Dance Devising

Ian Brockbank

Message 31510 · 31 Jul 2002 13:34:59 · Fixed-width font · Whole thread

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Hi Malcolm,

I have tried it a couple of times, once with "A Canonbie Ceilidh", and once
with "New Scotland Gold".

With "A Canonbie Ceilidh", Caroline suggested a circle dance, and we took
it from there - coming up with ideas, putting them together, seeing how it
worked, trying different things, both making suggestions.

With "New Scotland Gold" it was a bit different. We both came with ideas
of formations, and tried to knit them together - it was more a case of
trading and jigsaw.

Working on "A Canonbie Ceilidh" worked well - it sort of bubbled in
conversation over dinner for a few days and then just worked. It probably
helped that we didn't have too much fixed idea beforehand, and that we
had the informal start (and that we lived together so we could chat about
it informally). Working on "New Scotland Gold" wasn't so comfortable, and
I'm not so pleased with the results - we both had quite definite ideas
beforehand, and our natural styles are rather different, so it was a case
of compromising.



PS We didn't get a chance to dance "A Canonbie Ceilidh" before the
event, and since then we have realised it would work better with a
slight change. Unfortunately it had been published by that time.
So here's the revised version:

A Canonbie Ceilidh
A 40 bar Reel for couples in a large circle around the room

Couples in large circle round room, ladies on right of partners

1-8: All circle round to left and back to right.
9-16: Men dance a figure of eight round own partner and lady on left,
going in front of own partner to begin.
17-24: Ladies dance a figure of eight round own partner and man on right,
going in front of own partner to begin.
25-28: Joining hands in a large circle, all advance and retire.
29-32: All advance and drop hand not attached to partner. Men retire while
ladies turn to face partner and chase him out to place, both hands joined
with partners.

Finish with men facing centre and ladies with backs to centre.
33-36: All dance back to back with partner, men with hands joined to form
37-40: All look to the right for a new partner (the person with whom you
have just passed right shoulder) and birl them, finishing back in a large
circle round the room, ladies on right of new partners, to begin again.

Repeat ad lib.

Bars 29-32 modified 1999 to stop the men breaking their arms in the arches.

Published in the New Scotland 50th Anniversary book of dances (prior to
The original version has the men in the centre on 29-32 instead of the
ladies. This means that they are trying to move out while making arches,
which means the circle has to expand, and something has to give, which
makes it difficult. With the ladies in the centre, the men are moving
in, and the arches are shrinking instead.

Another variation which works is to stick to the original but lose the
arches in the back to back, but I like the effect of the arches.

People in Newcastle please note: there _are_ 40 bars to this dance. The
only reason the ladies' figure of eight was removed was to bring the length
of the orginal dem which incoporated it below 8 minutes so you didn't get
disqualified in the festival. I would rather it didn't become a standard
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> -----Original Message-----
> From: Malcolm Brown []
> Sent: 31 July 2002 11:08
> To: Strathspey Submissions
> Subject: Dance Devising
> While sorting through some dance instructions I had
> inherited, (many of
> which were printed on the back of dance programmes from about
> 20 years ago),
> I decided to look them up in DanceData, to find out where
> they were actually
> published and who had devised them.
> Several of the dances were attributed to joint devisers, and
> I wondered how
> people managed to do this. I can understand people who are
> devising a dance
> based on a particular idea asking for comments and
> suggestions on whether it
> works, or even asking for a suitable ending, but in the end I
> would still
> consider it to be their dance, and I would expect them to
> take make the
> decision whether to take or disregard the advice!
> Is there anyone out there who has tired collaborative dance
> devising? How
> did you find it worked?
> Malcolm
> Malcolm (& Helen) Brown
> York (UK)

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