Cowboy Dances

A collection of Traditional Western Square Dances By Lloyd Shaw

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left arm (pushed her under, if you will, with the right hand that had been around her waist), and she flew away from him to her full arm's length. At the end of the rope, the extreme limit of their holds, he gave a mighty jerk so that she flew through the air and almost flattened herself against his chest. If she was still conscious, they started two-step­ping again with a high hop and a joyous abandon until the music directed him to "pop" her again. It was funny and full of laughs. Any hilarious group will find it amusing for a few times. But it is a sad descent from the old dance of the same name.
But you will say that the Virginia Reel still survives. No, I have never seen it with the country folk. It has strangely survived in schools and in society groups as the only ex­ample they know of the longways dance. I say strangely because I do not consider it nearly as fine or as much fun as many of the others. And my young people almost refuse to dance it, they have become so tired of it since they have been called upon to demonstrate and to teach it so often. However, I am sure your group of beginners will want to dance it largely because they feel somewhat on familiar ground. And you should encourage them. My only sugges­tion is to break up the dance from the long double line it is usually danced in to the old traditional grouping of many shorter lines. It is best to have only six couples in a reel set, the gentlemen in one line and the ladies in the other, and as many of these short sets arranged crossways of the hall as the space will permit. Then it does not take so unbearably long to get through the dance once. In fact, with only six or eight couples in each set, we usually cut its time in half by having the first two couples form a bridge (after they have marched around and come together) and all the other couples passing under. This gives a complete new set of corners. Otherwise, the head couple becomes the foot couple on the second repetition, and they have a second turn on the corners with all the saluting and turning and do$-a~do$ing to repeat. To be sure, in this shortened form only every other couple gets to reel down through the set. But they won't notice this if you don't tell them.
If you have many short sets for the Virginia Reel cross-ways of the hall, it is almost necessary to call the dance. It not only helps the beginners when they get on a corner and have to lead, but it keeps all the sets together and saves a lot

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