Image result for red knee bootsWe danced this great dance choreographed by Marina Bear when Brigitte Evering was with us last week in Vancouver. I loved how Brigitte included some cues for us visual learners, like imagining we had over the knee red boots for this one!

This is a folk song from Quebec arranged by La Bottine souriante which seems to mean “smiling boot”.

There’s even a show company called La Bottine souriante.

I agree with BO3gamer who says, “Fucking bonne chanson!”

I got curious, as I do, about the words. My high school/University French was mainly reading and writing not speaking and hearing. (And when I travelled I learned how to order beer and disposable diapers–but that’s another story.)

Here is a translation to English: (It seems La ziguezon zin aon is not translatable. Perhaps just nonsense syllables.)

Going to the fountain to catch some fish
La ziguezon zin zon
The fountain is deep
Pours me to the bottom

Ziguezon zin zon, Girl on top
Girl in bottom, girl girl girl-woman
Woman, woman, woman, also worse
Bottine-tine-tine le rigolet ha ha
His little door key is rusted, rusted
His little door key is merrily rusted
The fountain is deep
Pours me to the bottom
Passing by here
Three cavalier barons

Three cavalier barons
Three cavalier barons
Who gave to me your beauty
If I lose you


Who gave to me your beauty
If I take you to the bottom
Row, row she said
After that we shall see


Row, row she said
After that we shall see
When the beautiful one comes to shore
And runs away from the house


When the beautiful one comes to shore
And runs away from the house
To try at the window
Write a song


To try at the window
Write a Song
My small heart is given
Not for a baron


My small heart is given
Not for a baron
But for a soldier
With a beard


From reading up, it seems to have to do with a fisherman who has lost his heart to a girl who might be more interested in one of the soldiers… the one with the beard.

Here’s a video with photos of young women/girls. From a quick look I think they did this for a drama or arts class at school. It’s sweet!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbV3csJPcOI


And here’s a Karaoke Version.



Elm Dance Weekly

Service 18 Oct 2009 - Elm DanceI enjoyed reading about this church in Australia where people dance the Elm Dance every Sunday after the worship service is over. We will start our Autumn Equinox ritual by doing this dance in the courtyard at the Unitarian Church of Vancouver at 12:10pm (or as soon as the worship service ends) on Sunday, September 17. And–who knows?–maybe we’ll keep doing it!


Here’s what their website says.

After the service, each Sunday, some join hands and for a circle for “The Elm Dance”. They gather in the circle dance area outside the church before going up to coffee in the hall; and all are invited to share in this simple movement.

A dance of remembrance and a dance for the blessing of peace.

St Pauls’ Elm Dance

We at St Pauls join in a circle dance, to pray the prayers of our hearts but especially for peace.

I thought what a great metaphor for our Christian community the Elm Dance is.

Firstly the dance, the slow measured step where we dance together to the same tune, guided by those who know it better, helped by those who know the steps and the sequence, and supporting each other when feet stumble out of step, or wander in a different direction.

Around us is God’s beautiful sky and warming light, the fragrance of rosemary, the delighted joyful music of the birds mingling with loving music composed by His children.

Wonderful too is the ever-widening circle as more and more join, effortlessly welcomed into the dance. Existing members are strong enough in loving support to let go and welcome in; new ones are brave enough to step forward and take the offered hands.

For those on the outside looking in, there is delight in watching the pattern and wholeness of the dance.

Our prayers seek to bless those from Novozybkov, that most contaminated of cities after Chernobyl and the spoken and unspoken prayers: the homeless down the street, the patient people of Zimbabwe and those with broken relationships around us; and the dance helps us bring the answers into being.

As we are swaying – Let’s Give Peace a Dance


I’m always interested in reading about the history of the music we dance to and the words, so also enjoyed their information on the “Notes of interpretation”.

Notes on Interpretation

Latvian is a language that was only written down when German missionaries spread the Christian faith in the 1700’s, being the last place in North Western Europe to maintain a pagan animistic worship of the land, the seasons and forces of nature. Hence many words in the song multiple meanings and connotations.

If you’re interested in languages, you’ll enjoy it if you scroll down and read what they have to say.

Elm Dance Steps, Lyrics and Stories

After dancing the Elm Dance with our group recently, I searched around for more information.

I’ll start with the part most important for dancers. So far as I can see when we raise our arms like branches, we let go hands and move in the wind touching each others’ hands and arms a bit as we do. Continuing to just hold hands is clearly a popular village variation however.

The other thing I found of interest was that the original choreography has us “circling” when we sway, not just swaying back and forth. The reference I found said moving to the front when swaying to the right, and to the back when swaying left. But I could find no video showing this movement. If your group does this — share a video so we can all see. “The sways are circular and round, soft in the wind, well rooted in the earth.”

Shall we give that a try?

I started researching because none of us there knew the answer to what is the Bach Flower Remedy for “elm”. And that’s where I found this.

Elm Bach Flower Remedy


Elm …is the remedy for people suffering a temporary loss of confidence due to the overwhelming amount of responsibility they have taken on. Genuine Elm types are people who are successful and carrying out work they believe in, but at times the burden brings them down and they feel will not be able to cope.

The remedy helps to dispel these feelings so that we can resume our lives without thought of failure.

There’s a lot more about the Bach Flower Remedies and Music on this site: https://www.musicalremedies.com/

Then I was curious about the music and learned that the song mentions apple trees and oak trees, but not elm trees. But as is often the case, it’s a metaphor and (perhaps, to some people) it’s actually a song about resistance.

Perhaps around December, we could try to add a Holly dance to our repertoire:


The song is Kā Man Klājas and it was a popular song at the time it was choreographed. The choreographer Anastasia Geng (1922-2002) choreographed many songs to correspond with Bach flower remedies. Joanna Macy learned this dance from Hannelore, a friend in Hamburg.

Here’s the itunes link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/ieva-akuratere/id260647004

The words are these: (I haven’t included the repeated lines)

Ko man dosi mamulite, par muzigu dzivo anu

What will you give to me mother dear, for eternal life

Izplaukst zelta abelite un ka rita migla skan

The little golden apple tree blooms, and rings out like morning mist

Ko tas dos tev mamulite, ka tavs delin nenomirst

What does it give to you mother dear, that your little son doesn’t die

Atbildes nav

There is no reply

Tikai veja notric ozoliu birze

Only the grove of oak trees trembles in the wind

Tikai koki savikas uz rudeni

Only the trees put on their autumn leaves

Atbildes nav

There is no reply

Ko man dosi mamulite, par muzigu dzivo anu

What will you give to me mother dear, for eternal life


Izplaukst zelta abelite un ka rita migla skan

The little golden apple tree blooms, and rings out like morning mist

Izkid visi mani joki, Visi joki gludeni

All my humour dissolves, All jokes fall flat

Tikai kajas droak savu zemi min

Only our feet all the more surely trample our earth

Tapec draugi ka man klajas

Therefore, friends, how I am feeling

Itneviens lai neuzzin

let no one know

I also found a Christian church who dance it every Sunday, St Paul’s Anglican Church Beaconsfield, near Fremantle Western Australia. http://www.stpaulsbeaconsfield.org.au/prayers/elm.html

As they say, “As we are swaying.. give peace a chance.”

The Elm Dance: Story and Actual Dance Exeter New Hampshire Unitarian Universalist Church

First Unitarian Universalist Society of Exeter (FUUSE) Minister Kendra Ford introduces Coleen O’Connell, treasured colleague of Joanna Macy’s from Lesley University, Director and founder of the Ecological Teaching and Learning Program. Coleen shares the story behind the Elm Dance, a remembrance of what was lost in many Russian villages and surrounds as a result of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. FUUSE is celebrating “The Great Turning and the Work that Reconnects”…people concerned with and considering taking action to deal with preserving life on the earth. “The Great Turning” is a name for the essential adventure of our time: shifting from the industrial growth society to a life-sustaining civilization.

And here’s a talk by Joanna Macy on the Dharmaseed website about this story of how she first shared this dance. (She starts about 8 minutes into the audio file.)


Autumn Equinox

Here are some of the dances that “the Bears” suggest for the Autumn Equinox.
Which would you like to dance in September?
Fall Equinox: (Balance, Rejoicing In The Harvest And Summer, Anticipating Winter)
An Diran
Banish Misfortune
Dimna Juda
Fields Of Gold
Harvest Moon
Hava Avar Babanot
Hora Mare
Inside Water
John Barleycorn
Many Rivers
Maze Maize
Od Lo Ahatvi Dai
Old Woman
Seasons Green And Gold
Shiva Namo
Stag Dance
Suo Gan
Swimming To The Other Side
Take Me Down To The River
Wash Your Spirit Clean
We Have Not Loved Enough
Zaken Metayel (Old Man Walking)
Zeleneye Zhito

I’ve made bold the dances that I know for sure we have danced.

Vote for which of these familiar ones you’d like to dance during September!

Karev Yom

For words in Hebrew and English for this song, go here:


One of the Passover/Pesach Songs, sung during the first and second Seder.
All chants of the Seder, the first (and second) night of the Passover/Pesach are
sung in a rather mantic manner and every phrase is repeated many times.

Here’s one youtube video singing it:


Videos showing the dance:

This is the music and steps we usually dance to:

This shows information about the choreographer and music:


This year we actually danced it on the first night of Passover.

From: http://www.chabad.org/holidays/passover/pesach_cdo/aid/671901/jewish/When-Is-Passover-in-2017-2018-2019-and-2020.htm

The Seder feast is held on the first two nights of Passover (just the first night in Israel), after nightfall. Here are the dates of the Seder for the upcoming years:

2017:   April 10-11

2018:   March 30-31

2019:   April 19-20

2020:   April 8-9

Here’s a different version:

… et en francais, teaching the folk dance above:


Ce Mois de Mai

Just chatted via email with John Bear who said they like this dance, ce mois de mai, “down there.”

Oh dear! There’s just so much to do in May! Perhaps someone locally knows the dance and could share it before the 31st. Or as the notes say, you can dance it in other months in order to remember May.

The music recommended is by Pyewackett, a British band which is no more.

Here are the lyrics from: http://fenols.jega.chez-alice.fr/Ce_mois_de_mai.pdf

Ce mois de mai Clément JANNEQUIN (16°)

Refrain : Ce mois de Mai, (ce mois de Mai)

Ce mois de Mai ma verte cotte (Ce mois de Mai ma verte cotte)

Ce mois de Mai, je vestirai

Couplet 1: De bon matin, me lèverai (Ce joli, joli mois de Mai)

De bon matin me lèverai Un saut, (deux sauts) trois sauts

Je ferai pour voir si mon ami verrai

(Je lui dirai qu’il me décotte me décottant le baiserai)

Refrain : Ce mois de Mai, ( ce mois de Mai )

Ce mois de Mai ma verte cote (Ce mois de Mai ma verte cotte)

Ce mois de Mai, je vestirai

Couplet 2 : En son jardin, douce vesprée (Ce joli, joli mois de mai)

En son jardin douce vesprée Un jour, (deux jours), trois jours

Joliette me rendrai pour humer moult roses pourprées

(Plaise à Dieu qu’il me les donne Me les donnant le baiserai)

Couplet 3 : Vienne la nuit, je danserai (Ce joli, joli mois de mai)

Vienne la nuit je danserai Un pas, (deux pas), trois pas

Légère tournerai pour mon ami émoustiller

(Je lui dirai qu’il virevolte Virevoltant le baiserai)

Les phrases entre parenthèses ne sont chantées que par les femmes

English Translation: This is what I found:

This month of May, This month of May,
This month of May, My green petticoat,
This month of May, I will wear.
Early in the morning I will rise,
This lovely, lovely month of May;
Early in the morning I will rise:
One leap, two leaps, three leaps,
In the street I will do,
To see if my boyfriend will see me.
I will tell him that he may remove my petticoat
As he does I will kiss him.

from the comments section here: https://yellowdoggereldemocrat.wordpress.com/2012/05/01/ce-mois-de-mai-clement-janequin/