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Sharlene Penman (piano), visiting from New Zealand, is the band leader for the 2019 Tea Dance.
Our fiddlers are Sarah Stefanski and Jenny Evans, both local artists.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Elmsford - 14 December 2011

I find it difficult to remember and stay aware of what I know and what the different groups I teach don't know. When I started dancing, for example, The Saint John River was on many programs for several years. I have done it. To death. I have always considered it a "fun once in awhile dance" and that means about once a year or so and it is therefore never on my mind when I prepare class or party programs which means I have not taught it - ever - until this night when it was requested by a new teacher who had only done it her first year of dancing and wanted to learn it.

I also taught Forget Me Knot for no reason other than I had the music and wanted  to try the dance. I like the music (by Mara Shea and Dave Wiesler) so much that I am sorely tempted to use it for many of the 3C set strathspeys I like. Not a good habit to fall into. If the dance is good enough it should be done to it's name tune, and the name tune should be reserved for it's dance. Rats.

I am going to do Forget Me Knot again because I lost track of time and had to rush the teaching. Never a good thing. Here's to better time control and, the next time, I will be more conscious of the oddities of the dance

The evening's dances were:
      Collie Law  (32 J 2)  Goldring
     The Docent's Tour  (32 S 3) Tim Wilson
     The Wandering Drummer  (32 R 3 set)  Iain Boyd
     Forget Me Knot  (32 S 3 set)  Brian Youngman
     Mrs. Stewart's Jig  (32 J 3)  35/1
     The St. John River  (32 S 4) P. Edwards
     Knights' Heys  (32 H 3) T. Glasspool

**********

Collie Law:- Good dance for teaching 2C allemande, it also is a reasonable opening dance to get dancers warmed up gently.

The Docent's Tour:- A delightful dance from Tim Wilson. I am 'featuring' him on next year's Kilts and Ghillies Tea Dance by putting three of his dances on the program: The Docent's Tour, The Elusive Muse, Gary Scott's Jig. All are from the RSCDS San Francisco Branch's book Measures of Pleasure and there isn't a turkey in the bunch, in fact many of the dances are great. I remember when I bought a book if there was ONE good dance in it (Grampian Collection for example for Rest and Be Thankful). I am now getting spoiled.

The Wandering Drummer:- I just had to do it because I didn't want to do two strathspeys in a row. Nice simple beginner reel I keep it in my box for those times I have a beginner walk in.

Forget Me Knot:-  My goodness the music is simply divine. Thank you Dave for the set and the lead tune.
The dance, on first visit, is pretty good but has some oddities that dancers found mildly disconcerting. The big one being the unequal nature of the central figure where first corners dance pass and turn, half reel, then dance Lsh pass & turn and half reel home. 2nd corners reel don't get any pass & turn at all.

Mrs Stewart's Jig:-  It is one of the standards and for good reason: it is dance-able many times without getting heartily sick of it and it has been and is getting danced many times in the greater NY area.

The St. John River:-  My big oops for the night. I either wasn't looking or I was looking but my tongue took on a life of it's own.  The third figure is down the middle and up with 2C, 3c and 4C following. Not what I said. It is definately different and, in my opinion, a better dance with the arches being made sequentially. There was a TAC Talk newsletter that dealt with local variations (frowned upon). The timing of the arches I agree on the issue of whether or not 4C meet and touch hands -  or not - is a mountain over a mole hill issue in my opinion. Off my soap box now.  Good night all.

Knights' Heys:- One of my all time, top 50, favourite reels. Great dance! The reels were designed to imitate the move of the knight in chess.

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