The basket is move common in folk dance circles and is at its most basic is a spin for four to eight people or two to four couples. There is an Irish form known as a Christmas.
- In folk dancing, the 'formal' couple will stand with the woman on the man's right. (Informal being the other way around)
- To approach a basket, the man will have his right hand around the woman's waist and the woman will have her left hand on his right shoulder.
- Basket weaving involves two to four couples. As they meet, the women put their right hands on the other man's left shoulder and the men put their left hand around the other woman's waist, grasping the other man's wrists fairly firmly.
- All couples put their right foot into the centre and scoot round on their left foot in a clockwise direction.
What often happens is a bit more organic. There is a bit of a bundle with womens' arms flung around mens' necks and men frantically trying to get a good grip of each others' arms before proceeding. As the couples begin to rotate the women lean forward and the men lean back, and if the group are coordinated, strong and spinning fast enough, the women's feet will leave the ground (usually accompanied by much squealing and laughter).
A basket is not the move for a complete novice to try unless they have experienced one being performed, and definitely not a move for the faint-hearted.
- Baskets can end in a scrum as everyone falls over everyone else and lands in an untidy giggling, bruised heap on the floor.
- Shoes can fly off and beome lethal long range missiles.
- The womens' legs form a brutal blugeoning whirling wheel of death as they fly outwards, flooring any other dancers foolhardy enough to get too close.
- This move MUST be performed in an open space as once off the ground the spin covers a large area and anything in the way will be collided with, including walls, furniture and people.
Baskets are not always dealers of death, more restrained women will attempt to throttle the men during the spin to inhibit their speed and concentration. Legs may be used to trip up the men in order to prevent take-off. The men may just amble around and fail to achieve the correct velocity for uplift to take place. (Often connected with imbibing too much alcohol beforehand). Playford dance troupes, dancing traditional dances from the 17th century onwards, would never dream of their feet leaving the floor as it wouldn't be right and proper, so do check which style of basket you're in before taking off as results could be embarressing at best! When attempting baskets for the first time, spend the first few figures getting used to how it feels before going for lift off in the finale.
Once mastered the basket is an excellent, exhilarating and exciting move which will impress those around you with minimal distress to anyone involved. However, do proceed with caution!