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Formation Circle. No hold.
Dance Structure ((A x 2) + (B x 2) + (C x 2)) repeated throughout the music.
Music Structure 4 counts/bar.
Music Speed 130 counts/min.
Choreographer June Watts.
Music 'Vilges Suola' by Mari Boine (a.k.a. Mari Persen).
Source Jan Savage in Ipswich, UK, 2005.

Disclaimer: Mistakes are quite likely in the notes and no guarantees are made as to accuracy. There may be other versions of the same dance or other dances with the same name. Music may differ, particularly in speed, introduction and duration, between performers. The division into parts, bars & counts might not be standard. These notes of the dance are freely distributable (under GPL or CC-by-sa) in so much as the note's author's contribution but the choreography and/or collection were by other people and so their copyright might apply to the dance itself. Better than using notes, go to a dance class where it is taught.

A Sacred/Circle dance set to Sami (Lapland) music with a very different styling to most other Sacred/Circle dances. Usually they have little or no emphasis on styling, a peaceful and friendly atmosphere, done with dancers hold hands and include little or no hand motion. This dance, in contrast, has strong styling, a forceful and angry atmosphere, no hand holding and more variations of hand motions than feet motions. Maybe intended as cathartic but also suitable for Hallowe'en dance parties.

The name 'Hex' is usually interpreted to mean 'witch' or 'spell' and that does fit the atmosphere of the dance. However it is possibly also related to the distinct word "haksu" which (with emphasis heavily on the first syllable) in the song which means "stinks". The song is by a popular Sami singer based Sami on folksong tradition but modernised. It is vitriolically about how white people exploit the Sami, in particular how they take bits of Sami culture out of context for their own use as exotic novelties. This is very ironically appropriate for how Circle dances, including this one, are often fitted to tunes & songs from elsewhere with the dancers rarely knowing the meaning (& sometimes even origin) of the tunes they are actually dancing to. However having the meaning of song contradict the atmosphere of the dance done to it is common in folkdances. I mainly do Balkan / East European / Israeli type folk dancing rather than Circle and that has sweet dances to tragic lyrics, creepy dances to happy lyrics, pop dances to religious scripture, genteel dances to bawdy joke words etc. even through the dances were created by people whose natural language was that of the lyrics. Instead the dances usually fit the feeling of the tune and the dance Hex does fit the feeling of the song Vilges Suola very well.

Similarly the song title is well out of keeping with Circle dance ethos, translating as "White Thief" and so being somewhat racist, but that too is quite normal in traditional folksongs where themes of xenophobic nationalism, sexism (both ways), national/racial stereotypes etc. are naturally common (especially in the historic Balkans). As with the styling, this is an unusual Circle dance!

I have come across this dance in several places and it has varied, in particular in the number of repeats of the Parts, whether the hands go down & up twice or only once in Part A bar 2, the arm motion when going in, the details of the shapes and whether the upper arms make right angles or the hands are next to head in Part C bar 1. Looking on the WWW for confirmation, instead I found there was also (on SacredCircles.com) a version with an inner circle doing completely different figures. Jan's is the earliest (in terms of when whom I learnt it from learnt it) version I have learnt so I expect it has gone fewer Chinese whispers so that is the one I used. I have never been to a class by the choreographer.

Style: Anger. Very forceful. Tense. Arms fling in motion. Heavy. Steps thud down, and so do heel drops if possible. Mostly done a forward lean a bit crouched.


Summary: Start with any bar.

There is not a strong clear simple regular bar structure so the dance can start at the start of any bar.

Part A

Summary: Feet: facing acw, R forwards, R heel stamp, L in place, L heel stamp; (R forwards, L drag close) x 2. Arms: V, pause, crossed at chest, pause; (ditto no pause) x 2.

Start Facing acw around the circle. Weight on L foot. Arms crossed tight across the chest infront. Hands as fists.
1 R forwards. This is a heavy flat footed stamp of a step.
2 R heel stamp. This is done by raising the heel of the supporting (R) foot just before the beat and bringing it down on the beat.
1 Sharply down to V-position with elbows straight and to slightly behind the coronal plane of the torso. I prefer to exaggerate this even further by opening out the fists to flat hands (with fingers together) at the same time but I was taught it with the hands remaining as fists.
2 Pause.
Feet As counts 1-2 but onto the L foot in place (L stamp-step in place, L heel stamp by raising & lowering the heel of the supporting foot).
Arms Reverse the motion of counts 1-2 (return arms to crossed infront of chest with hands as fists, pause)
1 R forwards as in bar 1 count 1.
2 Drag L close.
Arms As bar 1 but without the pauses so the down & up is done in 2 counts instead of 4 (down to V, up to crossed infront of chest).
3-4 Repeat counts 1-2 (R stamping step forwards with arms going down to V, L drag close with arms going up to cross infront of chest).

Part B

Summary: Feet: As Part A but facing centre. Arms: Up R, pause, down L, pause; gathering x 2.

Start Facing the centre of the circle. Weight on L foot. Arms down.
Feet As Part A (R forwards, R heel stamp, L in place, L heel stamp; (R forwards, L drag close) x 2) but facing (& travelling) towards the centre of the circle.
1 Up R ending with the arms straight & stretched high just infront of the coronal plane of the body and about 30 deg from the vertical with hands open. To increase the upward reach, the body straightens up. The motion is rapid and done as a push with the hands coming almost together on the way up and the hand following a path almost in line with where the arms end up rather than as a fling.
2 Pause.
3-4 Repeat counts 1-2 but with the arms going to down L (arms down L, pause). The body returns to a forward lean (this enables the hands to almost appear to be slightly behind the plane of the body which is something which is not practical to actually do for the R with the R arm straight and infront of the body).
1-2 Gathering motion. This is done by starting with the hands close infront of the lower abdomen pointing towards eachother but not quite touching eachother. Hands are flat with palms up and fingers together pointing and remain so throughout this motion. The pair of hands move in a circular path (tracing out a cylinder) in the direction of down, F, up & B.
3-4 Repeat counts 1-2 (gathering).

Part C

Summary: Feet: Bar 1 as Part B but lift other leg behind in stamps; 4 steps backwards. Arms: (upper arms horizontal with R forearm up & L down, pause), mirror; (R horizontal smoothing circling, mirror) x 2.

Start Facing the centre of the circle. Weight on L foot. Arms infront.
Feet As Part B bar 1 but when doing the stamps, flick the free foreleg up behind as far up as it will go with the upper leg remaining down. (R forwards, R heel stamp raising L leg behind, L in place, L heel stamp raising R leg behind).
1 Upper arms horizontally out the sides. L forearm & hand vertically up with palm forwards. R forearm & hand vertically down with palm backwards. Hands flat with fingers together.
2 Pause.
3-4 Repeat counts 1-2 but in mirror image (R forearm up & L forearm down with upper arms horizontally out to the sides).
1 R backwards.
2 L backwards.
3-4 Repeat counts 1-2 (R & L backwards).
1 R hand does a smoothing motion rather like smoothing a tablecloth on table. The hand is flat with fingers together and palm facing downwards. It moves on an acw (R, forwards, L & backwards) circular path about 30 cm in diameter about lower abdomen height.
2 Repeat count 1 in mirror image with the L hand (L arm horizontal smoothing motion cw circle). The motions overlap in time slightly with the this motion starting about the time the R hand gets 3/4 the way around its circle.
3-4 Repeat counts 1-2 (R & L hand smoothing horizontal circling). Likewise the R starts on its 2nd circle when the L hand reaches about 3/4 of the way around hence the circling is continuous in both hands. At the end (cutting short the end of the last L hand circle when the R hand would have joined in were there more circles to be done) move the arms to across the chest and hands to fists ready to start the next Part A.

There is an unfortunate similarity between the motions of bar 1 and (if done with a crass jokey style instead of forceful and with the opposite leg raised) and the 'Morecombe & Wise' (a naff 1970s light comedy duo repeats of whose TV shows are unaccountably still popular at Christmas in the UK) catchphrase dance (used to lead off at the end of shows)! It is best not to mention this (if dancers don't spot it themselves) because it does not do good for the angry atmosphere needed for this dance.