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Tips For Organizing Novelty Dances

Oct 12, 2007
Much fun can be had if you go to the trouble of organizing a party around some novelty dances. Perhaps the easiest and most fun classic novelty dances include "The Barn Dance," "Memphis Tapping" and "The Minuet." Here's how to get each started.

The Barn Dance

The Barn Dance is an always pleasing novelty. It starts with a momentum that carries it along to its happy conclusion and remains the most popular and lasting of novelties.

There is no end to what may be done to add to the infinite variety of its appeal and humor. To issue invitations printed on straw paper couched in Josh Billing dialect; to decorate with straw or corn in the husk, with pumpkins and lanterns; to dress in overalls, gingham and white linen dusters; to serve cider and ginger-cake - to suggest these is merely to touch on its many possibilities. The usual order of dancing obtains.

The Memphis Tapping Novelty

This is a highly entertaining novelty, though of necessity restricted and adaptable only to gatherings of a purely private or social intimate character. While dancing one gentleman taps another and the one so tapped must surrender his partner. Its possibility as a popularity contest may be seen at once. A spirited novelty and the amusement is insistent throughout.

The Minuet

The beloved and stately minuet is of truly French derivation but it so inextricably entwined with the candle-lit romance of our Colonial days that we think of it as our very own. It is often rehearsed to-day - in fact it will, forever, it seems, find favor with people of good taste and refinement - with its resplendent atmosphere of lavendar and old lace, sparkling satin, and powdered wigs. When we think of the Minuet, we think of Mozart, though many classical compositions may be used; it is often rendered now-a-days to the "glow-worm," for instance.

In the dance formation the couples should arrange in columns, about four feet apart, and march to the dancing space in center of room. Should four couples take part, the two inside couples step to side, second couple to right, third couple to left - the fourth will then be facing the first couple forming a square.

At the introduction of the music all face partners, the gentlemen, using the low romantic bow, bows stepping back with the left foot and drawing the right heel to hollow of left foot, beginning at breast, making a sweeping gesture outward with the right hand, and a gesture backward with the left hand. The lady steps forward on the left foot and draws the right foot, with a sweeping movement, allowing her body to go down with the movement slowly and gracefully, in short making a genuflection in which the knee almost touches the ground.

After saluting his partner the gentleman turns and faces the lady on the left; at the same time the ladies turn to the right and faces the gentlemen; they bow and courtesy and the introduction is complete. For the dance the first and second couple go forward to the center, the gentlemen holding the ladies hands slightly higher than the shoulder, the ladies' hands held underneath.

These dances have stood the test of time, and will be a great source of enjoyment for your guests. Have fun!
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