Brian Haeckler Teaching.
I learned a lesson tonight, well, sort of. I already knew it, I just haven't had much chance to practice it.
To Whit: Teachers need to get out and experience other teachers - for a couple of reasons. Their methods for one, and their choice of dances for the other.
For example: Leslie Kearney has introduced me to some of what are now my favourite dances. Terry Glasspool's Back to Back for one. I read it and dismissed it. Too hard I said. And so wrong I say now. What a great dance it is, and so too John Drewry's Sarona and Beauty of the North. Also gifts from Leslie.
Brian has a different take from Leslie, or me. And thank goodness. He brought several dances tonight that I have looked at and passed on that I will have to reconsider.
And this brings up a point that I have tried to make to the other teachers in the New Haven Branch - I want your input on this Blog. Really! We all have different points of view and like different dances - and that is good. And we can all learn from one another and expand our horizons - but we need to be talking to one another. And that is where this blog can contribute by being the medium.
On a personal level - I want to know what dances Joyce is choosing for her group in Mystic, and Ken for his class in Middletown. And what are they dancing in Windsor. But I don't know because no one is saying. And I especially want to know WHY you like the dances you pick - I may not agree with what you say but that doesn't mean it is invalid - just that it is personal opinion. And I can assure you that what I have to say is only opinion. I can and do learn from you all. So please, become contributors.
Tonight's dances were:
A Capital Jig (32 J 3) 9/2009
The Beeswing (32 R 3) New Haven 12
Lettie G. Howard (32 S 2) M. Levy
Betty Burke (32 J 3) M. Levy
The Compliment (32 S 2) R. Goldring
Colwyn's Ruby Reel (32 R 3) Rhodes
Once I Loved a Maiden Fair (32 S 2) New Haven 12
A Capital Jig - I must say I did not find it to be special. Good solid dance, but just not special. Most likely because I made a bad choice of music. Possibly because the dance was just not a suitable opening jig.
The Beeswing - Yikes! Fair dinkum thinkum dance from Marty Briggs. Forces you to fight muscle memory and 'standard' thinking. I got well and truly bit a couple of times. Nice dance but it really needs the right music. I wish I had a recording of that hornpipe. The first of the 'hmmm - better than I remember" dances in the evening.
Lettie G. Howard - by the late Milton Levy (of NYC). In honor of a restored fishing schooner that sails out of South Street Seaport. If it helps - Milton Levy also wrote Gang the Same Gate which introduced Set-and-Link-for-Three to the Scottish dance community. A nice dance and worth doing again. Won't make my top Ten list but maybe my Top 50 strathspey list. It certainly deserves to get a few more trials. And the second of the 'Hmmm' dances.
Betty Burke - Another Milton Levy dance. A good solid A dance - there is some sweet choreography here. The sequence - half reel, right hand turn, half reel is sweet. The first half reel starts with the corners dancing in, the last half reel starts with the corners dancing out, and the right hand turn is a brilliant way to transition the corners from the one to the other. The challenge for the corners is to change their pacing and temper their dancing during the right hand turn and allow the first couple to get around them and into place for that second half reel. I have liked this dance for some time but never gotten a positive response and so haven't taught it often.
Again, I found the dance to be better than "OK", but needing a superior jig to make it 'sing'. And I have not loaded Bill Hendrie's recordings onto my new computer. I will get to that Tin Woodman CD Real Soon Now.
Colwyn's Ruby Reel - "yawn". Oh well. Remember - personal opinion here. don't take for the 'truth' - dance it and decide for yourself. And I would love to know Brian's reaction - he picked it and does he feel that it worked as well as he thought it would?
Once I Loved a Maiden Fair - this is the gem of the night. It too is from Marty Briggs. I was on the publication committee that put the book together and I don't remember the dance being THAT pretty. But looking at it again, for the first time in over 20 years - Oh My! This is a nice dance with original choreography and a lovely entry into the Tournee. (Sorry 'bout that - it does have a Tournee - live with it and do it anyway). I certainly have my opinions, but when I hear someone watching a dance gasp and start to pay close attention I must be wrong and need to reconsider my prejudice. So three thank-yous are in order. One to Brian for going back into the archives and teaching the dance, one to Deborah for seeing what I missed and bringing it to my attention and one to Marty Briggs for her unique eye for choreography.