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Sharlene Penman (piano), visiting from New Zealand, is the band leader for the 2019 Tea Dance.
Our fiddlers are Sarah Stefanski and Jenny Evans, both local artists.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

1 March 2017 – Westchester

Tonight was intended to be a final prep session for the New Haven Highland Ball happening this weekend.
Accordingly I sent an email asking dancers to come with program dances they wanted reviewed.
The response was silence. The number of dancers going to the ball could be counted on one hand.
I revised as I went and wandered a bit from my original intent.

The Dances:-

Mrs Stewart's Jig  –  (32 J 3)  –  Bk 35
Maxwell's Rant  –  (32 R 3)  –  Bk 18
Barbara's Strathspey  –  (32 S 3)  –  Bk 46
New Haven Grid Lock  –  (48 J 4 sq)  –  Thomson
Surprising Hannah  –  (32 S 3)  –  Collin

Follow Me Home  –  (32 J 3)  –  Bk 38
Karin's Strathspey  –  (32 S 3)  –  3rd Graded
Saltire Society Reel  –  (32 R 3)  –  L28

* * * * * * * * * *

Mrs Stewart's Jig:-  Chosen because it is simple and easy and makes a decent warmup. Or so I thought. One set did fine. The other set was in pretty continuous breakdown.  I chose not to bring the class down to the lowest common denominator so I did not walk it a second, third, fourth... time.

Maxwell's Rant:- There is a presentation coming up next week. A set of dancers will be showing to the town's mayor and council and I was asked to give them all a run through.   Not on the ball.

Barbara's Strathspey:-  Ball dance, and it is lovely. It has been a favourite in this area for some years but hasn't been done recently. It had its three years on the NY dance list, has been off for a couple more, and because it isn't on the list it hasn't been on any local programs and hasn't been done. On the whole it went very well. No break downs - if there were problems they danced through them.

New Haven Grid Lock:- Oh My! Interesting. I know who wrote it and it is so George! Rough around the edges is being kind, but brimming with cheer and good energy.  The essential ingredient would be anticipation.  The neat thing is that because the squares are lined up, when everyone faces out of their set some couples will be facing another couple. If you dance half RL those couples change sets!

On the brunch program.

A little history - when New Haven Colony was founded the town was laid out in a 3x3 grid of nine squares, the center one being the town green.

Surprising Hannah:-  Yes! I say again - Yes! Simple? Yes. Demanding? Yes. Enjoyable? Oh Yes, but you need to have, like, and execute technique. Strong steps are needed here. The figures go out to the side lines whenever possible, which is most of the time, and you must be able to move!!

As far as I know I am still the only area teacher advocating Gaye Collin's dances. I have just shortlisted this one for the 2018 Kilts and Ghillies Tea Dance program. Not because I like it but because several of the dancers liked it enough to say so! And not just out of politeness.  Thumbs up.

Not on the ball or brunch programs. One of my winter specials.

Follow Me Home:-  Another good enjoyable dance from the Briscoes. The key is getting 1st couple to cross to opposite sides on bars 23-24.  Thumbs up.

Karin's Strathspey:- I now see why the coach of the competition team had them release from the two hand turns and reform into the circle. It keeps 1st couple oriented to their proper positions. I personally don't like the way the unnecessary hand movements look.

Saltire Society Reel:-  The specified setting/set advancing is hard! Unless the dancers are dem team ready it isn't going to happen cleanly. I admit I didn't even try. I had corners advancing on the third and fourth pas de basque. Mea culpa.



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