaw (Left Shoulder Dosido)
B1 Partner Gypsy Meltdown (Right Shoulder Gypsy into a Swing)
B2 Promenade around the circle
Men move forwards to a New Partner - then face New Partner

32 bars,

The idea of doing a sequence of simple moves with the same person occurs in the 17th century Sir Roger de Coverley, know in America as The Virginia Reel; there are versions where you do it with your corner on a long diagonal, and versions where you do it with your partner; this version is done with your partner, but in a circle. #24 is a random number, chosen to differentiate this dance from similar ones.

For experienced dancers you can call Allemande Right instead of Arm Right and use ballroom-hold, buzz-step swings.

I use it a lot with complete beginners so I teach a swing where they put their right forearms together, gently hook their hand just above their partner's elbow (with the thumb together with the fingers so that they can't grip), make a hook with their left hands and join them underneath. I remind them not to lean back! This gives really good connection with space between them. The space means that they can each do any footwork (walk, skip, polka, buzz) without worrying about stepping on each other. The space also makes it more comfortable from a personal viewpoint.

I love the Gypsy into a Swing; I teach them to start the Gypsy, "join right arms, join left hands, swing". I always demonstrate it and most of them then make a decent job of swinging. Then I tell them to keep hold and slide down the arm so that they are holding hands - instant Promenade Hold!

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.