Here's a fun dancing pirate automaton by Tim Donald. The dancing action is not unlike the classic dancing figure folk toy known as a limberjack or a jig doll. According to Wikipedia they have had many names, but the common element is a figure with loose joints that appears to dance when placed just above a vibrating board. The automaton shown here is different in that the floor is stationary and the dancer is made to move by turning a hand-crank. This version probably makes things a lot easier!
Here is where you can see more automata by Tim Donald.