Honor Among Thieves

By Penn Fix
Composed 1982; last revised 1986

SourcePenn Fix "Contradancing in the Northwest"
Levelmed (assigned by the editor)
A1(8) Neighbors dosido
(8) Neighbors allemande right 1 1/2
A2(8) Lady 1 around two and the gent falls through (see notes)
(8) Gent 1 around two and the lady falls through
B1(6) Circle left 3/4
(10) Partners swing
B2(8) Long lines go forward and back
(8) Ladies chain

Author's Notes:
"Honor Among Thieves" underlines the borrowing or "stealing" that goes with composing "new" dances. Originally I had been thinking about incorporating old-time square dance moves into contra dancing because of the popularity of squares in the Northwest. In a 1982 visit with Ted Sannella, I asked him about his newest dances. He gave me "New Friendship Reel" which used "lady around two." Feeling somewhat miffed that a New Englander had beaten me to the punch, I wrote a dance using the move more in the context that it was used in Northwest square dancing. Ignoring Ted's sage advice about never calling a new dance without first dancing it, I tried what I called "The G-Note Reel" at Tod Whittemore's Cambridge dance the next night. It met with mixed success. Tod then revised it, with the new version including the circles (see the 1982 version below). Upon hearing the story, Peter Barnes came up with the name "Honor Among Thieves". In 1986, I further revised the dance, borrowing from the popular sequence of the circle into a swing. Ironically, this sequence was the one Ted had used in his dance but that I had changed. The traditional tune, "Wind That Shakes The Barley" (in the book) works well with the dance and can be played ABAB rather than AABB.
Honor Among Thieves (1982 version)
(8) Circle left
(8) Circle right
(8) Neighbors dosido
(8) Neighbors allemande right 1 1/2
(8) Lady 1 around two and the gent falls through
(8) Gent 1 around two and the lady falls through
(16) 1's swing

Editor's Notes:
It is usually necessary to demonstrate "lady around two and the gent falls through". This is a chase figure. At the beginning of A2 the 1's are progressed, lady 1 facing out, gent 1 looking at her back. Lady 1 goes clockwise around the 2's, ending in her partner's place facing across. Gent 1 follows her, but when he is about half way around, above the 2's, he goes down between them ("falls through") and into in his partner's place, facing out. The 1's have exactly traded places. The figure is then repeated with gent 1 in the lead.

This dance is from American Country Dances On Line
All rights reserved by the author; used by permission.
Added to database 1/20/1997; last revised 3/5/1999; edited by Russell Owen