ARTICLES CREATING DANCES: DANCING CREATIONS Jenny Johnson   I have been dancing for a decade now and am especially grateful to Julie Bell and Chrisandra in the East Midlands, and Margot Lynch in Devon, for introducing me to many kinds of circle dance.  Although I choreographed two pieces of music several years ago and shared the results with different groups, I didn't ask for any feedback and more or less forgot about them.  Then, a few months ago, when I was looking for suitable dances for an eco-spiritual gathering but didn't have the ones I wanted, it suddenly occurred to me that I had been dancing long enough to start creating my own sequences.  Celtic music, in particular, appealed to me but I was also open to other kinds: anything from popular songs to Baroque and Classical works.  Throughout the autumn and winter, I produced eleven dances, my first volumes of notes, and first CD! Steps always come intuitively when music appeals to me.  I allow my body to respond in whatever way it wants until the whole sequence is clearly felt.  Having written poetry, I am aware that the process is similar.  What is already there in the unconscious surfaces when given the right stimulus in this case a melody, some harmony, or rhythm, with which I resonate.  Margot Lynch, circle dance leader of the Exmouth group, is kind enough to let me teach one of these creat- ions at each session; even if only one person enjoys learning and doing the dance, I feel I have achieved something.  It is so good to share creativity; writing poetry was a more lonely business, and rejections of manuscripts were common!  I did get to do some poetry readings, but there wasn't the same holistic quality.  The energy of the circle spiral, crescent is quite different from the energy in a room where the poet and audience are physically separated. Writing down steps is always more difficult for me than creating them.  I have avoided the shorthand method used by many choreographers I find it too con- cise and have tried to steer a path between that extreme and the full instruct- ions written by Andy Bettis.  It isn't a matter of one method being better than another.  Everyone needs to find her own way of communicating.  It can be great fun and very fulfilling and you don't need to be a trained teacher or even a group leader first!  Having said that, I want to acknowledge how much I have been inspired by the teaching of well-known choreographers like Judy King and Hazel Young.   Judy's clear, humorous demonstrations and Hazel's wonderful sense of symmetry have impressed me greatly. Originally published in Grapevine, Autumn 2006             *                *                * DANCING MIDGE AT EXMOUTH FESTIVAL Jenny Johnson   Exmouth Festival is an annually expanding event, but until this year it had not included circle dance.  I decided to see the organiser to suggest an afternoon ses- sion.  She was enthusiastic about this, offering the Town Hall's Council Chamber as a free venue, and Bank Holiday Monday, May 26th, as the date.  I asked Margot Lynch to join me in the teaching: she had been well trained by both Judy King and June Watts.  There was confusion about who was to do the centrepiece: we ended up with two Alisons, who produced an appropriate seaside one including an up- turned bucket, which inevitably we were warned not to kick. I had no idea who would come in addition to Margot, the Alisons and myself, and was grateful for the dull, damp weather.  A hot dry day would have sent many to the beach or other outdoor events.  As it was, several people came in to escape the high wind.  Others may have been attracted because of the art exhibition in the room next door.  Over twenty had arrived by 2pm, including Sarah, a young woman in a wheelchair who intended to join in as much as she could.  She was waiting for a state-of-the-art chair that would spin round like those you see before TV prog- rammes.  The Mayor of Exmouth paid us a brief visit.  I invited her to join us for a dance and she was happy to do so.  Margot began with a few easy numbers such as Seed and Nigun Atik which put people at their ease, especially complete new- comers to the circle.  I followed with the first of six dances I had choreographed, Fetlar Lullaby.  To use modern jargon, I don't do simple, which may be irritating to some dancers.  However, I love a challenge, believing that each of us can achieve far more than we think we can, in all areas of life, and I told the group this.  Fun is important to me too, so I wore the Dancing Midge T-shirt I'd bought at the Dancing Midge Café on Great Cumbrae Island off the coast of Ayshire.  Western Scotland is famous for its midges. Something odd happens when I'm sharing my creations.  A jokey Jenny emerges and others laugh!  I also project my voice very well, which at more than one point during the afternoon turned out to be a necessary skill.  In between dances, two women went to the window to watch activities in nearby Manor Gardens.  "Those of you who are playing truant," I bawled, "return to the circle at once!"  When the drumming started in the Gardens, I bawled again.  In a way this was appropriate the drumming, I mean as my last dance was to the beautiful, but quiet, Zulu Lullaby, played by the talented Soweto String Quartet. During just over two hours, with a short interval for fruit juice, we had danced to music from all over the world by composers from Shetland, Australia, Wales, Devon and Native American territory, to name a few.  We closed in the traditional way around the centrepiece tired yet aware of the vibrant energy we had created, both for ourselves and the wider community.   Originally published in Grapevine, Autumn 2008