Monday, July 31, 2006

July 2006


This month we examine the medium of dance. As the heavens influence all endeavours, especially arts and entertainment, it's important to choose dances that best match the qualities of your Signs. Dance can express the nuances of the Inner Person. Dances are also great places for fellows to pick up a bird (most notably at harvest festivals and agricultural shows), and are an excellent way to get exercise without all that horribly unattractive sports clothing. There are many varieties of dances, from the formal Minuet to the very much not-formal Highland Fling. So put on your dancing shoes and get down to the rhythm...

The Adamant Hedgehog 21 Mar - 20 Apr

Your dance is the Minuet. This is the ancient dance of Ankh-Morpork nobs, but revived interest in the Minuet these days means it can be danced by non-nobs and even by Nobby Nobbs. The Minuet is slow, formal and stately, even (one could say) nation-stately, and danced to the precise strains of a string quartet or chamber orchestra; and believe me, the sound of an entire chamber orchestra straining is an experience not to be missed. A faster, shorter variant is the famous Minute Minuet. Modern dwarf dancers have also pioneered the Minute Minute Minuet, danced during mining breaks and beard-braiding competitions.

Beware: minuscule Minuetting miners, strained orchestras.

Gahoolie, the Vase of Tulips 21 Apr - 21 May

Your dance is the Waltz. From Bonk in Uberwald comes the whirling, enchanting Waltz, a fairytale spectacle of brightly-costumed dancers circling their way around a vast expanse of marble floor while the local vampires choose their drinks of the evening. In more sparsely undead-populated areas, the Waltz has become popular (and the chances of making it home afterwards with your jugular intact make it a favourite). The Waltz is also favoured by trolls because dancers only need to be able to count to three, although the trollish name for this dance translates as Avalanche. Best of all, any passing grandmother can teach you to Waltz like a pro. Sadly, you'll also have to dance with passing grandmothers; nothing romantic about this one-two-three.

Beware: partners who persistently turn Turnwise; passing grannies with grips of steel; daring young men on flying trapezes.

Herne the Hunted 22 May - 21 Jun

Your dance is the Can-can. And you certainly can Can-can, unless you can't-can't. If your Can-can is more of a bag-bag, hie yourself to the Ankh Coordinated School of Modern Dance, where Madame Passa Deux and her team of willing left-foot-tamers will teach you to high kick and shake your booty (Hernians employed by the Royal Mint can learn to shake their moneymakers). If you still can't Can-can, another good dance for persons under this Sign is the Two-step. However, if anyone offers to teach you the Tezuman Two-step, run away quickly and don't drink the water.

Beware: flying footwear, unfashionable knickers, kicking yourself in the eye.

The Wizard's Staff and Knob 22 Jun - 22 Jul

Your dance is the Polka. This charming, rustic dance from Borogravia and parts of Lower Uberwald is traditionally accompanied by a tuba band (Betty Burkha's Xtreme Polka Panzers, for preference; book well in advance). The Polka requires much enthusiasm and little grace, and is therefore well suited to such Staffies as senior wizards, trolls and strapping young women of the type built to carry a beer keg under one arm and a full-grown pig under the other; it does, however, require plenty of space and an extra-sturdy floor, and where possible, padded walls to compensate for the effects of large dancers with plenty of momentum and indifferent aim.

Beware: ankle injuries; Tuba Deafness Syndrome; being crushed by a pig.

Bilious, God of Hangovers 23 Jul - 23 Aug

Your dance is the Limbo. How low can you go? The Limbo, national dance of the BeTrobi Islands, is perfect for Bilians as it requires dancers to be blind drunk and dressed in nausea-inducing fluorescent flower-print clothing, and - best of all - making total idiots of themselves on the dance floor (the "on" is usually literal). To perform the Limbo one must be well and truly loose-limbed, and the best way to achieve this is to be well and truly oiled. Igor insurance is recommended, as the morning after often finds Limbo dancers discovering that yes, their spines can bend in those directions...once.

Beware: slipped discs (not Discs), unintentional Kama Sutra positions.

Mubbo the Hyena 24 Aug - 23 Sept

Your dance is the Quadrille. Originally a Zlobenian military parade manoeuvre, the Quadrille was performed by four pairs of mounted cavalrymen until an enterprising dance master saw its ballroom potential, dispensed with both the horses and the traditional ending flourish (which culminated in sword thrusts at opposing pairs) and made it into a showy, exuberant four-couple piece. One of the showiest and most intricate of dances, the Quadrille will thrill with its skill. Unfortunately, suitable clothing for the Quadrille comes with a killer bill, so it's best left to dedicated or wealthy performers. Or Zlobenian cavalrymen.

Beware: dressmakers, debt collectors, mounted swordsmen.

The Small Boring Group of Faint Stars 24 Sept - 23 Oct

Your dance is the Sword or Sabre Dance. Amazing! - the Stars suggest the most exciting of dances for this most boring of Signs. The Sword Dance comes originally from the northern plains of Agatea, where fierce Hongol tribesmen invented it as a means of determining the bravest warrior to become chieftain; in modern times, it's most often danced by inebriated male members of wedding parties and students who will use any excuse to avoid studying for exams. Simply put, two "competing" dancers bounce and kick from a squatting position while a circle of onlookers furiously wave swords in front of the dancers at ankle height. Did I mention that this all takes place to the accompaniment of a very fast tune? Did I mention that the swords are unsheathed? Did you really have to run right through that freshly mended stone wall?

Beware: being born under the Small Boring Group of Faint Stars and thus having to do the Sword Dance.

Androgyna Majestis 24 Oct - 22 Nov

Your dance is the Genuan Tango. For Andies, there is the fire and sensuality of the Genuan Tango, a dance so steamy it's been banned in sixteen countries and occupies an entire volume of the Nugganite Bumper Book of No-nos. It takes two to Tango, and two tangoing almost always leads to other things that, erm, take two; you'd be amazed at what a Tango can take two to, too...though do bear in mind that to Tango in a tutu is too-too. The Disc's acknowledged best Tango teacher is the itinerant Genuan expatriate, Django of Durango. Be warned, though - the reason he's expatriate is the ever-growing posse of enraged husbands and fathers following the path of his classes. Tango may "take no prisoners", but it certainly makes armed enemies.

Beware: see caveats for Rather Large Gazunda.

Great T'Phon's Foot 23 Nov - 21 Dec

Your dance is the Sir Roger de Quirm. An energetic multi-partner dance much favoured at harvest festivals, the Sir Roger de Quirm, also known as the Sto Helit Reel, has a long and illustrious history - especially amongst brassica farmers. The "Roger" is a very physical dance that includes swinging one's partner, tossing one's partner over one's head, rolling one's partner in the hay (the dance area is traditionally bordered by hay bales), and the "doe-see-dough", a manoeuvre in which the left-elbow dancers attempt to mimic the panicked flight of a deer faced with the prospect of becoming venison pie. Great fun for all the family, especially the rolling in the hay.

Beware: fiddles designed by B.S. Johnson.

Hoki the Jokester 22 Dec - 20 Jan

Your dance is the Lancre Morris. The Morris is a fine old dance, one danced throughout all of time and space. Don't be put off by those bells and hankies - this is the noblest dance of all, with its long-established place in the turning of the seasons. Far too noble, in fact, for the sort of posh folk who dance the Minuet; the Morris Dance is the dance of blacksmiths, honest farmers and all other good upstanding salt-of-the-earth people (and of Nobby, but we don't talk about that). Spare a thought also for the Dark Morris (we don't talk about that either). Hokian cat-lovers might wish to investigate the Maurice Dance, and those of Leshpic ancestry will take to the Octo-Cokey like a squid to water: you put your left foot in, you put your left foot out, you put your second left foot in, you put your...

Beware: elves, stick-and-bucket-wielding dancers, Nobby.

The Rather Large Gazunda 21 Jan - 18 Feb

Your dance is the Paso Doble Entendre. This lively and amorous dance, originally a part of the festivities surrounding the Thing with the Bulls, was introduced around the Disc by Nanny Ogg, who's certainly been "around the Disc" a good few times. Second only to the Tango as an inducement to population growth, the Paso Doble Entendre has been responsible for starting riots from Genua to Copperhead. This dance is also known as the Flamenco, from the Latatian flamencave ("Hey, you! Your pants are on fire!"); in Brindisi, it is danced to the accompaniment of coconuts, with a rose in the teeth. Of the dancers, not the coconuts. Who ever saw a coconut with teeth?

Beware: frilly dress malfunctions, baby showers.

Lesser Umbrage 19 Feb - 20 Mar

Your dance is the Highland Fling. The Highland Fling is the traditional tribal dance of the Nac Mac Feegles. It is performed at weddings, funerals, Keldinations, ceilidhs and pub brawls, and the wearing of kilts is obligatory (although the application of woad is optional; swearing is also optional but encouraged). This dance most resembles the actions of someone who has trodden on an ants' nest or blundered into a beehive - i.e. grimly hyperactive with a lot of shouting - and takes its name from the random violent flinging of the arms. Highland Fling champions are easily identified by their lack of front teeth. The Hublandish version of the Fling involves imbibing poisonous quantities of mead whilst dancing, and thus is commonly known as the Liverdance.

Beware: small, angry blue men who don't like Sassenachs stealing their cultural activities.

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