Book 41

Anselm Lingnau

Message 22205 · 29 Aug 2000 12:30:04 · Fixed-width font · Whole thread

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Marjorie McLaughlin <xxxxxxxxx@xxxx.xxx> writes:

> Are there fundamental qualities in the character of dances composed
> within the UK that would appeal to a committee made up only of dancers
> from the UK? I'd always thought we were more universal in style and
> character.

Interesting. My class went through Book 41 at lightning speed one
morning in St. Andrews but it didn't occur to me that most of the dances
were, in fact, from the UK. I could have suggested one or two from
Germany, but as there are no German branches to submit them it's a case
of `close, but no cigar' ...

So the $64.000 question is `Is there a national style in current country
dancing'? 200 years ago this was easy to answer -- the Scots had just
managed to smuggle their favourite bit of social dancing into country
dances in the guise of the `set and turn corners, reels of three'
figure. Today? I don't think so, but that's mostly a gut feeling (I
haven't done the statistics). Anyway, one must note that large
differences are something that the RSCDS has made its mission to fight,
and with communication between dancers being what it is these days,
thanks to intercontinental flights, Summer School, e-mail, the Web and
so on, chances are that interesting new developments (dancewise or
figurewise) will make the rounds fairly quickly.

Finally, it seems to me that it is much easier to identify the
`signature' of one of the famous dance devisers (John Drewry or Barry
Priddey come to mind) in their more involved dances, than it is to
identify `fundamental qualities' in reasonably straightforward dances
from a particular region. In the case of Book 41, since we have no way
of knowing what the dances which didn't make it into the book were like,
it's probably a lost cause trying to find out whether the ones that did
get selected managed to do so because they appealed to the committee on
a `national' subconscious level. Maybe there weren't so many dances
submitted from elsewhere to begin with?

> As long as I'm fussing - it would take me a lot less than 11 lines to
> describe bars 25-32 of Peggy's Strathpsey as "an espagnole with slight
> differences", than to use the printed description. Why not call it an
> espagnole?

That wouldn't help much because the espagnole is not an RSCDS figure
(yet, anyway), hence from a technical/legalistic viewpoint there would
be no use in describing the formation in question as being similar to an
espagnole. Dancers like us (ahem) who have been round the block a few
times of course know how an espagnole goes, but the hypothetical person
whose only exposure to SCD is through RSCDS material wouldn't profit
from such a cross-reference. Besides, the RSCDS does have a bit of a
tradition of publishing variations of `named' non-RSCDS figures without
mentioning their names (e.g., the Bir^H^H^HBourr^H^H^H^H^Hfirst eight
bars of `My Friend Joe' in book 38). I wonder whether, when the first
RSCDS dance with a true-blue espagnole comes out, they will point to
bars 25-32 of Peggy's Strathspey in that description :^)

Anselm
--
Anselm Lingnau ......................... xxxxxxx@xx.xxxxxxxxxx.xxx-xxxxxxxxx.xx
While Purgatory may be less unpleasant than Hell, it's still not a nice place
for a holiday. -- Tom Christiansen, on Java vs. C++

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