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The Bishop's Halloween

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Published on Jun 2, 2016

By her own admission, Fried was fascinated by The Bishop. Her response was classic: She wrote dances that honored and at the same time expanded on the form, two of which dating from 1991 were published in Potters’ Porch, namely, The Archbishop and The Bishop Revisited. The third was The Bishop’s Halloween from Serendipity, which is presented here. This 3 couple triad employs a chevron poussette, as does Time for a Little Something, also in Serendipity. It was typical of Fried’s creative process to devise a figure and then explore its use in different choreographies.

The Bishop’s Halloween uses two tunes by the incomparable ECD tunesmith and musician Jonathan Jensen: “The Witch Under the Stairs” (1995) and “Black Cat Jig” (1996), both ideally suited to the subject in the title! Fried instructs the band to play the first tune 3 times, the second tune 2 times, and then back to the first tune for the final of six rounds. For various reasons, this video starts with the first time through the second tune.

Despite a hiccup here and there, this instance of The Bishop’s Halloween, to my great satisfaction, captures two important aspects of the choreography: a bit of attitude or playfulness in the taking of hands in the star and poussettes—mostly through smiles and small gestures, nothing exaggerated—and the energy of the cross-over heys, done with a skip change of step. These elements enhance the fun in Jonathan’s spooky music, and it shows, not just in the top video set but in the others as well!

Who provided the haunted music for this Halloween romp? Why, our band of friendly musical spirits, of course: Cynthia Shaw on keyboard, Eric Marin on violin and viola, and Doug Creighton on flute.
–Paul Ross

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