Objective tests to determine dancing ability

John Sturrock

Message 18997 · 24 Oct 1999 15:35:12 · Fixed-width font · Whole thread

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Stewart Cunningham wrote : -

>I don't think that the original request for an objective set of tests
>has ever been answered except for one delightful tongue-in-cheek reply.
>There has been lots of anecdotal information and considerable chat about
>the difficulties that a few dancers cause when they don't know their
>level of ability. However, getting back to the original request - Are
>there any objective tests of dancing ability? My observation would be
>that this is an important subject and one that is a challenge which
>should be faced and overcome by the SCD dancing and teaching community.

There is a difficulty here. Any test(s) must either be completed with a
partner/set, or on their own. Both may give a misleading impression of
ability to dance in an Advance Class. Someone suggested Corner, Partner,
Corner, Partner, but the result may well depend on the amount of
co-operation from the Corners and/or Partner. On their own, many Beginners,
who would otherwise be unlikely to be at home in an Advance Class can manage
a surprisingly good set of steps in a straight line, or on the spot. What
is needed is something that removes both disadvantages - test(s) that
involve others, but do not depend on their co-operation.

My favourite is to observe 6 hands round, and back, in Strathspey time -
particularly when the dancers are unaware they are being observed. Those
who achieve a third position when they should, all the way through, are
Advanced Class dancers.

Less seriously - watch the dancers tie their ghillie laces. Those who can
do this without sitting down, or using any form of support, have the
combination of flexibility, co-ordination, and balance, to dance in an
Advanced Class whether their dancing experience extends to 5 hours or 50
years. Infallible ! The drawback is that many undoubted Advanced Class
dancers would fail. Try it !!

John Sturrock.

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