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April 01, 2008

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It occurs to me that while the Mock Turtle instructs that one should "throw the [lobsters] as far out to sea as you can, it is probably best not to take this instruction overly literally. It would not do to toss one's lobster in such a way that its limbs flail about ungracefully through the air, as might occur should one be over-exuberant. Further, it is easy to misjudge from land how much ocean one can cover in four bars of music, and it would be quite rude to one's lobster to throw it so far that one cannot reach it within the allotted music. I thus recommend that dancers new to this quadrille err on the side of caution when executing this figure.

What do you recommend for the "set to partners" figure? Right-shoulder siding?

Well, one must take into consideration the physical limitations imposed by the nature of the original dancers. The difficulties of lobster-throwing when it is performed by a salmon, turtle, or seal should be examined. Turtles in particular are not known for their throwing skills, any more than for their ease of deportment or graceful attitudes. It would be polite for more skilled lobster-throwers such as seals to contain their natural impulses in order to preserve the harmonious symmetry of the dance.

As to the setting, I believe that since Dodgson was an English author, we should follow English practice and retain the more elaborate four-bar step sequences as done in earlier eras rather than employ innovations which I believe to be American, such as the right-shoulder-siding style of setting or the crossed-hands diagonal slide across the set.

Oh, wonderful post!

I can't add anything to the discussion, but I love it madly much.

Bravo! It's rare to have this particular dance dissected with such a quantity of critical acumen. However, to be particular, I would prefer rather to have the dancers, dissected, with a critical quantity of cumin.

Though no music accompanies the description, the published lyrics do feature a whiting saying to a snail "they take us up and throw us, with the lobsters, out to sea," presumably describing this dance. Is this, perhaps, indicative of one of the otherwise unmentioned later figures?

Clifton: The dissection of the dancers is beyond my skills, which do not extend to either the lab or the kitchen.

Jon: Very good point! Perhaps each figure repeats with a different partner, first lobsters then whitings? Or perhaps the second repeat of the first figure involves whitings.

There's also some confusion in that the Mock Turtle and Gryphon dance while they sing, in what seems to be a circular figure around Alice. Is this suggestive of one of the later figures as well? Perhaps a collective hands-round?

You are a very silly person! I love it.

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