The Society of Folk Dance Historians (SFDH)
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Carl Pilsecker consistently created Limerick gems over a period of 7½ years beginning with the April 2012 issue of Folk Dance Scene. An amazing achievement in talent and dedication. Here they are all in one place!
A sturdy old man from St. Vitus
Kept dancing despite his arthritis.
“Sure, the Hambo is out,”
He’d been heard to shout,
“But Les Noto’s still here to excite us.”
A folk dancer from the Antilles
Had a sudden attack of the sillies.
We were dancing Kostursko
When he just let his feet go.
I tell you it gave me the willies.
“Postie’e Jig” said the sign on the wall
As Scottish music flooded the hall.
We skip-stepped like a pro,
But blew the whole show
When we ducked to the Bottoms Up call.
A ferocious young man from Fontana
Was so tough that he’d swim with piranha.
But his bombast dissolved
When heart and feet got involved
In dancing the lovely Smilyana.
I once hamboed with a lady named Wingers,
Who created a mem’ry that lingers.
“Hands ABOVE hips,”
She said through pursed lips,
“Or I might have to cut off your fingers.”
The words ring in my ears to this day,
“Hands up,” I hear Dorothy Daw say.
The admonition would clang
As we danced La Bastringue,
And the wise thing to do was obey.
Oh, how could he ever forgive ‘er?
It was the worst insult that one could deliver.
Without a word or a glance
She abandoned their dance
At the first bridge on the St. John River.
“Jacob’s Ladder is easy,” he said,
But I couldn’t get it into my head.
In part two, with its switches,
I kept making glitches.
So we danced Sulam Ya’akov instead.
An ardent folk dancer from Redding
In winter enjoyed going sledding.
One snowy day
He crammed eight on his sleigh,
And cast off to attend Mairi’s wedding.
A cocky dancer invited inspection:
He would lead Karamfil to perfection.
But as we recall,
Pride leads to a fall.
He turned twice in the wrong direction.
Here's a tale of romance, mi amigo:
A young man overstuffed with libido
Sought out a folk dance,
And there, just by chance,
Fell in love while dancing Corrido.
Though Sicilian, he thought Šetnja was neat.
Why? "It's because of the way that I eat.
With a load of pasta in tow,
I like to start slow,
Then, shift up to a much faster beat."
It's a quirky story they're tellin'
About a slap-happy dancer named Kellen:
Though a klutz with his feet,
He just cannot be beat
A Turkish chieftain lusted for fame,
But at the battlefield no enemy came.
A fine kettle of fish!
Still, Ali Pasha got his wish
By adorning a dance with his name.
Farmers, I'm told, talk of tillage,
And Huns would discuss ways to pillage.
Lend folk dancers an ear
And what do you hear?
"Thats how it's done in MY village."
"Dancers Without Borders" are we.
On wings of dance we roam the world free.
Some dances are old,
Like Syrto, so we're told,
While Çobankat was born recentLee.
(*Çobankat was choreographed by by Lee Otterholt.)
It was awesome to see how they fought so;
His "It is so" was her "It is not so."
Yet these two contrarians,
When morphed into Bulgarians,
Happily clasped hands to dance to Arnautsko.
TO MY POETIC PARTNER
Would you like to be my valentine?
No need for candy or wine.
To make my heart churn
Let's dance Scottische d'Auvergne,
And have your eyes say you want to be mine.
Bodies float round the floor;
One just passed, here come some more!
I've lost my way
On Culla Bay.
Will I ever reach the shore?
There was a young dancer named Roland,
Who wandered from highland to lowland
In search of a dance
That was filled with romance.
Success! Found Kujawiaks by Ada from Poland.
FOLK DANCER'S LAMENT
Muscles complain when I'm out on the floor;
Even Šano Dušo turns into a chore.
While other folks flit,
I mostly just sit
And pray Tylenol will make me a dancer once more.
If she seemed down he knew just how to fix 'er:
He'd request they do Swedish-Finn Mixer.
While spinning the floor
Her spirits would soar.
It worked better than a souped-up elixer.
A feisty folk dancer one night
Was accused of starting a fight.
"Dont just blame me,"
He said heatedly.
"It takes two to Zwiefacher. Right?"
HER FACEBOOK REPORT
His name, he said, was "just Kevin."
He danced like a creature from Heaven.
We cavorted with aplomb,
And then came the bomb:
My prince became a frog at eleven.
They left the dance where they met with a smile;
Tried dancing together a short while.
But it wasn't a go:
He liked Mari Mariko,
And Haroa Haktana was her style.
Let me tell you of a time I felt silly:
"Food is next," I told partner Millie.
"Better tune up your eyes,"
Millie said in surprise.
"The board says Chilili, not chili."
He intended to impress his Main Squeeze
By learning the new dance with great ease.
His hopes started to dim
When Teacher gently told him:
"Friend, use you other left foot, please."
My dreams were providing a treat:
I was folk dancing on the nimblest of feet.
Then Alunelul's dream stamps
Brought on real-life leg cramps.
What a nightmare! I bailed tout de suite.
For years it had been his prime mission,
And now he'd achieved his ambition!
As he basked in his glory
His medal told the great story:
"First Prize, Chicken Dance Competition."
There were some slights she just couldn't pardon,
And hurts that made her heart harden.
But she then realized
These could be exorcized
By the smiles she exchanged in Drapers Garden.
There was a folk dancer named Gen
Who was looking for a prince among men.
Doudlebská Polka brought her Dean,
Who was seeking a queen.
The two made a royal exit at ten.
Prince Rick danced with his nose in the air,
Then Peasant Rick hopped like a hare.
But he let out a roar
And limped from the floor!
No Masquerade his foot really needed repair.
There was a spry dancer named Susie,
Who was known far and wide as a doozy.
How'd she jump, bounce, and hop,
Twist and turn without stop?
Dancing done a long soak in her Jacuzzi.
A TRUE STORY
"You look like a polka person," said HE.
"You're right, I am," replied SHE.
Then wouldn't you know it
This limericker and this poet
Through dancing turned into a WE!
There was a Greek dancer named Jenna
Whose hair was a bright shade of henna.
When she'd start to feel cranky,
She'd grab her silk hanky
And lead Papadhopandiotena.
If dances from Taiwan interest you,
Call on newlyweds Wen-Li and Sue.
Of course, their expertise
Is not just Taiwanese
They'll teach you Jingle Bells, too.
It was a miniature vacation,
A day of celebration.
In a Pasadena hall,
Dancers, stretching wall to wall,
Mom said I was a dancin' fool,
And so she sent me to dancing school,
Where I wrote a brief essay
About Kirčo Sedeše;
Earned my degree by strutting Rustemul.
Biserka's the dance that I sought;
Bojarka's the dance that I got.
Still, it tickled my ribs,
For they're very close sibs.
Yes, I liked what I got a whole lot.
My legs danced out, near time to go,
I requested Lesnoto 'cause it's slow.
What a disaster!
It kept getting faster!
Turned out the dance was Lesnoto Oro.
"Such strange names," the new dancer opined.
"Trying to recall them puts me in a bind."
So, in his notebook he'd list 'em,
Using his mnemonic device system.
Cracker Kolo brings Nebesko to mind.
A folk dancer named Katie Mendoza
Was a track star around Santa Rosa.
When her team won a meet,
For their victory treat
She led them in Savila se Bela Loza.
As Fred sat in his house in Encino,
Savoring his breakfast cappuccino,
He thought of last night
Oh, what a delight
To meet Fay while dancing Svekrvino.
A TRIP TO INDIA
We journeyed in anticipation
Of viewing dances of the great Indian nation.
We saw a few from their lore,
But what rules the dance floor?
Are Bollywood moves, a new dance creation?
A BAD NIGHT
"You look pained," I said to friend Louie.
"I am," he replied. "It's just screwy.
This whole blessed night,
Not one dance was just right.
Even messed up Îni Vițuii!"
SHOWDOWN AT WINTERFEST
Or fearless leader calls out the play;
We stomp our feet, prepared for the fray.
The other team scowls;
We emit gruesome growls.
Sitna Zborenka is now underway!
Hora Mireșii (Bride's Hora) is danced by friends and family of the bride prior to a wedding in some Romanian villages.
After the ceremony, the bride will leave her village to live in the village of her husband.
An old bond is given the knife;
A new bond is formed she's a wife.
Rejoicing in her gain,
Reflecting on our pain,
We dance to that mixture called life.
A free-spirited bloke from Mt. Rocha
For breakfast mixed beer with his mocha.
He dressed in weird pants
And his favorite dance
Was Bohemian National Polka.
This elaborate tale is the result of Carl's wish for something special for his Limerick #50.
The newcomer's name tag read: "Heather";
Her steps were as light as a feather.
Swept up by her beauty,
Joe saw his clear duty,
Chose Shifting Bobbins to weave them together.
Then they coupled for To Ting, Dodi Li;
Held hands dancing At Va'ani.
'Twas like drinking fine wine,
Joe soared on Cloud Nine.
Oh, let the evening go endlessly.
But Fate, for poor Joe, had no pity.
Heather said, "I'm not from this city.
Time to leave for my flight;
I fly home tonight."
Joe's fall from Cloud Nine wasn't pretty.
He gathered his wits: "One last dance?"
She frowned, gave her watch a quick glance.
"Do you know Gypsy Wine?
It's a favorite of mine."
Joe gulped, but it was his last chance.
He'd danced Gypsy Wine long ago.
Right shoulder, left . . . I don't know.
But Heather inspired,
Joe moved as required.
For a moment Cloud Nine reclaimed Joe.
End of the story?
He arrived at our club with a story
Of folk dancing to fame, even glory.
But we soon were suspicious,
And it all seemed fictitious,
When he didn't know the dance Tino Mori.
A gift to the world from Japan!
A dance for each woman and man!
With steps fast and slow;
Grab your phone, move your feet, and then scan.
FAMILY LIFE EDUCATION
Go ahead, gather up your mother,
And your father, sister, and brother.
Then teach T'fillati;
And they'll clearly see:
One good turn deserves yet another.
Al is the kind of guy
Who likes to evoke: "My, oh my."
Once, just for fun,
Dancing Ada's #1*,
He took a selfie while slapping his thigh.
*Ada's Kujawiak #1
(Reader participation required)
Bill had just broken up with Valaria,
Needed to get out of the area.
A folk dancer goes where
For a breath of fresh air?
(IN UNISON) A Trip to Bavaria.
Folk dancer Jane shook her head,
Watching the clapping and jumping by Fred.
"At our house he's a brick;
Won't move a lick."
"Take home a bottle of Anjzerica," Doc said.
You've learned all about the Big Bang;
You've heard the bells of Notre Dame clang.
But life's not complete
'Til you've moved arms and feet
To Zhan Zai Gao Gang Shang.
No one dances more vigorously than Miles.
He turns all the "whoop-de-doo" dials.
To dance is to leap.
(He once fell asleep
While performing Road to the Isles.)
ONCE UPON A TIME . . .
Zillertaller was a dance I could whup.
Back when I was a pup.
Used to drop to the ground,
While she danced all around.
Now I'd need a derrick to get up.
Das Fenster introduced me to Kay;
Through our window her charms flowed my way.
It was love at first stare,
I was dancing on air.
But another guy stole her! Oy, vey!
Want to make your repertoire complete?
Learn the dance for folks with sore feet:
Lo Ahavti Dai
Lets you holler, "Aye, aye."
(As long as it's on the right beat.)
"Toe, toe, heel, toe," again shouted Will,
Teaching Sauerlander Quadrille.
They ignored his commands;
Will threw up his hands.
"Hands part of the dance?" queried Phil.
LOUSIANA SATURDAY NIGHT
Hit my eye as I came in the door:
A ton of shoes all 'round the floor.
Threw mine on a pile,
Danced mile after mile.
Night's end my shoes weren't there anymore.
Leading a dance was to Bud a confection,
But he wouldn't put up with correction.
Because of this bent
His troops often went
In the perverse line of direction.
Arnold didn't allow hesitation:
Arnold's Circle is a good illustration.
You move with great haste;
There's no time to waste
If you're to get to the right destination.
(No, we're not talking Schwarzenegger.)
See that couple on the floor a-prancin'?
It's Gay Gordons that they're a-dancin'.
Both old as the hills,
But still getting thrills.
You might even think they're romancin'.
Here's some wonderful news:
I found the answer to lingering blues!
Folk dancing's the cure.
But next time, for sure,
I heed the flyer: Wear Comfortable Shoes.
Ron is known as the club scalawag.
He's the butt of many a gag.
Yet every lady in the hall
Will answer, "Yes!" to his call,
If he says to her, Maple Leaf Rag?
You won't believe what happened to Gwen
When she danced Vrtielka with Ben:
She slipped from his grasp,
Spun cross the floor with a gasp,
Finished the dance on the sidelines with Ken!
TWO FOR THE PRICE OF ONE!
A Polish guy took his Polish pal
To meet a sweet Polish gal.
Alas, 'twas too late.
She had found her mate
While dancing Polonez Royale.
(If you've read this saying Polonez, next month, read it again, saying Polonaise. And vice versa.)
Horehronsky Čardáš is a treat,
With a smooth and pleasurable beat.
A Slovakian gift,
That provides us a lift.
(But spelling it is quite a feat.)
A TRUE STORY
On the Sweets of May dance toboggan
The arch move had us ziggin' and zoggin' (?).
I ducked when I shouldn't;
Ralph tried to miss but couldn't.
We both got a whack on the noggin.
This is hot off the press!
Time for me to confess:
I can turn Fado into a mess.
Is it side to the right?
But try as I might,
Steps become a Portuguess.
Our rookie studied the playlist sigh.
"I don't know the dance next in line.
It is Seeroon Aghcheeg;
Is it out of my league?"
"Do Sweet Girl and you'll be fine."
A folk dancer I know loves to brag;
Can't stop him without affixing a gag.
Last night I just ran
As he began;
"Lit a fire with my Salty Dog Rag . . ."
(Continued on page 52)
ONCE A FOLK DANCER . . .
(A True Story)
Opšai Diri was a favorite of Stan,
Who danced to the end of life's span.
When he heard his dance play,
You'd better make way;
He didn't walk to the circle, he ran.
Used with permission of the author.
As published in issues of Folk Dance Scene
from April of 2012 to March of 2019.
This page © 2018 by Ron Houston.
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