dances by Yoyo Zhou

Here are some dances I've written. If you enjoy them, please let me know! I'm always interested in hearing feedback on what works and what doesn't, especially helpful teaching notes.

These are presented vaguely in order they were hatched, but the ones that have actually been tried with real dancers have sometimes undergone revision.

  1. Sine and Cosine***!
  2. Star of the County Alameda*
  3. Pure Ingredients!
  4. Pirate Radio*!
  5. Pillar Point Harbor*!
  6. Apples and Concord Grapes**!
  7. the convergence of Revolution Reel and Becket in the Kitchen!
  8. Blackbirds of Spring variation**!
  9. Millbrae
  10. Rings of Saturn*
  11. Nothing Works and We Don't Know Why*
  12. The Golden Gate*
  13. Training Wheels
  14. untitled Balance to My Lou variation*!
  15. Spiral Arms
  16. untitled mad robin gate dance*!
  17. Waxmyrtle (slip jig contra)*
  18. Right Thought
  19. Mountains in Sunny Windows*!
  20. untitled dixie twirl petronella dance*!
  21. The Editor's Reel*
  22. The Green-Haired Girl
  23. Four Have Sprung*
  24. The Persimmon Tree*!
  25. Pedal Point
  26. untitled Baby Rose variation*!
  27. Wandering Stars*
  28. One-Third Century Reel*
  29. untitled square thru rory o'more dance*!

I'll use the convention of only annotating moves with their time (in counts) if it's not obvious how to break up 16 (as 6+10, 8+8, or 16). Also, neighbors are numbered - N1 is the current neighbor, N0 the previous neighbor, N2 the next neighbor, and so on. The neighbor number increments when the dance begins again, so N2 becomes N1 and so on.

"See also" dances refer to other composers' dances that are somehow related (if you liked this, also try...).

Cross trail thru - pass by right shoulder across, left shoulder up/down.

Swing thru - from a short wavy line, all allemande right 1/2, then middles allemande left 1/2.

Sawtooth - see Give and Take. Basically it's Becket, but the dance ends slightly left of your original neighbors, so you don't need to slide left as far.

Legal mumbo jumbo: All dances here are Creative Commons CC BY. You're welcome to call them anytime.


Sine and Cosine
July 2012
becket right
A1 circle left 3/4
N swing
A2 1/2 hey, ladies pass right
ladies do si do with next lady to a long wave down the center; same gents take left hands across
B1 (4) balance (ladies right, gents left)
(4) allemande 3/4 (ladies right, gents left) to put gents in a long wave down the center
(4) balance (ladies right, gents left)
(4) allemande 3/4 + a little more (ladies right, gents left)
B2 P balance, swing

The inspiration for this dance comes from Carol Ormand's choreography workshop at American Week and Patrick Morris's Hallucination Jig. And arguably Dean Snipes's Our House.

Teaching notes:


Star of the County Alameda
September 11, 2012
improper
A1 (next) N balance, box the gnat
into right hand star
A2 (4) P pull by right across the set
(12) N swing on the other side
B1 gents allemande left 1+1/2
P swing
B2 (8) promenade across
(6) star left 3/4
(2) with N up/down, pull by left

Written on a flight on to Munich. Fixed up in a jet-lag-induced flash of realization.

Teaching notes:

See also: Rod's Grits, Northeast on Southwest


Pure Ingredients
August 19, 2012
improper
A1 circle left 1
N do si do
A2 N balance, swing
B1 gents allemande left 1+1/2
P swing
B2 ladies chain
cross trail thru

Named for Pure Ingredient Cafe at Google, close to the location of the Google contra.


Pirate Radio
September 19, 2012
duple improper
A1 long lines forward and back
pass through to a wave, gents take left hands in the middle; balance the wave
A2 (4) swing thru
(12) P swing
B1 promenade across
pass through to a wave, ladies take left hands in the middle; balance the wave
B2 (4) swing thru
(12) N swing

Pillar Point Harbor
October 20, 2012
becket right
A1 ladies allemande right 1+1/2
with N, promenade the set clockwise (ladies in center), ladies scoop gents around to their next N behind them
A2 next N gypsy, swing
B1 (8) with next N, promenade the set counterclockwise (gents in center)
(2) gents pull by left
(6) P gypsy 1
B2 1/2 hey, ladies pass left
P swing

A left-right inverse of Fairport Harbor by Paul Balliet.

Teaching notes:


Apples and Concord Grapes
November 14, 2012
becket right
A1 circle left 3/4
N1 swing
A2 full hey, gents pass left; end in long wave with gents facing in, ladies facing out, N1 in right hand
B1 (4) balance wave
(4) slide right to short wave, left hand to N2
(4) balance wave
(4) slide left
B2 (4) swing thru
(12) P swing

Named for the fruit we picked in Grass Valley and brought to the potluck table at Fall Has Sprung in 2012.

Teaching notes:

See also: Apples and Chocolate


Millbrae
January 2013
improper
A1 long lines, roll away next N
balance ring, petronella
A2 P balance, swing
B1 circle left
balance ring, petronella
B2 N balance, swing

Rings of Saturn
February 10, 2013
improper
A1 N1 do si do
N0 do si do
A2 N1 balance, swing
B1 gents left hand balance, pull by
P swing
B2 ladies chain
1/2 hey, ladies pass right

Note the two consecutive do si dos add up to make an elongated do si do; there is no weaving.


Nothing Works and We Don't Know Why
March 18, 2013
improper
A1 (next) N balance, swing
A2 promenade across, loop right to face shadow
1/2 hey, ladies pass right, gents ricochet
B1 P balance, swing
B2 long lines
1/2 hey, gents pass left, ladies ricochet

The Golden Gate
April 8, 2013
becket sawtooth
A1 (new) gents pull by left, (new) N allemande right 1+1/2
1/2 hey, ladies pass left
A2 N gypsy, swing
B1 big oval left
big oval right (until across from P)
B2 gents gate N lady
with free hand take P, swing on gents side

Training Wheels
April 15, 2013
improper
A1 long lines
N swing
A2 down the hall, turn as couples
B1 gents allemande left 1+1/2
P swing
B2 promenade across
ladies chain

(Untitled Balance to My Lou variation)
May 2013
becket
A1 long lines
right diagonal ladies chain (to N)
A2 balance ring, roll away shadow across
N swing
B1 balance ring, petronella
balance ring, petronella
B2 balance ring, petronella + spin 1/2
P swing

The B section is from Balance to my Lou by Becky Hill. This was my best attempt to add a neighbor swing. It's still a dance in which you don't see your partner as much as your shadow, though.


Spiral Arms
May 30, 2013
becket/sawtoothy
A1 slide left, ladies allemande right 1+1/2
N swing
A2 circle left 3/4
P do si do
B1 balance the wave, swing thru
N star promenade
B2 give and take P ladies, swing

See also: Lisa Gets Cozy


(Untitled mad robin gate dance)
June 2, 2013
improper
A1 long lines
(with next N) P mad robin, ladies in front
A2 gate N ladies
ladies pass left, pass P right, gents gypsy left 1
B1 P gypsy, swing
B2 circle left 3/4
N swing

See also: Circle of Love, Power Pass


Waxmyrtle
June 2013
improper slip jig contra
A1 (6) N gypsy 1
(6) 1/2 hey, ladies pass left
A2 (12) N swing
B1 (3) gents cross the set
(9) P swing
B2 (6) balance ring*
(3) petronella
(3) pass N1 left (up/down)
Notes:

See also: Gypsy Moon


Right Thought
June 2013
duple improper
A1 long lines
gents allemande right 1+1/2
A2 P balance, swing
B1 right and left thru
ladies allemande right 1+1/2
B2 N balance, swing

Mountains in Sunny Windows
June 29, 2013
becket right
A1 circle left 3/4, pass thru
N0 allemande right 1+1/2 to long wavy lines, gents in ladies out
A2 balance wave, slide right
N1 swing
B1 pass thru to wave, balance
walk forward to next wave, ladies allemande left 1 while gents orbit
B2 P balance, swing

Written as I was listening to Jaige Trudel's uplifting jig, Sunny Windows, in an airport with blinding sunlight, overlooking the Min Mountains in shadow.

See also: Spin Doctors, Going into Orbit


(Untitled alternating Dixie twirl petronella)
June 2013
improper, 1s between 2s in a line of 4
A1 down the hall, Dixie twirl to invert the line
return, bend the line
A2 circle left 1
N swing
B1 balance ring, petronella
balance ring, petronella
B2 2s balance, swing end facing up between new 1s
A1' up the hall, Dixie twirl to invert the line
return, bend the line
...
B2' 1s balance, swing end facing down between new 2s

Notes:


The Green-Haired Girl
August 5, 2013
improper
A1 N balance, swing
A2 right and left thru
left hands across star
B1 (4) ladies allemande left 1 while gents loop right
(4) pull by N right, gents pull by left (while ladies loop right)
(8) P swing
B2 circle left 3/4
N gypsy 1+1/2

A variant of the Green-Eyed Girl by Jim Kitch, which seemed like it had a nice flowing signature figure without good flow around it. (If you call the Green-Eyed Girl, I'll suggest this as a replacement.)


The Editor's Reel
July 10, 2013, revised January 2014
becket right
A1 circle left 3/4
N1 swing
A2 left diagonal ladies chain (to shadow)
1/2 hey (with shadow + N2), ladies pass right
B2 P gypsy right 1
1/2 hey (with P + N2), ladies pass left
B2 P balance, swing

For Kristin Seibert, friend, contra dance caller, and Scottish dancer.

Teaching notes:


Four Have Sprung
October 19, 2013
becket
A1 circle left 3/4
N1 allemande right 1/2, N2 allemande left 1/2, N3 allemande right 1/2 to long waves, gents in ladies out
A2 balance wave, slide right
N2 swing
B1 (8) long lines
(2) ladies pull by right
(2) P pull by left
(4) gents allemande right 1
B2 P balance, swing

For the organizers of Fall Have Sprung: Dan Skeahan, Eric Engels, Joyce Miller, and Lisa Frankel.

Some have suggested, in the B1, changing the pull by left to an allemande left 1/2. I think the timing is better with a pull by, but either could work.


The Persimmon Tree
October 21, 2013
becket
A1 circle left 3/4, roll away N lady
next N swing
A2 long lines
ladies chain
B1 balance ring, petronella
balance ring, petronella
B2 balance ring, roll N across set
P swing

Pedal Point
November 9, 2013
improper
A1 gents allemande left 1+1/4
P star promenade
A2 ladies do si do
P swing
B1 circle left 3/4
N swing
B2 long lines
star right

A recombination of Pedal Pushers, Harmony Supper Line, and Sweet Music.


(Untitled Baby Rose variation)
December 21, 2013
improper
A1 N1 balance, swing
A2 right diagonal ladies chain (to shadow)
star left (with N2)
B1 P balance, swing
B2 circle left 3/4
N2 do si do

This is like the Baby Rose, but swapping the role of neighbors and partners.

See also: The Dance Gypsy


Wandering Stars
January 24, 2014
improper
A1 N1 allemande right 1+1/2
N2 star left
A2 N1 gypsy, swing
B1 give and take ladies, P swing
B2 ladies chain
N1 star left

See also: The Franklin Flank


One-Third Century Reel
March 8, 2014
becket right
A1 ladies chain
1/2 hey, ladies pass right
A2 N balance, swing
B1 (8) long lines
(4) gents allemande left 3/4 (brief long wave down center)
(4) next gents allemande right 3/4 (ladies step to the right)
B2 P balance, swing

The B1 is as in Mary Cay's Reel, but for the gents.


(Untitled square thru rory o'more dance)
April 9, 2014
improper, long waves, gents out ladies in
A1 N rory o'more
A2 (4) N allemande right 1/2, gents pass by the right
(12) P swing
B1 right and left thru
ladies chain
B2 P balanced square thru 4, hold on to N left