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.