Sønderhoning


Country of origin: Fanø, Denmark
Type: couple dance
Formation: any number of couples in open circle. Open hold: M 's R hand over back of W's L hand. Arms hang loose, or, in an older style, forearms are held horizontally, with M's forearm resting on W's.
Steps: walk and sønderhoning step, see below
Music: Of the circa 90 sønderhoning tunes today, the vast majority are in 2/4 time. Three tunes are in 3/4 time, and a very few tunes are in varying rythms or are difficult to classify. Notes and recordings of a number of sønderhoning tunes are available at Folkets Hus Spillefolk's web site.

Sønderhoning step
Beat Man's step Woman's step
1 L foot diagonally forward to the L while simultaneously turning 1/4 turn CW. Close feet [about a foot length apart].
2 Turning 1/2 turn CW, set R foot to the side of L foot [about a foot length apart], with a slight knee bend (the body weight is on both feet. Step forward with R foot, turning 1/4 turn CW, with a slight knee bend.
3 Turning 1/4 turn CW, step a little forward with R foot -- again with a slight knee bend. While turning 1/2 turn CW, a long step forward on L foor -- followed by a 1/4 turn CW, so as to be ready to begin again by closing feet.

   
  Dance progression
(a) Promenade: The couple moves CCW around the floor, normally for about 8 bars [with walking steps]. Meanwhile, W may walk once around her partner on the last 2 bars (4 wslking steps).
During the promenade, begin with the outside foot (ML/WR), so as to be on the correct foot for the sønderhoning step.
(b) Turn step, Sønderhoning: M moves WL hand onto her back. W places R hand on ML shoulder blade, after which M takes WL hand in his own L hand. With this hold, dance sønderhoning steps.
   
Although the music is [usually] 2/4-time, the step is counted over 3 beats, so that 5 sønderhoning steps are danced over 8 bars [of 2/4-time music]. One can begin and end the [promande and] turning at will. The dance should be even, fluid (sejgt) and swaying (duvende), without any sudden changes in the speed of the steps.
Extract from an old letter from N. Th. Brinch, with a description of the style of the dance:
"Few understand that the sønderhoning as a dance symbolizes a sailing ship, and is steeped in tradition. I shall herewith attempt to illustrate this for you.
When the man takes the woman's hand and goes around the floor, the two are as one and represent a sailing ship, sailing 'rumskøds' or before a strong wind. The woman should preferably go a little infront of the man, in the outer circle; when the man swings his hand [to signal the beginning of the turning step] and they dance chest to chest, they used to say that they 'gå; over stag', which is an expression for a sailing ship that is turning.
Dancing 'i hvingelen', as it was called, should be done with 'soft knees' (one must not simply walk around), which symbolizes a ship in seaway, and is best danced to the old dance tunes."
When it was originally documented between 1911-1916, partly by J. Egedal, fannikedans was danced by the inhabitants of Nordby (Northern village) on the island of Fanø, while sønderhoning was danced by the inhabitants of the village of Sønderho on the same island. Sønderhoning has been danced in Nordby since the second half of the 1800s; in Nordby both sønderhoning and fannikedans are played at about the same tempo. Sønderhoning is now danced commonly as part of a suite consisting of two or more sønderhoning, one fannikedans and one rask (fast) sønderhoning.

See YouTube video recorded, it is estimated, in the 1970's.


Source: Foreningen til Folkedansens Fremme (FFF)/Hæfte III. 5:e opl. København: Foreningen til Folkdansens Fremme, 1983, pp. 7-8.
See also: Skov, Ole "Lidt omn indsamlingen af Sønderhoning og Fannikedans 1. del & 2. del" in Dansens og musikkens rødder 46-47, n.d.
and: Bæk, John. Polskdans som levende tradition i 1900-tallets Danmark? -- musik og dans fra Fanø. n.d.
Translation: Laine Ruus, Oakville, 2014-08-29.


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