1. Essentials - by Gwynnyd
With a nod to the musician, she started clapping strongly on the beat. The twelve children standing in a ragged circle eyed her for their cue.
"Honor your partner," she called and the children sketched reverences, most of them, she was pleased to see, to the correct partner. "And begin! To the left, eight steps."
The circle started moving awkwardly to the left, some children skipping with enthusiasm, some barely moving their feet with an arm stretched out to clutch the receding hand of the child next to them on one side and bunched close to fend off the child pressing them on the other. Lips moved as they carefully counted out the steps. The line began to pile up, and she called out, "And to the right." The circle reversed, most shuffling well off the beat, but by the time the four measures had been played, the children had spread out again. The tune changed to the chorus.
"The men go in and the women go out, and meet back in the middle again." She drew out 'again' into two syllables to match the beat.
The children took two steps apart, clapped once, turned and stepped back to meet their partners. The serious-eyed, tight-lipped boy scowled as he found his partner too far to the right. He grabbed her arm and dragged her back into position.
"Step to the left, then step to the right." While facing each other, the steps should move them apart, then back together. Most of the couples managed this, but a few were overawed by their partner's movements or too uncertain of their own and moved the opposite of the way they should. "And everyone turn around." She noticed with approval that several children signaled their partner which shoulder to turn over.
In ten years, or fifteen, these boys would be strutting the dance floor in Swan Knight livery with as much assurance as they faced orcs and pirates. They should ask her which ones would make good officers. They had not yet thought to hide their basic characters.
"Pass left sides." Later, the girls would take this opportunity to flirt shamelessly, swaying their hips too close as they passed, and tossing winks and smiles or looking up under demurely lowered lashes. Now, they stepped woodenly, two steps up and two steps back, passing on each side in turn and careful not to contaminate themselves by brushing shoulders.
Another round of the chorus passed safely signaling the start of the best parts of the dance. As they spun elbow hooked in elbow, she wondered if they ever changed. Did the girl who worked at unbalancing her partner, with a flash of mean satisfaction when he stumbled, ever become like the ones who giggled as they twirled too fast and supported their partner as they slipped and slid into the reverse?
Another chorus. "Now boys, be as bold as Beren and girls as nimble as Nimrodel. Grab hands, rush to the center and yell, 'whoosh!'"
A/N – for those who thought they recognized it. Yes, that is the choreography for Sellinger's Round.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.