Wednesday, May 23, 2018

22 May 2018 – New Haven

New Haven Ball: done. Rerr Terr: done. Kilts and Ghillies Tea Dance: done! Pawling: done. Westchester Ball: coming Real Soon Now and I asked but no one was going. ***Freedom***!!!

So what did I do? I taught dances long listed for Next Years Tea Dance. What I am trying to say is - I tried out some dances I have not actually danced or seen danced but heard of or read. And that is dicey business at best because true knowledge only comes when the leather hits the dance floor.

The dances I taught were:

The Findlays' Jig  –  (32 J 3)  –  Goldring
Katoomba Mist  –  (32 R 3)  –  Charlton/Sydney Down Under
Miss Graham of Dykeside  –  (32 S 3)  –  Williamson
Brenda's Jig  –  (32 J 3)  –  Coast to Coast (Mulligan)
The Lea Rig  –  (32 S 2)  –  21/5
The Pawling Mermaid  –  (32 J 3)  –  Price leaflet
The Waipu Wanderers  –  (32 R 3)  –  Eddy West
Border Weavers  –  (32 S 3 set)  –  Alex Gray/Tweeddale 2
Trip to Timber Ridge  –  (32 R 3)  –  Linda Henderson

‡–––‡   ‡–––‡   ‡–––‡   ‡–––‡   ‡–––‡   ‡–––‡   ‡–––‡   ‡–––‡

The Findlays' Jig:-  Well known, and well done, and often. It hasn't yet worn out its welcome.

Katoomba Mist:- By Brian Charlton, in the 'Sydney Down Under Collection'. I have run across a few of his dances but this time I went fishing and landed one. One of the comments was "it's a good one". Simple but with substance to work with.  Thumbs up from the dancers.

Miss Graham of Dykeside:- I learned it from the author. His style is inimitable and I don't have it, or the music. So it didn't go over as well in my class as it did in his. I will try again.

Brenda's Jig:- It reads easy. It didn't dance easy. There is nothing there to be a problem. The same dance on a different evening equals a different dance so maybe I will get a different result. I so hope so.

The Lea Rig:- A golden oldie that hasn't been done in a long while here-a-bouts. I find that while the pattern gets tedious, the music never has. Time.

The Pawling Mermaid:- I wrote it. I have a vision. I rarely see it done that way. Harumph! I wrote notes emphasizing what I wanted - ignored! Seriously? I am not breaking any new ground with the choreography that requires tedious teaching. No spaghetti track. No four part harmony with discord (aka meanwhile figure). All I have done is ask that, on bar 6, the Back-to-Back BE a Back-to-Back and that on bar 7 the back-to-back break out into a right shoulder cast back to place. The second time 1st couple's track is easier if they dance by their partner by the right shoulder - i.e. inter-link on the way home. This avoids the "splat, like bug in road" thing.

The Waipu Wanderers:- I have been downloading Eddy West's dances piecemeal for a couple of years. But I have never really studied them. Our Xiaowen (New York City by way of Shanghai, New Zealand and most recently Chicago) gave me a couple of recommendations so I am looking at them. Nothing exotic here, just unknown which does NOT equal difficult or bad.

Border Weavers:- Oh my have I been derelict in my duties. This dance is on the cusp of being standard repertoire in the NY/NJ area but New Haven has not seen it before! Mea culpa!
Oh by the way, they liked it (no surprise - it is a good dance.)

Trip to Timber Ridge:- Hot dance to really hot music!! The tune is in B and that makes it a bear for fiddlers, and we had really good fiddlers at The Pawling Weekend. Was it really just two weekends ago?

Linda Henderson grew up in the county that gave Scotland the Saltire flag and the dance has two representations of the saltire in it. Accepted by the RSCDS for the newest book but they have steadfastly refused to use the tune she wants. She finally threatened to withdraw the dance and, last I heard, Headquarters has come to an accommodation so it will (probably) be published by them.

Just silliness. The dance was published in 'The Heart of San Francisco'  Collection in 2012. Reel of Seven cut a CD with a track for the dance and used her specified tune. So why headquarters would want to change the tune...

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

24 April 2018 - New Haven

The last class before the Tea Dance and oh my am i ready to put these dances to rest. Well at least for a while. And, for Leslie's sanity and mine, I also taught a couple of 'others'.

Dances taught:

Chased Lovers  -  (32 J 3)  -  Wilson
The Clarsach  -  (32 S 3 set)  -  Ryer
Scotia Sea  -  (32 R 3)  -  Goldring
Autumn Posy  -  (32 S 2)  -  Butterfield
The Zoologist  -  (32 J 3)  -  46/12

Muirland Willie  -  (32 J 3)  -  21/9
Eggemoggin Reach  -  (32 J 3)  - Price

°°°  °°  °  °°  °°°  °°  °  °°  °°°  °°  °  °° °°°

Autumn Posy:- One of those! Such a simple a dance, but so difficult to dance it well. The character of the dance - flow. Each piece is set up by the one before but the dancing has to be impeccable.

The Zoologist:- They liked it! There were four or five thumbs up from the dance floor. That means it is on the short list for Tea Dance2019.

23 April 2018 - Scotia

Vivian, the 2nd half teacher at Scotia, asked me to teach the dances from the Tea Dance that she didn't know.

Dances taught in the 2nd half were:

By Vivian:
Mr Michael Bear's Reel  -  (32 R 3)  -  RSCDS Graded 2

I then taught:
Topsy Turvy  -  (32 S 3 set)  - Glasspool
Born to Dance  -  (32 J 3)  -  Collin
Silver Thistle Ball  -  (32 S 3 set)  -  Between the Rivers
Eggemoggin Reach  -  (32 J 3)  - Price leaflet
Toast to the Mousies  -  (32 R 3)  -  Gratiot leaflet

7 April 2018 - Stamford K&G Workshop

Yes, I know these last two posts are out of order, but I saved a whole page in my notebook.

The teaching duties in the workshop was split between Sandra and myself. Again I must have upset the house gremlin because I will swear, to my dying day, that the workshop went to five pm. Not. Only to 4 pm. Oops.

The dances taught were all from the Tea Dance program (duh):

Findlays' Jig  -  (32 J 3)  -  Goldring
Da Rain Dancin'  -  (32 R 3)  - Wallace
Topsy Turvy  -  (32 S 3 set)  -  Glasspool
A Reel for Maria  -  (40 R 3)  -  McRanor (Suncoast)
Scotia Sea  -  (32 R 3)  - Goldring (Scotia Suite)
Silver Thistle Ball  -  (32 S 3 set)  -  Between the Rivers
Eggemoggin Reach  -  (32 J 3)  -  Price leaflet
The Clarsach  -  (32 S 3)  -  Ryer (Portland 20th)
Haste Ye Back  -  (88 R 4 sq)  -  Goldring

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

8 April 2018 - Loch Leven

A video session.

Warmup was Ron Wallace's The Shetland Shepherdess. For music I used Muriel Johnstone's solo piano recording of The High Lodge from her CD Dancing Fingers 2.

We then made videos of
Joie de Vivre  -  (32 J 3)  -  Bk 39 (Maarseveen)
Fair Donald  -  (32 S 3)  -  Bk 29
J. B. Milne  -  (32 R 3)  -  Glendarroch (Foss)

These should be up on YouTube and Strathspey Real Soon Now. They are all on the programs for the Rerr Terr (just past) and/or the Pawling Weekend. And there were no good videos of these dances on Strathspey. And that needed correcting, and if not us then who?

After filming we still had some time available so, having heard good things about the dance, I taught My Golden Bear -- 32 J 3 (Rod Downey - from the new NZ book 'From North Cape to the Bluff').

It went well but there was a quip from the peanut gallery suggesting that it might dance well as a strathspey. Well, we just had to. And Xiaowen was right (as usual) it danced beautifully as a strathspey.

Postscript - she emailed Rod Downey with this tidbit and Rod has written a new strathspey - The Lost Legion - with the same central formation and has started a new book of dances, tentatively titled "book 5".

28 March 2018 – Westchester Series 3 Party

This was the last 'class' of the third series 3 in Westchester. Party time!

the Program was:

The Twinbairn's Reel  -  (32 J 2)  -  Drewry
Miss Gibson's Strathspey  -  (32 S 3)  -  RSCDS Leaflet
The Barmkin  -  (88 R 4 sq)  -  Goldring
The Duke of Atholl's Reel  -  (32 J 2)  -  Bk 16
A Reel for Alice  -  (32 R 5)  -  Goldring
The Duchess Tree  -  (32 S 3)  -  Drewry
The Shetland Shepherdess  -  (32 J 3)  -  Wallace

Tea Break

First Rain of Spring  -  (32 J 3 set)  -  Bk 49
Anna Holden's Strathspey  -  (32 S 2)  -  Bk 42 (Drewry)
Montgomeries Rant  -  (32 R 3)  -  Bk 10

The music:
Unless other wise noted the dances were done to music recorded for that dance. "own".

For The Twinbairn's Reel John Drewry specifies 'Mary Bain's Wedding' as the lead tune. I have only one recording of that tune. It is Muriel Johnstone, Keith Smith and Jim Lindsay playing it as the lead tune for Uncle Bill's Jig on their CD "Moments in Time".

A Reel for Alice:- Recommended Tune is Herriot. I don't have it. Not nowhere. Not even as a part of a medley. I used a 5x version of 'Caddam Wood'. Nice and lively and good fun. Now I need to find a copy of that dance.

The Shetland Shepherdess:- The name tune was composed by Ron Wallace to accompany his dance. There is no recording that I know of so I am reduced to any good jig. I used Tine's Jig another cut from "Moments in Time".

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

27 March 2018 - New Haven

Kilts and Ghillies Ball Prep. (mostly).

The dances taught were:

The Findlays' Jig  -  (32 J 3)  -  Goldring
The Clarsach  -  32 S 3)  -  Ryer (Portland)
The Wind Dragon  -  (32 R 3)  - Iain Boyd
Born to Dance  -  (32 J 3)  -  Collin

A Reel for Maria  -  (40 R 3)  -  McRanor (Suncoast)
Topsy Turvy  -  (32 S 3 set)  -  Glasspool
The First Rain of Spring  -  (32 J 3 set)  -  Joubert (49/4)
Fair Donald  -  (32 S 3)  -  29/4

^^**^^  ^^**^^  ***   *   ***  ^^**^^  ^^**^^

The Findlays' Jig:-  Good dance. Simple dance. Friendly dance. Need I say more?

The Clarsach;-  Big oops here. I don't know which gremlin changed the original directions scanned to my computer but one of them did! I know what I read. I can see what it is on the paper now -- and they do not agree. I am not pleased. So the video we made is in error, and I definitely have a mea culpa to make when I reteach the dance tonight (the 24th of April).

The Wind Dragon:- It is growing on me. I originally thought it was an OK throw away that would be good to do once. The response from the dancers has been otherwise. The dancers are liking it. They are liking it enough that I am seriously considering shortlisting it for the 2019 K&G Tea Dance program.

A Reel for Maria:- This one too is growing on me. It isn't in my top 50 but it is certainly going to
go into my card file as one of my "occasionals".

The First Rain of Spring:- A very mixed bag.  The first time I taught it the reaction to the Celtic Reel was pure negative energy. Perhaps due to my teaching, perhaps the unfamiliarity of the figure. So it sat for a couple of years. It appeared on the New York Dance List recently so I pulled it out again and this time the teaching was easy as was the dancing and the RSV (redeeming social value) went up.

But still I am ambivalent toward it. It dances well enough but I am not left satisfied, it doesn't fulfill me. But, it might work for you.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

25 March 2018 - Loch Leven

Well, It is a different game now. We are pretty much caught up with videoing dances for upcoming balls. Not completely but the timing is now really tight and life keeps happening, so no I am not going there.

What I have been doing is looking at the upcoming ball programs and looking at the videos. For the dances in the local standard repertoire it is a of pretty miserable set of videos. For good reasons I am sure. They aren't the fancy feel good dances and some have some tricky little pieces. The 6 that I noticed were J.B. Milne; Trip to Bavaria; Delvine Side; Fair Donald; Joie de Vivre and Hooper's Jig.

Issues: a couple of the dances was done in a 3 couple set so it was modified for the performance. One dance had 3 videos but all of them from the same performance from 3 different cameras and not one good view among them. There was bad timing and phrasing. the problem I have with that is sub-conscious learning. Dancers who watch those videos for one reason will pick up subliminal inputs - like bad handing or bad phrasing (esp. in reels of four.) To quote Necron99 "Not Good. Very Bad. Not Good".

So this afternoon we danced all of these dances with the intent to video some of these next meeting. They are part of our repertoire. There should be no issues. No spaghetti choreography to get right or to overwhelm the minds. We should all be able to concentrate on good dancing, and we all know those rules.