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Sharlene Penman (piano), visiting from New Zealand, is the band leader for the 2019 Tea Dance.
Our fiddlers are Jenny Evans and Amy Beshara.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

8 August 2013 - Tenafly, NJ

I am currently sitting in the Honda dealership waiting for the car. Honda has a WiFi network for their customers so I am, in this regard, rather happy as I update my neglected blog.

There are issues. The main one - I no longer have a steady class to teach. No steady class - no steady stream of updates. The classes that I do teach have mostly been for beginners and therefore I can only do one or two dances a week and rather tedious ones at that.

Well I finally caught a break. I am teaching the New Haven Branch class all of August. Hooray! and other good words because I finally have news and updates!

6 August - New Haven

Small class - just 9 dancers.

We warmed up with Alice’s Request, 32 J 2, Roy Goldring 2nd Graded & Social Dances. I requested that it be walked, rather I told them to walk it and it seems, much to my surprise, that some people just can’t. If the music plays they have to dance. 

We covered 8 other dances in the 2 hours
   Shining Lights  (32 S 3) B. McOwen
   Wicked Willy  (32 R 4) H. Ways
   Union Jig  (32 J 3)  E. Brunken
   Miss Jane Muirhead of Dunsmuir  (32 S 3) Dunsmuir Dances
   Cruit Mo Chridh  (32 R 3)  JBD - Montreal Moments
   The Dancer's Circle  (32 J 3)  
   City of Belfast  (32 S 3 set)
   Welcome to Pawling  (32 R 4) JBD- leaflet


Shining Lights –-  written by Barbara McOwen of Boston and included
                       with her CD of the same name. This dance I like, in spite of myself. The 2-hand turns halfway to change sides, then again to change places on the sides is a nice figure and it takes some work to make them look good. Similarly the change of pace from the 2-bar half turns to a 2-bar full turn takes work if it isn't to come as a surprise.
   The set to corner and gypsy partner, first seen in John Drewry's dance The Peat Fire Flame and next seen (at least by me) in a Roy Goldring strathspey was getting a bit long in the tooth (in my humble opinion at least) but works here partly because of the set up and partly because of the following reel with its ending. Add in the good music and we have a keeper.

Wicked Willy - This dance has only one major figure, and yet, for all
                    its simplicity, it is a perennial favorite and with good reason: It is both accessible and fun.

Union Jig - A dance newly published by Elaine Brunken and inscribed
               to Jim  Stevenson-Mathews and Gaitly Stevenson-Matthews in honor of their union. When marriage became legal in Connecticut they took the ferry across Long Island Sound and were legally married. I was there and that probably prejudices me - I like the dance. I like the care needed in the first 8 bars: RH Across once round! LH Across 2 bars only! the 2 men turn half round, the women the same. End 1C 2C in original places on opposite sides. Dancers need to be aware and be consistent in their dancing. 

Miss Jane Muirhead of Dunsmuir - I bought the book. I looked over
                                           the dances. This one got an "eh". Then I danced it. The "eh" became "sweet" and it has been in my top 10 ever since. Simple with a gem tucked inside. Recommended!

Cruit Mo Chridh - By John Bowie Dickson of Pinewoods Reel fame.
                        Worth it. Dancers finished with smiles and applause. There is a CD to go with the book. (Les Jouers de Bon Accord). Not traditional but fun. Recommended -– as is Yet Another Birthday by Holly Boyd which is also in the book.

The Dancer's Circle - This one did not end with smiles and applause.
                           The consensus was: too many pieces. I, unfortunately wasn't in it so there will have to be a retake. Maybe on August 20th. Probably with different music if I can remember then what I used this time.

City of Belfast - We have a problem Houston. I like both the dances
                      that use this music. This is the proper dance for this music and it is nice. And I like set to 1st corners, set to 2nd corners (not often done) and the espagnole progression…... especially when they are nicely danced and this group does dance well. I would willingly do this dance again and shortlist it for a ball program. Recommended.

This music was also chosen to accompany the dance Broadway, composed by Chris Ronald and published in his 2010 book The Big Apple Collection, all dances with a New York City connection. The music is good and it fits the dance which is a wonderful one. This dance is on the shortlist for the 2014 Kilts and Ghillies Tea Dance (March 29 - note well - a month earlier than usual. Plan Ahead!)

Welcome to Pawling __- another John Bowie Dickson dance, another winner. Not easy.
                           The last figure is different! The transition into it is tricky (fourth couple: WAKE UP) and needs careful teaching but the effort put in is well rewarded. Gets smiles from the dancers every time. Recommended.

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