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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.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

12 October 2015 – Scotia

There isn't much to say about this evening's dances. Only that a golden oldie is coming back into fashion. Overdone to the point of burnout 15 years ago the old guard often forget the newer guard has never seen it. The dance -  Red House.

First hour :-

British Grenadiers  - (32 R 3) - Miscellany
Birks of Invermay  - (32 S 3) - Bk 16

Second hour:-

Welcome to Ayr  - (32 J 3) - Bk 47
Red House  - (40 R 2) - Bk 7
A Summer Meeting  - (32 S 3set) - Bk 48


British Grenadiers :- not a scintillating dance but the new music by Jim Lindsay (CD for Bk 49) is fun! It may not be your standard Scottish music but it is fun! A thumbs up.

Welcome to Ayr :- Just enough different to take some careful teaching. I was in a class where it was taught not so carefully and a number of minor points got missed. IMHO a most welcome addition to the RSCDS jig repertoire which, on the whole, is seriously lacking in good, fun, engaging jigs.

Red House :- Because the reels make the dance I taught this one. The reel first, walked for every couple several times so everyone got the reels from each and every position more than once - the rest of the dance is quite simple, almost simplistic. Unless you play.

We teach reels reels carefully - 6 bars, 8 bars, 4 bars half way etc, etc. This one's different. The phrasing can not be strict. It is a 10 bar movement danced in 8 bars so the phrasing must be fuzzy.  For 1st lady: About 2 bars to enter the reel, about 2 bars to dance home, leaving 4 or so bars to dance more than half a reel. Dancers just have to make it work. Theirs is the burden to make it flow.

Note- I love the dance, both for the music (I especially love the Berkeley Players recording) and for the reels which are unique. 

A Summer Meeting :- Yay! Finally, we have good old fashioned half reels of four with Left shoulder passes in the middle between reels. But…"Edinburgh, we have a problem here".

Right shoulder passes are all the modern rage, stemming from Mairi's Wedding, where dancers like to  pass right shoulders between the half diagonal reels of four. James Cosh objected, so I hear - I wasn't there so this is second hand - to this ornament and insisted that the passes ought to be by left shoulder.
So dancers play, pass by the right, and newer dancers see it, copy cat that and don't know any better, and slowly but surely the right shoulder pass becomes standard - especially since so many new dances have the right shoulder pass between the reels written in.

The result - even when the left shoulder pass IS specifically stated and emphatically so instructed, many dancers were passing right shoulders in these reels - they just couldn't help themselves. A case of muscle memory overriding the brain. 

Oh, the dance? I like it and I'm willing to dance it anytime it comes around. A Thumbs Up.

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