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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.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

24 October 2017 – New Haven

An appropriate subtitle for this post - Still Struggling.

It is almost the end of October and my goal was to have the Tea Dance program settled by September.
I missed that deadline. So I reset to the end of September. Missed that one too. We are now almost out of October and the program still hasn't come together to my satisfaction.

Usually when I have this much trouble finishing a program there is one dance that is holding things up. Doesn't play well with others, and no matter how much I want that one on the program everything improves when I take it away. Not this time. There is no one dance causing the problem. To make it work I would have to start from scratch and build the program in a different manner, from a different mind set. That isn't going to happen unless I am still struggling at Christmas.

Short version: today I am - still - looking at dances.

The dances taught:

Come What May  -  (32 J 2)  -  Bk 51/11
A Reel for Maria  -  (40 R 3)  -  Suncoast (McRanor)
The Clarsach  -  (32 S 3)  - Portland 20th (Ryer)
The Young Foxes  -  (32 R 3)  -  Gregg notes
Rockside  -  (96 J 4 sq)  -  Goldring
Scotia Sea  -  (32 R 3)  -  Goldring
From Paper to Pearl  -  (32 S 3)  -  Collin


   ***    ***   ***   *** **  *  ** ***   ***   ***   ***

Come What May:-  Book 51 is aaaah… something. Intended for children and beginners. Ok it might work for them. I used this dance for a warm up because our class includes a couple, in their 70s, who are challenged. They do not move well, are slow picking up patterns, don't always remember them in time, but they started dancing just over a year ago so this is normal. But I see little to like in the way of additions to the standard repertoire. How many circles do we need? But how many books do we skip over when making programs? Book 2?

We do Delvine Side regularly (for the music) but I haven't seen Bob O'Dowally, also good music, on a program in over 30 years. Glasgow Highlanders shows up now and again, but  Eightsome Reel? Not in over 20 years.
And now we add another book that is useful only in very specific circumstances.

A Reel for Maria:- A Yes. It is not a rave dance but it is a nice one. And yes it is on the Tea Dance program. It is accessible to almost all, and it was written by Ellen McRanor who, before she retired, taught both the Kilts and Ghillies and the Woodbridge groups in Connecticut and is now teaching in Florida.

I had no idea Ellen had published dances until I met Livia Kohn (a co-author) at Pinewoods this summer and saw the book in the bookstore. I had to… I mean not buy a book with their work in it? And not put one of her dances on 'her' ball? Seriously?

In regards to the book - some very nice dances here. Thumbs up.
It is available from lulu.com. They print (and mail) on demand and do the eBook thing too.

The Clarsach:- Some nice moves and some different moves. Definitely worth looking at. Some of the transitions just plain make me smile, and that is a very good thing.

A video will be coming soon - I mean Real Soon Now, like before March… maybe. (Hopefully much sooner but who knows with this group of mine).

The Young Foxes:- By Robert Gregg. When he died he gave me several files of dance notes and the commission to edit and publish what I could. This is the first one which I could clean up enough for publishing. It is now published in Ruby Anniversary Book - Scottish Country Dances from Connecticut.

The entry into the first reel is almost unique and worth it. The flow is worthy of John Drewry. The short form - two thumbs up - I Like It!

Not for this year but starred and on the top of the shortlist for 2019.

The Scotia Sea:- I have taught and talked about this dance before.

From Paper to Pearl:- Do it! Didn't you hear me? DO IT! As I taught it I heard several "huhs?" and when we danced it I then heard several "wows!"

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