Tuesday, September 22, 2015

19 September 2015 - Alpine Boat Basin Dance

A picnic lunch and then dancing, a wood floored pavilion covered from the weather, which was fabulous, with the Hudson River a hundred feet away. Lovely, simply lovely. And the program was good too.

Jubilee Jig
Falls of Rogie
Asilomar Romantic
Flowers of Edinburgh
Pelorus Jack
Delvine Side
Mole's Frolic
Reel of the Royal Scots

Machine Without Horses
The White Cockade
John McAlpin
Quarries' Jig
Minister on the Loch
The Sailor
Ann of Scotia
Deil Amang the Tailors

There was a complaint - The Reel of the Royal Scots and Machine Without Horses have track figures that are essentially identical but in differing orientations. Hmmm. True and I had never realized it.
A superb first effort from two of our new teachers: Elizabeth and Ken.

16 September 2015 - Westchester

Teachers:- Deborah and Charlotte

Dances Taught:-

Bramble Circle - (32 J n Circle) - Vandegrift; Lets All Dance
Quarries' Jig - (32 J 3) - Smith; Bk36
Miss Gibson's Strathspey - (32 S 3) - Leaflets
Orpington Caledonians - (32 R 3) - Bk 49
Ann of Scotia - (32 S 3) - Ronald; Worldwide Weavings
Gloria's Wee Jig - (32 J 3) - McMurtry; Devil's Quandry


Bramble Circle:- reasonable wee dance. Good warmup.

Quarries' Jig:- I like! It rewards good dancers and good dancing.

Miss Gibson's:- a standard.

Orpington Caledonians:- This one will brcome a standard in my humble opinion. Simple, flowing, and still satisfying.

Ann of Scotia:- I have said it before - superb. Two thumbs up.

Gloria's Wee Jig:- Again, and it still makes me smile. The ending chase is just a wee bit of genius. And it is now on the latest short list for the upcoming Kilts and Ghillies Tea Dance.

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.

8 September 2015 – Ho Ho Kus (NJ)

The first class of the new season - Liz and Elizabeth taking the teaching duties.

The dances taught were:-

Ann of Scotia – (32 S 3) – World Wide Weavings (Ronald)
Reel of the Royal Scots – (32 R 3) – Goldring
Flora's Fancy – (32 J 3) – 49/8

The Dhoon – (32 J 4) - Children's Book
Bobby Brown's Canadian Breakdown – (32 R 3 sq)  – Millar
Mole's Frolic – (32 J 3) – Dunsmuir Dances (T. Winter)


Ann of Scotia :- In my top 50. Scrumptious dance IMHO. The only complaint I have heard, and this second or third hand, is great dance up until the last four bars. I disagree. The 2hand turn once round at the end can be VERY intimate if done with the proper mind set and is in keeping with the flirtatious intent of the dance. Ann was and still is a flirt and dancing with her is great fun. And
she got her man!

Reel of the Royal Scots:- What can I say? It is a classic, and always will be.

Flora's Fancy :- This one is interesting. My spies on the dance floor say the flow for 1st couple is fantastic. Not so great for 2nd and 3rd couples. So I took it off the Kilts and Ghillies program short list, but there is the thought that dancing it once uncovers the difficult bits and dancing it again allows you to anticipate and adjust as necessary. Worth another dancing.

The Dhoon/Bobby Brown's Canadian Breakdown:- Every teacher has a number of "Oh crap, what do I do now" emergency go-to dances. These are one teacher's. Conversely, every dancer has a list of "Yikes, I need to find a rest room, right now" dances. These two are on my list. My personal opinion of these dances, having danced them once too many times, is… tedious. In the extreme. Oh well. I am sure that my fall back, safety net, dances have to be getting old for some of the dancers.

I have noticed that when I point a finger there are three fingers pointed back at me.

Mole's Frolic:- I like this one. It caught my attention on the first reading, It looked like a gift from Heaven, a fabulous program opener. Yeah, Right.  Good, actually very good, but maybe not the gem of an opener I thought. Too energetic with not enough down time. All dancers moving most of the time. What I call a "huff and puffer". Still, worth it.