Respect-was Tattoo

Andrew Smith

Message 27183 · 4 Sep 2001 08:55:03 · Fixed-width font · Whole thread

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Picking up on Adam's 'provocative' point there are two issues, I think. The
Corryvrechan presentation is very good, and their displays are very
impressive (I danced with several members of that team before it became
well-known under the present name, so must declare an interest. Maybe I was
the one holding them back.) However, I have often wondered whether someone
(considering taking up SCD) who saw a highly choreographed display would be
inspired or dismayed. I expect a lot would depend on the state of their ego.

To a certain extent I agree with his comment about 'creaking older dancers',
but as an older dancer who is not quite creaking (yet) I feel that there is
still scope for both presentations. I would suggest that a group of
non-creaking older dancers might come across as really enjoying their
dancing while doing it reasonably well, because they are not concentrating
on complicated patterns and worrying about making a mistake.

There is still a place for the top-notch teams, but it probably really is at
dance occasions where their skills can really be appreciated by the
audience.

What I think is really needed in general to encourage new blood is groups
of younger dancers who dance with élan and joie de vivre (seeing Strathspey
is now bi-lingual) at a level at which most people would feel encouraged to
have a go.
Andrew.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Adam Hughes" <xxxxxxxxxxx@xxxxx.xx.xx>
To: <xxxxxxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxx.xxx>
Sent: Monday, September 03, 2001 3:48 PM
Subject: Re: Respect-was Tattoo

> Dancers from "New Scotland", the University of Edinburgh's SCD group
> manage to entertain groups of up to 100 American teenagers who visit
> Edinburgh each summer. The format is a Ceilidh, with "helpers" to teach
> the ceilidh dances, and then dem a few dances in regular intervals (5 in
> 3 hours?) while the teenagers get their breath back. They do dance
> strathspeys (as well as reels and jigs) to a traditional fiddle and
> accordion music, and usually their audience is completely silent and
> rapt. However, they always stick to the "three times is plenty" maxim
> for longways dances. In addition, they often use a highland dancer for
> one of the intervals, and they also demonstrate the construction and
> deportment of a feilidhmhor, which usually gets a laugh.
>
> Is there a trick? It might be that the dancers are mostly students aged
> between 18 and 30.
>
> <provocative>
> There is nothing more likely to put off an audience than 6 or 8 "older"
> ladies and gentlemen creaking through a dance, whether it is a
> strathspey, reel or jig. SCD can be enjoyed socially by people of any
> age, but it might get more respect if it displayed itself with a younger
> profile. Perhaps there are "too many" people willing to perform SCD
> badly. It might be better if there were fewer groups willing to dance
> SCD for an audience, so the ones which were able to do it well (such as
> Corryvrecken, and from the sound of it Red Thistle) got the respect they
> deserve. Instead we hear "SCD is a social dance style which cannot hold
> the attention of an audience" from people who have only seen "branch
> dems".
> </provocative>
>
> Adam
> Cambridge UK.
>

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