The Tempest

The Tempest La Tempête The Tempest

The Tempest is a New England Contra Dance. It is a traditional dance with no clear origin. Found in Cracking Chestnuts. It is a Tempest dance. The minor set lasts 32 bars.

This "Tempest" formation appears unique to contra-dance. The book Cracking Chestnuts does not claim Howe as the devisor, merely that he published a version of the dance. It may be older than that.

To get people into the formation for the dance have everyone line up as if for a four face four contra, and then have the couples facing up move out to the nearest side.

The progression requires the side couples to move up twice as far as they expect to do in a normal dance (otherwise the set drifts down and everyone is crushed together at the bottom of the hall.

When side couples reach the top they come together in a line facing down, when head couples reach the bottom they spread out to the sides facing in.

Contra has evolved and what this dance considers as half right and left through we would now say just right and left through.

Hillgrove (1857) has a four face face version of this dance.

The animation plays at 120 counts per minute normally, but the first time through the set the dance is slowed down so people can learn the moves more readily. Men are drawn as rectangles, women as ellipses. Each couple is drawn in its own color, however the border of each dancer indicates what role they currently play so the border color may change each time through the minor set.

A11-8Lines of four go down the hall, turn as a couple, come back, face nearest side couple
A21-4Circle four
5-8... and back
B11-4Ladies chain
5-8... and back
B21-3Half promenade (around small circles)
4-8Half right and left through, actives move down as inactives move up

If you find what you believe to be a mistake in this animation, please leave a comment on youtube explaining what you believe to be wrong. If I agree with you I shall do my best to fix it.

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The dance is propbably copyright © by but I do not have an exact date of publication. I do not have a date for the interpretation, so it may be under copyright. My visualization of this dance is copyright © 2020 by George W. Williams V and is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

This website is copyright © 2021,2022 by George W. Williams V
Creative Commons License My work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Most of the dances have more restrictive licensing, see my notes on copyright, the individual dance pages should mention when some rights are waived.