In memory of Irfôna Larkin

On October/10, 2015 we received an email from Charlene Thomson after hearing Irfôna Larkin, long time memeber of OECDC, passed away December 17th 2014.

"From: Charlene Thomson []
Sent: Saturday, October 10, 2015 5:10 PM
Subject: Comments Ottawa ECD Web Site - Irfona

Hello Ottawa English Dancers,

Irfona was special. She welcomed dancers. She welcomed musicians. I will miss her talent and her special way of saying to Americans that Canada appreciates your music and new English dances.

I just learned of her passing. I am saddened. It is a loss.

I wrote a waltz for her. Perhaps it can be choreographed by one of her ECD group. If so, I am happy to send a PDF of the music to you. If not, that is fine.

Sincere regrets for the loss of Irfona.

Sent from my iPad"

We liked Charlene's suggestion, that we have someone choreograph a dance and the idea of a local competition took shape. We took up Charlene's offer, she sent us the sheet music (here). An early recording of the music was made by Ralph Thompson, fiddle, and Chris Crilly, piano, fiddle (mp3 here) and, later in the year, a by Charlene, piano and Julian Shepherd, Cello (mp3 here).

The competition was launched (rules here) and entries rolled in. A review panel, comprising callers who did not enter the competition, was set up with the task of selecting the best three dances for a Dance-Off. Only the text of the dance entry was sent to the reviewers, not the name of the author which had been removed by the coordinator.


During the regular Friday dance on April/8th, 2016 the dance-off (results & photos here) was held to live music by the The Playford Players. Interspersed with other dances during the evening the three selected dances were called by Greg, Anne & Mary. Callers were pre-assigned so that they did not call their own dance, if they had submitted an entry, and order of calling was drawn from a hat.

Toward the end of the evening a total of 27 dancers voted excluding the coordinator. The result of the vote was, in order called:

The dance "called by Greg" received 52% of the votes and declared the winner!! The author was then revealed to be Mary Williams and the evening ended with Greg calling the dance once again. Here are the instructions for Mary's dance.


Tune by Charlene Thompson Choreography by Mary Williams

Longways duple minor; second couple improper

A1-41st couple, taking right hands, dance down the set for 2 bars; Turn individually (keeping right hands joined) and continue dancing backwards down the set for another 2 bars
5-81st couple dance forward; separate below the 2nd couple; dance separately (1st man going behind 2nd woman; 1st women going behind 2nd man) back to place
9-12Women right-hand turn halfway to change places; Left-hand turn partner along the line
13-16Women right-hand turn halfway back to place; Left-hand turn neighbour along the line
B1-4Hands-4, balance in and out; Petronella right (turn single right moving one place to the right around the circle)
5-8Repeat B 1- 4
9-12Men change places by left shoulder; Women change places by right shoulder
13-16Face neighbour; set right and left; Pass neighbour by right shoulder to progressed place
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