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De'il Take the Warr

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Published on Mar 28, 2016

The 3-couple version of De’il Take the Warr, reconstructed by Andrew Shaw in “The She Favorite,” is a much-beloved addition to the repertoire of historical set dances for a variety of reasons. There is the stately tune, whose tempo makes the dance accessible to dancers of different skill levels; there is the unusual zig-zag progression that makes such good use of the 10-bar B section; and there is the choreography’s appealing symmetry, with stretches of solo dancing alternating with parts where all or most are moving.

In this video, I asked the dancers to display the dance’s flow in three specific places: In A2, the 2nd man moves out of his 2-hand turn with partner without stopping and flows smoothly into the hey-for-3 on the men’s side. The 3rd woman uses the momentum of her turn single left at the end of B1 to move directly into the hey-for-3 with the women. And finally, for both the 1st man and 1 women, when they finish the hey there is “no stomping hoofs,” as Fried Herman would say, but rather they time the hey to move directly into the zig-zag progression without stopping.

It gives me real pleasure to see that the set achieved all these moments of flow. It shows how beauty can be expressed in the dancing, even with a small blemish here and there.

Many thanks to the Flying Romanos for their sensitive rendition of the tune (played from Barnes in C major, though the sheet music in the video is in D) and to the dancers for their unsparing efforts to dance well. –Paul Ross

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