Thursday, August 27, 2015

24 August 2015 - Scotia End of Summer Dance

Well I am posting out of order again. Oh well, just live with  it if you can.

Scotia had an of Summer Dance party, with live music (Genny Vaughn -piano and Julia Hartman - violin) in honor of three teachers, the late Joan Treble, Shiela Wilson and Freddy Sverdlove. The dances sere all written by them, for them,  a favorite of one of them or first learned from one of them. In other words a thematic  program. So there were minor problems. A few too many 40 or 48 bar dances and sometimes one right next to another- Oh well.

The music was pretty darn good. Even with a occasionally functional sound system they had a decent balance. I do have a complaint, a relatively mild complaint. The tempos varied a bit. In Cadgers the tempo varied within some of the tunes, in a couple of strathspeys the tempo varied as the tunes changed. But not by much. It was always danceable. and only a few people even noticed. Thumbs up for this combo. I'd gladly hire them.


Jubilee Jig  – (32 J 3) – Leaflet 11
Ferguson's Frolic  – (32 R 3) – J. Treble
A Strathspey for Shelley  – (32 S 3 set) – F. Sverdlove
Cadgers in the Canongate  – (48 R 3) – Bk 9
Sandy Butterly  – (48 J 4) – M.S. Brandon
Birks of Invermay  – (32 S 3) – Bk 16
Blooms of Bon Accord  – (32 R 4) – Drewry

Alice's Request  – (32 J 2) – Goldring
The Professor's Wife  – (32 R 3) – N. Pryce
Drumrossie  – (32 S 3) – S. Wilson
Peat Fire Flame  – (40 R 3) – Drewry
Auld Springs Gees Nae Price  –  (32 S 3) – J. Treble
Roaring Jelly  – (32 J 3) – Foss
Mairi's Wedding  – (40 R 3) – Cosh

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

25 August 2015 – Summer Dance New Haven

Well, the last class of the summer is done and with it my chance to experiment with new dances.
It was a mix of the old and the new and the so new it's untried.

Dances taught:

The Pawling Mermaid  -  (32 J 3)  - Price
Orpington Caledonians  -  (32 R 3)  - Bk 49/2
Richard the Third  -  (32 S 3)  - Glasspool
Hunter's Moon  -  (32 J 4)  -  Drewry
Land of the Heather Hills  -  (32 S 4)  - Priddey
Red House  -  (40 R 2)  - Bk 7/2
Woodland Assembly  -  (64 J 4 square)  - Priddey


The Pawling Mermaid :- Another Beta Test of an untried dance.  It worked, received reasonably good reviews from the dancers on the floor. That makes it two out of three. Now I just need to get the strathspey to work and I will have a set of Mermaid dances.

Orpington Caledonians :-  A repeat from last week, a check to be sure that I wasn't off my rocker. I wasn't. Still simple, easy and nice. Definitely worth short listing for the Kilts and Ghillies Tea Dance in May of next year.

Richard the Third :- I last taught this dance in 2009 as it was on that year's Kilts and Ghillies dance. My memory, 6 years out from the date, is that it is a good dance. To my mind it deserves a Golden Ghillie. It didn't get one. But it is [still] loverly. Still on my to 10 list.

Hunter's Moon :- Quicktime La Baratte. Into prom. hold into Bees of Maggieknockater reels. Nice.
Sandra suggested it for the K&G. I had to see it. Shades of several other John Drewry's dances. A bit of Bees, a bit of Blooms, a bit of ...

The one quirky bit is the exit from La Barratte (a left hand turn) into promenade hold - 2M with 3L (2L with 3M) - the lady is on the man's right and that, naturally, is where his attention goes - to his right, so that has to be the way the reel starts, to his right, right?

Wrong! - the reel has a left shoulder start. I can almost hear John up there snickering a quiet "Gotcha" - as if he ever would.

Land of the Heather Hills :- a repeat from 2 weeks ago. Some new dancers so a bit more teaching than I had hoped just before the break. But again a very positive response.  Still a keeper.

Red House :- A golden oldie that has come around to being new again for the current generation of dancers. Me, I am still jaded from the last round, but Deborah has only danced it once before and needs to really know it if she is going to be prepping classes for NY's JC Ball.

We talked it over on the way home and cleared up one "issue" for me. I had not realized that the Rd House reels are really 10 bar figures danced to an eight bar phrase.

For example: 2nd man (in the middle of the reel) has to dance a complete reel and pass 1st man one more time - a 8 bar reel plus an extra pass. 1st man, similarly, dances a full reel and then an extra pass to end in 2nd place. 1st lady, has 2 bars to cross down - dances out & up, dances in & up, dances out & down to 2nd place, and then needs 2 bars to cross back to her own sides - a 10 bar movement that has to be danced in an 8 bar phrase of music. And we wonder why this is so hard to teach.

Woodland Assembly :- The is a problem here. What I have written down as the directions for the last 8 bars doesn't work. My crib says RH turn, then LH turn. The flow of the dance clearly asks for LH turn followed by a RH Turn. Barry Priddey wouldn't make that kind of mistake so the error is probably mine. I need to go back and check my card against the original.

Barry wrote this after several people complained that the song "Teddy Bear's Picnic" didn't have its own dance. Not bad but not his best effort. I will probably keep this in my card file for a specialty moment or for a children's or beginner's class.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

18 August 2015 - Summer Dance New Haven

I have now taught four dances from the RSCDS's latest publication (Book 49) and gotten 3 raves from the dancers. I am thinking that this is going to be a very, repeat very, successful book.

I taught MacDonald of Keppoch last week because I know the devisor, it was fresh in my head - his wife taught it recently at the Scotia club (NYC). Tonight's three dances were numbers 2, 3, and 4. I did not cherry pick them - and if the rest of them come close to these in quality the selection process was a success this time round.

The other piece of this is the music. The recording for Book 48 is, to be blunt, terrible. This one, Book 49, is wonderful. Jim Lindsay's accordion playing is enough to make me reconsider my prejudice for fiddles. His recordings with Muriel Johnstone and Keith Smith are stunning. This one - merely super. And he is clearly having a whole lot of fun! (Against all society rules of course).
But the joy comes across and it is very refreshing. I don't know who all were involved in making this CD happen, but to all of you - Thank You, many times over.

He has also included tracks for 3 older dances - Hooper's JigBritish Grenadier'sBonnie Geordie's Wig. And the latter two qualify as "any good reel" and I am using them as such. When I use them I hear whoops and hollers and see smiles break out all over the floor. - The short form - Recommended.

The dances taught :-

The Four Poster  -  (32 S 4some)  - Glasspool
Orpington Caledonians  -  (32 R 3)  - Bk 49/2
Midsummer Common  -  (32 S 3)  -  Bk 49/3
The First Rain in Spring  -   (32 J 3 set)  - Bk 49/4
Kiloran Bay  -  (32 S 4)  -  Johnston
Arthur's Seat  -  (32 R 3)  - 18C


The Four Poster :- I could have/should have picked an easier one of Terry's foursomes. Took a little longer than I had planned - I forgot - it has been a while since I last taught this one. It takes some work but I like the interlocking Back to Backs, and the Back to Back Half reel of four.

Orpington Caledonians :- Simple, flows, rewarding. Received a Golden Ghillie from the dancers! I have short listed it for the Kilts and Ghillies Tea Dance coming up in May 2016. Two thumbs up from me as well (because I only have two). A keeper.

Midsummer Common :- Not a Golden Ghillie but darn close. "Elegant" is the adjective the class agreed on. I could not agree more. Another keeper!

The First Rain in Spring :- Difficult because I fell into the trap of knowing too much. I know "Celtic" reels. I have a gift for patterns and sometimes, like here, I forget others don't see patterns as easily or as clearly. I will teach it again next week.

Kiloran Bay :-  I saw the name, I saw the video, I saw the 1947 movie "I Know Where I am Going". I couldn't resist because of what they had in common. The doing wasn't as spectacular as the video made it seem, but the dancer's liked it well enough.

Arthur's Seat :- The music makes the dance and the music was Hanneke Cassel and Dave Wiesler. OH MY!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

11 August 2015 - Summer Dance in New Haven

Dances taught:–

The Domino Five  -  (32 R 5some) - Haynes
MacDonald of Keppoch  -  (128 M 4 sq) - Ronald /Book 49
Grandma's Mandolin  -  (32 S 3)  -  Ellen Ternes
Palisades Mermaid  -  (32 R 3)  - Price
Land of the Heather Hills  -  (32 S 4)  -  Priddey
Skimming the Waves  -  (32 R 3)  -Pam  Stephens


The Domino Five :–  Why? Because we only had five dancers when it was time to start. Nice dance but  only fun occassionally - gets old quickly.

MacDonald of Keppoch :– Devised by our own Chris Ronald (NYC) and publish by the RSCDS in Book 49. Rave, rave, rave...  and not because it politic but because the dance is good. It has a most interesting transition from parallel reels4 across to a singular left shoulder reel4 on the centerline - middle dancers (ladies) passing Rsh to begin while men loop L on the ends. The less you think about it the better the transition works. Seriously.

And, to my surprise and gratification, the Society picked good tunes, or Jim Lindsay (who did the CD) picked good tunes - but it is a good CD, for a change, and the music works with the dance and all in all... YAY! (Did I say recommended?).

Grandma's Mandolin :– Ellen Ternes and Pam Stephens (Maryland, DC, Northern VA and area) have published a neat book of 12 dances titled Strathsbabes, featuring a Scottish dance Babe of the Month and a corresponding dance. Miss Milligan is, of course, Miss January. Makes me smile!

At Pinewoods Scottish Session Deborah poked me to get my attention, shoved the book into my hands, and said "Buy It!" So I did. Yay! (Have I said that before?). I know I will be looking here for program dances in the future.


The Palisades Mermaid :– Beta Test. 2nd time as good as the first and the 2nd time reviews were also good, and what was neat, the Mermaid in question (Sarah) was not only there but passed approval before she knew the dance was about her. (In May she joined the Pawling Mermaid in Sylvan Lake for some good, even though it is officially verboten, swims - so, obviously, she needed a dance too).

Land of the Heather Hills :– A repeat from last week because we needed to. I got the basic idea across but we needed this second take to really solidify it and smooth out the kinks. This is not just one of the top50 it is one of the top10.

Skimming the Waves :– from Strathbabes, by Pam Stephens. Different. It has more than enough redeeming social value to make it a keeper. Thumbs up.

4 August 2015 - Summer Dance in New Haven

I taught:–

Mrs Stewart's Jig
The Palisades Mermaid  -  (32 R 3)  -  Price
Land of the Heather Hills  -  (32 S 4)  -  Priddey
Chatham Chase  -  (32 J 3)  -  Hanson

Flyping Out of Portland  -  (32 J 3)  -  Price
Asilomar Romantic  -  (32 S 3)  - Cuthbertson
Da Rain Dancin'  -  (32 R 3)  - Wallace


Mrs Stewart's Jig :– Standard Repertoire, good warm up. A favorite for good reason - I have danced/taught it often and it just seems to stay fresh.

The Palisades Mermaid :– A recent dance of my own,  in it's first dance trial, and I got a positive response. Not a Golden Ghillie, but "nice dance with good flow" - and that is good enough. I was aced to be sure to remind dancers (in the cribs) that the reels of 4 are full, 8 bar reels of 4. Really! There was a tendency for dancers to flip into "Mairi's Wedding Reels" mode and that got them into difficulty. Still editing and music selection to do so publication will be… Real Soon Now.
There really is something to be said for KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid!) - My first version went to 40 bars and worked but would clearly, from current perspective, not have been worth the effort.

Land of the Heather Hills :– OH MY! What a great dance this one is! When I saw the video it took me an hour to get my jaw off the ground.  It is just enough different that getting the pattern across to the dancers took a bit more effort than is usual. The Social Value way outweighs the energy expended to learn it. It will take a while but this is going on the Kilts and Ghillies Tea Dance program in a year or so. I'd give it four thumbs up … if I had four thumbs.

Chatham Chase :– A dance from my friend Lou Hanson, it did not receive rave reviews, but it wasn't given any thumbs down either. I like what she does here (A Book of Many Thanks), written while in grad school while being slight off her rocker - grad school does that to you - and writing this book of dances served as a sanity check for her. Worth looking into (MHO).

Flyping Out of Portland :– a sanity check for me after taking Unit 2 (dance exam) of the Teacher Candidate course at TAC, in Portland, in 2012. One of the young ladies from Texas, commenting on the last four bars of Miss Hadden's Reel (the casting progression) and our difficulty in briefing cleanly said

"It's a 'flipe'"
A What?
 A Flipe! It is the descriptive word for turning your socks or hose inside out when putting them on or taking them off. "

Ok… So flipe it became, and the class then wrote a book of "Flype" dances and because I wrote it  a bit later this one didn't make it in.

Note - My flight out of Portland was at 10pm - so my original title was The Red Eye Special.

Asilomar Romantic :–  One of my top 10 strathspeys - especially when danced to the recording made by Reel of Seven! Oh that oboe! Get their CDs - the music is magnificent.

Da Rain Dancin' :– Another of my favorites, written by one of my favorite teachers and just plain great guy, Ron Wallace. And I haven't met a recording for this dance that I haven't liked.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

3 August 2015 - Summer Dance Scotia (NYC)

Session by Deborah Leary and Peter Price

The Border Meeting -
The Sailor  -  (32 H 3)  -  Bk 14
Sands of Morar  -  (32 S 3)  - Priddey
Trip to Gatlinburg  -  (32 J 3)  - Tang
Flowers of Edinburgh   -  (32 R 3)  -

Back to Back  -  (32 J 3)  -  Glasspool
Asilomar Romantic  -  (32 S 3)  -  Cuthbertson
Catch the Wind  -  (32 H 3)  - Butterfield
Delvine Side  -  (32 S 3)  - Bk 2
Montgomeries' Rant  -  (32 R 3)  -  Bk 10

28 July 2015 - NJ Summer Dance in Ho Ho Kus

Session by George Thomson (from New Haven, CT)

Star Trek warmup
The Happy Meeting  -  (32 J 2) - Bk 29
The Falls of Rogie  -  (32 R 3)  - Attwood
John McAlpin  -  (32 S 3 )  -  Foss
Catrionna's Rambles  -  (medley)  - Thomson
Postie's Jig  -  (32 J 4)  -  Clowes
Hana Strathspey  -  (32 S 3)  - Gray
Jubilee Jig  -  (32 J 3) -  Leaflet
Minister on the Loch  -  (32 S 3set)  -  Goldring

27 July 2015 - Scotia (NYC)

Joint session -  Deborah Leary and Peter Price

Machine without Horses  -  (32 J 3)  -  Bk 12
Westminster Reel  -  (32 R 2)  -  Bk 45
Ferrymead  -  (32 S 3)  -  Walker
The White Cockade  -  (32 R 3)  -  Bk 5

Carols a Plenty  -  (32 J 3)  -  Hanson
Neidpath Castle  -  (32 S 3set)  -  Bk 22
Liquid Assets  -  (32 J 3)  - Drewry
Deil Amang the Tailors  -  (32 R 3)  - Bk14

7 July 2015 - NJ Summer Dance in Ho Ho Kus

Session by Deborah Leary & Peter Price

Trip to Gretna Green  -  (32 J 3)  -  unknown
Bedrule  -  (32 S 3)  - Bk 33
Inchmickery  -  (32 J 5)  -  Goldring
The Captain's House  -  (32 R 3)  -  H. Boyd
Castle Douglas  -  (32 S 3)  -  Goldring
Mole's Frolic  -  (32 J 3)  -  Winter

The Reverend John Macfarlane  -  (32 R 4)  -  Bk 37
A Summer Meeting  -  (32 S 3)  -  Bk 48
Deil Amang the Tailors  -  (32 R 3 )  -  Bk 14

30 June 2015 - NJ Summer Dance in Ho Ho Kus

Session by Liz Burns-

Black Donald  -  (32 J 2)  - Haynes
Many Happy Returns  -  (32 S 3)  - Briscoe
Burns Night  -  (32 J 2)  - Boston 50th
Solway Reel  -  (48 R 4)  -  Killeen

Fair Donald  -  (32 S 3)  -  Bk 29
Mauchline Lady  - (32 R 3)  -  Wolf
Mairi's Wedding  -  (40 R 3)  -  Cosh

27 May 2015 - Westchester - End of Season Party

Cutty Sark                      32 J 3
John McAlpin                32 S 3
The Button Boy             32 H 3
Pelorus Jack                   32 J 3
The Border Weavers      32 S 3 set
Mrs MacLeod                32 R 3

The Compleat Gardener  32 J 3
Ann of Scotia                   32 S 3
Deil Amang the Tailors    32 R 3

26 May 2015 - Tenafly - End of Season party

The Program:–

Trip to Gretna Green     32 J 3
Argyll Strathspey          32 S 3
The Sailor                     32 H 3
The Cranberry Tart       32 J 3
The Gentleman             32 S 3
The Captain's House     32 R 3

Joie de Vivre                  32 J 3
New Abbey                    32 S 2
Falls of Rogie                 32 R 3
Christine M Phillips      32 J 3
Asilomar Romantic       32 S 3
General Stuart's Reel     32 R 3

20 May 2015 - Westchester

Cutty Sark  -  (32 J 3) -
Cardross House  -  (32 S 3)  - Brunken
Quarries' Jig  -  (32 J 3)  - Smith

Argyll's Fancy  -  (48 J 4) - Graded Bk
Sleepy Maggie  -  (32 R 3) -


Cardross House - ** This one is special! **  The music makes the dance (and it didn't need any help), and oh the music is fabulous! 2 traditional tunes interleaved with 2 modern compositions. MCunningham). The musicians- Muriel, Keith and Jim Lindsay. And they (and the tunes) are a sublime match.

9 May 2015 - Tenafly (NJ)

Dances taught:–

Findlays' Jig  -  (32 J 3)  - Goldring
Kendall's Hornpipe  -  (32 J 2) -
Tambourine  -  (32 R 3)  -
Joie de Vivre  -  (32 J 3)  -
The Button Boy  - (32 H 3)  - Zobel


The Button Boy - nice dance nice music!

13 May 2015 - Westchester

Dances taught:-

Dragonflies  -  (32 S 5some)  - Lataille
Follow Me Home  -  (32 J 3)  -
Bedrule  -  (32 S 3)  -
Mason's Apron  -  (32 R 3)  - Border Bk

Tambourine  - (32 R 3)  -
Joie de Vivre  -  (32 J 3)  -
Seann Triubhas Willichan  -  (32 S 2)  -


Dragonflies:– I do this to the recording by Susie Petrov and her old band Local Hero - OH MY! Good music and a good fit. The name tune of the set is Hamish Henderson's Refusal and the album is Hold the Lass till I get Her".

6 May 2015 - Westchester

Beyond the Black Stump  - (40 J circle) - Gradon
The Captain's House  - (32 R 3) - H. Boyd
Outward Bound  -  (32 J 3set) -  Price

Machine Without Horses  -  (32 J 3)  -
Asilomar Romantic  - (32 S 3)  - Cuthbertson
Cranberry Tart  - (32 J 3)  - Glasspool


The Captain's House:- A nice dance.  On the NY Branch's dance list and on the upcoming Pawling Weekend program.

Outward Bound:- a dance I wrote to the Peter Macfarlane and Lilian Linden's set of (North Country) jigs. And then revised from a 3C dance to a dance for 3Cs in a 3C set. It needs a lot of editing before publishing. The Maine Outward Bound program (which I attended in my youth) is based on Hurricane Island in the Penobscot Bay - the name of the 4th tune in the set.

I got a thumbs up from the dancers so it may be published - Real Soon Now.

Asilomar Romantic:- One of my long time favourites which I learned as Rose and Woodbine. Now there is a recording by Reel of Seven that will knock your socks off!!

Cranberry Tart:- Another favourite of mine. Thank you Terry Glasspool!

29 April 2015 - Westchester

Down Under - (32 J  3) - Boehmer
Spiffin'  (32 J 5) - by committee
Meeting of the Waters  - (48 R 3) - Boyd
Beauty of the North - (32 S 3) - Boyd
Trip to Gretna Green  - (32 J 3) - unknown
Sugar Candie  - (32 S 3) - Bk 26


Again - basic warm-upper dance followed by ball prep.

22 April 2015 - Westchester

Dances taught:

The Ferryboat  (32 J lrg circle)  C. Hunt
Quarries' Jig  (32 J 3)  Bk 36
Back to Back  (32 J 3)  Glasspool
Strathglass House  (32 S 3)  Bk 13
Lamb Skinnet  (32 J 3)  Bk 14
Sleepy Maggie  (32 R 3)  Bk 11
Triumph  (24 R 4)  Bk 1


The Ferryboat - nice simple warmer upper.
Quarries' Jig - Yes! Thumbs up for fun dances.
Back to Back - Another thumbs up! The 'Push-me Pull-you' reels are pure genius.
Strathglass House - standard repertoire and up-coming.
Lamb Skinnet - std. repertoire and up-coming.
Sleepy Maggie - oh! The Music!!
Triumph - std repertoire and up-coming and prepped by Charlotte.

15 April 2015 - Westchester

Dances taught were:

Tine's Jig  (32 J 3)  E. Brunken
Ferrymead  (32 S 3)  H. Walker
Tambourine  (32 R 3) L. Bowen
Christine M Phillips  (32 J 3)  46/1

New Abbey  (32 S 3)
Duke of Atholl's Reel  (32 J 2)
Westminster Reel  (32 R 2)


Tine's Jig - a nice little dance with nice music by Muriel Johnstone, Jim Lindsay and Keith Smith.

Ferrymead - a nice dance. I didn't like the way it read but I like the way it dances! Recommended.

Tambourine - another "thumbs up' dance

Christine M Phillips - I like it, so I teach it.  Someday the corners will wakeup.

New Abbey - A strathspey, or is it a jig, or is it both? Definitely what I call a 'throwaway'.

Westminster Reel - taught by Charlotte one of the area Teacher Candidates. I still like it - even after completing the TC's course.

Kilts and Ghillies Tea Dance - 11 April 2015

Kilts and Ghillies Tea Dance

Trip to Gretna Green
Glasgow Highlanders
Chevy Chase
Scottish Reform
Castle Douglas
Rye Twist
Newburgh Jig
Sands of Morar
Irish Rover

The John Drewry Memorial set)
   Bow Fiddle Rock
   Miss Florence Adams
   Thomas Glover's Reel
C'Est l'Amour
The Dream Catcher
On the Quarter-Deck
The Flying Spur
Gentle Lady
Reel of the Royal Scots


A Good Time was had by All.

8 April 2015 - Westchester

Warmup dance:

Down Under  (32 J 2)

Dances Taught:

Peggy's Love  (32 S 3)  Bk 8/2
Rye Twist  (32 R 5 ) McKinnell
Scottish Reform  (32 J 2) Bk 3
Culla Bay  (32 S 4 sq)  Dix
Da Rain Dancin'  (32 R 3) Wallace

Peggy's Love and Rye Twist on up coming Ball Programs so prep, prep prep!

7 April 2015 - New Haven - Kilts & Ghilllies Workshop

Mostly New Haven class dancers turned out, very few out of class dancers showed.

Dances taught:

Scottish Reform (32 J 2) - Bk 3 (local variation)
Chevy Chase (32 R 3) - B. Priddey
Dream Catcher (96 S 4)
Newburgh Jig (32 J 3) Bk 48
Rye Twist (32 R 5) Bk 48
Bow Fiddle Rock (32 J 3) Drewry
Miss Florence Adams (32 S 3) Bk 38

Scottish Reform dances is a much nicer dance when on bars 13-16 first couple half turn moving up, retain RHs and set. The published version is much confusion for no gain.

Chevy Chase - I like the dolphin flip between the reels.

Newburgh Jig - not worth it.

Rye Twist - definitely worth it!

Bow Fiddle Rock - deceptively simple and definitely worth the effort.

Miss Florence Adams - has an undeserved reputation as being hard. It was when it was first published. Set and link was new! So was Corners Pass and Turn. Put them together and people's minds went into overload. Now, 15 years later when we have all dance set and link and corners pass and turn many, many, times its a relative cinch. Worth it! Always was.