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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, October 1, 2015

28 September 2015 - Dancing on the Heights (NHFM)

My monthly class at New Haven Friends Meeting in Fair Haven, on the heights, resumed after summer dancing.

Young Emma has returned and I am in conversation with her mother about a children's class. Talk about WAY outside my box!!

This class has always been advanced. I have pulled just about anything out of my back pocket and they have handled it. Emma, has danced a bit of Irish, walked right into the set and handled everything I have tossed at the class. I am not dumbing anything down. She doesn't [yet] have the style but she is a steel trap for the figures. I can only pray that the youngsters who will come to this young person's class will be half as good.

This night's dances were:-

Gloria's Wee Jig  - (32 J 2) - Devil's Quandary (McMurtry)
Capelthwaite  - (32 R 2) -  San Francisco 2 (Sigg)
MacDonald of Keppoch  -  (128 M 4 square) - Book 49 (Ronald)
The Gates of India  - (32 J 4 ) -  Jean Attwood
Richard the Third  - (32 S 3) - Terry Glasspool
Outward Bound  - (32 J 3 set ) - Price

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Gloria's Wee Jig :-  A nice wee jig. Now on the Kilts and Ghillies Tea Dance program as the second half opener. Like Dancing in the Streets it has a nice but different entry into Ladies Chain and the closing chase is sweet and tart at the same time. Deborah says I came up with it - I don't remember.
She then taught it and I fell for it. Note - I put it on a major program.  Can you say Thumbs up?

Capelthwaite :- This one is different and messed with my mind. Everything is twisted and not just a little bit. Only the Poussette was normal. This one is a yes, low key yes, but still a yes. Worth doing again simply to see if the dance holds up, gains ground or falls down.

MacDonald of Keppoch :- I like it. A lot. The parallel reels of 4 into singular Left shoulder reel of 4 is brilliant. That you dance with the same corners throughout isn't a problem here. In Bobby Brown's Canadian Breakdown it is a true problem. I don't think there is a more tedious dance ever devised. (Please don't try!)  IMHO MacDonald of Keppoch is one of the few medleys worth doing. 1314  and Schiehallion are the two others that come to mind. Oh right, and there is also Sage and Salsa (Jane Lataille) which is the only 32 bar medley I enjoy dancing. All the others have been thumbs downer.

So a challenge for you all - Change my mind! Write contrary comments (which I will publish) and give us some medleys that you think are worth doing. I will try them.

The Gates of India :- This one is interesting. It reads like it should be fabulous. It reads like it should be on a par with Falls of Rogie, one of the best dances I have ever come across. But, it hasn't danced that way. This was my second attempt at it.  It, well, it has underwhelmed me.
It could be the music I have picked. I will try again with different music and hope for better.

The only other Jean Attwood dance that is occasionally danced around here is Butterscotch and Honey, a 32 S 4. Nice but not great. So I have a question. Is Jean Attwood a one shot wonder? She has written over 100 dances. Surely there are other dances of hers that are fun, exciting, lovely, "fall in love with" great dances? Who has one of those?
Will you share? Please?

Richard the Third :- Another great (IMO) dance. To my mind the heart and soul of Terry's dance is the R&L figure that, with his choice of music, takes on a pulse of its own. The rest of the dance isn't bad either and I love dancing this one. It is back on the Kilts and Ghillies program by my personal popular request.

I haven't met a Terry Glasspool dance that I haven't liked. I love some! I hate none.
He is at least as good as John Drewry - certainly more daring and willing to take thing outside the box. He just doesn't have the 'weight' that John had in the SCD community. John wrote a lot of dances, Terry only a few. You have to really sift John's work to find the really good ones. Most of Terry's are that good, but not necessarily to every one's taste or ability.

Ball, workshop, evening dance - if it any of Terry Glasspool's dances are on the program I am interested in going.

Outward Bound :- One of mine. I seriously considered the other version (Eggemoggin Reach - 32 J 3 in a 4C set) for the opener of  the Kilts and Ghillies. Vetoed by Sandra my co-programmer. It took a while to find out why - the program was already reel heavy and her class, which has children, don't handle reels all that well. This dance has reels. Mirror reels - with the one's crossing to own sides after 4 bars, and then two sets of half reels of three across, the half reels followed by 4 bar turns.

I t was late, it was a newish dance for them, I thought. I was wrong. It was completely new to them because I don't see it listed in my notebook. They had some trouble with it. I was ready to drop it but they wanted to keep at it until they got. They did, they applauded. They actually liked it even after all they work they put in.

I did several other dances of mine over the summer with the New Haven class but I did not do this one with them. So they did better than I thought. Upgrade from a 72 to a gold star.

Note: Outward Bound is Eggemoggin Reach which has been slightly revised to make it danceable in a 3C set. The only difference- bars 3-4.


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