Do The Dabble

Key's Cupboard

At the Frank Key Academy Of Terpsichorean Élan we are pleased to announce that students can now enrol for a course of almost affordable lessons in an exciting new dance choreographed especially for Dabbler readers. It is, of course, called The Dabble. Here is an exclusive extract from the instruction manual:

Figure One. Let us call the dancers Basil (left) and Guido (right). They take up positions facing each other as shown, pointing with their sticks. Basil’s stick is cut from a sycamore tree, and has traces of birdlime upon it. Guido’s is fashioned from a bone from an ostrich. The symbolism is clear. They maintain this stance, staring fixedly at each other, until I snap my fingers.

Figure Two. Basil raises his stick, upwards and forwards. Guido essays a series of twirls, jumps, and hops, and crashes his body as hard and as fast as possible into all four walls of the studio. If his hat falls off, he must replace it in a single, fluid motion, full of elegance and grace. He then takes a flying leap to return to his starting point, and raises his ostrich-bone stick to clack against Basil’s.

Figure Three. It is now Basil’s turn to jump about and hurl himself at the walls, while Guido stands absolutely still with his stick above his head. Basil should flounce, however, rather than trying to emulate Guido’s more frenetic movements. He should nudge the walls rather than buffet them, and sashay back to his starting position with an air of insouciance. When he is once again opposite Guido, he punches him in the throat.

Figure Four. To the insistent clanging of bells, Guido leans backwards, balancing his stick on his forehead. Basil takes hold of his necktie, but not tightly. They rotate a full 360 degrees, pretending to be figurines in a decorative snow-shaker. This takes consummate skill, and the difficulty of teaching this movement explains the supplementary fee tacked on to the standard cost of this lesson, to be paid in cash.

Figure Five. Having completed a full rotation, Basil adopts a heroic pose while Guido splays himself on the floor. At a snap of my fingers, Basil crumples and Guido gets up, shimmies, vaults over Basil, and in rapid succession essays a quadrille, a foxtrot, the twist, and a mashed potato solo. Basil gets to his feet. They throw their sticks out of an open window, and clutch each other like lovers on a hilltop during a thunderstorm. A parp from the trombone brings the dance to an end.

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About Author Profile: Frank Key

Frank Key is a London-based writer, blogger and broadcaster best known for his Hooting Yard blog, short-story collections and his long-running radio series Hooting Yard on the Air, which has been broadcast weekly on Resonance FM since April 2004. By Aerostat to Hooting Yard - A Frank Key Reader, an ideal introduction to his fiction, is published for Kindle by Dabbler Editions. Mr Key's Shorter Potted Brief, Brief Lives was published in October 2015 by Constable and is available to buy online and in all good bookshops.

4 thoughts on “Do The Dabble

  1. Worm
    July 1, 2011 at 09:22

    what a heart-wrenching corrida! It reminds me of the time I met my wife

  2. Gaw
    July 1, 2011 at 09:33

    Is this the latest dance-craze to emerge from the ‘projects’ I wonder?

    ian russell
    July 1, 2011 at 10:07

    It’s definitely cross-over. Gloucester morris meets Cuban salsa with a hint of Black bottom, at a guess.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:09

    This is a flagrant example of Basilism and a two stepped snook cocked at that doyenne of the working class Anne Widdecome, comely wench and dowagers hump. The dance or darnce as the inner M25ers call it was the only time, outwth the rumble seat of a Triumph Roadster that we pre baby boomers came into contact with the opposite sex or indeed the same sex, don’t ask but let’s just say that the Northumberland St gents toilet had piped music, Victor Sylvester and his Orchestra.
    Vic was famous for his nationwide chain of dace schools, in fact a chain was a very useful aide danser as this was the era of the teddy boy

    “Elle aime danser” was a moment musicale in the ear of the average Geordie male, sung by the little fat friend when inquiries were made of her erotically charged mate with the Beehive, long legs and lips that promised other things.

    In our dreams baby.

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