Opening night of a new series and I always struggle. There are the usual suspects and then there is a certain amount of churn within a rotating pool of other dancers, and I haven't seen them as a class in about a year, and I feel rusty. It doesn't matter that I finished teaching a series for another class just 2 weeks ago. Each class has its own identity and I need to adjust. And I am just a little slow at that these days.
The churn of ball prep continues. The Rerr Terr is over and done, the Westchester Ball program just came out. And so it continues.
This group has a different class arrangement.
The first hour and a half is supposedly geared for beginners, they accept them off the street nightly, and most of the technique is scheduled for this slot. The second half is less friendly to beginners and more dance oriented than skills oriented.
First Half (Deborah):-
Waltzing to Iowa – (32 W nCircle) – Schneider
Cutty Sark – (32 J 3) – Bk 40
The Highland Rambler – (40 R 3) – Goldring
Bedrule – (32 S 3) – Bk 33
Chicago Loop – (32 R 3) – K. Smith
Second Half (Peter):-
Gloria's Wee Jig – (32 J 3) – McMurtry
Peggy Spouse MBE – (32 S 3) – Bk 46
British Grenadiers – (32 R 3) – MMM
Abbot of Unreason – (32 J 3) – Levy/Tin Woodman
Black Leather Jig – (32 R 3) – Selling/DelVal25
* ** *** **** ** * ** **** *** ** *
Gloria's Wee Jig:– I hadn't planned on doing this dance. But after tea I was asked if the first dance was going to be beginner friendly. Seriously, how could I have said no?
It is a nice dance overall with one troubling fudge - the two men, on the diagonal, turn LH to set up the Ladies' Chain. It works but it always causes just a moment of "huh?". It is not a sweet flow but the chase that follows is. And, yes, I like the chase even though it unusual enough to confuse the unwary. Even when it is stressed as "the hard part".
These two issues are just enough to keep it off my Top 50 Jigs list.
Peggy Spouse MBE:- I like it. I give it a 92. The dance is a beauty! But I hate the teaching and the briefing. Too many words, too many short bits. Just too many pieces! I took a look at it when Bk 46 came out but I didn't learn/prep the dance until last year. The amount of ink on the page turned me away. I have reconsidered the situation and the dancers are liking it. Enough that they are putting in the work.
Bottom line-- A Keeper.
The British Grenadiers:- An oldie. Not on any of Tyler Campbell's lists and for good reason.
Simple dance with the figures following in no flowing order. In other words a simple, but not easy, dance.
But the new music by Jim Lindsay is simply too much fun not to use. And did that upset our Scots guard of expats. The nicest words I heard were "That's not Scottish!" followed by grumble grumble b***h and moan.
Different strokes and all that. This music not only makes me smile but it makes me want to get up and dance.
(We are talking about the RSCDS CD for Book 49 with Jim Lindsay and his band. He includes a couple of 'extras' just for fun.)
Abbot of Unreason:- By Milton Levy, with a borrowing from Caberfei. Music by one of our own, I mean one of New York City's own - Jim Stevenson lives on Long Island, just 40 miles and 3 hours away. (I exaggerate - a bit).
If you aren't familiar with Milton's name think Gang the Same Gate, My understanding is that Milton invented the set and link for three. I can not dredge up the information at this moment but some where he lectures on the difference between the types of set and links. There is the standard Set and Link, and there is the Set and Cross Link.
And when I teach using that language there is less confusion.
Set and link - dancers change places but not orientation. The standard.
Set and Cross Link - dancers change places but also orientation.
1C 2C join hands and set and "link" but end beside partner NHJ, 1C facing up and 2C facing down.
Try this - 1st and 2nd couples set and cross link.
And when you are briefing?
So set and link for 3 in Gang the Same Gate is technically a cross link. We don't call it that and later that makes our life harder when we teach set and link/cross link for 2 couples. No common vocabulary.
The Black Leather Jig:- Fun dance. Fairly easy dance. Great Music! I recommend the CD by Thistle House recorded live when the played the New Haven Ball and Brunch some years ago.
I knew the couple who would show up at dances in black motorcycle leathers. And then Heather made her man a leather kilt…
A great way to end a program or a half.