Dumbing down demos (was choosing demo dances)

James Mungall

Message 52725 · 5 Jun 2008 22:52:50 · Fixed-width font · Whole thread

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Sorry... don't know how all that gobbledeegoop got there. My message was this:

Diane,

I agree with you that you might intimidate some prospective dancers--but you also want to impress those watching. If it looks too boring, then you encourage no one to try SCD. I think if you varied your program with a wide range of dances easy to advanced you encourage prospective dancers, but also impress others (both dancers and non-dancers)... and even hook possibly hook prospective dancers by showing them that the figures do get harder and there is always another level to go for. You do get a very different impression of SCD if you only see "The Cumberland Reel" and the "Kingston Flyer" than if you watch a group perform "The Golden Snitch" or "The Best Set in the Hall." We don't want to do too many of any one level and give spectators the wrong impression. See personally, my favorite dance is the Foursome Reel (and Reel of Tulloch/Hullachan)--the figures are very basic but the footwork is different in our version than in any other dance we do,
so it's more visually interesting and makes a great demo dance. I think we forget sometimes that in demos we have to consider varied footwork and not just varied figures. IE: the Petronella is heavy on the Pas de Basque and it looks more appealing as far as footwork is concerned... well... usually. I've seen some "interesting" versions of the Petronella.


James Mungall

Baton Rouge, LA, USA


P.S. I don't despise Shiftin' Bobbins, but it is one of the last dances I would ever request. I don't know what it is about it that makes me dislike it like I do. But I love dancing, and I'd much rather dance Shiftin' Bobbins than not dance at all.

--- On Thu, 6/5/08, James Mungall <xxx_xxxxxxx@xxxxx.xxx> wrote:

From: James Mungall <xxx_xxxxxxx@xxxxx.xxx>
Subject: Re: Dumbing down demos (was choosing demo dances)
To: "SCD news and discussion" <xxxxxxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxx.xxx>
Date: Thursday, June 5, 2008, 3:48 PM

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dance at all. --- On Wed, 6\/4\/08, Diane Jensen Donald wrote:
From: Diane Jensen Donald Subject: Dumbing down

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choosing demo dances) To: xxx_xxxxxxx@xxxxx.xxx, \"SCD news and
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Baton Rouge, LA, USA --- On Mon, 6\/2\/08, Martin Sheffield wrote:
> From: Martin Sheffield > Subject: Choosing demo dances

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Diane,
&nbsp;
I agree with you that you might intimidate some prospective dancers--but you
also want to impress those watching.&nbsp; If it looks too boring, then you
encourage no one to try SCD.&nbsp; I think if you varied your program with a
wide range of dances easy to advanced you encourage prospective dancers, but
also impress others (both dancers and non-dancers)... and even hook possibly
hook prospective dancers by showing them that the figures do get harder and
there is always another level to go for.&nbsp; You do get a very different
impression of SCD if you only see&nbsp;"The Cumberland
Reel"&nbsp;and the "Kingston Flyer" than if you watch a
group perform "The Golden Snitch" or "The Best Set in the
Hall."&nbsp; We don't want to do too many of any one level and
give spectators the wrong impression.&nbsp; See personally, my favorite
dance is the Foursome Reel (and Reel of Tulloch/Hullachan)--the figures are
very basic but the footwork is different in our
version than in any other dance we do, so it's more visually interesting
and makes a great demo dance.&nbsp; I think we forget sometimes that in
demos we have to consider varied footwork and not just varied
figures.&nbsp; IE: the Petronella is heavy on the Pas de Basque and it
looks more appealing as far as footwork is concerned... well...
usually.&nbsp; I've seen some "interesting" versions of the
Petronella.
&nbsp;
James Mungall
Baton Rouge, LA, USA
&nbsp;
P.S.&nbsp; I don't despise Shiftin' Bobbins, but it is one of the
last dances I would ever request.&nbsp; I don't know what it is about
it that makes me dislike it like I do.&nbsp; Maybe I just think it's
trite and overdone?

--- On Wed, 6/4/08, Diane Jensen Donald
&lt;xxxxx.x.xxxxxx@xxxxx.xxx&gt; wrote:

From: Diane Jensen Donald &lt;xxxxx.x.xxxxxx@xxxxx.xxx&gt;
Subject: Dumbing down demos (was choosing demo dances)
To: xxx_xxxxxxx@xxxxx.xxx, "SCD news and discussion"
&lt;xxxxxxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxx.xxx&gt;
Date: Wednesday, June 4, 2008, 12:24 PM

James,
&nbsp;
As usual I agree with you.&nbsp; It's challenging for me to demo for
non-dancers sometimes because I want to show off every bit of my
know-how.&nbsp; However, usually what this seems to do is intimidate
non-dancers who might be inclined to try it.&nbsp; It was lovely when I was
in Scotland and was able to do a few demos for other dancers and really let
'er rip.&nbsp; That said, I think it would be pretty tough to keep
reels out of a dem.
&nbsp;
Diane
Boise, Idaho
&nbsp;
P.S. How can a young energetic dance enthusiast like you not enjoy Shiftin'
Bobbins?
&nbsp;
On 6/2/08, James Mungall &lt;xxx_xxxxxxx@xxxxx.xxx&gt; wrote:
Well whether fortunately or unfortunately reels are a basis of
SCD.&nbsp;&nbsp;I'm not one that supports avoiding reels for
demos.&nbsp;&nbsp;I agree that they might be harder to catch/comprehend
for the average spectator--but we shouldn't "dumb-down" our
selections either.&nbsp;&nbsp;Reels are too much a part of SCD to avoid
them for demos entirely (in my opinion anyway.)&nbsp;&nbsp;I understand
the symmetry that's attractive to the human eye... Posties is great and
Shiftin' Bobbins (though I really dislike dancing it) is also visually
interesting.&nbsp;&nbsp;I'm all for picking visually attractive
dances for demos but I don't like to disclude reel-based dances.

James Mungall
Baton Rouge, LA, USA

--- On Mon, 6/2/08, Martin Sheffield &lt;xx.xxxxxxxxx@xxxxxx.xx&gt;
wrote:

&gt; From: Martin Sheffield &lt;xx.xxxxxxxxx@xxxxxx.xx&gt;
&gt; Subject: Choosing demo dances (Was: dances for 3 cpl sets?)
&gt; To: xxx_xxxxxxx@xxxxx.xxx, "SCD news and discussion"
&lt;xxxxxxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxx.xxx&gt;
&gt; Date: Monday, June 2, 2008, 12:36 PM
&gt; Le 2 juin 08 à 17:28, James Mungall a écrit :
&gt;
&gt; &gt;&nbsp;&nbsp;I'll second Wendy's suggestion of
Flight of
&gt; the Falcon.
&gt;
&gt; For a public performance?
&gt; I'd say that reels of three are among the least
&gt; readable/
&gt; understandable figures for the layman. And while a falcon
&gt; reel well
&gt; executed can be very elegant, I imagine that it must be
&gt; even less
&gt; clear for the average spectator.&nbsp;&nbsp;Straight lines,
circles,
&gt; triangles
&gt; are easy on the eye. Promenades, poussettes &amp;
&gt; allemandes should be
&gt; worth watching. Turns (RH/LH or 2H) are fine. Reels,
&gt; however,
&gt; especially when not symmetrical, are a different matter.
&gt; Just think
&gt; how long it takes a beginner dancer to undersand the logic
&gt; of a reel,
&gt; in spite of regular practicing.&nbsp;&nbsp;The spectator sees
a reel
&gt; once or
&gt; twice and wonders what on earth we are doing.
&gt;
&gt; Although it is not our main purpose in life, our club was
&gt; asked to
&gt; put on a little show the other day.
&gt; We did Shifting Bobbins and Postie's Jig, for their
&gt; symmetry;
&gt; Wind on Loch, since the timing of the interlocked reels
&gt; allows an
&gt; in&amp;out movement for the whole set, easier to understand
&gt; than an
&gt; ordinart reel;
&gt; Piper &amp; Penguin, for a different formation, with
&gt; understandable
&gt; patterns;
&gt; Johnnie Walker, likewise, plus the change of tempo to wake
&gt; up the
&gt; audience;
&gt; St Martin's Cross, for straight lines symmetry and
&gt; movement.
&gt; Midnight Toil, a 5-cp set (but works as a 3-cp), with the
&gt; two active
&gt; couples echoing each other (covering) .
&gt;
&gt; Sorry, these are not what Monica originally asked for, but
&gt; I think it
&gt; is wise to consider which dances are worth watching and
&gt; why.
&gt; I did not mention the real reason for choosing the above.
&gt; Our dancers
&gt; know them well enough to be relaxed and look as if they are
&gt; enjoying
&gt; the activity.&nbsp;&nbsp;The non-specialist spectator does not
care a
&gt; damn
&gt; whether our feet are pointing correctly or whether our
&gt; hands are the
&gt; correct height from the floor. But he can see whether we
&gt; are enjoying
&gt; ourselves or not, and that is what counts.
&gt;
&gt; Martin

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