"Dancing Tid-bits" Issue #66, Thursday, August 30, 2001
Pepperpot in Quickstep
Ever since I started to do some advanced figures in Quickstep, this term
"Pepperpot" has caught my imagination and curiosity, so I thought why not?
What is Pepperpot: In simple words it can be said that it is a syncopated chasse to left, done to Tipsy Timing, the timing being Q&Q QQ. It is usually started from P.P. after a step-hop on the right foot(S&). Also bear in mind that a chasse can be replaced by a lock step which is a type of chasse. Be patient and please read the following discussion.
History of Pepperpot: This information is based on the written text titled "The Pepperpot" from the book "The World of Phyllis Haylor."
Through 1950s and 60s, Ballroom Dancing was a little more subtle and civilized, at least when it comes to Quickstep. The modern Quickstep danced nowadays at Blackpool is a variation of "Jump-a-long-Hoppity-Hop". The more you Hop and Jump and Run, the more the applause. Hop and Jump concept was perhaps put to work by Desmond Ellison and Brenda Winslade, in the 50's, who also kiddingly gave it the name "Pepperpot".
So What is really Pepperpot? I have asked that question to many coaches and dance teachers in U.S. and every time I get a confusing and muddled answer. So with constant research I have developed my own understanding of this simple nuance of dancing. I will quote word for word of Phyllis Haylor from the book page 77:
Continuations of an Amalgamation, from Promenade Position (Man)
21. RF forward in P.P. at same time closing L.F to RF. without weight and springing lightly from floor
22. LF to side in P.P.
23. R.F. close to L.F.
24. L.F. to side
25. R.F. closed to L.F.
26. L.F. to side, small step
27. R.F. forward in CBMP outside partner. The lady would have gradually turned to Left between steps 23 and 25. Commencing in Promenade Position she will end with partner outside."
So, as you can see the classical description of Pepperpot seems to be two consecutive chasses to left, started from P.P. after a Step-Hop on RF, timing Q&Q QQ. However, you can also do a lock step after Q&Q In other words after LRL chasse, cross RF behind LF then LF diagonal forward with left shoulder leading in preparation for stepping outside partner RF. This changes the sideways momentum to diagonal forward with much ease.
I am not saying that teachers and coaches don't know what Pepperpot is but they are not giving me the answers I want and it is therefore my problem or rather my idiosyncrasy, of course no conceit intended. They start Step-Hop and then it all gets mixed up.
I think it is an excellent introduction to hopping and running like scattered chasses and every student should have a clear understanding of Pepperpot figure and timing before they change it to other advanced variation.
Next time around we will look at Syncopated Lock Step and compare it to Pepperpot. Please send me your comments. I can use all the help on knowing the authentic origins of this step.
With Best Wishes, Sincerely, Max
Questions and comments to Dancemax@aol.com, thank you.