Monday, April 6, 2015

1 April 2015 - Westchester - 4th Series Opener

Circle Mixer - (32 J n-circle) -
EH3 7AF - (32 J 3) - Bk 40/6
Cardross House - (32 S 3) - E. Brunken/Moments in Time
The Button Boy - (32 H 3) - Zobel/Allanton Coll.
Newburgh Jig - (32 J 3) - Bk 48/1
Castle Douglas - (32 S 3) - Goldring/12 More Social Dances
General Stuart's Reel - (32 R 3) - Bk 10/3


EH3 7AF:- a basic dance, it flows. It is, considering how often it is done in this are, becoming
 tedious. It is now a "I'll dance it if I must" dance.

Cardross House:- The music is great! Jim Lindsay, Keith Smith and Muriel Johnstone combine to create some fab music on the CD to accompany Elaine Brunken's book Moments in Time. The four tunes in the set are: The Waulkin o' the Fauld (trad.), Smailholm Tower (MAJ). Roy's Wife of Aldivaloch (trad.) and Below The Aigas Dam (John Cunningham). I listened once and put the track on repeat. For a couple of hours!

The dance is no so bad either. It is on the Kilts and Ghillies Tea Dance coming up on the 11th. It has also been added to my Top 50 Strathspeys list.

The Button Boy:- A Bill Zobel dance it is one of Deborah's favourites. I don't think it is quite that groot but it is definitely worth doing more than once every year or two. There is a certain lack of good, enjoyable, "dance it because I like it" hornpipes in the repertoire. Can you come up with one other than The Sailor? Off the top of your head? All the ones I come up with are out Society.

Newburgh Jig:- Do I have to?  I put it on the K&G program unseen and undanced and what a mistake that was. This one is, in my opinion, pretty much a boat anchor. When I asked the class for their opinion I got one halfhearted raised hand - "it's simple and the flirt figure was kinda nice" and that was the only positive response I got. The flirt figure... there is a story here.

Chris and Sue Ronald wrote a lovely dance for a NY City dancer, Ann of Scotia. And it has 1C set to 1st corners and gypsy round each other to face 2nd corners. Set to 2nd corners and gypsy round each other to end in 2nd place on own sides. The figure is in the dance because Ann does like to flirt on the dance floor and the Ronalds brief that sequence as "set and flirt". So if there is a redeeming quality to The Newburgh Jig it is that figure.

The music didn't help. What happened? The tempo recorded on the Society CD is soooo verrrrry sloooow. I sped it up by some 8%. Most of the equipment (karaokes) we use have a max increase of 5%. I lucked out in the computer program I use (Amazing Slow Downer) which has about 100% increase available.

Bottom line - only if I must. Time to make a break for the loo.

Castle Douglas:- One of my all-time favourite strathspeys. The opportunities to catch eyes are many and magnificent! The one video on SCDDB is mediocre. Don't base your decision on viewing that one.

General Stuart's Reel:- There is a reason why it is one of the most popular dances in the world. This was a last moment pick to close the evening because we have a teacher candidate course running in the Greater NY metro area, and the opportunity to help one of the Unit 2 candidates was impossible to pass up. They have 12 dances they have to know. And by know the society means "be able to brief without notes and dance from any position. So I gave Charlotte the opportunity to brief the dance. She did a very good job.  Gold Star!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

26 March 2015 - NY Branch Basics

Chicago Loop - (32 R 3) - K. Smith (as a strathspey)
Fish and Chips - (32 J 4) - B. Hamilton

Chicago Loop - for everyone

24 March 2015 - Tenafly (NJ)

Ken S. - 
   Skip change of step
   EH3 7AF

   Asilomar Romantic - (32 S 3) - SF Coll. 2
   The Captain's House - (32 R 3) - 3rd Graded Bk
   Machine Without Horses - (32 J 3) - 12/12

Elizabeth B.
   A Touch of Tartan - (32 R 3) - van Maarseveen


Ken, Elizabeth, Deborah and myself are all in the NJ Branch candidate class.
In order to provide practice for the Unit 3 candidates Deborah and I provide the time and space for them to practice both lessons and briefing. So you will see new names appearing in this blog.

23 March 2015 - New Haven Friends Meeting

   Scottish Reform - (32 J 2) - Bk 3/1
   On the Quarter-Deck - (32 H 2) - I. Boyd
   Castle Douglas - (32 S 3) - Goldring
   Bow Fiddle Rock - (32 J 3) - Drewry
   Miss Florence Adams - (32 S 3) - Bk 38/7 (Drewry)
   The Flying Spur - (32 J 3) - Drewry (Canadian Bk)
   Gentle Lady - (40 S 3 set) - Bethray (unpublished)


This week no new beginners to hold Emma back. I had a full set and I threw her in off the deep end - No Big Deal, for her. All the dances are from the upcoming Kilts and Ghillies Tea Dance program.
All are Invited. 

Scottish Reform - as published by the RSCDS has an awkward moment. After 12 bars 1C have 4 bars to turn halfway moving back up to place and then in to meet partner RHJ for lead down the middle and up. I have never seen it done neatly. 

Then I found an English  (bad despicable me) version of the dance (Pins and Needles) also collected in the Borders not from too far from where the Scots collected theirs.

The rhythm set up in the Scottish version of the dance is: half turn moving down, balance ; half turn, balance :: half turn, balance ; then two bars to half turn moving up and out to places and two bars to dance in to meet partner.

The rhythm for the English version is: half turn, balance ; half turn, balance :: half turn, balance ; half turn moving up, balance (RH joined still in center). This is in keeping with the first 12 bars - it is all of a piece and holds together. The Scot's version breaks the symmetry. Sorry.

And it doesn't matter which you do. All you need is agreement with your partner which way it will be done. It doesn't become a different dance. In a performance or demonstration situation you all agree to do what the leader says. In a social dance it doesn't really matter - My (not so) Humble Opinion!

On the Quarter-Deck:- a nice simple hornpipe for everyone.

Castle Douglas:- ooh-la-la! when covering with partner what a nice flirt of a dance! Eye contact necessary.

Bow Fiddle Rock:- a very accessible  dance for a Drewy. If you start the first 'corner turn' from the sidelines you will be late for the "kilt flip" moment that is the raison d'ĂȘtre of the dance. So, finish the half figure eight heading toward your second corner so you have the time to make it back to your own sidelines and make that 'flip to face your first corner.  This is a Recommended! dance.

Miss Florence Adams:- oh my - do I ever remember the grief I got when this dance first was published and I taught it. Corners Pass and Turn and Set and Link were both new figures and nobody knew them. Too Difficult! Terrible Dance! and so on and so forth was all I heard. Today it got a Golden Ghillie Award from the class for "gee we really want to keep doing this dance". Go figure.
10 years more experience, many more dances with set and link and corners pass & turn in them =s Familiarity! (vindicated - I was just ahead of the times).

The Flying Spur:- every time we dance this it is a YES! I urge you to take the time to learn it - the reward is greater than the effort involved. It is FUN!  Note: the music I use is Marian Anderson set of jigs with the lead tune  The Famous Baravan. The only recording I have with the "name tune" (Captain White) is pathetic - no way does it make me want to dance.

Gentle Lady:- by Sandra Bethray who is currently teaching the Wilton (Kilts and Ghillies) class. Nice dance. Has one moment where you have to be thinking. To get a copy of the dance go to the New Haven Branch web site for her contact information.

19 March 2015 - NY Branch Basics

Autumn Leaves - (32 J 3) - J. Lataille
New Abbey - (32 J 3) - Goldring

12 March 2015 - NY Branch Basics

Combined class - small turnout and only 2 beginners showed up. Sue Ronald taught.

   The Round Reel of Eight - (88 R 4 square) - Bk 27/7
   The Complete Gardener - (32 J 3) - 3rd Graded Bk
   Anna's Wedding Cake - (32 S 3 set) - Janssen (Boston 50th)
   More for Four - (32 R 4some - square) - J. Lataille
   The Highland Rambler - (40 R 3) - Goldring

5 March 2015 - NY Branch Basics

Canceled for bad weather.

26 February 2015 - NY Branch Basics

   The Wind in the Willows - (32 J 2) - I. Boyd
   Troubled Water - (32 S 3) - B. Skelton

26 February 2015 - NY Branch Basics

   The Wind in the Willows - (32 J 2) - I. Boyd
   Troubled Water - (32 S 3) - B. Skelton

26 February 2015 - NY Branch Basics

   The Wind in the Willows - (32 J 2) - I. Boyd
   Troubled Water - (32 S 3) - B. Skelton

23 February 2015 - New Haven Friends Meeting

   The Highland Rambler - (40 R 3) - Goldring
   The White Cockade - (32 R 3) - Bk 5/11
   Gentle Lady - (40 S 3 set) - S. Bethray (unpublished)


Emma brought both her father and a brother. So very little dancing and way too much teaching.
This early brought to a head that I have not been meeting Emma's needs. I ended up calling her mother and discussing this. Result: Emma comes alone for now. We will try to get the home-schooling network to a "try it you'll like it" session. With enough interest I will start a children's class at the Meeting House.

17 February 2015 - Brooklyn (New Haven Ball Brunch Dance Workshop)

   Tine's Jig - (32 J 3) - E. Brunken 
   Die Zwillinge - (3x32S+3x32R - 3 set) - Rbt Gregg.
   Charter Oak Reel - (32 R 3) - A. Wolf
   Tony and Judith of Formby (Take 2) - 32 S 3) - Nutmeg (K. Way) 
   Mrs Ellen McRanor (of Parish) - (32 R 3) - Price (unpublished)
   Charles Cyril Hendrickson - (32 S 4) - Price (unpublished)
   Mary-Kate's Super Symmetric Symmetry Breaking Strathsspey
         - (32 S 2) - C. Anagnostakis (unpublished)

All from the New Haven Highland Ball Brunch Program - an interesting idea, great for a workshop, not so good for a ball brunch. Everyone tired, minds and bodies both. And so many unfamiliar and unpublished dances - Oh joy! A midterm exam! Just what we need!

It went very well, to my surprise and delight. The dancers in the room were all very strong. The weaker dancers...   stayed away. 

Please note that Tine's Jig was not on the brunch program but used as a warmup dance on this evening.

12 February 2015 - NY Branch (Basics)

   Mamie's Jig - (32 J 4) - Mary S. Brandon
   Birkinside - (32 S 2) - Goldring
It is an issue. A very volatile basics class. New people can walk in at any time. You can not count on anything except this: it will never be same two weeks in a row. Yikes.

8 December 2014 - Scotia

Deborah - 1st hour.
   The White Cockade - (32 R 3) - Bk 5/11
   General Stuart's Reel - (32 R 3) - Bk 10/3
   The Auld Grey Cat - (32 R 3) - I. Boyd
   Driving Through Eutaw - (32 J 3) - D. Leary (unpublished)

Peter - 2nd hour.
   Duke of Atholl's Reel - (32 J 2) - 16/3
   Glasgow Highlanders - (32 S 2 - becket) - Bk 2/3
   Mrs Ellen McRanor (of Parish) - (32 R 3) - Price (unpublished)
   Mairi's Wedding - (40 R 3) - Cosh

1 December 2014 - Scotia

Deborah - 1st hour
   EH3 7AF - (32 J 3) - 40/6 (Goldring)
   Adieu Mon Ami - (32 S 3) - Bk 24/11
   Shiftin' Bobbins - (32 R 3) - R. Clowes

Peter - 2nd hour
   The White Rabbit - (32 J 2) - I. Boyd
   MacLeod's Fancy - (32 J 4) - Bk 33/3 (Drewry)
   Bewitched in Salem - (32 S 3 set) - Holly Boyd
   Crossing the Line - (32 R 3set) - Drewry
   Bratach Bana - (32 R 3) - Drewry


Again a lot of prep for Brooklyn's John Drewry Night.
The White Rabbit was the 1st dance in the second hour and therefore "for everyone".
Bewitched in Salem is by a friend, Holly Boyd of MontrĂ©al. Nice dance, not great but reasonably fun.
Holly has a talent for this. She writes very nice dances.

24 November 2014 - New Haven Friends Meeting

   The Mad Hatter - (32 J 3) - I. Boyd
   Back to Basics - (32 R 3) - B. Skelton
   The Blithest Lass that ever was seen
          (32 S 3) - Miss Milligan's Miscellany 2
   Mrs Ellen McRanor (of Parish) - (32 R 3) - P. Price (unpublished)
   Kiloran Bay - (32 S 4) - John A. Johnston (unpublished)

The first half of the evening Emma was present with friends.That meant everything had to be pretty basic. And that meant that Emma didn't get what she needed which was a lot of dancing with dancers at a high level. The rest of the evening, with an incomplete set was a guinea pig session.

The Blithest Lass that ever was seen:-I had analyzed this for the Candidate class (part 5) and wanted to see how it danced. And I was correct - it is a little stinker! (Thank you Ralph Page for 'inventing'  that category.)

Kiloran Bay:- Nice one! And not really hard. It just needs a clear explanation. It is going on my short list for 2016 K&G tea dance program. It is that good. Now all I need is a preferred tune to go with the dance. Anyone?

Mrs Ellen McRanor is one of my dances. I was sending her a card, had just sealed  it when a good tune came up in the background - Muriel Johnstone's The Dissapointment) - and the dance wrote its self on the back of the envelope. I could see that there was a major issue (end effect) after the repeat when 4th couple needs to become the new third couple. The dance has them headed the wrong way and the transition has been described by a friend as "the transition from hell". I never publlished it. I also send copies of my dancers to three friends for safe keeping and, somehow, it ended up on the brunch program for this years New Haven Ball. 

Keep in mind that at this point I had never danced it. The end effect was so obvious I did not think it reasonable and certainly not publishable.
Now it is on a program - published? - and I needed to know, for myself, if it really was worthy of being on a program.

Yes. It is good enough. i dealt with the end effect very simply - I said "you are dancers, deal with it because I don't know how to do it." Got a laugh and they coped, nicely.

Kiloran Bay - I saw it on video and fell in love yet again. i saw it about six months ago and this is the first time opening I could find to try it. Worth it. As I said above - NICE! Look it up and do it!

17 November 2014 - Scotia

Deborah - 1st hour
   The Ferryboat - (5x32R circle) - warmup
   Lady Wynd - (32 J 3) - Goldring - Graded&Social 2
   Strathglass House - (32 S 3) - Bk 13/9
   The Highland Rambler - (40 R 3) - Goldring

Peter - 2nd hour
   On the Quarter-Deck - (32 H 2) - Iain Boyd
   Bees of Maggieknockater - (32 J 4) - Drewry
   Twixt Don and Dee - (32 S 4) - Drewry
   The Fireworks Reel - (32 R 3) - Bk 48/11 (A. Lingnau)