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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 21, 2013

28 October 2013 – New Haven Friends Meeting

This evening was also a very experimental evening.

Through my work with the SCD DataBase I ran across two very interesting Hugh Foss dances,
a 16 bar strathspey Somebody, and a two couple jig , wait for this… My Mither's Aye Glow'rin' Owre Me, both from Hugh's book Dances from Song Tunes.

Both were hits with the dancers. Both are going to show up on the Kilts and Ghillies Tea Dance. This year it will be My Mither's… next year, maybe, Somebody.

Without question Hugh Foss qualifies as a genius. How else could a dance, comprised of simple figures [ advance & retire; half rights & lefts; set, cast, cross over, set; 4 bar cast, turn, cast; half fig eight; half rights & lefts ] be so confusing in the dancing. It isn't just the piece count and the memory problem.

The other dance of his, Somebody, is couple facing couple around the room. A different orientation in which to dance a half strathspey poussette. That threw even me. You really need to be aware of the orientation, where the women's positions are. That is the critical diagonal on which the dance is constructed.

The dances I taught were:

Granville Market  (32 J 3)  2nd Graded Book
Somebody  (32 S 2 RtR)  Hugh Foss
My Mither's Aye Glow'rin' Owre Me  (32 J 2)  Hugh Foss
The Flying Spur  (32 J 3)  John Drewry
Lady Jane's Fancy  (32 R 3)  Peter Price
Lassie wi' the lint white locks  (32 S 2) Barry Priddey


Granville Market – a nice simple jig for everyone. Not a throwaway like some 'simple' jigs. Devised by            Elinor Vandegrift one of my favourite people. She was my tutor when I stood my Full Cert. back in 1998. She also devised a very fun dance (the music!) - Monterey Mixer.

Somebody – From Hugh Foss' book Dances to Song Tunes. A Dancer's Choice Award recipient!
                    Recommended! I have seen it on maybe 1 program, Asilomar I believe. So I took a look. I was taken by it. I really like Hugh Foss's dances. They are 'different', and he is one of the giants whose shoulders every modern dance devisor stands on whether they know it or not. So I now choose to program his dances when I can.

The response from the class, beyond the DCA, was "put it on the ball, but not this year. Give us more time to become comfortable with it."

My Mither's Aye Glow'rin' Owre Me –  Another Dancer's Choice Award! Another "ball program"! Another dance from Hugh Foss' book Dances to Song Tunes. Another Keeper! But… keep your head.

The Flying Spur – An early dance by John Drewry, one that has been on ball programs in GB. I have taught it twice to the Westchester, NY class to tepid response. I like it a lot, it is typical Drewry, so why the lukewarm response. I chose to give it another try in a different class.

Oh my not tepid at all. Enthusiastic would be an understatement. Wonderful dance! according to these dancers.


Lady Jane's Fancy – A dance from my pen. Good journeyman effort. Nothing special but the music will make or break it. The transition from the reel of 4 across the dance into set to first corner was the sticking point in my mind. Not so. Easy peasy in fact. I can not publish it until I have permission from she for whom it is intended. Real Soon Now (as Jerry Pournelle used to say in his computer column).

Lassie wi' the lint white locks – I done this one before, I still love it. I love the Tournée. And my new way of teaching the Tournée worked again. The dancer who looked stricken when I announced the figure was actually smiling when we finished.

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