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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.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

23 January 2018 - New Haven

Deborah celebrated Burns Night with the Ho-Ho-Kus class of the New Jersey Branch and I provided the neeps. :-)

It is the start of the new season and a busy season it is coming up. Both the New Jersey Branch and the New Haven Branch have 2 events:NJ has a workshop in Maplewood and their usual ball The Rerr Terr; New Haven has it's Highland Ball weekend and the Kilts and Ghillies Tea dance and Westchester has it's ball in early June. That is a lot of ball prep to look forward too…Not!

I decided to ease into it by only doing a bit of ball prep. The Facebook page for the New Haven class indicates they don't need it from me so I am planning on having fun.

The dances I "taught" were:-

It's Nae Bother  -  (32 J 2)  -  Haynes
The Duchess Tree  -  (32 S 3)  -  Drewry
Scott Meikle  -  (32 R 4)  -  46/3

The "Winter Specials" were:-

The Aviator  -  (32 J 3)  -  Fischer
A Trip to Edinburgh  -  (32 R 4 sq)  -  Nolan
The Clumsy Lover  -  (32 R 3)  -  Aurora 10
Linnea's Strathspey  -  (32 S 3)  - Wilson

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

It's Nae Bother:-  Simple. Kind of cute. A nice way to get the muscles geared up for dancing.

The Duchess Tree:-  A lovely dance but so often poorly done. Two issues. The main one is the entry into the opening reels. 2C has no issue- they simply cross up to begin. 1C doesn't have a problem either if they simply do a normal cast in the normal time. 3C start the reel by taking 4 bars to cast up into second place. Ya, you betcha! A whole 4 bars but this is where the timing goes wrong -
3C tends to rush the cast and the reel gets real mushy.

The other piece that John Drewry choreographed impeccably is the Set, Circle, Turn, Circle. He tells you that you need to move the Turn along the circle. He is right. (Has he ever been wrong?) What I had tonight was an eye opening moment. I saw a couple of dancers who didn't know how to dance a two hand turn in such a way that it progressed along the circumference. In the press of the moment they couldn't even do a proper turn! And that means it has been Bad Teaching - and I passed the moment by when I could have taken the 30 seconds to demonstrate the point.

Scott Meikle:-I love this dance! Neat simple concept that makes you look up and say "how did I get here?" It has become a standard in the NY/NJ area and however often we have done it, I still like it.
Two thumbs up!

The Aviator:- OMG!! This one literally gives me goose bumps up and down my arms both when I dance it and when I see it danced well covered. Yes, it is that good. So Just Do It.

The music used in our video is by Dave Wiesler and Mara Shea. It is good. The music I prefer is "On the Wings of the Morning" by Keith Smith and Muriel Johnstone's from their CD "Campbell's Birl".

The class loved it too. And they were not adverse to my suggestion that it might show up on the 2019 K&G Tea Dance program.

The Clumsy Lover:- Deborah came home raving, well she wasn't actually raving, but she was very enthusiastic about it. The experiment was repeated here and the result was the same. Enthusiasm.
Another candidate for the 2019 K&G short list.

There is a video but I don't know the music. I talked to a piper and there is a pipe tune of this name.
Would that I could play it so I could hear it. I had to come up with a tune but had nothing quite like what they played on the video - I used City of Stirling Reel/Glencraig SCD Band.

Result of the experiment - enthusiasm and more than one thumbs up from the floor.

Linnea's Strathspey:-  Oooh, nice! Highly recommended (as I have said before).





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