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La Bastringue

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Yves Moreau Information: A dance and song.

One of our few, true folk dances, La Bastringue is still danced by "folk" in Quebec Canada, as part of a longer dance suite. Some say "la bastringue" means "the hoedown." Some say it means "the honkey-tonk." Like most folk material, it has evolved into several similar but different dances in the traditional/country/contra dance movement, in the clog dance movement, and in the folk dance movement. These notes are for the original dance as collected by Jean Trudel and presented by Yves Moreau in 1975.

Translation: The honkey-tonk

Pronunciation: lah buh-STRANG

Region: French Canada

Meter: 2/4

Formation: Circle of couples, woman to partner's L, not R. Hands joined and held up at shoulder height.


1-10 Stand there and listen to the fiddler (Jean Carignan) do his special fiddlers' clog if we're using the short tape. If we're using the long tape, you'd better start dancing 'cause there was no introduction.
1.   Forward and back (twice).
1-2 Walk forward into circle 3 steps: R ft, L ft, R ft (cts 1,2,1), touch L toe beside R ft, no weight (ct 2).
3-4 Walk backward out of circle 3 steps: L ft, R ft, L ft (cts 1,2,1), touch R toe beside L ft (ct 2).
5-8 = 1-4.
       Note: Quebec folk don't clog here or execute high kicks. They just dance politely. This seems to pleasure them, maybe we could try it.
2.   Two-step to L and to R.
1-4 Face somewhat to L and dance 4 linear 2-steps to L, starting onto R ft.
       Linear 2-steps: step forward onto R ft (ct 1), step beside R ft onto L ft (ct &), step forward onto R ft (ct 2), hop slightly on R ft (ct &). Repeat with opposite feet.
5-8 = 1-4, but to R.
       You'll note that this is not the western North Carolina clogging 2-step, or any other clogging step. Instead, this is the way the Canadians do this dance.
3.   Turn and swing. (W) (M)
1 The W drops hands with her corner and turns once and a half CW under her partner's L arm to end in front of him, facing out.
2-8 Take ballroom position and dance 14 buzz step swings. In Quebec style, the R feet are still together, but with insteps together instead of little toes.
4.   Promenade. Take open shoulder-waist position and both face CCW around circle.
1-8 Dance 16 linear 2-steps forward around circle. Resume starting position with a new W to man's L and his former partner to his R.
  Repeat the dance for a total of 5 ½ or 11 times, depending on which tape we're using. Don't re-form your big circle after the last time.


Here are the words on the long tape:

Mademoiselle, voulez-vous danser La Bastringue, La Bastringue?
" est commencee.
Oui monsieur, je voudrais danser La Bastringue, La Bastringue.
" m'a presente.
Mademoiselle, je vais arreter La Bastringue, La Bastringue.
" m'a fatigue.
      Miss, would you like to dance La Bastringue, La Bastringue?
It's starting.
Yes sir, I'd like to dance La Bastringue, La Bastringue.
It presents itself to me (it suits me).
Miss, I'd like to stop La Bastringue, La Bastringue.
It fatigues me.

Note: On the long tape, the words are followed by the name tune, which I think might also be called Madame Bonaparte (but I'm not sure), Mason's Apron and Staten Island Hornpipe.



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