Performance vs Demonstration (was to dem or not to dem.)

mlbrown

Message 19250 · 4 Nov 1999 02:29:05 · Fixed-width font · Whole thread

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Oberdan wrote:

> Many Branches have
> what they call Demonstration Teams. However, by their choice of repertoire,
> the choreography and the emphasis on perfection and complexity, they are
> clearly trying to be Performing Groups.
>
> The problem with a lot of dance exhibitions is that the choreographer
> either loses sight of the reason for the exhibition or doesn't have a clear
> idea to begin with. I believe there is a place for both types of
> exhibition, but if you get them scrambled, you won't get the hoped-for
> results.

Many years ago we were asked to provide some dancing for the start of a touring
Scottish show, "The White Heather Club", starring Andy Stewart. Everyone was
keen to take part, and I was able to pick some of the branch's more skilful and
experienced dancers for the performances on 5 consecutive evenings. I put
together a medley which lasted about 5 minutes, made up of parts of dances so
that although it looked complicated it was easy to learn (like the reels of 4,
highland Schottische setting & turns, from Robertson Rant) - we even had part of
the 4some with men leaping in the air - because we had to do so many nights we
all had at least one night off, and I had the opportunity to go upstairs and see
what it looked like - there was only one sequence which stood out - we danced
most if not all of Staffin Harvest, and the 2nd 4 bars, (1st 4 bars 1L,2M 3L,4M
set and change places RH) and the people in top & third places set to the
people in second and fourth places and change RH, looked really effective - to
be more correct, it was the setting that looked effective - with 4 people moving
together in one direction, while the other 4 moved together the other way looked
magical. Yes it was simple, but it looked better than the parallel reels of 4
which followed! In fact it was better than all the really clever things I had
included. It was a salutary lesson in what makes an effective display.

I remember being told by someone who had just returned from dancing in an
overseas folk festival, that someone had asked him "How do the dancers know when
to start dancing?". Sometimes I think we forget that one of the things we take
for granted, couples stopping and starting, is very uncommon; usually everyone
starts and keeps going until the music stops. (What I am trying to say is that
having people standing for a short while is not necessarily a bad thing in a
display - and I do not mean dancing a 2 couple dance with the top and bottom
couples standing for 32 bars.)

I suppose it's like all presentations, remember to KISS. (Keep It Simple,
Stupid!) - maybe thats why I keep making it complicated?

Malcolm

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