The guinea pigs who inspired this dance!
Guinea Pig Day
Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day
Today's Musings, History & Folklore
"I have got my people trained to feed me all day,
Rub my back and praise me, feed me timothy hay!"
~ The Guinea Pig Song, Victoria Brown
Guinea pigs (Cavia porcellus) became popular pocket pets after being brought back to Europe by seafarers from their native South America. Known by various names in other languages, (German: meerschweinchen, little sea pig; French: Cochon d'Inde, pig of India; and Japanese: morumutto, little marmot), guinea pigs are known for their docile nature and variety of social sounds including the distinctive "wheek wheek" whistle and their purring and rumbling sound. Shown are my very own guinea pigs who inspired this dance by Jamie Tanner which includes a signature happy, direction-changing leaping guinea pig move called "popcorning" translated into Scottish Country Dance as pas de basques in inverted double triangles! The Scottish Gaelic for guinea pig is "muileann ghuine" or "gearra-mhuc". Wheek Wheek! 🐹
The Savage Cavy
Devised by good friend Jamie Tanner (in honor of this author's guinea pig herd), this dance features figures mimicking classic guinea pig behavior, including the "popcorning" behavior of (young) guinea pigs and the rarer sequence of "lefts and rights," guinea pigs favoring neither side.
July 16th marks the newly inaugurated Guinea Pig Appreciation Day.
For the dance cribs, click the picture of the author's guinea pigs below in front of their namesake dance.
Guinea pigs (cavia porcellus), native to South America, were first introduced into Europe in the 1500s as exotic pets and became an appreciated popular subject for well known painters to include in natural studies, landscapes, portraiture, biblical and mythological representations, and many other unexpected settings.
Click the first 16th century painting on the right below, thought to be the earliest depiction of this fascinating creature, for more detail and an article about its discovery in 2013.
And for a link to another fascinating facebook page curated by yours truly, Guinea Pigs in Art - A Pictorial Gallery.