Professor Kekule's Reverie
June 2007; revised May 2009
36 bars of 2/4
Music: Molecular Structure by David Smukler
Calls refer to actives and positions (top, middle, bottom) rather than numbers that persist no matter where the person is. The following is the original incarnation of the dance. There is an officially sanctioned variation below.
||Active couple (i.e., top couple) cross and go below (middle couple lead up after ones cross).|
Two-hand turns: actives (in the middle) two-hand turn neighbors at bottom while partners turn at the top.
||All back-to-back partners|
Two-hand turns: actives (in the middle) turn other neighbors (i.e., neighbors above); partners turn at the foot.
End the turn facing this person and take note of him or her.
||Six changes of a circular hey, beginning by the right shoulder with the person you just turned and ending in the same place.
||Circle left six hands round all the way.|
||(Old) actives cross and go below (bottom couple lead up).|
- My wife, Gretchen Pearson, asked me whether I had managed to combine my interests in English country dance and history of chemistry. (If you are interested in the latter, check out my Classic Chemistry website.) This dance was the result. The title refers to August Kekule, who proposed that the benzene molecule contains a ring of carbon atoms connected by alternating single and double bonds. Years later, Kekule said that the ring structure came to him in a dream, "I fell into a reverie, and lo, the atoms were gamboling before my eyes."
- In the A part, the two-hand turns are supposed to evoke the alternating double bonds, which change positions.
- For dancers familiar with square dancing, "weave the ring" can be a useful call for B1.
- The circle in B2 is a walking circle, not slipping. For women, this is the same direction as the circular hey; for men the opposite direction.
- The last figure one time through the dance sounds just like the first figure of the next time through the dance (i.e., actives cross and go below). It helps to say "OLD actives cross and go below" and then "NEW actives cross and go below."
- Chemists may find that the circular hey and circle "resonate" with a more recent description of bonding in benzene, which involves six "delocalized" π electrons.
- Thanks to caller, musician, choreographer, and composer David Smukler for the tune and for the variation. I had called the dance to the tune "Bar a bar." David told me that the dance deserved a tune of its own, which he provided within a few days.
B2: Quick gypsy (four steps) with the last person you turned. Then circle six hands round all the way. (Thanks to David Smukler for this suggestion.)
- For the original to work well, the dancers need to change their pace from the circular hey to the circle six hands round. The hey must be brisk to fit the music, but the circle must be big and leisurely or it will end before the music. A similar adjustment occurs in the early American dance British Sorrow, as David Smukler and David Millstone note in their book "Cracking Chestnuts."
- For the variation to work well, the hey, the gypsy, and the circle must all be brisk. The tune lends itself to being played at a driving pace. The quick gypsy serves to anchor the circle (i.e., where to begin the circle), and the circle flows nicely from the gypsy. The variation makes the dance lively and driven throughout.