The Dancing Man

Invented by Adam Milligan, aboard the Malaspina Ferry in June 1998.

The first part of this figure is identical to the traditional Japanese string figure known as "Broom" (Noguchi 1984:14-15)

1. Hang the string across Left Thumb and Left Little so you have a near thumb string, a palm string, and a far little string.
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2. Pull down on the palm string. Now the near thumb goes across the palm to become the far little and the far thumb and near little hang in a large loop.
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3. Pull down and out on the new palm string so now there is a twisted loop on the thumb and little with a palm string connecting the twist and a new long loop.

4. Holding the left hand up, palm facing right, put the right hand through the long hanging loop from the right.
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5. Put the R.Thumb into the L.Thumb loop from above. Put the R.Middle into the L.Little loop from above.

6. Pull these two loops down and out through the long hanging loop so that loop is brought up into a triangle, near the left hand, around the four strings passing between the hands.

You now have loops on the left thumb and little, the right thumb and middle. The left hand is fingers up, the right hand is palm left. The left near thumb string goes down through the triangle to become the right near thumb string. The left far thumb string goes through the triangle to become the left near little string. The left far little string goes down through the triangle to become the right far middle string. The right far thumb and the right near middle go into the triangle and loop around to become each other across the bottom of the triangle.
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7. Curl the left index finger down into the right thumb loop just beyond the triangle. Curl the left middle down into the space between the right far thumb and right near middle, just beyond the triangle. Curl the left ring down into the right middle loop just beyond the triangle.

8. Curl the left fingers around the triangle and bring the right hand above and behind the left droping the right thumb loop and middle loop over the back of the left hand.


9. Turn the left hand palm up. Now there is a left thumb loop, a left little loop, and strings passing between thumb and index, index and middle, middle and ring, ring and little, these four strings comprising two long loops hanging below the back of the left hand. Across the left palm is a complex knot with one clear string passing between the loops on the thumb and little.
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10. Pull up on this clear short palm string and draw up four loops, one each on left thumb, index, ring, little, in a manner similar to a move in Tallow Dips: cf. Tallow Dips, fig.574, pp.250, Jayne.

Part two proceeds:

11. Turn the left hand fingers up palm right, letting the candles and the loop they were pulled up with hang free.

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12. Put the right thumb, from above, into the left index loop. At the same time put the right little from above into the left ring loop.
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13. Lift these two loops off their respective fingers and separate the hands. This looks quite like where we were in step 6 except that the right hand is now fingers up and the middle loop is now on the little.

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14. Pass the right middle finger between the loops on the right thumb and little and pick up on the front of the right middle the long horizontal string of the triangle. Return the right middle giving the loop a half twist on the way.

15. Extend the figure with the left hand down, palm up, and the right hand up, palm down. The dancing man is standing on the left hand.

These first three titles are good books for beginners of Kai Kai. The fourth title is fairly technical by comparison and includes an ethnological introduction and comparisons of methods.
Cat's Cradle, Owl's Eyes: A Book of String Games Camilla Gryski, Beech Tree, ISBN 0-688-03941-3

Many Stars & More String Games Camilla Gryski, William Morrow and Company, ISBN 0-688-05792-6

Super String Games Camilla Gryski, William Morrow and Company, ISBN 0-688-07684-X

String Figures and How to Make Them Caroline Furness Jayne, Dover Books, ISBN 0-486-20152-X

The International String Figure Association was founded in 1978. The primary goal of the organisation is to gather and distribute string figure knowledge through the publication of the Bulletin of the International String Figure Association and the String Figure Magazine.

Last Update: 28dec2001

 A.J.Oxton, OA, OO, OAE,  k1oIq

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Copyright © 2003, A.J.Oxton, The Cat Drag'd Inn , 03813-0144.