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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.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

14 September 2015 – Scotia (NYC)

This is a class that brings a huge grin to my face every time the dancers walk in. New Haven too.
They are the joy of a teacher's life and the reward for all our work.

Deborah taught the first, basics, hour. I taught the second, experienced, hour.

We had a beginner. An absolute beginner. Never saw Scottish before and we just tossed her in to the deep end, from the 3 meter platform. She handled/coped with everything! Even the strathspey poussette. OMG. I want her back. This woman is a gift. And she can only come one more week before work gets in the way.  Bad words bad words bad words.
But she left saying her cheeks hurt from all the smiling. Yay!

The dances we taught were:-

Gloria's Wee Jig  – (32 J 3) – McMurtry
White Cockade  – (32 R 3) – 5/11
Machine Without Horses – (32 J 3) – 12/12

Mole's Frolic – (32 J 3) – Winter
Midsummer Common – (32 S 3) – 49/3
Courtney Jane – (32 J 3 set) – Henry
Falls of Rogie – (32 R 3) – Tattooed
Marie's Farewell – (32 J 3) – JBD

**********

Gloria's Wee Jig :- Deborah says I dug this one up. I don't remember  it. But we have it and it fills a need and It Is Good!  A slightly different set up for the Ladies Chain, and the final chase is a gem. The opportunities for eye contact and play…  Two Thumbs Up!! Now on my top 50 list.

White Cockade/Machine Without Horses :- standards for good reason.

Mole's Frolic:- Good solid dance. I can also add, fun. Winds you up and then unwinds you. A Thumbs Up. Becoming a standard in this area.

Midsummer Common :- This one is going to be a regular. Need an adjective? Try "Elegant".

Courtney Jane :- Sigh. I added this one at the last moment. I needed to see it. Another teacher, collaborating with me on a dance program, is wedded to this dance, which I don't know. My reading of the dance is 'decent, but nothing special'. She obviously feels it is something special. It keeps reappearing on her versions of the program after I remove it from mine.

This means Test Time - I need to see if there really is redeeming social value to the dance that I am not seeing.

There isn't.

It is a quirky, tricky little dance. You need to work at it to get it right and while there is satisfaction in [finally] getting it right, it is not enough to make it worth the effort. - My Not So Humble Opinion.

In the New England Contra world there is a category of dance called "Little Stinkers". This is one so belongs. Sometimes the little stinkers are worth it and the reward is greater than the energy expended. Not this time.

Falls of Rogie :- Another dance that is a regular in this area. If this is not so in your area you need to change it. This is a good dance. Two thumbs up.

The only question is - why is this the only one of Jean Attwood's dances that has made the big time? Have we all stopped looking after we found this gem in her first book?

Marie's Farewell :- I remember teaching a dance of this name, by this devisor, many years ago when I lived in New Haven, and we had a dancer named Marie. I do not remember this dance. Faulty memory no doubt about it.  Nice dance, but not a Pinewoods Reel. Good dance to have up your sleeve. And closing reels ACROSS the dance! Don't rely on muscle memory - you will be in big trouble.  Just different enough, and fun enough, to get a Thumbs up.

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