A Zesty Contra dance, quite at home in an eCeilidh environment. You'll remember it for the Petronella Turn, a flashy in, out, spin-to-next-place move you do in a little circle of four people.
There are apparently many different versions of the dance, with something a little different in the Scottish County Dancing Repertoire. This version makes no claims to be anything beyond what sometimes appears in ceilidhs.
Danced to a 32 bar reels
Join hands in a circle of four, balance in and out
You want to get round to the next position to your right... Look towards the person on your right, everyone should be looking at someone's left ear. You are going to take that person's place. They will have got out of the way.
The clapping seems to be controversial, although why it is so is not clear. However there are many dances that include the Petronella move and it is likely to fit better with some tunes and dances than others. It does make sense that everybody finds the right beats to clap on.
You do this four times to get back to your original position
The 'twos' move up a bit as the first couple cast round them.
You've progressed, but are still dancing with the couple you were dancing with. You'll be dancing a Right and Left Four, or Four Changes in a Circular Hey⬀. Think of it as a four person Grand Chain with hands and not a Right and Left Through⬀.
Imagine a square on the floor. You will be dancing along each side:
Four moves, four sides of a square, and you should be back to place.
If you are a first couple⬀, face down the set and look for a new couple to join hands with. If you are a second couple⬀ face up the set. If you are doing that and find you are at the end of the set, don't panic
If you've got to the end of the set and there's no-one there wanting to form a circle with you?
Don't panic, it's one of those things that happen in longways dances, you get to an end and have to head back the other direction. If you've danced Nottingham Swing, Speed the Plough or Portsmouth, you'll have been in this situation.
There will be one time through the dance where you'll be watching and then someone will head towards you expecting you to join them. If you had been a 'first couple' dancing down the set, you will start dancing as a 'second couple'.
Vice versa, the couple who had reached the top of the set, having danced as a second couple all the way up, watch and start dancing as a 'first couple' and dance down the set.
Shedloads of dance archeology here, the Scottish Country Dance Petronella didn't (and doesn't) have what seems to be known as the Petronella Turn and there seems to be loads of descriptions of the "old" or "original" Petronella Contra. There is an article on the wayback machine that describes how the dance first evolved to include all four people in the A music (extemporisation after having danced Roxburgh Castle) then the Petronella Turn.
The link between the "Petronella Turn", as per Zesty Contra, and Roxburgh Castle can be seen in the latter's description from the Community Dances Manual (Book 6):
What appears in the eCeilidh repertoire is the "modern version", where everyone balances in and out and spins. It's been labelled Citronella but the old name seems to be sticking
Classic tune is Petronella, ABC notation
|Help : Search : FAQ|
|Links by County|