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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.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

23 September 2013 - New Haven Friends Meeting

Back on Schedule… Yeah Right!

This was a very experimental session. On the near horizon a workshop dedicated to the late Robert Gregg, one of my dancers and a deviser of different but good dances.

H was still working on The Southpaw Reel when he died. The action is all left handed (no surprise given the title). I was scheduled to teach it at the workshop and the description was so very Bob that after 20 minutes of trying to figure out what he meant I headed for the fridge for a beer. 40 minutes later I thought I knew what his intent was but that is never a sure thing until it is danced and thus confirmed.

This class was the perfect opportunity to test my interpretation. It took up most of the first half. I was very lucky too. 4 of the dancers had previously learned it from Bob himself and my interpretation not only worked it was correct. (hooray!)

I like the dance. The problem is bars 9-16. They are a 30 minute project in and of themselves. It is so different in concept and so not standard usage that experienced dancer are thrown for a loop and require serious retraining, as it were.

All in all, except for the wording, this dance is a finished product ready for publication. I have to work this out with the branch and his estate.

The other three dances I taught this evening are also winners and,  dare I say it, more accessible.

The dances were:

Dust Devils  (32 J 4some)  Jane Lataille - Still enough to Dance
The Southpaw Reel  (32 R 3)  Rbt. Gregg - leaflet
Yet Another Birthday  (32 S 3 set)  Holly Boyd - Montr√©al Moments
Shinkansen  (32 R 3)  Ann Dix - Reel Friends 3


Dust Devils –  If you have a class with small numbers, and this one is,
           this is a dance for you.  From a   book you should have. By a
           dance diviser who is thinking outside the box and who is
            really very good at what she does. Recommended!

The Southpaw Reel – From the pen of a chemist who had a view far
            removed from the norm. I need to find time to rewrite the
            second figure into something understandable. Forty minutes
            struggling to decipher his description is just too much. Forty
            minutes teaching the figure is a guarantee that the dancer
            will never want to see it again. The results are not worth
            that kind of effort. If I can get the description down to 10
            minutes study and the teaching down to a minimal
           10 minutes then the reward is definitely worth the effort.

Yet Another Birthday – It's a beautiful thing indeed. It received a
           Dancer's Choice Award and they were most insistent that I put
           it on the upcoming (March 28, 2014) Kilts and Ghillies Tea
           Dance program. Holly wrote a Keeper. Went right to the top
           of my Top 50 Strathspeys list, neck and neck with Maurice,
           Linnea's Strathspey, and Gypsy Dreams.
           Highly recommended!

Shinkansen – from the pen of the late Ann Dix. It also received a
            Dancer's Choice Award. On it's first trial too. it too will be on
            the Kilts and Ghillies Tea Dance program this spring.
            Accessible, Fun, with a mild fugal formation.

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