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Folk Dance Federation of California, South, Inc.

Court Order No. 2038
By John Andrew King and Deborah Horn

King's Crown


Whereas a sense of timing is essential to the enjoyment of folk dancing insasmuch as a person out of time is of extreme annoyance to the assemblage; therefore be it ordained henceforth that any person in association with said offender shall be hung by the opanci and otherwise didactically tortured until said person is completely pulsatile with the rhythm. Furthermore, lest it be misconstrued as a vague and opaque ordinance with no effective method of execution, a definition is imprinted herin of translucent terminology.

"Timing" as used herin is:

  1. the act of adjusting one's tempo of movement for a dramatic effect;
  1. the control of the speed of an action in order that it may reach its height at the proper moment;
  1. the synchronization of one's body movement to the music.

Should the music be ethnic and therefore, completely without repeatable rhythm, said body movement should be in keeping with the same of leader.

The aforesaid ordinance shall take effect hencefdorth, and the members of the Royal Dance Platoons shall be called upon to enforce the many divisions of said edict.

Forsooth, it is hereby agreed by the members of the governing body of Ratew that certain guidelines be set forth to facilitate obedience to this ordinance.

  1. One should ascertain the rhythm by counting the beats per measure before commencing to dance. By scrutinizing the other dancers it can be determined that some will tap their feet; others will bounce on their heels, cluck their tongues, etc. For example, an excellent dance that requires careful timing is the Romanian "Cimpoi" [chimp-POI, i.e., what apes eat in Hawai'i]. This is not to be confused with an introduction of a heavy drumbeat that enables the dancer to easily blend his steps with the rhythm of the music.
  1. If one is insecure in knowing the proper usage of the right or the left foot at a given moment, one should discreetly count the number of people with their right feet in the air and also the number of people with their left feet in the air and follow the majority.
  1. Inasmuch a staring at feet is ofttimes connoted as the mark of a foot-fetishist or a podiatrist, great care must be exercised if this is attempted. To gainsay those unwanted implications, it is salutary to avoid glanding in the direction of anyone's feet. Moreover, a glance at the person in front of one involves a time lapse of at least fifty milliseconds. Added to that person's glance at someone else, and so on down the line, will cause the time lag to be even greater. Therefore, one could easily be off the beat by two or three steps.
  1. In conclusion, anyone in a state of confusion at the end of this reading is invited to take a five-week workshop sponsored by the citizens of Ratew on the authentic method of executing a step. Said workshop is available for a nominal fee of two hundred and fifty golden grickles per diem which precludes the arrest and detention of any graduate on the charge of failure to comply with Court Order 2038.

Ordained this thirteenth day of October in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and seventy-six.

De Jokah I
King of Ratew

Used with permission of the authors.
Printed in Folkdance Life, Vol. 1, No. 3.