Tuesday, October 12, 2010

11 October 2010 - Dancing on the Heights

Holidays play havoc with attendance. And I act as if that were something new (not). Once again I had just four dancers for the class and ended up teaching one 3 person dance and three 4-somes and one 3 couple set dance in which I danced with a ghost partner.

The dances taught were:
Eigg, Muck and Rum  (32 R 3-some) J. Lataille
The Four Paws  (32 S 4-some)  T. Glasspool
The Four Winds  (32 R 4-some)  T. Glasspool
The Moray Rant  (32 S 3 set)  J. Drewry
Four of Diamonds  (32 J 4-some)  T. Glasspool

Eigg, Muck and Rum - A simple dance for three dancers in a straight line. But not so easy. A phrasing challenge with both a figure of eight and a reel of three in six bars. And if you are late finishing the reel there is no time for the progression. Oops. I like it.

The Four Paws - Oh my. There are two parts to this dance. The first half consisting of a 4 person back to back followed by what Terry calls "Diamond Reels". And the second half which is easy enough and simply sets up the next round of the dance.

The first figure (back to back for four) is actually the hardest. Most dancers are simply not very comfortable dancing backwards and don't have the same command of the angles as when dancing forward. But it is in this figure that the dance lives in my opinion. Ya gotta get this part right first of all.

The second figure consists of reels: head couples start with "Schehallion" like half reels (in only 4 bars) while side couples dance half reels of four across. It looks like reels of four only two of the dancers take off for Paris! And then it is the head couples dancing half a reel of four on the central axis and the side couples dancing the Schehallion-like half reels - and again two dancers take off for who knows where. And somehow it all works - but leaves my head spinning. And while this is the most difficult of all the figures it appears all chaos until it resolves (every four bars) into pattern.

The last two figures are progression and quite standard.

It was very nice having a good chunk of time in which to teach the dance. Every round needs to be walked and the keys are as follows:
Reels - heads face right and pass right with side dancers. After four bars heads start the next half reel dancing to the same side position and pass right shoulders with the new person there. The sides also face the same head position both times. When I realized this point the reels became much easier to teach and cue.

Dancers Award given with this caveat - not for the faint hearted and difficult orientation changes.

The Moray Rant - John played some games with phrasing. Things aren't quite square, just a little different from what you expect. Otherwise simple but long winded.

The Four of Diamonds - lovely little dance that goes along at a nice comfortable pace until the last four bars when Terry springs a bit of a surprise and sleeping dancers have to wake up and move!