Written for and commissioned by Englewinds, Waggle Dance is a companion piece for honey bees as they follow the choreography and message of the waggle dance and leave their home to forage for life-sustaining nectar and pollen.
The instruments each represent a character or thing: Bassoon is the Queen Bee, the flute depicts worker bees. The rich, mellow-sounding English horn represents the comfort and safety of their home- the hive.
The opening jaunty melody is played by the bassoon, symbolizing the waggle dance being ‘sung‘ by the Queen to encourage her worker children to get busy. About two minutes into the piece, the mood becomes suspenseful, as the workers are told they must leave their hive, fly out into the world and begin foraging for flowers, weeds and trees that provide them with their source of nourishment.
About one third of the way through, the workers realize that they’re thrilled to be outside in the fresh air, enjoying the magnificent sights and smells of such a colorful, aromatic experience.
Eventually the bees become so excited in their travels through gardens and flower beds, that (bar 97-98) one actually passes out from over-intoxication. The Queen bee, upon hearing about this (from a tattler-forager) summons her back to work.
…and back to work they go. After some time- circa bar 128- a human starts swatting some of the bees, and they warn the others that the person is also armed with a toxic spray. Flying around ever-faster, they finally make their way back to the nest, just in time for another waggle dance. Now they waggle faster than ever and even introduce some new dance steps!