Rhiannon's Wheel
(Sacred/Circle)

[Full notes] [Summary notes] [Other dances & the source code]

Formation Circle. No hold, arms vertically down (optionally V-hold).
Dance Structure (A x 2) + C + (B x 2) + C repeated throughout the music.
Music Structure 4 counts/bar, 4 bars/phrase.
Music Speed 175 counts/min.
Choreographer Stefan Freedman.
Music 'Rhiannon' from the album 'Renaissance' by the group 'Faun'.
Composer Faun.
Source Stefan Freedman in his 'Paradise Lost & Regained' suite created in lockdown 2020. I recorded the videos for that suite.

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 by Stefan Freedman.

A lively jolly dance with a suitably pagan story in folk-rock Irish style. One of the liveliest of Stefan's Paradise Lost & Regained suite.

Stefan's inspiration came from the (fictional but very influential) Rhiannon's Wheel stone circle. That linked the music, named 'Rhiannon', to Herne the Hunter who was a ghost with horns & chains who scared people in Windsor Great Park according to Shakespeare (& was a Merlin type mentor figure in the tale that had Rhiannon's Wheel).

The music has an Irish folk feel but Faun is actually a German Pagan/Mediaeval Folk music band.

As it was choreographed, first taught & first videoed during a COVID-19 mandatory social distancing period, it was done without hand holds but it could be also done in V-hold (probably best release hold during the Part C though, or at least the arm shaking bits of it though).

If you find Stefan's 2020 video online, I am in it as second most prominent person. It was the first online dance video to feature me so prominently. However do not take my steps as definitive: it was the first time I had danced it! I was filming the Paradise Lost & Regained suite for Stefan & was suddenly asked to join in that one dance. I had been concentrating on camera angles rather than learning during his instruction. I definitely got the arms out of time & overly Irished the footwork.

Style: Lively & forceful. It was the lowest point in the suite's arc but in a springing back up rather than downbeat sense. Irish folk dance influence on steps but done more heavy/dramatic. Hamming it up & adding hops fits it fine!

Introduction

Summary: Start when melody starts.

Wait through the introductory music (4 bars, 16 counts), which consists of 2 bars of drumming then 2 bars with pipes too, and start dancing when the melody starts.

Part A (verse 1)

Summary: R to the side, L across behind, R to the side, L lift across infront. L in place, bounce, R in place, bounce. Mirror all.

Start Facing the centre of the circle. No hold but arms in V-hold position. Weight on L foot.
1
1 R to the side.
2 L across behind.
3 R to the side.
4 L lift across infront.
2
1 L in place (which is across infront).
2 Bounce up-down on the L leg. This is mainly from the knee. This can be a small bounce or increased to a hop which leaves the ground
3 R in place.
4 Bounce/hop as in count 2 but on the R leg.
3-4 Repeat bars 1-2 in mirror image (L to the side, R across behind, L to the side, R lift across infront, R in place, bounce/hop, L in place, bounce/hop).

Part B (verse 2)

Summary: As Part A bar 1 but ending L ball touch close. L heel touch infront with toes diagonally L then R, L in place rock, R in place rock. Mirror all.

Start Facing the centre of the circle. No hold but arms in V-hold position. Weight on L foot.
1
1-3 As Part A bar 1 counts 1-3 (R to the side, L across behind, R to the side).
4 L close touching the ball to the ground without weight transfer.
2
1 L heel touch infront with the foot turned 45 deg acw.
2 Repeat count 1 but with the foot turned 45 deg cw.
3 L in place (foot not turned). The body rocks forwards.
4 R in place. The body rocks back to upright.
3-4 Repeat bars 1-2 in mirror image (L to the side, R across behind, L to the side, R close touch, R heel touch infront with foot turned cw then acw, R in place, L in place).

Part C (chorus)

Summary: Triple Step in starting R foot, ending with L flick behind. Mirror. R forwards, bounce, L in place, bounce. Ditto but with arms up shake & arms down shake. Repeat all going backwards but with back bicycles instead of flicks.

Start Facing the centre of the circle. No hold but arms in V-hold position. Weight on L foot.
1
1 R forwards.
2 L forwards.
3 R forwards.
4 L lift across behind. The styling is like an Irish flick.
2 Repeat bar 1 on opposite feet (L Triple Step forwards ending in R flick up behind).
3
1 R forwards.
2 Bounce up-down on the R leg.
3 L in place.
4 Bounce up-down on the L leg. (This bar is like Part A bar 4 but the R leg comes from behind rather than starting where it is going to step infront.)
4
Feet As bar 3 (R forwards, bounce, L forwards, bounce).
Arms
1-2 Up into a high V-hold position (but not holding). Hands as fists with palms forwards. Shake them imitating shaking a chain.
3-4 As counts 1-2 but arms down.
5-6 As bars 1-2 but steps are backwards & the lifts are done as a backwards bicycling lifts infront (as some people find a back flick difficult when travelling backwards).
7-8 As bars 3-4 (R forwards, bounce, L in place, bounce; repeat but with arms up shake & arms down shake).