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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.

Friday, January 29, 2016

27 January 2016 – Westchester

Third series, class number 1 and a somewhat rocky start.

The other teacher and I were not in contact until just days before the class, I myself had not gotten into the groove so no lesson plan/cribs had gone out to the class which is the procedure in Westchester.

And there was a gotcha of my own doing.

Because no cribs were sent out, a couple of the dancers went onto Strathspey looking for the upcoming ball programs that I would probably be teaching to. And in looking there found a dance that resonated with the blizzard of the weekend. A 32 bar Strathspey called called Swirling Snow, from  the Martello Tower Bk 7 (Kingston, Ontario). They brought it to my attention and, since I did not have a program ready for Wednesday, teaching it seemed like a good idea…     Yeah! Right!

I knew it until I tried to teach it. Just a wee bit of confusion and a fair bit of embarrassment. I had to figure out on the floor how the circulating allemande worked. Once over that hurdle it went well and was liked. I am now looking for a copy of the original because it is always a bad idea to teach a dance from the cribs.

The dances I taught:

Orpington Caledonians  –  (32 R 3)  –  Bk 49
Swirling Snow  –  (32 S 3 set)  – Martello Tower 7
Braes of Balquhidder  –  (32 R 3)  –  18C

Fingal's Fancy  –  (32 J 3)  – Alexander 3
John McAlpin  –  (32 S 3)  –  Foss
Davy Nick Nack  –  (32 S 3)  – Glasgow Assy


Orpington Caledonians:- On the Kilts and Ghillies Tea Dance and the NJ Rerr Terr. And in a major departure from established procedures there has not been a teachers workshop to learn the dances in the recently issued Book 49. I have been teaching this one because I put on the K&G program based on a reading of the text. I got lucky with it because it was voted a Golden Ghillie by the dancers in my New Haven class.

Swirling Snow:- They liked it in spite my incredible fumbling. Now on my short list for my Feb. class in New Haven and, if they like it too, it gets short listed for next year's tea dance. I give it a thumbs up. Nice job Ruth Taylor!

Braes of Balquhidder:- There are two dances with this name you know. One a strathspey, this a reel. And what is different about this dance is the phrasing. You can't parse it neatly. You need to exercise good judgement and common sense. The first 16 bars are restrained and then it takes off and flies! There a pieces that you can not phrase in a normal, what we were taught, fashion. A little more, a little further, with more flight. you need either young legs or to know how to cut corners.

Fingal's Fancy:- A nice light hearted jig. Need a simple dance with Double Triangles? Choose this one.

John McAlpin:- I have a problem with this dance as done in this area. It seems to be the rule, self selected and not taught by any teacher that I know of, that as 1C dance down to 2nd place and turn with LH to face 1st corners  2nd couple step on on bars 7&8.  What??

Once result, which I have seen, is that 1C end up somewhere down between 3rd couple and have no idea where their corners are. Good for a hearty laugh - and some embarrassment. The instructions are very clear - 2C steps up AS 1C lead down -  on bars 5&6!! It opens up the space where 1C must end and prevents the confusion.

Davy Nick Nack:- Great dance. Just one thing of which you must beware - DO NOT EVER dance this in a 7 couple set unless it is a children's class and you are desperately trying burn off their excess energy.

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