Wednesday, June 30, 2010

New Haven Summer Social - 29 June 2010

Leslie Kearney taught.

The evening's dances were:
Robert's Reel  (32 S 3)  Dunsmuir Dances
Hanna's Pride  (32 J 3)  Dunsmuir Dances
The Fiddlehead  (32 S 3)  Dunsmuir Dances
Fair Ronny's Reel  (32 R 3)  Dunsmuir Dances
Outside the Box  (32 S 3)  Between the Rivers
The Stella Strathspey  (32 S 3 set) Bob Gregg - leaflet
Margot's Love  (32 J 3)  Dunsmuir Dances


All the dances but one were from  Dunsmuir Dances and Between the Rivers. And what incredible books they are. I don't think there is a boat anchor dance in either book. To put it another way - I am willing to spend money on a dance book if there are 2 good dances in it. In these books MOST of the dances are good, if not great. Mind you I wouldn't do all of them on a regular basis but many of them - oh yes.

From the Dunsmuir book: Maurice is perhaps my favorite strathspey of all time. Other favorites of mine are: Linnea's Strathspey, Miss Jane Muirhead, Mole's Frolic, and The Fiddlehead. I have enjoyed dancing these others too: Crowecombe and StogumberFair Ronny's ReelHanna's PrideMargot's LoveRobert's ReelThe SeamstressSleeper's Awake and Sunday Afternoon Jig.

I cannot think of another book that has such a high proportion of good dances in it - other than Between the Rivers. That book has 17 dances and I have danced and enjoyed the following: A Winter's WalkHolden My OwnOn Hudson CreekFoggy River ReelGypsy WeaverOutside the Box and The Silver Thistle Ball.

I can't speak of most of the other dances because I haven't danced them. The only one I haven't liked is A Wee Nothin' - not because it is a bad dance, it isn't - but it is so basic that it is no challenge at all - and I need to be challenged in some manner to find a dance interesting. (Note: this is a great dance for beginners or for a warm up early in a dance program).

To put all this in perspective: either Leslie or I have programed the following dances on the Kilts and Ghillies Ball:
Maurice, Linnea's Strathspey, On Hudson Creek, Gypsy Weaver, The Silver Thistle Ball, Holden My Own, and Mole's Frolic.

Too both Crowcombe and Stogumber and Miss Jane Muirhead of Dunsmuir have appeared on recent New Haven Highland Ball programs.

So kudos to Leslie for finding these books and being willing to work through them.  


The Stella Strathspey is a work in progress by Bob Gregg who taught it. The talk through had me squirming but once the dance got under way I found myself enjoying it. There are real possibilities here. Nice job!

The Fiddlehead - This is one where embroidery makes the dance - and I saw many missed opportunities. The secret to this dance is to turn the long way into place when ever possible- and there are many possibles.

The one place I disagree with Leslie's  interpretation is on bars 7-8.
The directions read:
     ... while 1st and 2nd women turn with left hands to
     face partners in a diagonal line between 1st man's 
     and 2nd woman's places.

Note: 1M ends these bars in 2L's place and 2M in top man's place while 1L starts in partner's place and 2L in home place.

Leslie had the ladies turning more than once round in 2 steps which I found busy. If I were to embroider the moment my preference would be to have them turn only half round (1 step) and pivot in place (1 step Lsh back) to face partner. This would be more in keeping with the curly theme of the fiddlehead (IMHO). The simplest interpretation however would be to have the ladies turn halfway in 2 bars and flow directly into the reel of four that follows. A Keep It Simple movement.

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