Tuesday, July 23, 2019

29 January 2019_New Haven

I presented the following dances:

Mrs Stewart's Jig  -  (32 J 3)  -  35/11
Miss Janet Laing's Strathspey  -  (32 S 4)  -  22/11 (Cramb)
Well Met in Paris  -  (32 H 3)  -  Glasspool
From Paper to Pearl  -  (32 S 3)  -  Collin
Mrs Stewart Linnell  -  (40 R 3)  -  Imperial 3 (Bayly)

«=»  «=»   «=»   «=»   «=»   «= + =»   «=»   «=»   «=»   «=»  «=»

Mrs Stewart's Jig:-  Easy Peasy and now a part of the standard repertoire.

Miss Janet Laing's Strathspey:-  It is on the K&G program. The dancers need to know it. Oh my poor aching head!  SB is pointing her finger at me and I am pointing my finger at her, and honestly, I need to laugh.

When they finally get the circle thing it will be a nice dance. Will it be worth the effort? I am not sure. But the dance demands that the dancers rise above their usual. Demanding a stretch from dancers -- can it  be a bad thing?

Well Met in Paris:- I had to. I truly had no choice. We have a new (to us) dancer in the class. He is from Paris, teaching at Yale, and his wife was visiting. Newly married, and…   they met in Paris.

And the dance is in my top 50. It is indeed that good.  The crossing by 2C to enter the reels of 3 on their own sides is just that needed hint of hot pepper that balances the meal.

From Paper to Pearl:-  đŸ‘  From Gaye Collin in NZ. Nice dance but even better, it is satisfying for everyone. I only show one thumb but actually there are enough thumbs for the dance to be on the K&G program

Mrs Stewart Linnell:-  I taught this years ago and considered it difficult enough that I haven't been willing to teach it to any of my current classes. I am just a wimp - but enough of that!

The heart of the dance is a sequence. A quick one. you don't have time to consider things you need to move it. You need to complete the half reel passing by left shoulders in the middle before you take left hands and turn 3/4! The math becomes a wee bit convoluted if you take hands early and remember the 3/4 turn thing!

It works. Really! It works. Well enough that I have found in on ball programs from the UK from when they didn't talk dances through.

I give it two thumbs up:  đŸ‘  đŸ‘

19 December 2018_Westchester

Upcoming events: Hogmany; Burns Night (everywhere!); New Haven Ball; Rerr Terr Ball; Kilts and Ghilllies Tea Dance; Boston Ball; and Pawling. And that is many of but certainly not all of what is coming.

So does the burden, no lets be honest here, the tyranny of ball prep seem to hover over all of our shoulders? I am reminded of the story about the sword of Damocles.

Enough of that and on to nicer thoughts.

The dances I presented tonight were:

Bottoms Up  -  (32 J 3/3L)  -  Rhodes
Itchy Feet  -  (32 J 3)  -  Walton
Christmas Candy  -  (32 S 3)  -  McKinnell
The Clansman  -  (32 R 2)  -  32/8 (Haynes)
The Lea Rig  -  (32 S 2)  -  21/5

-†- = -†-  +  -†- = -†-  +  -†- = -†-  + + +  -†- = -†-  +  -†- = -†-  +  -†- = -†-

Bottoms Up:-  Suggested by my co-conspirator SB for the Kilts and Ghillies Tea Dance. I never heard of it before so I needed to try it. It is a good wee simple dance but I found myself losing count which I usually don't do. So, rating? How does "Interesting" fit?

Itchy Feet:- This dance is becoming popular locally. It is fairly simple with only Set&Link3 to worry about.

Christmas Candy:-  I do not know now why I picked up on this dance but it has that 'something" on reading. I know we didn't choose it for the K&G program but there are many reasons why dances don't make a cut that usually have nothing to do with the quality of the dance. This one just made it back on my "For Consideration" list.

The Clansman:- Just because. It is on the NY Branch dance list and NY dancers need to be familiar with it.

The Lea Rig:-  Because I haven't done it or even seen it on a local program in a good 20 years!
Yes it was a bit over done. But there are so many newer dances who have never seen it and the music os too good to get lost. Just because I remember being burned out on it is not sufficient justification for never ever doing it again. And the repose was suitably positive.  So there!

Saturday, July 20, 2019

27 November 2018_New Haven

Still prepping both Drewry Night and the April Kilts and Ghillies Tea Dance!

Beach Dancer  -  (32 J 3)  -  E. West
Belle of Bon Accord  -  (32 S 4)  -  Drewry
The Hazel Tree  -  (32 J 3)  -  Drewry
Peter's Mermaid  -  (32 S 3)  -  Katt
Ferla Mor  -  (32 R 3)  -  Drewry
Driving Through Eutaw  -  (32 J 3)  -  Leary

∆ † † ∆   ≠  ∆ † † ∆  ≠ ≠ ∆  ≠ ≠  ∆ † † ∆  ≠ ∆ † † ∆

Beach Dancer:- another nice Eddy West dance suggested by Sharlene Penman. And that zesty little chase gets them every time!

Peter's Mermaid:- Wendy has been working hard - this is the 5th or 6th iteration. This one!
And it is enough different. Coming Real Soon Now (to channel Jerry Pournelle).

Ferla Mor:- I hate it. Oh!– not the dance, just the way it is so often danced. The upraised arms and supposedly eerie sounds! Not good! The grey man is the person you sense following you, but when you turn and look – isn't there!

Oh well.

Driving Through Eutaw:- By Deborah and in the New Haven Ruby Collection. Asymmetrical, which blows many a  mind, but I like that!

26 November 2018_Scotia

Coming Real Soon Now _ Drewry Night. And I have had enough. I taught three dances from the program, then onto two dances from the K&G tea dance - one of them a real stinker!

Ranadan-ce  -  (32 R 3)  -  Drewry
Bob Campbell  -  (32 S 3)  -  Drewry
Major Ian Stewart  -  (32 J 3)  - Bk 35 (Drewry)
Miss Janet Laing's Strathspey  -  (32 S 4)  - Bk 22 (Cramb)
Trip to Timber Ridge  -  (32 R 3)  -  Bk 52 (L. Henderson)

¢¢$ – $¢¢  -  ¢¢$ – $¢¢  -  ¢¢$ – $¢¢  -  ¢¢$ – $¢¢  -  ¢¢$ – $¢¢

Ramadan-ce:- It is (almost) all about the recorded music. It is so much fun! I like John's solution to the timing on bars 13-16 - there isn't enough time to turn RH twice around and too much time to turn only once. So, essentially, he says "figure it out". Me, I like to birl and go three, or even four, times round. Recommended, but not every week!

Bob Campbell:- It is a Drewry dance. Not one of his best but approachable by most. Faint praise?

Major Ian Stewart:- It has now become a standard. What I like is the rewards that good dancers get. It doable by fair dancers, it shines for good dancers - they get the eye contact and partnership rewards.

Miss Janet Laing's Strathspey:- H#@y Cow! What superb dancers-teachers can come up with boggles the mind! The opening 16 bars are nice - the following circles are nightmares! The standard of dancing required verges on the professional. Sloppy? Forget it! Impeccable? Maybe!

Trip to Timber Ridge:- Glorious!

19 November 2018_Scotia

This week I was doing prep for both Drewry Night and my own Kilts and Ghillies Tea Dance (coming in April).

Kamo Karousel  -  (32 J 3)  -  Eddy West (NZ)
Bees of Maggieknockater  -  (32 J 4)  -  Drewry
Belle of Bon Accord  -  (32 S 4)  -  Drewry
Glenalmond Gamekeeper  -  (40 R 3)  -  Drewry
Balgownie Brig  -  (32 S 3 )  -  Drewry
The Spinning Wheel  -  (32 J -  Let's All Dance Too

+* - *+  *  +*-*+  *  +*-*+  *  +*-*+  *  +*-*+  -  +*-*+

Kamo Karousel:-  Nice dance. From NZ devised by Eddy West. On the K&G program for two good reasons. First: it is a good dance. Second the bandleader is Sharlene Penman who also is from NZ (and she recommended it).
Currently my "problem" is that, given the necessary prep for the 2020 K&G dance there are too many good dances just don't fit into the time constraints and drop through the cracks. This one deserves to be repeated and I keep failing get it in.

Bees of Maggieknockater:- in the local repertoire, and a multi-year choice for the Drewry Night program. When danced well it is beautiful. As usually danced it is not so nice, actually kind of messy.
My key to the dance is the letting go have hands when in the promenade reels of three.

If you wait until you are in the middle of the dance and are directly face-to-face with your next "partner" it is too late!!  IMHO the best time to release promenade hold is bar 3-ish - when you are either on the sidelines or on the ends of the set - before you actually meet. Think bars 1 and 8 of lead down the middle and up.

Belle of Bon Accord:- It's a nice one. Rewards good dancing.

Glenalmond Gamekeeper:- I remember John teaching this dance when he visited New Haven. It took a while. He was a bit too particular with his wording, which he understood. He didn't have any alternative phrases/wording to fall back on.

Balgownie Brig:- In this one he bends the usual almost beyond recognition. Be prepared to teach!
It was my experience that it works, quite nicely actually (don't most of his?) but I didn't get the sense that the dancers loved it and really really wanted to do it again.

Maybe when there is no ball prep pressure?

Sla'ine's Fancy (The Spinning Wheel):- Nice, simple, easy peasy jig. Good to have in your back pocket.

5 November 2018_Scotia

Surging toward us with a rattle and a roar is Drewry Night, an early December program of John Drewry dances.

Tonights program  with come leavening):

Orpington Caaledonians  -  (32 R 3)  -  Bk 49/2
Hazel Tree  -  (32 J 3)  -  John Drewry
Blooms of Bon Accord  -  (32 R 4)  -  John Drewry
The Aviator  -  (32 J 3)  -  Bk 52/9 (K. Fischer)
Triple Happiness  -  (32 S 3/3L)  -  Bk 52/10
The Sailor  -  (32 H 3)  -  Bk 24/4

** - - **   ** - - **  ** - - **  ** - - **  ** - - **

Nothing of any real importance.

Orpington Caledonians:- asymmetrical. Good for the brains!

Hazel Tree:- local repertoire and it too breaks with muscle memory.

The Aviator:- Why? Because I love it! When the 1C cover the peel off
 reels and turns it is just the best!

Triple Happiness:- not bad. Not my favourite but it is a fairly easy peasy go to dance. And somewhere in here I needed a strathspey.

The Sailor:- a nice known doable dance for an ender.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

23 October 2018_New Haven

We have a beginner. A 3 weeks of experience beginner. She is planning on going to the Nutmeg Workshop and Evening Social. I received a list of formations she has been taught and I decided, given the reports, that she could handle some heavy duty dances. Wipe my brow and sigh (in relief). She could and did.
She is, simply put, magnificent.

The dances (and there were only four):-

The Findlays' Jig  -  (32 J 3)  -  Goldring
The Chicago Loop  -  (32 R 3)  -  Kent Smith
Miss Florence Adams  -  (32 S 3)  -  Bk 38 (Drewry)
The Scallywag  -  (40 J 3)  -  Bk 52 (Kelly)

The Findlays' Jig:- Nice, simple, good warm up, and a good way to assess basic timing.

The Chicago Loop:- Another simple dance, one where dancers have opportunities to take unauthorized trips to Paris.

Miss Florence Adams:- I like it. I always have. And with Set & Link, with variations, and a variant Corners Pass & Turn - a great dance for a superbly competent beginner and for me because I got to reteach the standard figures, with variations, from bar 1, and the know-it-alls (and we all have some) couldn't complain and got the necessary review.

I taught standard S&L with neighbor on the sides. I then taught Set & cross Link (change of orientation). Then S&L all facing up; all facing down; and again - this time all start facing up, end the link facing down and cross link to end on the sides. And finally, after revealing that they had all learned 2C's and 3C's parts, as in the dance- 2C facing down, 3C facing up and 1C facing up, then down, and ending facing 2nd corners. It worked.

Similarly I taught a standard corners pass & turn with 1st corners, then 2nd corners. Then posed the question: What changes if we start the formation facing 2nd corners? 1C has to turn RH to face 1st corners.

Threw them into the dance. They did it. All of them. Well.

The Scallywag:- Except for the setting piece it is more or less a straight forward dance. They got it, and called for an encore.

22 October 2018_Scotia

This class was all of two days after the NY Branch's Jeannie Carmichael Ball. I wasn't about to start stressing, either myself or the class, about the Brooklyn class' upcoming Drewry Night program. This was a 'anything but' class.

The dances I taught were:

Davy Nick Nack  -  (32 H 3)  - Campbell
The Lea Rig  -  (32 S 2)  -  Bk 21/5
The City of Stirling Reel  -  (32 R 3)  - Goldring
A Reel for Allice  -  (32 R 5)  - Goldring
One Set Short of a Hundred  -  (32 S 3/3L)  -  Paris Bk.
The Scallywag  -  (40 J 3)  -  Bk 52 (Kelly)
Deil Amang the Tailors  -  (32 R 3)  -  Bk 14

– ::  ––  ::  ––  ::  ––  ::  ––  :: ::  ––  ::  ––  ::  ––  ::  ––  :: –

Davy Nick Nack:- Why? Because the corner changes are HALF TURNS!! and nobody dances them that way unless they are hit with a 2x4 to get their attention. Muscle memory! Feh!
The main fig. opens with a nice big wide open turn 1+1/2 in 4 bars, a cast and a short turn to 1st corners - Then the dance cries out for nice big wide strong turns (just 1/2 way) to change the corners in, change the corners out and for the ones to turn to face 2nd corners.
I hear the cry. Am I the only one?

The Lea Rig:- because it has been decades since it was a common dance. And the music is… classic.
Yes Virginia, it should come back as a std. repertoire piece. But please not every week!

The City of Stirling Reel:- A new intake on NY Branch's dance list. I needed to learn it as it was new to me (too). What is nice here? Well, a snowball chain in QT, abbreviated snake passes - not shortened but for 4 dancers in place of 6. It's a Goldring so how bad could it be.

A Reel for Alice:- Because I like it! I just adore the double capstan move, and the question: Can you make eye contact?

One Set Short of a Hundred:- A sweet simple thing. Contains a diamond poussette (👍) and a tourbillon (👍👍). Did I say simple? I think I did. Well, the world might as well learn 'em 'cause they are going to see them for the rest of their days.

The Scallywag:- This one is a gem!! In a platinum setting. In fact the whole of Book 52 is a gem. I found this dance just a wee bit daunting at first (even second) reading but it eases beautifully with even a touch of familiarity. The only thing I had to work out was the setting figure for 1C in the final 8 bars. I found some who could (and loved it) and some who were just confused: left? right? ??

This one went into my list of top 50 Jigs. Currently sitting at #50 out of 57 - but only because the list is alphabetical.

Deil Amang the Tailors:- not because they needed to learn it, because I needed a simple well known closer.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

15 October 2018 – Scotia

This week we mostly prepped our own Halloween Party.


The dances we did were:

The Cup-of-Gold Vine  -  (32 J 3)  -  Sigg/California Gold
Glastonbury Tor  -  (32 R 3)  -  Bk 47/11
Dancin' Witches  -  (32 J 3)  -  Dragonfly (E. Werner)
Insomnia  -  (32 S 2)  -  Dragonfly (J. Montes)
Pinewoods Reel  -  (32 R 3)  - JB Dickson
Chris Ronald's Strathspey  -  (32 S 3)  - Wallace

<<<  ___  <<<---->>> ___  <<<---->>>  ___  <<<---->>>  ___  >>>

The Cup-of-Gold Vine:- Simple, suitable for beginners, pleasing.

Glastonbury Tor:- Zesty! It moves and it gets a thumbs up.

Dancin' Witches:-  Another good moderate intermediate dance. Good lead tune - The Sailor's Wife.

Insomnia:- Yet another good, moderate dance that everybody should know. The only even slightly outside the box figure is the Knot which might not yet have been taught to some beginners. And since most intermediate dancers would know that figure the dance is made up of known figures - so it should be a talk through the park.

Chris Ronald's Strathspey:- Devised by Ron Wallace so what could be bad? Two thumbs up (but I am prejudiced as you know).

Saturday, November 3, 2018

8 October 2018 – Scotia

The dances taught were:-

New Year Jig  -  (32 J 3)  - Bk 51
An Autumn Posy  -  (32 S 2)  -  Butterfield
Lucy Campbell  -  (32 R 2)  -  Bk 17
Ruby Wilkinson's Farewell  -  (32 S 4)  - Bk 52
MacLeod's Fancy  -  (32 J 4)  -  Bk 33 (Drewry)

- - -  ^-^  - - -  ^-^  - - -  ^-^  - -  ^  - -  ^-^  - - -  ^-^  - - -  ^-^  - - -

New Year Jig:- This one is just popping out of the woodwork. From not even the radar to ubiquitous.
Easy Peasy flow, 1st woman never faces her partner but begins and ends every figure facing out. Eye contact challenged dancers have to work at it. Nice dance for opening and warming up. But I would be careful to avoid over doing this dance, which would be easy to do.

An Autumn Posy:- I call it a Xiowen special - she taught it, thereby bringing it to our attention, and it is catching on. I initially had issues with it. It is a very simple dance and that requires clean precise dancing which we don't get often enough for my taste. But the more we do it the better the dancers are doing. Yay! There must be a tune out there that fits this dance like a glove but I haven't found it. I am looking.

Lucy Campbell:- Something Society and something different… I had never encountered it before Sandra proposed it for there Kilts and Ghillies Tea Dance and I do mean never. I don't remember ever looking at. I certainly never had it taught to me and it is different enough I would remember it.

A variant RHA LHA - into a slipping figure with some traveling pas de basque that somewhat resembles a poussette, then a fugal figure into the final figure to progress.

    Diagram courtesy of SCDDB and Keith Rose.

In my opinion dancing the slipping/setting figure cleanly is the key to the dance. Across the set in 4 slip steps is easy and the transition to p-d-b on inside foot should be natural. It is the slipping to the center that causes problems. 4 slip steps here are too many or else too small and in either case just plain ugly. 

My solution is three slip steps to the center and a deliberate close. The left foot is free and the rotation [bar 7] is then on the easy foot and the retire is on the right p-d-b. As 1st Man I make my foot change at the beginning of the cast in the next figure. I dance p-d-b close, and leave off the jÊtÊ.

A piece of me really wants to break out of the box and do the jÊtÊ and begin the cast hopping on my right - making it an 'easy' cast and then stay 'out of step' for the remainder of the figure. Maybe someday I will gather the courage.

Ruby Wilkinson's Farewell to Cranshaws:- I like it. Deborah loves it! The music is delightfully different - I would NOT want our music to be all esoteric and different - but on occasion it is great fun.

The reels need work. There IS a preferred timing to reels of four. Unfortunately the Manual doesn't explain it clearly enough. In fact the manual can too easily be misinterpreted, and with double diagonal reels of four intersecting in the middle and those reels also intersecting with reels of four across the top and bottom timing becomes… critical.

In a reel of four you have to make three passes in four bars or 6 passes in 8 bars. Now where have we heard that before? Anyone?

Right you are – in grand chains. The timing of the end couples in a reel of four is EXACTLY the same: 1, 1, 2: Pass dancer by the right [1], next dancer by the left [1] and the next dancer by the right - slowly [2 steps]. You are in the opposite place from where you began, 1/2 way through the reel. Middle people simply start in the middle of the phrase (as it were). Take two to dance out to the END - no further - come in on 3 and pass on 4. In other words 2,1,1.

From the manual:
  1. 1st and 4th women pass by the leftô° while 2nd and 3rd women continue to dance to the right, round the loop, to finish 2nd woman facing down and 3rd woman facing up.
The words that cause all the problems and misinterpretations: 
  1.  continue to dance to the right, round the loop, to finish … facing down and … facing up.

So Around the end we go and back into the middle of the reel - early. And confusing the dancers who are expecting to meet only one person, not two, in the middle.

(If asked I will diagram this out.)

MacLeod's Fancy:- On the Brooklyn class' Drewry Night program.  For the eighth straight year in a row, and the 13th time in 19. Seriously, do I really have to prep this?  …… Yes. Sigh.