Sunday, December 19, 2010

Dancing on the Heights - 13 December 2010

A very good night with several dances receiving "Dancer's Choice" Awards.

The evenings dances were:
Glasgow Highlanders (32 S 2)
Hunting the Pinecones (40 R 3) I. Boyd
The Flight of the Falcon (32 J 3) B. Priddey
The Kiltmaker (32 R 4)
Craig Mhor (32 S 2) J. Drewry
Gordon of Straloch (32 S 3) P. Price


I began the evening with Glasgow Highlanders because Deb is the understudy for the Loch Leven Dancers' Mohunk House performance which includes a threesome highland dance highlighted by 2 strathspey and 2 quicktime setting steps and Deb hasn't had any highland training.

Hunting the Pinecones – Recipient of the evening's first Dancer's Choice Award, it is from Ian's book The World Around the Corner. This dance has been on my agenda for several years now and last night was the first time I was able to work it into the 'flow' as it were. And what a shame that is because the consensus is that it is worth doing again and on a fairly regular basis too.

The Flight of the Falcon – There was a rather lengthy thread on Strathspey list concerning 'dolphin' reels (if you want to know more look it up there) and I have been wanting to teach this one for a while too. Another Dancer's Choice Award recipient, I saw some creative possibilities for dancers in some of the transitions to make it dance even better.

The Kiltmaker – The dance was taught at the Pawling Weekend this past spring. I missed it but heard so much about it (thank you Deborah!) that it too has has been on, and is now off, my short list. Nice dance! From the response there is no question – this dance is a lot of fun, especially for 1st man who gets all the chevron back-to-backs. The third Dancer's Choice Award recipient of the night.

Craig Mhor (pronounced 'vor') – I have mixed feeling about this dance. The response was not enthusiastic -- but here's the but you heard coming – the basic pattern cries out for a little embroidery and that would (might?) make all the difference. The basic pattern includes a half reel of four across the dance with the dancers starting 4 square on the side lines not in line of four. So, following a turn 3/4 and cast by 1st diagonal dancers and a simultaneous cast and turn 3/4 by the 2nd diagonal dancers, there is a half reel of four across the dance: 1M and 2L begin by passing left shoulders in the middle and, looking on from the sidelines, that opening pass seemed awkward to me. What I will try the next time round is having everyone dance the middle pass of the reel with setting steps – 1 step diagonally forward to the right to just pass, then diagonally forward to the left to reach the sidelines, then loop for 2 bars.

A similar issue arises in Robertson Rant when head couples dance a reel of four on the center line starting beside partners and the solution for the New Haven demo team was to set through the middle. Similar issue – similar solution?

We will see.

Miss Muriel Johnstone's Jig – It is on 'OK' dance but I am not thrilled. I needed a nice simple jig for a ball program and this seemed to fit so I chose it and it is too late to have second thoughts. You see, I am something of a dance monster. I have never had a problem with reels – and here, the right shoulder half reel of three, 1C chase, left shoulder half reel of three, 1C chase seems to be throwing people off their centers. Well, it is on the K&G program and it is going to stay on the program. So deal with it.

Gordon of Straloch – commented on in earlier posts.