Wednesday, April 6, 2016

16 March 2016 – Westchester

A class of scarcity but with interesting developments.

The weather was awful, cold and rain, lots of rain. The turnout was low.
At the start of class there only five dancers so I pulled out one of my specials, Jane Lataille's Dragonflies. Which I love and which I do to the 5x32 S set by Susie Petrov off her vinyl album Hold the Lass Till I get Her. (The music helps make the dance).

A few more dancers drifted in and we made a circle. There had been a  discussion on Strathspey about this circle waltz and since I had the book I decided to try it out. It is a smashing dance it is it is.
Since I did not have the name tune for Waltzing to Iowa  I used "Penobscott Memory" by The White Cockade on their musical tape "Tartan Stew". The class loved it. There are some wonderful interactions between the dancers. Highly recommended.

Then on to a standard Australian Ladies, and I, once again, taught my Mermaid Jig - The Pawling Mermaid, followed my my Mermaid reel - The Palisades Mermaid. The dance went well enough and I saw what I needed to see to amend the final two bars of the reel. No way was anyone going to be comfortable turn RH 3/4 to end in 2nd place own sides and Plan B became operative.

The Mermaid dances worked which is really nice to know since they are going to be published Real Soon Now. i.e. someday. And a big 'thank you' to Keith Rose who started making diagrams for them before I even knew he had the directions.

The teaching of The Palisades Mermaid took enough out of the class that we ended with Sugar Candie and headed home.

The dances I taught:-

Dragonflies  -  (5x32 S 5some)  -  Jane Lataille
Waltzing to Iowa  -  (32 W n circle)  - D. Schneider
Australian Ladies  -  (32 R 3)  -  Campbell
The Pawling Mermaid  -  (32 J 3)  -  Price (unpublished)
Palisades Mermaid   -  (32 R 3)  -  Price (unpublished)
Sugar Candie  -  (32 S 3)  -  Bk 26/9

9 March 2016 - Westchester

Well, the first ball is over and done with. And a great weekend it was too. The band was Dave Wiesler, David Knight and Dan Emory. Fabulous!

The New Haven Highland Ball WeekendAt Westchester this w programs are here.

Only three more to go. Westchester has been added to the list even though we don't have a program yet and we have less than 60 days to go. Real Soon Now!!! Please?

At Westchester this week we taught the following:-

As a warmup...
The Ferryboat  -  (32 J ncircle)  - Let's All Dance (Hunt)
The Captain's House  -  (32 R 3)  - H. Boyd
Richard the Third  -  (32 S 3)  - Glasspool- 7 Year Itch
Orpington Caledonian  -  (32 R 3)  - Bk 49/2

The Rerr Terr Jig  -  (40 J 3)  - Trinkaus-Randall
Linea's Strathspey  -  (32 S 3)  - Bk 47 (Wilson)
Da Rain Dancin'  -  (32 R 3)  - Wallace

The Pawling Mermaid  -  (32 J 3)  - Price (unpublished)


The Ferryboat:- A very nice, simple, warm up dance, also good for audience participation, new dancers and whatever else you want. In my hip pocket for just hat reason.

The Captain's House:- I like it - Give it about a 92 :-)  Didn't know what to think of it when first it appeared on a NY Branch ball program but danced it once and fell for it. And, just to add to the fun, it was devised by Holly Boyd (Montreal) who was with Deborah and me in Portland at the TAC candidate class.

Richard the Third:-I have been teaching this dance to The Loch Leven Dancers as a performance dance. They are coming around and beginning to really enjoy it. I have also taught it to my class at the New Haven Friends Meeting. They gave it a Golden Ghillie award.  Now the Westchester club has been exposed to it and have also given it a positive response.

With that many good reviews you too should take a look at it.

Be aware that Terry is doing whatever he can to mess with your mind.

First he changes the timing of a standard figure of eight just a bit. It needs to end in the middle ready to give LH to partner, not on the sidelines. That LH turn is ALL the way around - not half- and is on the zesty side.

Secondly the right hands across, man up with 2C and lady down with 3C end with 1C closely back to back and the corners back out to place; then the circles of 3 go"back" to the right! and open up with 1M drawing 2C down onto the men's side and 1L drawing 3C up onto the ladies' side.

Thirdly he has a R&L for 3 couples. 2C and 3C change on the diagonal RH, ALL cross over LH; right diagonals cross RH, ALL cross LH. The key here- cross all the way onto the side lines every time. A wonderfully satisfying pulse develops when that happens and IMHO is the heart of the dance. Note that at the end of this last crossing 1C (making it a turn) is facing 3rd corner position!

Now comes the hardest part - half reels of four on the diagonal with a very zesty Left shoulder dance rounds to face 4th corner. Corners can not be slow! They need to be out of the way so 1C can start the second half reel only a half bar late - on time is almost impossible but worth striving for. The way I like to end the dance is with a second L shoulder dance round ending in the center but shoulder to shoulder and facing out own sides, from where you can cast in parallel with the new couple starting at the top.

I love this one!

Orpington Caledonians:- Reads nice and easy. In actuality, 'A Little Stinker" to steal a the words  from the  mouth of the great New England contra caller Ralph Page.

Control! You need to be aware and in control. Big Thumbs UP.

The Rerr Terr Jig:- Won in a raffle. A wee bit more of a challenge for beginners then we wished. Not bad. It won't make my top 50 list but it will be in the back of my mind for...

Linnea's Strathspey:-Another one for which I can say "I love this one".

Da Rain Dancin':- It is part of my standard repertoire. Another "I love this one!" IMHO the RSCDS need to publish this one and claim it as their own. It is better than most, and the music makes it!

2 March 2016 – Westchester

Another  prep session for the upcoming balls - The New Haven Highland Ball - NJ's Rerr Terr Ball -
 The Kilts and Ghillies Tea Dance.

Driving through Eutaw  - (32 J 3)  -  Leary
Scott Meikle  - (32 R 4)  - Bk 46/3
Sands of Morar  -  (32 S 3)  - Bk 45/6 (Priddey)
Flights of Fancy  -  (32 J 3)  -  Boston 50th (McColl)

Rory O'More  -  (32 J 2)  -  Bk 1/9
Duchess of Atholl's Slipper  -  (32 S 2)  -  Bk 9/3
Countess of Dunmore's Reel  -  (32 R 3)  - Bk 49/12 (D M Bark)
Many Happy Returns  -  (32 S 3)  - Briscoe


Rory O'More:- 1 star - If I Must. The swap places on the sides is OK. and I love poussette with pas de basque, but what else is there in this dance? If you absolutely can not find another QT poussette anywhere else in the standard repertoire then why not this dance.

Driving Through Eutaw:- Alright already - I admit it, I am prejudiced toward this dance. But it still has a little more substance to it than Rory O' More has IMHO. The first 16 bars a unbalanced and take you out of your box, and that is a good thing. It takes a little bit of thinking. A short video is available - see my earlier post.

Scott Meikle:- on the Kilts and Gillies Tea Dance. And a lovely wee bit of choreography it is. I just love surprise progressions where you look around and ask "how did this happen?"

Sands of Morar:- from one of my favorite divisors, Barry Priddey. He didn't write as many dances as John Drewry did, but as a percentage I think he has more really good dances. Take a look at the Golden Ghillies page and do the counting - and this award comes from the dancers.

This dance is not one of my favorites. It is good, and I will happily dance it. I just believe he has devised better ones, and that said you should not plan a trip to the loo when this one comes up. Far from it. This is a good dance - just not one of his best. And if you like this one what does that mean about his others?

Flights of Fancy:- Yes! Another good one! Thank you Jeanetta and the band and her father who wrote the tune and...
The trick to this dance is handling all the changes in orientation and facing and who is on the proper side or who is not and when. It is a tricky little dance but rewarding when you get it right.

The Duchess of Atholl's Slipper:- This is one dance you either love or hate or love to hate. Have you ever done it it a good sized, maybe even slightly oversize set? Try it. It smooths out all the rough spots. In a cramped ball room I'll of for the loo first. With space - I love it. I also love diversity and these reels are different. Thumbs up to that!

The Countess of Dunmore's Reel:-  Chaperoned chain progression! Yes! This dance dance rocks! As does the original dance Linnea's Strathspey.