Adriana Tampasis / Ben Swisher / Ben Townsend / Michael Cloud Duguay

Go in and out with half a belt, lips and nose, a small red carriage and a lot of ground

video content warning: flashing lights

Go in and out with half a belt, lips and nose, a small red carriage and a lot of ground —

Square dancing is a tradition. What does tradition do? How about storage? Can tradition be its origin? Does it look like jam or syrup in the closet? Do you go beyond that by bringing it closer and making it more valuable? Is it like saying words over and over again? Can you access it from scratch? Would you like to create something new here, not just here?

One of our great-grandmothers died in our great-grandfather’s arms. A few days ago one of us tested the memory of this obscure story with a mother in a textbook. This was the only thing to do on the dance floor. At least one of us has never square danced. But on the one hand: untrue. We all have. We are part of our ancestors. And in a sense it's the sequel to this dance.

There is a lively library with different dance styles. Here are some tips for those who do not know what the caller is calling. You may need to sort what is hanging on the wall to see it again. This project is our attempt to show the possible squares in the new imagination of these dances.

You can imagine them again. Ancient VHS was uploaded and processed in an alchemal way. They are games like memory, fooled and manipulated by a mixture of our interpretations. There is a rattling window, played by a nearby river.

You can dance in many gorgeous and beautiful squares. Over and over again.

Spin your partner round and round —

The title of this piece is: “Go in and out with half a belt, lips and nose, a small red carriage and a lot of ground”. Below are the patters we used in our ensemble as text scores to compose, perform, and arrange each movement, which are normally used to guide the movements of square dance by a caller.

There are four movements. We each started composing by responding with short musical drones to a fiddle reference supplied by Ben Townsend. Each drone features responses and additions by each member of our ensemble that were then edited together by the respective original composer of each drone. Or, in other words, “spin your partner round and round.”

Play or dance along with our interpretations of the subsequent text —

I. “In and Out” (arr. Ben Townsend) [0:00-4:00]

In to the middle and back that way, Roll away with a half sashay (3 times)
In to the middle and back once more, swing your partner right off the floor

II. “Rip and Snort” (arr. Adriana Tampasis) [4:00-7:45]

Couple 1 you rip and snort, Down the middle and cut them off short
Split the apple split the pear, Everybody get on out of there
Make an arch couple 2, Couple 3 dive through that’s what you do
Couple 1 make an arch, couple 4 shoot through
Everyone home and swing your dude (boo)

III. “Little Red Wagon“ (arr. Ben Swisher) [7:45-11:00]

Allemande left with your left hand
Right hand to your partner, right left grand
Here we go in a little red wagon
The hind wheels off and the axle’s draggin’
Meet your own and promenade, Promenade 8 till you come straight

IV. “Big Grand” (arr. Michael Cloud Duguay) [11:00-14:08]

All eight balance, all eight swing, Swing your partner pretty little thing
Allemande left to the corner you go, Grand chain eight around the row
Wave the ocean wave the sea (pass their partners once)
Wave that pretty one back to me and promenade