Petronella Twirls and Flourishes
As we've been going through our various flourishes and such (by the way, please submit favorites and requests to us), we've gotten a couple of flourishes related to that two-beat "pause" in a Petronella twirl. While some people can't stand the two claps that have tended to follow it, preferring to rejoin hands and look at the other three people in the circle or do something else entirely,* we've also seen some really cute ways of eating up that time (playing pattycake with your partner -- or all three other people in the minor set -- comes to mind). Obviously there are some dances that are written to require dancers to go straight into the next figure ("The Cure for the Claps" by Bob Isaacs comes to mind, and every time it's called the room tends to stumble over not clapping for at least the first few iterations), but in the dances that don't require you to skip it, what's your favorite thing to do during those two beats?
* I actually happen to like it when most of the room does those claps (or some sort of emphasis on those beats), for the record. It's an audible check as to whether you're on time in the dance and it tends to connect the room since it's too short to do too much else before you have to move on. But I also didn't start dancing until after the claps were pretty firmly entrenched, so this probably colors my opinion.
5/15/2012 07:02:58 pm
There is a Scout House video that shows a couple doing a triple twirl during a Petronella turn instead of turn and claps.
5/15/2012 08:54:11 pm
This was a MUCH discussed topic on Facebook recently on the Stuff Contra Dancers Say page. Like you, I am actually a big fan of claps. As a matter of fact, sometimes I think the movement to get people not to clap can be compared as a movement not to twirl. It is fun, and I feel it is quite exhilarating to hear the whole hall clap in unison. That's one of the things that gives me joy is the community feel of certain moves you can hear. Don't you just love it when the whole hall balances together? You can hear the feet hitting the floor all at the same time. Petronella claps are the same way to me.
5/28/2012 03:23:26 pm
If a Rory O'Moore twirl is 4 beats with no need for claps, how did a Petronella twirl turn into 2 beats with 2 "extra beats" needing to be filled?? (Actually, the two claps are filling one beat, I think.) The timing is the same: balance for 4, twirl to position for 4. As a pre-clap Petronella dancer, I miss the good hand connections that used to exist in and out of the twirl. It's not even possible to get that connection now even if you're with other people who don't clap because everyone assumes that the claps will happen. I do have to admit that pre-clap, when I was younger and twirlier, I would sometimes put in two twirls...
6/1/2012 12:03:42 pm
I will admit that for me, the clap is built into the petronella--therefor, there's no such thing as a petronella that doesn't get a clap, regardless of what it leads into. My favorite is when bob isaacs calls the cure for the claps and the claps actually get *louder* and more widespread as the dance goes on.
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