...And Fancy Free
And fancy free 06
Hercules and Althea at the Panathenia
Series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys
Season 4
Antagonist Asterius
Setting Rhumba
In-Universe Date Year 2
Production # V0307
Filming Dates 26 June to 7 July 1997
Original Air-Date 17 November 1997
Written By Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman
Directed By Michael Hurst
Episode Chronology
Order in Series 67 of 111
Order in Season 8 of 22
Order in Franchise 125 of 304
Previous Episode in Series "Prodigal Sister"
Next Episode in Series "If I Had a Hammer..."
Previous Episode in Franchise "The Debt II"
Next Episode in Franchise "The King of Assassins"
Title Image
And fancy free title

...And Fancy Free is the 8th episode of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys Season 4. It aired on November 17, 1997, alongside the Xena: Warrior Princess episode "The King of Assassins". It was the first episode to feature the Widow Twanky and the first to feature a musical number (predating "The Bitter Suite"). The fifth-season episode "Greece is Burning" is a direct sequel to the events of this episode.


A young girl, Althea, is watching a dance contest. Another girl, Oena, picks on her, telling her that she could never dance in the contest because no guy would ever be dumb enough to be her partner.

Later in life, Althea bumps into Hercules and drops her necklace. He finds her among a group of people signing up for the Panathenia. She, once again, gets picked on by Oena. Oena says that no one's crazy enough to dance with her. Then Hercules comes by and says that he will be her partner. The magistrate, Oena's uncle, comes by and is glad to see that Hercules has entered his contest, simply because he knows they don't stand a chance.

While walking along, Hercules returns Althea's necklace to her. It belonged to her mother before she died. They go to her house and her father, Elis, is not exactly thrilled to see Hercules. He puts Hercules to work for payment to stay in the barn. Althea watches a Hercules move logs around. She feeds him lemonade and watches him drink. They discuss why she lied to her father about the contest and she promises him to tell her father the real reason why Hercules is there before the contest.

While in the barn, Althea shows Hercules her unpracticed dance moves and they figure out they need some help. Oena whines to her uncle about him letting Hercules and Althea in the contest. She thinks that even though she has won for three years, that she can't win now. He tells her that Hercules can't learn how to dance because he told all the dance teachers not to teach him. Hercules and Althea search for a teacher, but can't find one. Then they run into the Widow Twanky, their new dance teacher. The Widow Twanky starts singing about dancing.

Twanky puts Althea's hand to Hercules' heart to feel its beat. They search for beats in everyday life and start dancing. Bad people peek through the window and see this.

The magistrate and Hercules have a little talk about him becoming a judge, but Hercules still wants to dance. The magistrate is concerned for Althea's "well being" but Hercules still wants to dance. Back in the barn, Althea confesses her love for Hercules, but he tells her that it isn't love she's feeling.

On a bridge, henchmen from the magistrate cut the rope to the bridge, but Hercules and Althea escape. This adventure makes them late to Widow Twanky's school and she's not happy about it. She admires Hercules' biceps when she was about to punish them, so all is forgiven. She teaches them to twirl. Eventually, Althea gets it, but Hercules refuses to twirl. The Widow Twanky pretends to be Iolaus and they start fighting while dancing and twirling and flying around. Hercules and Althea then learn various dance moves.

Althea feels that dancing isn't in her and the Widow Twanky tells her that her mother was a dancer. The Widow Twanky taught her mother and her father an illegal move that got them kicked out of the contest forever. Althea runs to her father and confronts him with his lies. He refuses to let Althea dance because he feels that her mother died of a broken heart.

She runs back to the school, only to find the Widow Twanky tied up. The magistrate's henchmen show up and try to give her some good luck ("break a leg"). Hercules saves the day and throws them out the window. They untie the Widow Twanky and she dresses them in fashionable clothes.

At the contest, Elis wishes Althea good luck. Hercules and Althea show up dramatically and begin their dance. Asterius tries to stop them by sending his henchmen to get rid of them, but Hercules beats them up while dancing seamlessly. They win the contest. The magistrate tries to disqualify them, but Hercules tells him otherwise and Everybody dances to end the show.


The Widow Twanky, once again on top of the
dance world with the success of the Hercules Hustle,
was not harmed or tripped during the production of
this motion picture.

Background InformationEdit

  • The episode was a parody of the 1992 film Strictly Ballroom.[1]
  • Iolaus does not appear in this episode. Technically, Michael Hurst doesn't either, as he is credited as "Edith Sidebottom."
  • Kevin Sorbo spent six weeks studying ballroom dancing for the episode, but ultimately was only available for one day of filming the dance sequence. Most of the dance was filmed using body doubles and quick cutaways.[1]
  • Members of the Ballroom Dancing Society were hired as extras for the Panathenian dance sequences.[1]
  • The character of "the Widow Twankey" has a much longer career in theatre. Liz Friedman introduced the character after seeing her in a version of Aladdin, although Michael Hurst had previously played the Widow Twankey in Jack and the Beanstalk and another version of Aladdin earlier in his career.[1]
  • Sidebottom ad-libbed most of her lines as the Widow Twanky, disregarding the original scripted version of the character.[1]
  • The Travoltus character is a nod to actor John Travolta, who rocketed to success in part because of the dancing movie Saturday Night Fever.

Memorable QuotationsEdit

"Don't you 'pardon me' me, you. I shall give you 'pardon me.' I shall 'pardon me' you into the middle of next week. Now, hold that hand out. Right now, young man, or there shall be no lesson today." [Hercules holds his hand out] "Ooh, it's quite a strong hand really. Shapely forearm. And look at the size of those biceps! Ooh, it's huge! Hold me." [wraps Hercules' arm around her]

Widow Twanky

"You see, fighting in its very essence is like a dance and you, my hunky Herc, are a natural."
"Thanks, I think."
"Now, tell me, have you ever fought with a partner?"
"Mmm, and what perchance is his name?"
"Iolaus? Well, Hercules, I know this will be difficult, but I want you to imagine for a moment that I am Iolaus. Now, I know it's a stretch of the imagination, but I would appreciate the effort."

Widow Twanky and Hercules

"You all right?"
"No, I'm not! How they manhandled me, and it's been so long."

Hercules and Widow Twanky

"You're not going to the Panathenia dressed like that!"
"I-It's all I ever wear."
"I know, and I'm sick of it!"

Widow Twanky and Hercules


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Hercules: The Legendary Journeys: An Insider's Guide to the Continuing Adventures