Test/Golden Pheasant

Marjorie McLaughlin

Message 21671 · 26 Jun 2000 08:12:05 · Fixed-width font · Whole thread

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Lee,

Others will give you an appropriate reply based on modern dancing
conventions. Feeling a bit perverse, let me offer an historical
perspective on why this figure seems difficult to execute.

The modern figure "double triangles" is an aberration of the figure
devised by, and published in the late 18th/early 19th century manuals
of, Thomas Wilson. In Thomas Wilson's manuals the figure Double
Triangles does not begin with the first couple back to back facing own
sides (the figure in bars 1-8 of the reel time portion of Cauld Kail is
the closest I have found to Wilson's original). Our modern figure
appears to have been a figment of Miss Milligan's fertile imagination,
though I am told she indicated that she "found it" in Wilson. Double
triangles as described by Wilson begins with the first couple facing
each other in second place on own sides.

It would take longer to go into the ramifications of this than can be
managed here, but suffice it to say, if the dance is noted as "Button
and Whitaker" (a London publishing firm which hired Thomas Wilson to
devise dances), or "Wilson's 1816 Companion to the Ballroom", then the
old double triangles figure should apply. Most of those dances would be
much easier to dance if the first couple didn't have to end up back to
back. Devisors who have used the modern reconstructed figure have been
successful in making it work. But I find many of the older dances which
try to apply the old figure in the new way to be awkward. That said,
we're never going to change "The Rakish Highlandman" or "The Golden
Pheasant", so modern technique and styling rules have to apply.

And I fear that the charming notion of the figure symbolizing the St
Andrews cross simply cannot be supported by any historical evidence. She
was a clever and imaginative woman . . .

Marjorie McLaughlin
San Diego, CA

Lee Fuell wrote:
>
> Hi, Folks,
>
> Please excuse the interruption - after being in a mysterious
> "receive only" mode with strathspey for a while, we finally changed
> ISPs (plus, the new ISP can provide DSL service - more speed!
> More speed!). The primary purpose of this message is to see if the
> ISP change has restored my ability to post to strathspey.
> However, to make it more on-topic, wrt The Golden Pheasant: Can
> anyone explain how (short of being an Olympic-level long jumper or
> Bolshoi ballet dancer) one can set and turn second corner, pass
> one's partner by the right shoulder, and finish in double-triangles
> position in only two bars? Is there an approved "cheat" for doing
> this?
>
> As some of you might guess, we've got a candidate going for her
> full certificate, so some of us are "stooging" for her and are having
> real troubles with this dance.
>
> Thanks,
>
> Lee
>
> Lee Fuell & Patty Lindsay
> (xxxxx@xxxxxxxxxx.xxx; xxxxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxx.xxx)
> Cincinnati Branch RSCDS
> http://www.rscdscincinnati.com

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