Who says don't touch? (was Special reels)

B. G. Charlton

Message 17649 · 13 Jun 1999 09:39:13 · Fixed-width font · Whole thread

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G'Day, All.

Oberdan wrote:

>Congratulations Anselm, you have touched one of my hottest buttons...

Who are and where are the touching police? Sometimes I get really irritat=
ed
when I hear someone say that it is NOT CORRECT to give hands here or ther=
e.
At the risk of being pedantic, I quote from the most recent revision of
"Won't You Join The Dance", by Jean C. Milligan (1985), top of page 66
[Remember, this was the official dancing manual before "The Manual" was
written]:

"In all formations it is advisable to give hands freely and wherever
possible, as not only is it very helpful, but it adds greatly to the soci=
al
feeling of the dance. It also helps to maintain the shape of the set and =
to
keep the lines straight."
<

Being pedantic myself for the moment, the context of the quotation is in
the middle of talking about Crossing over Using Four Steps - there is a
description of the movement before it and the diagrams after.

It is quite common, when writing, to want to make a general point, and to=

do it in such a way that additional intent can be drawn from one's words.=
I
think that is what happened here. When talking about the giving of hands =
in
crossing over, she wanted to make a general point about formations where
hands are specified. I think that Oberdan is interpreting beyond that
intent.

If one suggests that hands should be taken in reels, then the question is=

'which reels?'. Should we make a special case for 'mirror' reels of 3? Wh=
at
about reels of 4? What about reels of 3 across the dance? I don't think o=
ne
can take hands in parallel reels of 3 :-).

Someone else has said that reels should be danced on the side-lines and, =
to
quote from 'Won't you join the dance' page 40 - 'Reels of Three may be do=
ne
at the sides of the dance or across the dance'.

Oberdan, if you set such store on page 66 of WYJTD, what about page 91,
where, when talking about 'Gates of Edinburgh' JM says '...The dancing
couples must almost touch as they lead up or down to pass through the
middle of the eight, and this is made much easier and more clear if coupl=
es
are allowed at practice to join hands...'?

Enough of the pedantry!

I prefer not to take hands in mirror reels unless the instructions so
specify. If I am dancing in a wide and long set, then taking hands means
that I have to vary the track that I believe is the correct one for the
dance. I find it much better to phrase the reels in conjunction with my
partner and the other dancers, only metaphorically taking hands as we
approach from the ends of the set. To me, that is much more satisfying.

If other people find it more satisfying to dance by taking hands and feel=

that it enhances the social aspect of the dance, then go for it! But dont=

spoil the shape of the set or the phrasing of the dance just so that you
can grab that other person's hand!

I don't think I am a grumpy, fuddy-duddy nay-sayer. Nor do I look
scornfully down my nose at other people's giving hands here or there, so =
I
don't think there is anything wrong with my nose.

I too say 'Harumph! :))' Just in fun and trying to extend the thought
processes about something we obviously all enjoy.

Brian Charlton,
Sydney, Austrlaia.

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