Saturday, January 16, 2010

Book 46 Workshop

To all who showed up and danced their hearts out: Thank You, a thousand times Thank You.
To the New Haven Friends for their generosity in opening their Meeting House for us - a thousand times Thank You as well.

We were given nine dances to test. There was a nice mix; some were simple, some were sweet, and some were monsters and one was worthy of the title "Massacre on Elm Street".

First Category: Strathspey (four dances).

Taking last place in the category was Dance No.64 - Watching it danced I thought it deserved better. The swapover half reel into 1L leaving and going her own way for 4 bars was a lovely move. One person commented negatively on how asymmetric the dance was; not always a problem in my opinion.

First Runner-Up was Dance No. 78- a medley, 64S+64R square set, it both looked and danced better than it read or walked. One comment was that the sequence was more interesting in quick time.

Taking "First" in the category but not Best of Show, winning my heart and status as my favorite dance of the day, was Dance No. 39. It is simple, it is sweet, it is not a world changer but it is a keeper.

In the Jig category (2 dances):

First runner up was Dance No. 65. Nice concept but the Half Rondel was just not enough to overcome the yawn factor.

So, even though we never quite got the dance to work (we were on a tight schedule and there just wasn't enough time to work out all the kinks) the winner of the Jig category, and taking home a check of $0.00, was Dance No.83 with an Espagnole and promenade half reels of three on the sides.

With three entries the final category - Reels:

Winner of the "Monster of the Day" award was Dance No 49, the one we ended up calling "Massacre on Elm Street." An 80 bar reel square set, it had, by far, the most interesting and original choreography of the day. The dance is ALL about the transitions, the sheer number and variety of them being its downfall. Additionally, given the time constraints, the Schiehallion Reels and the double wide wheels needed far more practice than we could give them. In the end it came down to this - there simply wasn't enough social value in the dance to adequately reward the effort expended in perfecting it. A shame, because it clearly came from a crooked mind (and I love minds like that).

And now the moment we have all been waiting for: winner of its category and Grand Champion of Batch No.5 - Dance No. 95! Short form (in 3 words or less) – the most fun!

The Dances:
No. 25 – 32 S 4
No. 39 – 32 S 3 set
No. 49 – 40 R 3
No. 64 – 32 S 3
No. 65 – 32 J 3
No. 71 – 80 R 4 square set
No. 78 – (64S+64R) square set
No. 83 – 32 J 4 (3C 4C improper)
No. 95 – 40 R 4 (2C 4C improper)


S2K-Lassie (Joyce) said...

It was a really fun day, dancing with and socializing with friends. Peter put a tremendous amount of work in preparing theses dances to teach and he deserves a big thanks.

Peter1672 said...

Of all the dances Dance No. 39 really struck a chord with me. It was so simple, so sweet and so much fun. Not the 'over the top' exhilarating type fun, but the lower key deeply satisfying, brings a smile to your face type fun. It earned its place as best strathspey.

It reminded me of three other similar dances: they too are simple, sweet, fun and engaging.

Miss Jane Muirhead of Dunsmuir - 32 S 3
Tom Winter (Dunsmuir Dances).
Reading the crib my first impression was "eh, done it before". Dancing it brought me to a revelation.

Winter Wonder - 32 H 3 - Jane Lataille (Fun for All Seasons). Again, my first impression was that no way could this dance be anything special - Wrong again.

Sage and Salsa - 16S+16R 3C set - Jane Lataille (Still Enough to Dance).
From the first I figured it would be an OK dance but I never thought it would be special. Wrong on both counts (again). It is better than OK, it is special.

These three simple, easy, dances have earned a permanent place on my "best of" short-list and are always in consideration for teaching in class or a place on a program. Dance 39 is now among that select company.