XTRA! XTRA! Read All About It!

Sharlene Penman (piano), visiting from New Zealand, is the band leader for the 2019 Tea Dance.
Our fiddlers are Jenny Evans and Amy Beshara.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

15 February 2017 – Westchester

The dances taught last night were:-

Caffeine Dreams  –  (32 J n Circle mixer)  – Price
Chased Lovers  –   (32 J 3)  – Tim Wilson
Flower of Glasgow  –  (32 S 3/3L)  – Ruth Taylor
Catch the Wind  –  (32 H 3)  –  Butterfield
St. Faolon of the Woods  –  (32 J 3)  – Smith
Mason's Apron  –  (32 R 3)  –  Border Bk.

Hedwig's Reel  –  (32 R 3)  –  2nd Graded
Strathglass House  –  (32 S 3)  –  Bk 13
Falls of Rogie  –  (32 R 3)  – Attwood

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Caffeine Dreams:- A circle  mixer for as many as will.  It achieved life after 'she who must be obeyed' made a comment that she couldn't find a simple circle warmup dance that had turns in it. So I suggested she write one. She suggested strongly that it was easy for me not so easy for her.

Since I was on my unusual second cup of coffee I did. The result was unmentionable, as most of the figures cut across the musical phrases. Not easy. So I rethought and rewrote and came up with this.

1–4    All adv. & ret. ;
5–6    men adv.,
7–8     ladies adv,. as men turn over R shoulder and dance out. (Cpls pass by R shoulders and face right into…).
9–16    All turn partner RH back to place (1_1/4 - ladies face out, men in) ; all turn corner (neighbor)  LH once round back to original places (ladies face out, men in).
17–24    All join hands and balance, turn ptnr RH half round ; join hands (ladies face in/men out) and balance, and turn next corner LH half round (you have left your partner).

25–32    With the next person turn RH (1_1/4) into promenade hold facing anti-CW ; promenade for 4 bars. With new partner face in to reform the circle.

It was confusing and I am puzzled why that was so.  It was the first teaching of a new dance so it could be the words I used were not sufficient. It could be the dance sucks, which is different from unworkable.

If anyone would pick this dance up, try it out, and inform me of the result I would greatly appreciate it.

Chased Lovers:- Nice Dance!! From Tim Wilson who is writing some absolutely top notch dances these days. The Docent's Tour, The Elusive Muse and Linnea's Strathspey are three that come to mind. This dance is definitely a keeper and is going on my Top 50 list.

Flower of Glasgow:-  Another nice little dance from Ruth Taylor. It contains a 3C circulating Allemande and there is a family resemblance to Swirling Snow. A thumbs up.

Catch the Wind:- Around here this is part of the standard repertoire. It is a good dance and nothing more needs be said of the dance. The music however…  The music I used last night was not the set usually used.

I have two copies of the dance. One published in The Island Bay Collection, one published by the RSCDS. In the Island Bay version the "name" tune is "Flirtation Hornpipe." In Bk 45 the tune see by the Society is "The Navvie".  I have three recordings, only the one by The Music Makars uses "Flirtation Hornpipe" - so The Question  - which one is correct?

St. Faolon of the Woods:- This one is not on any upcoming ball. It is from my list of Winter Specials. These are dances that I have never done and have caught my eye and I need to try them out. (I am always in search of hidden gems that might be the next Montgomeries' Rant). This one isn't going to be that. But it is a fun one.

Learned at the last Asilomar Weekend where it was done Sunday morning when the dancers are all tired and a bit hung over. And it went smoothly, more smoothly than it went last night.

Using my class in New Haven, CT to test a dance for public consumption is not a fair test. The class is predominately experienced and advanced. Using the Loch Leven Performance Team for guinea pigs is also not a fair test. Using the Westchester group which, is very mixed, is a very fair test of a dance.

Upshot of the trial is that it deserves a second test, and a test in which I teach it carefully and thoroughly with no assumptions. I like it, I would willingly do it again, and I would like to be in touch with Andrew Smith the devisor as I have a couple of questions for him.

Hedwig's Reel:- Yikes! I would not choose to open a ball with this dance! Granted no pas de basque, no slip step. But it moves and it is not what I would consider at all gentle, especially not gentle enough for a warmup/opening dance. It requires a good degree of high level technique. Footwork be damned  - it's the handing, phrasing, anticipation and transitions that need a lot of practice. Deceptively simple dances make good teaching dances. This is one of them.

Falls of Rogie:- Local standard repertoire and a great ender. Lots of Fun!

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