I like line dances, sometimes. It’s fun to share the common bond of dance with people by doing a dance that is relatively easy to learn. Other times, they’re just plain annoying. It’s during those times that I think back to what little experience I’ve had in folk dancing. My favorite thus far is the Virginia Reel, a dance performed way back in the day down South. Apparently, it’s still danced now, but I’m not sure where. Skimming YouTube resulted in some “Old South” revival balls, but that’s about it. I wish I could tell you more, but I honestly don’t know much about the dance itself.
I do, however, know how to dance it. I learned it during my senior year of high school for my dance elective. For beginners, I’d say it’s okay. It’s not too much harder than your average line dance. But, remembering the steps, which are more specific than normal, can be difficult. Really, the best tip I can give you is this: keep your right and left constantly in mind. Also, this dance is timed in eight-counts with most of the steps taking up either half the count (a four count) or the whole count. Since I’m not the best at explaining, here’s a video I constantly watch on YouTube to keep my memory refreshed.
Personally, I think it looks much more fun than your average pop line dance. I like the interaction you have with everyone in the dance, and the liveliness of it. By the way, if the name or movements seem familiar to you, you may have seen this in the classic movie Gone with the Wind with the ever-handsome Clark Gable. (Yum!) Also, the tune played in the video is entitled the “Irish Washerwoman”. There are some small variations that I’ve seen in my YouTube search. For example, they may leave out a certain step, and go to the “reel” early, or the number of times the couple travels down between the lines may also vary. Don’t worry about it, though. If you know a dance well enough, small variations aren’t a big deal.
After finding out that a lot of the new freshman enjoy dancing when presented with the opportunity, it makes me want to form a dance club, or something. While that’s still an idea, I certainly wouldn’t mind teaching them the Virgina Reel. I had so much fun dancing it that I wish to pass the fun on to others. Maybe someday…