Saturday, November 18, 2017

8 August 2017 – New Haven

This is the beginning of my summer long Kilts and Ghillies tryout period where my secondary goal is to 'test' dances on real people to get a real response to the questions "is there any social redeeming value to this dance?' and 'is there enough social value to seriously consider it for the K&G Tea Dance?'

Saw ye my wee thing  -  (32 J 2)  -  a warm up
Dance No. 65 --  tryout for Book 52
Topsy Turvy  -  (32 S 3 set)  -  Glasspool
The Griffin  -  (32 R 3)  -  McMurtry
Land of the Rising Sun  -  (32 S 3 set)  -  Joubert
A Reel for Maria  -  (40 R 3)  -  McRanor
From Paper to Pearl  -  (32 S 3)  -  Collin

**   *   **   *   **   +   **   *   **   *   **

Topsy Turvy:- Very nice! Not the usual wonderful confection by Terry Glasspool. Simple, elegant, accessible. Definitely worth shortlisting. (Made the cut and is on the program for 2018)!

The Griffin:-  Also very nice. Different. Timing the reels is a bit of a challenge for some.  Not as hard as I remember it being. Definitely short listed.

Land of the Rising Sun:- This one got a thumbs up from the class and a thumbs down from me. Cute idea but not to my taste.

A Reel for Maria:- Nice little dance. Simple. Good for a breather. Ellen McRanaor used to teach the Kilts and Ghillies class so there was a little favoritism. (see The Suncoast Collection). Made it to the shortlist and onto the program!

From Paper to Pearl:- They liked it. It made the cut and onto the short list. It didn't make the program though. On the 2019 shortlist.

12 June 2017 -- Scotia

Aldebaran  -  (32 J 3)  -  Gregg
Rakes of Auld Reekie  -  (32 S 2)  -  Priddey
Winter Wonder  -  (32 R 3)  - Lataille
The Elusive Muse  -  (32 J 3)  -  Wilson
Miss Jane Muirhead of Dunsmuir  -  (32 S 3)  -  Winter
Tidewater Reel  -  (32 R 4)  -  Gregg

Six dances - all good, if not excellent, ones. All a teacher's choice. Recommended one and all.

5 June 2017 -- Scotia

I am well behind and out of order. You will therefore get pretty much a straight listing of the dances Deborah and I taught with no, or very little, commentary.

Waltzing to Iowa  -  (32 W circle)  -  Schneider
Mary Erskine  -  (32 R 3)  -  Goldring
Bedrule  -  (32 S 3)  -  bk 33/7
Flowers of Edinburgh  -  (32 R 3)  -  1/6
The Happy Meeting  -  (32 J 2)  -  29/9
The Rose of the North  -  (32 S 3)  -  Goldring
The Meeting of the Waters  -  (48 R 3)  -  Boyd
Surprising Hannah  -  (32 S 3 set)  - Collin
Shinkansen  -  (32 R 3)  -  Dix
Burn of Sorrow  -  (32 S 2)  -  Priddey

Thursday, October 26, 2017

25 July 2017 –– Loch Levan

On Saturday the exam for the Dance Achievement Awards were held. We met Sunday, A  Let Your Hair Down session.

The dances we did were:

Tae the Beggin'  -  (32 J 3)  -  McMurtry
Cat Atrophy  -  (32 R 3)  - McMurtry
Gypsy Weaver  -  (32 S 3)  -  Peet
The Turning Point  -  (32 R 2)  -  Thomas
Untitled WIP  -  (4x32S+4x32R)  -  Xiaowen Yu
Topsy Turvy  -  (32 S 3 set)  - Glasspool
Colonel JL Chamberlain  -  (32 J 3 set)  - Price
The Griffin  -  (32 R 3)  -  McMurtry

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

Tae the Beggin:-  Simple stuff. Can't comment on the music as I am not a musician. Has a place on a program IMHO in that it basic with just a touch of spice.
Dance: Tae the Beggin' | SCDDB

Cat Atrophy:- A dance with a difference. That piece is in a 2 x 2bar chunk into diagonal half reels of four into Set & Link3. Not bad.
Dance: Cat Atrophy | SCDDB

Gypsy Weaver:- The dance? - Who cares, the music is sublime! Oh right the dance. Nice but it has a couple of spots where the timing takes work. My feeling= thumb up!
Dance: Gypsy Weaver | SCDDB

The Turning Point:- Don't have my notes with me but it is worth taking a look at - if you have the book. I have this impression that maybe I should invest the time in writing up a crib. The short form - it was good enough for catch my eye. And the music, when played by my computer, caught my ear.

Xiaowen's dance:- Wait… wait… wait… coming Real Soon Now and the product of a severely twisted mind.

Topsy Turvy:- A less convoluted example of spaghetti choreography than is usual from Terry. Actually clean and neat and thoroughly enjoyable. Thumbs UP!
Dance: Topsy Turvy | SCDDB

Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain:- One of mine. Devised while playing around with a figure by John Drewry used in his dance The Old Grey Cat. Except that what I originally had didn't work and it had to fix it in the last 8 bars. I think that is what made the dance.

It was published in The Nutmeg Collection as a 32 J for 3 couples in a 4 couple set.
The progression is unusual - it is 3 1 2 4. Both the 1C and the 2C move down in place and 2C gets to repeat as 2nd couple a second time. Weird! but it works presuming proper anticipation.

It works better? as a 3 couple dance in a 3 couple set where 1st couple has to do the anticipation because they end in 2nd place and become 2nd couple and must begin immediately as the new 2nd couple. Also weird.
Dance: Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain | SCDDB

The Griffin:- Guillaume Reels. Fun fun fun 'till my daddie takes my gillies away.
1st couple is in tandem facing men's side. Leader dances a Lsh Reel of 3 on sides (with 2+3 men) following dancer splits right and dance a figure eight in the same space at the same time - timing is everything! Two thumbs up! Shortlisted but couldn't fit it into the program. Sigh.
Dance: The Griffin | SCDDB

29 May 2017 –– Scotia

First hour Deborah taught

Saw ye my wee thing  -  (32 J 2)  -  25/9
Fair Donald  -  (32 S 3)  -  29/4
The Falls of Rogie  -  (32 R 3)  -  Attwood
Deil Amang the Tailors  -  (32 R 3)  -  14/7

The second hour I taught

Cutty Sark  -  (32 J 3)  -  40/2
Munro Rant  -  (32 S 2)  -  MMM
John Cass  -  (32 R 5)  -  49/10
Tamatea's Flute  -  (32 J 2)  -  Drewry

*  ––  ** ––  **  –– *  *  * -–– ** ––  **  ––  *

Cutty Sark:- a nice simple warm up dance with just enough difference to keep it from being a mindless throwaway.
Dance: Cutty Sark | SCDDB

Munro Rant:-  Again, a dance with a twist that keeps it mindful. And it has tourneĆ©.  What could be wrong?
Dance: The Munro Rant | SCDDB

John Cass:- This one is special. It is subtle! I repeat *subtle*!! And I like it.
The triple tandem diagonal reels - are triple, are  tandem, but not truly diagonal. I repeat - not truly diagonal. Every time I see it I discover tweaks I could make to the reels. I also find I haven't gone far enough from the standard.

The first thing I saw was that the timing improved if the two ladies (in 4th and 5th places) began the reel by dancing up the sideline. Not kinda sorta but literally up the sideline before cutting behind the tandem men. This was true for the top two women as well - they needed to dance down on the sideline before cutting the reel.

The next thing I saw was that 1st couple did better if they did not face the paired men on the diagonal but faced the gap in 3rd place on the men's side directly - both at the start of the two reels. This made the beginning directions (for both sets of paired men) much clearer and, surprise, the timing of the reel improved.

I have now seen a third 'tweak' - related to the previous observation. -  Everyone should be cutting the reel by dancing either straight across the set or straight up and down the set at their cutting time in the reel. This warps the axis/direction of the reel - it is no longer on the true diagonal and the loops are not symmetric. But the fit and the look are both improved.

The hardest part - getting the tandem dancers to wake up and start at the same time as their leader. Starting late is simply a  BAD  idea.

I give this one a teacher's choice award.

28 May 2017 - Loch Leven

Memorial Day weekend - dancing just for the fun of it. No rehearsal!

A good number of dances because we could.

Dragonflies  -  (32 S 5 persons)  -  Jane Latialle
Uncle Isaac  -  (32 R 2)  -  John Drewry
Lang may your lum reek  -  (32 J 2)  -  Priddey
Prince of Sutton Coldfield  -  (32 R 3)  -  Downey
Surprising Hannah  -  (32 S 3 set)  -  Collin
Surprising Hannah  -  in QT
Gypsy Dreams  -  (32 S 2)  -  Glasspool
Fisherman Ginger's Reel  -  (32 R 3)  -  Collin
A Moment for Marilynn  -  (32 S 2)  - Glasspool
Stroangassel  -  (32 R 3)  -  Foss
Tempest in a Teacup  -  (64 R 3 set)  -  Glasspool

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

Dragonflies:- I love it. I have good music for it. Susie Petrov's 5x32 set of strathspeys from Hold the Lass till I get Her.  It fills the need when there aren't quite enough dancers for a three couple set. And it satisfies.
Dance: Dragonflies | SCDDB

Uncle Isaac:-  A reasonable and accessible dance from John Drewry.
Dance: Uncle Isaac | SCDDB

Lang may your lum reek:- A dance! You have to think; and move; and cover; and…  All of those things I love about Scottish dancing. Good enough that  Rod Downey took the main theme and improvised on it and wrote The Prince of Sutton Coldfield in Barry Priddey's honour.
Dance: Lang May Your Lum Reek | SCDDB
Dance: The Prince of Sutton Coldfield | SCDDB

Surprising Hannah:- A simple little dance… but not so simple if you actually *dance* it. I shortlisted it for the 2018 Kilts and Ghillies Tea Dance. As of this date (2017.10.26) it isn't going to make the cut but Born to Dance is looking very likely.

We then tried it out in quicktime and it works there too. A Medley???
Dance: Surprising Hannah | SCDDB

Gypsy Dreams:- One of my all time favorite dances. I love the box setting and I hate the revisionist name of GypsyPoussette. Poussette has nothing to do with the matter!… And it doesn't hurt that I LIKE tourneĆ©.

For music Terry Glasspool recommends the version of The Birks of Invermay by Terpsichore. I agree. When asked what I do play for the dance Birks of Invermay if I am using this one for Gypsy Dreams I reply "a different one. I have several".
Dance: Gypsy Dreams | SCDDB

Fisherman Ginger's Reel:- I had to. I mean it - I HAD to!  Xiaowen (from Gaye's class) is dancing with us, and she, as well as many others here, love to play on the dance floor and since the play is written in…
Dance: Fisherman Ginger's Reel | SCDDB

A Moment for Marilynn:- Another one of Terry Glasspool's wonderful dances. This one has La Baratte and that is the most difficult part of the dance, and it is, all of it, lovely.
Dance: A Moment for Marilynn | SCDDB

Stroangassel:- OH MY! This one is a *three* thumbs up dance. It takes work but oh my goodness!!
Not for the faint hearted teacher. I would recommend a kite shaped back-to-back formation throughout and much practice.

I am passing strange as this dance is my kind of fun. The interactions are fugal and there are many of them for everyone.
Dance: Stroangassel | SCDDB

Tempest in a Teacup:- A Terry dance… again. It is liked, if not beloved, by several dancers here about. A good one that gets a thumb up but if I had to choose I would pick Terry's Chocolate Raspberry Swirl (40 S 3C) - it isn't as difficult and it too is satisfying. (Sorry no crib for it yet).
Dance: Tempest in a Teacup | SCDDB

23 May 2017 - New Haven

The dances I taught were

Deborah's Request  -  (32 R 3)  -  Price
Library of Birmingham  -  (40 S 4)  -  Bk 49
Palisades Mermaid  -  (32 R 3)  -  Price

Insomnia  -  (32 S 2)  -  Montes
Michael's Journeys  -  (32 R 3)  -  Anapol
Chelsea Square  -  (32 S 3)  -  I. Smith

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

Deborah's Request:- It was written as a reel but I taught it in jig time as a warm up.                               Dance: Deborah's Request | SCDDB

Library of Birmingham:-  Looked interesting, even somewhat complex. I have done the Rose progression before, liked it, and that was the attraction here. Don't bother. There are better dances with that figure. Unless there is an over riding social concern this dance will never be on any of my shortlists.   Dance: The Library of Birmingham | SCDDB

Palisades Mermaid:-  The dance is coming together. Not as I originally envisioned it because that version was difficult enough to require young legs and I no longer have them. Therefore a series of minor revisions to ease the physical demands. My third mermaid dance.

Keith Rose very kindly drew a diagram that is now, sadly, out of date. My newest project, having just revised the database crib, is to ask him to revise his diagram.    Dance: Palisades Mermaid | SCDDB

Insomnia:- A fairly simple dance, easy to dance, I give it about an 87. What is nice- your with your partner for most of the dance and, if they need help, you are there to give it.
Dance: Insomnia | SCDDB

Michael's Journeys:-  I was volunteered to brief this dance at a party. I had to learn it first.
Vivian was a relatively new teacher when she wrote and she was determined to use correct terminology. She succeeded - andit is nearly unreadable.  The briefing is much simpler.
Dance: Michael's Journeys | SCDDB

Chelsea Square:-  It has La Baratte! What could be wrong? The Set and Link for Three? The reels of three a la John Drewry's Bratach Bana?

The biggest issue, in general and not specifically to this dance, is that most dancers have no clue what is really happening in Set and link for three. They do it in a dance with music but can not walk it and that says to me they don't "know" it. Not Really. What I see as a fundamental piece is knowing that in your line of three the end dancers are changing places with each other - That is where you go! How is either through the middle or behind your line. The second hardest piece is on the one's shoulders. The temptation to follow the casting end dancer is almost irresistible.

The biggest need here - find good music to carry the dance. The musician is very good, the recording isn't.   `Dance: Chelsea Square | SCDDB

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

15 May 2017 – Scotia

First Hour:

Bramble Circle  -  (32 J n Circle)  - Vandegrift
Lady Catherine Bruce's Reel  -  (32 J 2)  -  Graded
Rakes of Glasgow  -  (32 S 3)  -  Bk 11

Second Hour:

Cutty Sark  -  (32 J 3)  -  Bk 40
Asilomar Romantic  -  (32 S 3)  -  SF2
Flight of the Falcon  -  (32 J 3)  -  Priddey

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

This post is commit free - aren't you lucky!

8 May 2017 – Scotia

First Hour:-

The Loch Ness Monster  -  (32 R 1 Circle)  -  Boyd
Lady Wynd  -  (32 J 3)  -  Goldring
Lady Peak's Strathspey  -  (32 S 3)  -  Drewry

Second Hour:-

Say ye my wee thing  -  (32 J 2)  -  Bk 25
Gordon of Straloch  -  (32 S 3)  - Price
The Compleat Gardener  -  (32 J 3)  -  3rd Graded
Davy Nick Nack  -  (32 H 3)  -  Campbell

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

Saw ye my wee thing:-  A simple mind free opening jig.

Gordon of Straloch:-  I wrote this while listening to the CD Waverley Station. Their set of strathspey airs had me entranced, especially the third and fourth tunes of the set. [Here] (Rorate Coeli/I Long for thy virginitie). The later is from the Gordon's Straloch lute book of 1627. [Rbt Gordon]

I was fascinated by this tune which is in a single phrase - all A no B part - and this dance came to me.

The Compleat Gardener:-  This dance will bite you if you rely on muscle memory.  The 2nd figure is a cross and cast movement that has 8 bars of music and about 9 bars of distance. Dancers want to stop on the sidelines in 2nd place. They need to get through the center to face their first corners. And not getting there can really screw up the Corners Pass & Turn.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

1 May 2017 – Scotia

First Hour:

The Fairy Ring  -  (32 J n circle)  -  Boyd
Quicksilver Reel  -  (40 R 3)  -  Harrison
Braes of Balquhider  -  (32 S 3)  -  18C
Anderson's Rant  -  (32 R 3)  -  MMM

Second Hour:

Catch the Wind  -  (32 R 3)  - Butterfield
Born to Dance  -  (32 J 3)  - Collin
Aging Gracefully  -  (32 S 3)  - Broman (Bk 47)
Once Upon a Time  -  (32 R 3)  -  Collin
Dancing in Kirkcudbright  -  (32 S 4)  - Collin
Deil Amang the Tailors  -  (32 R 3)  -  Bk 14

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

Catch the Wind :–  Why? Because it is a good beginner friendly dance.

Born to Dance:–  Why? Because it moves! The chase out of the Hands Across ends weird - your group of three splits up and the lines that form are all men or all women, and the lines spring forward! - no resting on your laurels, however well deserved.

This one is short listed for the next Kilts and Ghillies' Tea Dance, along with Dave Macfarlane's Reel, Surprising Hannah and Dancing in Kirkcudbright. One (or more) will be on the program!

Aging Gracefully:–  Why? because the move in Surprising Hannah caused me to rethink and revise the way I teach the middle 16 bars of this dance. I like the strength of the move from sideline to sideline. And if you are no longer as able as you once were you can still dance the turn BH into cross R shoulder from the midline and have it look good. And because the reel is different and fun!

Once Upon a Time:– Simple and sweet. Worth revisiting.

Dancing in Kirkcudbright:–  The whole dance is lovely, just lovely, but it is for those who have the brains that thrive on bent figures and transitions. Not all do.

Dancers especially liked the first figure. I had several positive comments. Shortlisted. Two thumbs up.