Thursday, March 4, 2010

Westchester Class - 3 March 2010

Tonight's Dances:
Cabbages and Kings (32 J 3) Harbour City
The Valentine (32 S 3) 5 Dances 2009
Reel of the 51st (32 R 4/5C set) 13/10
Auchendrain (32 R 3) Price - leaflet
Kendall’s Hornpipe (32 J 2) Gr. 22
The White Cockade (32 R 3) 5/11
Delvine Side (32 S 3) 2/9


Cabbages and Kings – a nice simple introduction to corners. Needed as there was a brand spankin' new dancer in attendance tonight.

The Valentine – I stunk up the hall on this one. I remembered most of the major points but missed the one where couples turn half round, take hands in lines of three, and set. I forgot
the "and stay close to partner" piece. The dancers struggled - I wonder why? Some dancers found the handing in the final 8 bars a little fussy. Eh.
Bottom line: When competently taught this is a nice dance - especially with a significant partner and you're both in the mood for some fun. In moderation if you please.

Reel of the 51st – Experimental version for 4C.

I have wanted to try this for a while and for a number of reasons. Firstly because I have a recording from a Dundee band (Cavendish, was Tim Wright's) with most of the arrangements played 10 times through; and I have heard that 5C sets are the norm in Dundee; and I recall (misremember?) that the deviser of the dance was from Dundee. So adding 2 + 2 and getting 5, I'd bet that he intended the dance to be done in 5C sets, and that it was intended to be as a 4C dance, not a 3C dance as published in Book 13.

Too, I have always felt that bars 3-8 had a problem - a little too much music for the distance to be covered. So 1C has to hold back in order not to arrive early - and this does not fit the music! And it shows in the dancing! Poorly.

So tonight I had the opportunity to teach it as a 4C dance and we found that 1C has just enough time to cast behind 3 couples (2s, 3s and 4s) dance in below 4C and lead up to corners. No holding back, no disconnect with the music, better looking - just better.

So, on the basis of tonight's test I will go out on a limb and say that Reel of the 51st Division was originally written as a 4C dance to be done in a 5C set. And, God how I love this part, I get to decree it will be done that way at the Kilts and Ghilllies Spring Ball on 17 April 2010. (Right, I am done gloating now.)

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