Trixie's Fever


History

Written by Rafe Rosen and Windham, the seeds of this dance were planted when Tony Barrand sang verses to the American anthem “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during a pub sing at McNeill’s Brewery sometime in the early 2010’s. Following in the footsteps of the men’s team of Marlboro Morris and Sword, who a generation before composed Lichfield dances to ubiquitous American songs like “Yankee Doodle” and “Popeye the Sailor Man,” we pulled together choreography during our fall 2022 retreat and started performing it the following May. We were also inspired by the Pinewoods Morris Men’s “Casey at the Bat,” which is danced to the same tune. This dance celebrates many of our members’ fondness for the National Pastime and features a leisurely double-length chorus that brings its performance time in at slightly less than a typical 9-inning game.

While the chorus of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” is a cornerstone of the American songbook, the verses that Barrand sang are less widely known yet reveal a stirring feminist sentiment within this early 20th century composition. The song’s protagonist is Katie Casey, a woman who uninhibitedly inhabits the traditionally male-dominated ballpark scene. Preferring baseball games to attending the theater, she argues with umpires and rouses the crowd at a critical moment in the game. As the opening verse declares:

Katie Casey was baseball mad, Had the fever and had it bad.

The inspiration for this heroine is believed to be the actress Trixie Friganza. A famous performer on the vaudeville circuit, Friganza was also an outspoken suffragist when her boyfriend Jack Norwoth wrote the lyrics to “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” in 1908. Speaking at a New York City suffrage rally that same year Friganza told the crowd “I do not believe any man – at least no man I know – is better fitted to form a political opinion than I am.”

It is Trixie Friganza and her fevered insistence on inclusion that we choose to remember in the title of our dance.

References

“The Feminist History of ‘Take Me Out to the Ball Game’” by Anna Laymon, Smithsonian Magazine 10/10/2019

Summary

Lichfield, 8 person set. Single stick 2nd set of figures (step in line, crossing over, back to back, rounds in 4, doubling up)

Music

“Take Me Out to the Ballgame” in jig time (6/8) Once to yourself + first figure uses the full verse music Subsequent figures use second half of verse music Chorus uses the full chorus music

Chorus

mm. 1-2 “Batter Up” - Point L shoulder to opposite dancer. Tap ground with stick twice (on beats 1.1 “take-me” & 1.4 “out”), then 2-handed swinging clash with opposite on 2.1 “ball”

3-4 Repeat “Batter Up” with R shoulder facing opposite dancer

5-6 “Take the Field” - dancers use 2 double-steps to form the shape of a baseball field (see below)

7-8 Scissor Caper for all

9-10 use 2 double-steps to reform a set with all dancers across from their home positions

11-12 Sliding open sidesteps in line R then L (as in Vandals)

13-14 Clash 3x with opposite, forehand - backhand - forehand (“one! two! three!” 13.1, 13.4, 14.1)

15-16 Galley-over to home place (as in Jean Boardman’s: square down, land in single line in middle of the set facing up, evens above odds, see below for final chorus ending)

“Take the field”

dancers use 2 double-steps to form the shape of a baseball field

1-5 form the infield. 2-5 make a diamond around 1 1: in the middle (pitcher’s mound) 2: middle of the set in front of music facing down (home plate) 3: Left side of set (first base) 4: middle of the set behind 1 (second base) 5: R side of set (third base)

6-8 go out and wide to form the outfield 6: out and wide R side of set (left field) 7: out and wide L side of set (right field) 8: far out in the center of set (center field)

2 faces down the center of the set, everyone else faces 2

Last chorus / Dance End:

Clash on 1 - 2 - 3 but do not galley home 15-16. “Call your shot” Raise stick in air 45 degrees up and to the left and hold it there Bring stick down on 16.1 (“game!”) and wind up into a 2-handed swinging clash with opposite on 16.4