All power to those people who help keep the tradition alive by not only dancing, leading or organising dances, but also devising new social dances. The novice in the art of writing dances may be assisted by the thought that a dance needs to work in at least the following three dimensions:
physically (accessible, flowing, neither too full or two empty, too tight or too slack and with a structure and pace which fits that ofthe music),
intellectually (easy to learn and remember as you go, with with figures and combinations neither too cliched or too innovative - original dance ideas in traditional dance languages- and with a strong story-line) and
socially (with attention satisfactorily shared between partners, neighbours and others and with dancers' orientation and perspective constantly changing).
At the same time as attempting to achieve all the above it is wise to aim for that most elusive of qualities - simplicity, not necessarily in the sense of easy, but in the sense of uncluttered, neat, and recurring motifs. Indeed, you should not feel you have to put everything possible into the one dance. More is not necessarily better and fancier not necessarily more beautiful. Though your body of work as a whole may end up complex and rich each dance within that body of work should ideally have an individual character and integrity. Under Dance Terms you will find discussion on some of the possible formations, steps, figures and knots that might be utilised. These are the commonly recognised building blocks of a dance. But there is of course more to a dance than these. In addition to these there are several other dimensions in which a dance may vary - the 'development' used, the 'feel' and the 'story-line'.
'Development' is an almost invisible dimension to any social dance - but one in which it is vital for the dance to work well. There would be little physical, intellectual or social satisfaction in repeating a dance sequence in an unchanging...