We actually had a class tonight! The last three weeks in a row we had to cancel due to weather (twice) and illness. It is also the last class before the New Haven Highland Ball so the pressure was on for the two of us that are going and since I already know the dances the pressure is really on only one of us. Thank you all who quietly tolerated the accelerated run through of ball dances.
Tonight's dances were:
Holden My Own (32 J 3) Between the Rivers (P. Stephens)
My Friend Joe (32 S 3) 38/2 (Bob Campbell)
The Music Makars (32 R 3) 33/1 (R. Goldring)
She’s Ower Young to Marry Yet (32 S 3) 14/8
Quarries’ Jig (32 J 3) 36/3 (K. Smith)
The Quaich (32 S 3) Drewry - Rondel Book
Holden My Own – A nice pleasant doable dance but on the Kilts & Ghillies, not the New Haven, Ball. A keeper for sure.
My Friend Joe – A Bob Campbell (of Bonny Stronshiray and Australian Ladies fame) dance. Pleasant and doable with a down side - lots of pieces and variations on standard formations. The challenge is get it all to fit together smoothly.
The Music Makars – I am glad I am not briefing this dance. Lovely dance but difficult to talk through coherently. Being able to *show* the pattern is sooo nice.
She's Ower Young to Marry Yet – In my opinion this is the sleeper of the year. As I have said before the heart of the dance is the two transitions from the circles into straight lines. And when they get it right the dance, which doesn't look like much on paper, starts to shine.
Quarries' Jig – Very little wiggle room if you err. A 'tight' little dance that rewards good crisp dancing.
The Quaich – The challenge in this dance is control of the set size. The 'petronella' figure must needs expand the length of the set to accommodate all 3 couples in line, then 1L and 3M have to be sure to unexpand the set. Then there is Rondel. It is not a difficult figure in concept so why oh why is it so difficult to actually execute properly?
Arches: by 2nd couple when dancing up and by the men when dancing across. This is not rocket science but it is the most egregious error I see and I see it all too often.
Timing: 3, 3, and 2. Again, not rocket science. But how often do you get it right? It is one step to change places (under the arch) one step to cross with partner changing sides, and finally one step to loop and meet neighbor on the sidelines (i.e. the two men meet as do the two women). And it is on the very start of bar 4 that you take hands and not a moment sooner! Repeat these 3 bars in new orientation. Final arch to progress on bars 7&8.
I want to scream when I see dancers stop after bar 2 and wait during bar 3 for the other dancer to complete their loop! And then there are the dancers who can't wait to take hands and so have their arches up and are halfway across the set by the end of bar 3. And then they wonder why the formation doesn't work!! Arrggh the frustration of it all.