Star-Crossed Tempest

May 2006
Modified tempest formation,
with center couples below their sides, facing up;
set as shown at right
32 bars 6/8
Music: The Ferret's Friend by Rebecca McCallum
(music available on request)

 A1 Centers up a double & back
Centers up a double again & bend the line while backing up to face the sides.
 A2 All right hands across halfway; sides (in center) left hands across halfway.
All right hands across halfway; heads (in center) left hands across halfway (all ending on opposite side of set)
 B1 All set & turn single.
Two-hand turn neighbor.
 B2 All set & turn single.
Two-hand turn partner, sides ending facing across and centers ending facing up.

  • The formation and progression are unusual,
    and they pose the main challenges in the dance.
    In my experience, if these aspects are explained well,
    the dancers enjoy the dance as something different.
  • For more on tempest formation,
    see David Smukler's website and Cracking Chestnuts column.
    In the contradance tempest formation, the center couples are above their sides,
    facing down. (See diagram at right.)
  • The centers progress up and the sides down. When the centers reach the top of the set, they stand out once, then go to the side. When sides reach the bottom, they stand out once, then go to the center, facing up. The progression actually occurs during the A1 (except for the first time through): the centers come up a little further than they go down, and the sides sidle down.
  • All of the dancers change sides of the set during A2. That is the net result of all of the half stars. The left-hand stars in the center always involve the same dancers. (I.e., the same center couples meet there each time through, and the same sides as well.) This name of the dance comes from this section--and the reference to two Shakespeare plays.
  • This dance is closely modeled on David Smukler's contra-style tempest dance, Another Side of the Island.
  • Thanks to Rebecca McCallum, fiddler of the Rochester-based bands Groovemongers and Firefly, for the tune.