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Canary Cards

Mistress Weyssin’s Canary Cards

A Magical Device to allow Dancers of All Sorts to Invent Canary Mutanze


How to assemble your deck

  1. Print the file below (scroll to the bottom) - onto paper or stiff card
  2. Cut the cards apart
  3. Paste onto stiff card (if you need to)
  4. You have a deck!

You can add as many more cards as you like, and you can change or throw away any cards you don't like. This is just a start.

About the cards

  • Each card has a fragment of a canary solo.
  • Every card takes 4 bars to perform (the time of four seguiti battuti).
  • Any four cards (or any card done four times) takes one entire strain of (the usual) canary music.
  • All cards are written starting on the left foot. You can and should reverse this as needed - start on the right foot and swap left and right throughout a card.
  • A blue star means you can do this card without any stamping if you want to.
  • The big cards are best for going forwards. The small cards are best for going backwards.

How to use the cards to invent a canary solo

Advance: choose any 1, 2 or 4 big cards.

  • If you chose one card, do that thing four times: AAAA. Every second time, start on the right foot.
  • If you chose two cards, do each thing twice. The second time for each card, start on the right foot. 
    • Either:    ABAB
    • OR:       AABB
  • If you chose 4 cards, do each thing once: ABCD

Retreat: choose any 1 or 2 small cards.

  • Either     AAAA (left, right, left, right)
  • Or          AABB
  • Or          ABAB

If you like it - great! 

If you don’t like it change the order of the cards, or alter the details (which foot does which step, for instance), or try again with new cards until you like what you get.

To make longer mutanze:

  • Do an advance, and a retreat, as above. Now do the whole thing again,starting on the right foot.
  • Add more cards: 8 units make a 2-strain advance, 12-units make a 3-strain advance, and so on.

To make shorter mutanze:

  • Use only 2 cards to go forwards and 2 to go backwards - the whole mutanza will take 1 strain.

To make more and different mutanze:

  • Shuffle your deck, play lucky dip (or carefully select cards you like)
  • Add new cards to your deck (they just have to be the right length)
  • Use familiar cards, but substitute some steps - e.g. 2 seguito battuto, 3 jumps, seguito battuti (jumps instead of stamps in the middle)
  • Use familiar cards, but do them in a new way - sideways, flankingly, with stamps high, or low, or in front, or behind, or in a different rhythm, or with some stamps louder or softer