strathspey Archive: Pillings vs descriptions unbriefed

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Pillings vs descriptions unbriefed

Message 10526 · Ron Macnaughton · 3 Feb 1998 05:55:47 · Top

I'm preparing for the Toronto Tartan Ball which will be on Feb. 14. It's
always a classy affair in the elegant Royal York Hotel. (For info email
cbell@mail.on.rogers.wave.ca, $65 Canadian).

I've heard that dancing unbriefed dances (and getting hanged in the morning)
tends to focus the mind.

I'm reviewing the dances, pacing paths on my livingroom floor.

I find it helps me to look at both the descriptions in the briefing book and
the Pillings version of the dance. The Pillings diagram of Swiss Lassie
gives a better general view, while the description has the fine details
such as dance towards each other to begin.

Just before ther music starts, this visual learner finds it most useful to
glance at the Pillings version.

By the way do many other branches have Balls with unbriefed dances? I
rather like the idea.

Ron Macnaughton
Bolton Ontario

Pillings vs descriptions unbriefed

Message 10529 · Anne MacIver · 3 Feb 1998 07:04:11 · Top

This is a multi-part message in MIME format.

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-----Original Message-----
From: Ron Macnaughton=20
>Just before ther music starts, this visual learner finds it most =
useful to glance at the Pillings version. By the way do many other =
branches have Balls with unbriefed dances? I rather like the idea.
----Reply----
I also like to glance at the 'satellite view' just before I dance. In =
the San Francisco Branch the formal balls (Valentine and at Asilomar, =
principally) are not briefed or recapped, although every once in a while =
an enterprising MC hints at the first 4 or 8 bar phrase, integrating it =
seamlessly with the general talk. A nice touch!=20
It is a point of discussion though, - to brief or not to brief. I =
personally vote for no briefs. Anyway most dancers here either openly or =
sneakily review the pillings version on the dance floor, despite =
suggestions not to do so. Even at monthly parties which are briefed, =
still those visual processors are looking at the pillings.
cheers, anneM
amaciver@usa.net

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<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2>-----Original Message-----<BR>From: Ron =
Macnaughton=20
</FONT><BR><FONT color=3D#000000 face=3DArial size=3D2>&gt;Just before =
ther music=20
starts,&nbsp; this visual learner finds it most useful to glance at the =
Pillings=20
version.&nbsp; By the way do many other branches have Balls with =
unbriefed=20
dances?&nbsp;&nbsp; I rather like the idea.</FONT></DIV>
<DIV>----Reply----&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>I also like to glance at the 'satellite view' just before I dance. =
In the=20
San Francisco Branch the formal balls (Valentine and at Asilomar, =
principally)=20
are not briefed or recapped, although every once in a while an =
enterprising MC=20
hints at the first 4 or 8 bar phrase, integrating it seamlessly with the =
general=20
talk.&nbsp; A nice touch! &nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>It is a point of discussion though, - to brief or not to brief. I=20
personally vote for no briefs. Anyway most dancers here either openly or =

sneakily review the pillings version on the dance floor, despite =
suggestions not=20
to do so. Even at monthly parties which are briefed, still those visual=20
processors are looking at the pillings.</DIV>
<DIV>cheers, anneM</DIV>
<DIV><A =
href=3D"mailto:amaciver@usa.net">amaciver@usa.net</A></DIV></BODY></HTML>=

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Pillings vs descriptions unbriefed

Message 10531 · Peter Hastings · 3 Feb 1998 10:34:35 · Top

On Mon, 2 Feb 1998, Ron Macnaughton wrote:

> By the way do many other branches have Balls with unbriefed dances? I
> rather like the idea.

Does this bring us back to the dress code thread ?

hee hee

Peter Hastings
Royal Observatory
Edinburgh
(:

Pillings vs descriptions unbriefed

Message 10564 · cnordj · 4 Feb 1998 10:01:54 · Top

In Los Angeles, mercifully, ball dances are briefed.

On Tue, 3 Feb 1998, Peter Hastings <P.Hastings@roe.ac.uk> wrote:
>> By the way do many other branches have Balls with unbriefed dances? I
>> rather like the idea.

======================================
Carol N. Johnson, Los Angeles area
(We's all angels here)
cnordj@sprynet.com
======================================

Pillings vs descriptions unbriefed

Message 10658 · GIR · 5 Feb 1998 19:37:11 · Top

(The Digest is a very good thing, as long as you dont want to repaet to
something special... :-} )

>A good briefing should be just as detailed as necessary and slow enough
for
>brain-dancing. A briefing style
"TurnCastTurnleftCloverleafReelsacrossCircle" is useless if you are not
>able to dance it without briefing.

The "best" briefing I can remeber was Schihallion (free from memory): "Do
the chorus, the petronella-rockingstep-thing, the chorus and the big
wheel....." (and not very slow...)

Can you imagine the look of the less-Schihallion experienced? "What the ***
is the chorus??"

(That reminds me at another time, same dance: on an afternoon-walkthrough I
asked about walking that dance because I knew that there were more than one
not knowing it: "But it is an standard!" was the shocked answer. Well, how
to learn the "standards" if nowbody will show it to you the first time?)

About briefing at balls:

It was quite an experience, that ball in Bielefeld without briefings (hallo
Coletta), but not a bad one, only unusual for us Germans I think.

But it helps a lot if at last the name of the dance is said, not only the
first bars of music beeing played. ("Take your partner for..:")

Otherwise you can find yourself on the floor doing a different dance than
the rest of the set, just because you have miscounted the dances....
(And no, I can't tell from the tune which dance it is. And sometimes I
even can't decide wether I hear a reel (4/4) or a jig (6/8))

Greetings,
Anja

Pillings vs descriptions unbriefed

Message 10533 · Graham Mackenzie · 3 Feb 1998 12:10:42 · Top

At 23:02 2/2/98 -0500, Ron Macnaughton wrote:
>I'm preparing for the Toronto Tartan Ball which will be on Feb. 14. It's
>always a classy affair in the elegant Royal York Hotel. (For info email
>cbell@mail.on.rogers.wave.ca, $65 Canadian).
>
>I've heard that dancing unbriefed dances (and getting hanged in the morning)
>tends to focus the mind.
>
>I'm reviewing the dances, pacing paths on my livingroom floor.
>
>I find it helps me to look at both the descriptions in the briefing book and
>the Pillings version of the dance. The Pillings diagram of Swiss Lassie
>gives a better general view, while the description has the fine details
>such as dance towards each other to begin.
>
>Just before ther music starts, this visual learner finds it most useful to
>glance at the Pillings version.
>
>By the way do many other branches have Balls with unbriefed dances? I
>rather like the idea.
>
>Ron Macnaughton
>Bolton Ontario

Where have I been all my life? In this area not only the formal Balls
(RSCDS or other), but even the small Friday/Saturday night dances, are
normally done without recaps/briefings - unless an organizer puts a new
dance on the program and thinks most people won't know it. Hence Pilling
(or equivalent personal collections of dances) are not only desirable but
essential. I should occasionally love the luxury of not having to spend an
hour beforehand boning up on the moves, and in the end getting confused on
the floor!

(Graham Mackenzie
Doocot Lodge, 7 Doocot Road,
St Andrews, Fife, Scotland, KY16 8QP.
Telephone: 01334 - 475604)

Pillings vs descriptions unbriefed

Message 10534 · Armin Busse · 3 Feb 1998 12:33:22 · Top

Last Summer our club gave a ball at which the dances were not briefed.
There was near panic in the streets. It was a relatively unheard of
concept in this neck of the woods. I had believed that the evening would
flow faster and smoother without briefings. Personally, I think briefings
are a bit of a crutch, but now I'm not so sure the panic was worth it,
maybe we should have just planned to brief the dances.
However, I believe there are two things to consider when deciding to
breif or not to breif.
1) what is the general attitude about not breifing, true panic,
merely tremulous, or interest?
2) The MC. Can s/he move things along quickly? Will the briefings
be kept BREIF (concise, clear). Will the MC be clearly understood across
the entire floor?
Many folks make excellent MC but are not necessarily good at
briefings. I do not like the idea of different people doing the briefings
for each dance. One Briefer per Set (a group of dances between two pauses)
is okay, but having to "retune" my ears for each briefing sets me a bit on
edge.
I have found that Pillings are far more helpful to and depended upon
by non-native speakers of English. I even find myself following along with
the Pillings when the MC is a difficult to hear or understand (sorry Alex,
I know how you hate seeing people looking at Pillings on the dance floor,
but sometimes one's gotta do what one's gotta do).
I think Pilling diagrams may be a good part of the reason SCD is so
internationally enjoyed.
Coletta Busse
Bielefeld Germany

## CrossPoint v3.02 ##

Pillings vs descriptions unbriefed

Message 10554 · Chris Collin · 3 Feb 1998 22:11:49 · Top

Graham Mackenzie wrote:
>
> >I've heard that dancing unbriefed dances (and getting hanged in the morning)
> >tends to focus the mind.
> >
> >By the way do many other branches have Balls with unbriefed dances? I
> >rather like the idea.
> >
> >Ron Macnaughton
> >Bolton Ontario
>
> Where have I been all my life? In this area not only the formal Balls
> (RSCDS or other), but even the small Friday/Saturday night dances, are
> normally done without recaps/briefings - unless an organizer puts a new
> dance on the program and thinks most people won't know it. Hence Pilling
> (or equivalent personal collections of dances) are not only desirable but
> essential. I should occasionally love the luxury of not having to spend an
> hour beforehand boning up on the moves, and in the end getting confused on
> the floor!

We in Ardbrae are fortunate to have a new member, who just arrived in
Ottawa from Glasgow. After talking to her, and others, it seems that in
Scotland, most dances/socials/balls have a majority of "known" dances.
That is, local favourites that everyone knows, and can do without
briefing, at least by experienced dancers! In Canada (and I believe the
US), programs are choosen to give more of a variety - including many
less well known dances. This means we have to study! And, it means
that here, dances, including Balls, are usually briefed. This is not
without small amounts of controversy - my wife and I finally convinced
the Kingston Ontario branch to brief dances in 1990 (remember the day
when the sun stood still for a bit?). There is still a large ball in
Toronto that is not briefed, but it is aimed at experienced dancers.

Our group has monthly socials, and we usually try to learn all the
dances in the classes during the weeks before the social. Our group,
like many, does have it's favorites, but even they would not be done
much more than once in a year or so. Few dances ever appear on more
than one social in a given year.

The new lady from Glasgow was completely unfamiliar with the entire
program for our recent Ball. She came anyway, and had a great time, but
she did notice a different style here. Maybe you should come here next
January. Visit Canada in winter? Why not - the skiing is great, and
the dancing is too!

Chris Collin, Ardbrae Dancers of Ottawa

Pillings vs descriptions unbriefed

Message 10563 · James R. Ferguson · 4 Feb 1998 07:18:10 · Top

Chris Collin wrote:
>
> Graham Mackenzie wrote:
> >
> > >I've heard that dancing unbriefed dances (and getting hanged in the morning)
> > >tends to focus the mind.
> > >
> > >By the way do many other branches have Balls with unbriefed dances? I
> > >rather like the idea.
> > >
> > >Ron Macnaughton
> > >Bolton Ontario
> >
> > Where have I been all my life? In this area not only the formal Balls
> > (RSCDS or other), but even the small Friday/Saturday night dances, are
> > normally done without recaps/briefings - unless an organizer puts a new
> > dance on the program and thinks most people won't know it. Hence Pilling
> > (or equivalent personal collections of dances) are not only desirable but
> > essential. I should occasionally love the luxury of not having to spend an
> > hour beforehand boning up on the moves, and in the end getting confused on
> > the floor!
>
> We in Ardbrae are fortunate to have a new member, who just arrived in
> Ottawa from Glasgow. After talking to her, and others, it seems that in
> Scotland, most dances/socials/balls have a majority of "known" dances.
> That is, local favourites that everyone knows, and can do without
> briefing, at least by experienced dancers! In Canada (and I believe the
> US), programs are choosen to give more of a variety - including many
> less well known dances. This means we have to study! And, it means
> that here, dances, including Balls, are usually briefed. This is not
> without small amounts of controversy - my wife and I finally convinced
> the Kingston Ontario branch to brief dances in 1990 (remember the day
> when the sun stood still for a bit?). There is still a large ball in
> Toronto that is not briefed, but it is aimed at experienced dancers.
>
> Our group has monthly socials, and we usually try to learn all the
> dances in the classes during the weeks before the social. Our group,
> like many, does have it's favorites, but even they would not be done
> much more than once in a year or so. Few dances ever appear on more
> than one social in a given year.
>
> The new lady from Glasgow was completely unfamiliar with the entire
> program for our recent Ball. She came anyway, and had a great time, but
> she did notice a different style here. Maybe you should come here next
> January. Visit Canada in winter? Why not - the skiing is great, and
> the dancing is too!
>
> Chris Collin, Ardbrae Dancers of Ottawa
>
> --
> Chris Collin <collin@mondenet.com>
One thing my husband and I find so nice about SCD is the fact that no
matter where you go, you can usually find some group nearby that has a
dance (social, class, etc.) planned. If you get in touch with them,
they are happy to have you join them. We have done this in the past,
and we danced with folks in Nova Scotia and Victoria, BC. If we had
thought the dances would not be briefed, not having any idea which ones
the groups were likely to do, we probably would have been hesitant to
join them. The longer you dance, the more confident you become, but it
takes awhile before you even want to consider just going somewhere and
dancing without a brief, unless you've gotten a program ahead of time to
study. (Especially if you're in the group that finds Pilling more than
a little confusing.)
Eventually you get to the place where lots of dances are familiar and
comfortable to dance, but it does take awhile. I think newcomers are
much more likely to get involved, come to dances, and enjoy the whole
thing if they know they'll hear the dance being briefed. Donna F.

Pillings vs descriptions unbriefed

Message 10567 · Stefan Barthel · 4 Feb 1998 11:06:54 · Top

>Where have I been all my life? In this area not only the formal Balls
>(RSCDS or other), but even the small Friday/Saturday night dances, are
>normally done without recaps/briefings - unless an organizer puts a new
>dance on the program and thinks most people won't know it.

Well, if there are only well known dances on the evenings programme, I
don't need a recap. It's boring then. And if it is poor done, just the
more boring. But what about new dancers?

If there is an event here, there are normally just a few dances on the
programme well known (to me). The programmes differ to the taste of the
local groups and teachers - and I like it that way. But there are too
many events to be prepared for all of them by learning the dances before.
I like it to be able to dance most of the dances just after having had a
look at the description or the Green Book and a good briefing. And I
don't like to sit, if I can dance.

>I should occasionally love the luxury of not having to spend an
>hour beforehand boning up on the moves, and in the end getting confused on
>the floor!
Well I like events with all well known dances as well. But not all the
time. And I tend to fall asleep and do the more mistakes, if I believe to
know a dance.

----------------------------------------------------------
Stefan Barthel email: bast@nuernberg.netsurf.de
Spardorfer Strasse 40a
D-91054 Erlangen ++49 / 9131 / 20 66 11 (p.)
++49 / 911 / 688 667 71 (d.)

http://nuernberg.netsurf.de/User/barthel
----------------------------------------------------------

Pillings vs descriptions unbriefed

Message 10637 · JANGSTROM · 5 Feb 1998 15:52:48 · Top

IMHO there is nothing that looks worse than a line of people (usually men) on
the dance floor with their nosed in Pillings! I like a brief talk through.
(that's an art form in itself!) In Boston we have talk throughs, and I'll
admit, sometimes they are much too long. There must be a happy medium.

Jane Angstrom, Boston, Ma.

Pillings vs descriptions unbriefed

Message 10641 · Stefan Barthel · 5 Feb 1998 16:45:43 · Top

>IMHO there is nothing that looks worse than a line of people (usually men) on
>the dance floor with their nosed in Pillings! I like a brief talk through.
>(that's an art form in itself!) In Boston we have talk throughs, and I'll
>admit, sometimes they are much too long. There must be a happy medium.
>
Yes, a too long or too detailed briefing can cause confusion. As well as
a too short. A poor microphone or a MC out of voice and a noisy audience
(discussing the matter themselves) makes it all useless. A good briefing
should be just as detailed as necessary and slow enough for
brain-dancing. A briefing style
"TurnCastTurnleftCloverleafReelsacrossCircle" is useless if you are not
able to dance it without briefing. It forces you to use diagramms or
whatever else. And it takes some time for me to get acquainted with the
person's personal choice of words. Maybe because I am not a native
speaker, maybe because Scottish and American teachers sound different.

I prefer having enough breaks to plan ahead or talk with someone knowing
a dance better, enough time between the dances for a short smalltalk with
my old and new partner and a short glance at the diagram, then getting on
the floor and a short and precise briefing.

----------------------------------------------------------
Stefan Barthel email: bast@nuernberg.netsurf.de
Spardorfer Strasse 40a
D-91054 Erlangen ++49 / 9131 / 20 66 11 (p.)
++49 / 911 / 688 667 71 (d.)

http://nuernberg.netsurf.de/User/barthel
----------------------------------------------------------

Pillings vs descriptions unbriefed

Message 10648 · Freeman/Pavey · 5 Feb 1998 18:13:15 · Top

JANGSTROM@aol.com wrote:
>
> IMHO there is nothing that looks worse than a line of people (usually men) on
> the dance floor with their nosed in Pillings! I like a brief talk through.

A lack of talk throughs reduces the socializing between dances for the
dubious benefit of saving about a minute and a half each dance. Some, I
think, believe it improves the quality of the performance by excluding
those unsure of the dance. Hard to measure, but I doubt it enhances an
evening of dancing one iota.

Cole Pavey
--
Eastern Ontario Scottish Country Dance Calendar
http://www.rideau.net/~tay/

Pillings vs descriptions unbriefed

Message 10663 · James R. Ferguson · 5 Feb 1998 20:46:28 · Top

JANGSTROM@aol.com wrote:
>
> IMHO there is nothing that looks worse than a line of people (usually men) on
> the dance floor with their nosed in Pillings! I like a brief talk through.
> (that's an art form in itself!) In Boston we have talk throughs, and I'll
> admit, sometimes they are much too long. There must be a happy medium.
>
> Jane Angstrom, Boston, Ma.
>
> --
> JANGSTROM@aol.com
Yes, I like a brief, too (but a brief one). If it gets too long or
involved, I think it confuses the issue, or at least the newer dancer.
Donna

Pillings vs descriptions unbriefed

Message 10655 · Anselm Lingnau · 5 Feb 1998 18:46:54 · Top

Stefan Barthel <bast@nuernberg.netsurf.de> writes:

> A good briefing
> should be just as detailed as necessary and slow enough for
> brain-dancing. A briefing style
> "TurnCastTurnleftCloverleafReelsacrossCircle" is useless if you are not
> able to dance it without briefing.

When I took my Prelim our tutor (who is probably reading this) was very
keen on the briefings -- and rightly so (IMHO). We sweated about
remembering the dances and getting the wording just right, only to find
out later that the examiners were more interested in hearing the tone of
our voices rather than testing our knowledge of the dances. We could
have recited the telephone directory for all they cared :^)

Anyway, here's my little

GUIDE FOR BRIEFINGS
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

1. Speak loudly, clearly and slowly. Think of the people at the very
back of the room (if you don't have a microphone). If you feel
you're speaking quite a bit too slowly then it is probably just
right for the audience to understand.

2. Study up on the dance beforehand. If you have never seen the dance
before in your life, your briefing is probably not going to be too
helpful (unless it is for the Linton Ploughman). Look at the original
instructions if at all possible -- diagrams are often muddled or
just plain wrong. There is nothing more embarrassing for the
briefer nor more confusing to the audience than a briefing that
is constantly corrected by people from the floor.

3. Try to structure your briefing in phrases of, say, eight bars'
worth of dancing. Then leave a short pause. This helps your
breathing and also makes it easier for the audience to figure
out where you are in the dance.

4. Avoid bar numbers as in `2nd couple move up on bars 11-12' since
nobody will be able to calculate what moment of the dance you're
talking about -- it's better to say `1st couple cast off while the
2s move up'. If that isn't possible -- e.g., during bars 17-24 of
The Wild Geese, where the 2nd couple is supposed to step up in time
so the dancing couple sees where they have to end up --, try to
relate the bar numbers to the current figure, e.g., `1st couple
lead down the middle and up to 2nd place, 2s step up on 3 and 4'
rather than `2s step up on 19 and 20'.

5. Don't try to teach the dance in your briefing. You want to include
enough detail so people will know what to do, but you don't want
to take as long for the briefing as it takes to do the actual
dance. E.g., a briefing for Schiehallion takes about 30 seconds,
maximum.

5b. If the dance in question contains a `compound' figure like `Dance
to each corner and set' or `Set and rotate', resist the temptation
of explaining all the little movements that it consists of. The
dancers are supposed to know the figures -- you just remind
them which one comes when.

6. Leave off the little jokes and stories that the audience has heard
a hundred times before. You're the MC, not a stand-up comedian,
and the people out on the floor probably want to dance rather than
listen to your being funny. (At any rate, the ratio of more-or-less
humorous narrative to actual briefing should not exceed 1.0 unless
you really *are* very, very funny indeed.)

7. Be brief. Remember it is called a `briefing', not a `verbosing'.

Anselm
--
Anselm Lingnau ......................... lingnau@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.de
No craftsman, if he aspires to the highest work in his profession, will accept
[inferior] tools; and no employer, if he appreciates the quality of work, will
ask a craftsman to accept them. --- Gerald Weinberg

Pillings vs descriptions unbriefed

Message 10665 · Ken McFarland · 5 Feb 1998 20:57:52 · Top

Anselm's Guide for Briefings says....
> 6. Leave off the little jokes and stories that the audience has heard
> a hundred times before. You're the MC, not a stand-up comedian,
> and the people out on the floor probably want to dance rather than
> listen to your being funny. (At any rate, the ratio of more-or-less
> humorous narrative to actual briefing should not exceed 1.0 unless
> you really *are* very, very funny indeed.)

I think it is true that entertainment should not be the purpose of the
briefing, but I have seen some briefers who are very entertaining. Anyone
who has seen Avril & David Quarries "physical" briefing done while they are
sandwiched together at the top of the hall, with the hands of one person
mimicing the voice of the other might be inclined to agree. That is one case
when I was very glad that the MC's did a little bit of entertaining. They
made what could otherwise have been a fairly dull briefing fun to see/hear.
The point being there are exceptions to every "rule".

On a related but slightly different subject: to me, it's nicer for an MC to
include some personal, social-based bits and pieces in the course of the
evening. I would hate to attend a dance where the MC just gave dance
descriptions, and didn't include anything else. No, I don't want to
encourage stand up comedians, but I would like to see MC's continue to make
_short_ mention of things like Birthdays and Anniversaries, and to make sure
that full thanks are being given to those who did the work.

Ken McFarland
Fairbanks, Alaska

Pillings vs descriptions unbriefed

Message 10688 · Stefan Barthel · 6 Feb 1998 11:44:48 · Top

Anselm wrote:
>Anyway, here's my little
>
> GUIDE FOR BRIEFINGS [...]

Quite a good briefing itself! Should we keep it on a web page? I think
it's worth to keep it accesible (like some other useful mails before).

I would also like it to have access to a historical view on how and when
some of the popular figures came to live and how they have changed in
time. If someone has knowledge useful for all, why not sharing it?

----------------------------------------------------------
Stefan Barthel email: bast@nuernberg.netsurf.de
Spardorfer Strasse 40a
D-91054 Erlangen ++49 / 9131 / 20 66 11 (p.)
++49 / 911 / 688 667 71 (d.)

http://nuernberg.netsurf.de/User/barthel
----------------------------------------------------------

Pillings vs descriptions unbriefed

Message 10689 · Ian Brockbank 05-Jan-1995 0951 · 6 Feb 1998 11:56:41 · Top

Stephan wrote (quoting Anselm):

> >Anyway, here's my little
> >
> > GUIDE FOR BRIEFINGS [...]
>
> Quite a good briefing itself! Should we keep it on a web page? I think
> it's worth to keep it accesible (like some other useful mails before).

If Anselm is willing, I could add this to my collection of hints and tips
off the SCD section of my web site -
http://www.tardis.ed.ac.uk/~ibb/scd/scd/ . I am also open to offers of
further hints and tips related to SCD.

Cheers,

Ian
--
Ian.Brockbank@edo.mts.dec.com Edinburgh, Scotland
Grand Chain: The Scottish Dance and Music Resource:
--- http://www.tardis.ed.ac.uk/~ibb/scd/

Pillings vs descriptions unbriefed

Message 10678 · Trans Vector Technologies, Inc · 5 Feb 1998 23:50:49 · Top

Jane Armstrong writes:

>IMHO there is nothing that looks worse than a line of people (usually men) on
>the dance floor with their nosed in Pillings!

Quite apart from how it appears to someone looking on, someone with his
nose in any kind of crib device is not paying much attention to his partner
or his fellow set members.

>I like a brief talk through.
>(that's an art form in itself!) In Boston we have talk throughs, and I'll
>admit, sometimes they are much too long. There must be a happy medium.

At its inception nearly 12 years ago, we in the San Gabriel Valley Branch
made the conscious choice to brief all dances at our social functions with
the aim of improving sociability among dancers and improving the quality of
the dancing. Almost right away we refined the idea so that the detail and
time spent on the briefing were in inverse order of the complexity of the
dance. For beginner-level dances, we will even walk them through for 1
couple so as to encourage as many inexperienced dancers as possible to join
in. For intermediate dances, we do a standard briefing (an unambiguous
capsule summary of each formation of the dance) without a walk through. For
advanced/complex dances we do what we call a sequence reminder, or maybe
just a reminder of how the dance begins, depending on what the floor seems
to need. Sometimes the briefings aren't that great, but generally it works
fairly well.

The organizers of our recent formal Burns Ball decided that a different
approach was indicated, and what they did worked very well: Every dance was
briefed only (1 briefer for each of 3 sets of dances), and the briefers
were under strict instructions to keep the briefings to under 30 seconds. A
few times they actually succeeded in meeting the time limit, but the
overall results were impressive--they were very well prepared and gave
clear, concise briefings. I think the briefings for Rob Roy and Ian Powries
Farewell to A. took just under a minute--I didn't realize it could be done!
Cribs were available in the printed programs, but were generally not in
evidence while sets were being formed--people were greeting and interacting
with each other. Now, I don't want you to get the idea that the tone of the
evening was set by the decision to do 30-second briefings. Somehow I think
the music of Chris Duncan (Fiddle) and Muriel Johnstone (Piano) is what
really energized the evening!

Cheers, Oberdan.

Trans Vector Technologies, Inc, 184 Estaban Drive, Camarillo, CA 93010-1611
Phone: (805)484-2775, FAX: (805)484-2718, EMail: ootto@tvt.com

Pillings vs descriptions unbriefed

Message 10724 · Ron Mackey · 8 Feb 1998 15:01:06 · Top

> Date: Tue, 03 Feb 1998 09:47:01 +0000
> To: strathspey@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.de
> From: Graham Mackenzie <agm@st-and.ac.uk>
> Subject: Re: Pillings vs descriptions unbriefed

Hi, Graham wrote,

> Where have I been all my life? In this area not only the formal Balls
> (RSCDS or other), but even the small Friday/Saturday night dances, are
> normally done without recaps/briefings - unless an organizer puts a new
> dance on the program and thinks most people won't know it. Hence Pilling
> (or equivalent personal collections of dances) are not only desirable but
> essential. I should occasionally love the luxury of not having to spend an
> hour beforehand boning up on the moves, and in the end getting confused on
> the floor!
>
> (Graham Mackenzie
>

It must depend a lot on whether the dance programme is made up of
well known dances. In my area there are two particular clubs who
work in different ways.
No 1. Has a very small 'vocabulary' of dances and repeats them often.
Before a dance each item on the programme will be danced two or three
times on club nights and any favourite will be on 2/3 dance progs. a
year. They do not re-cap. (It can be boring)
No 2. Works basically from RSCDS dances but with a strong leavening
from other sources i.e. a very large 'vocabulary'. A dance from
any source is unlikely to be on a dance prog. more than once a year.
Their dancers come from many classes and may or may not have the
prog. dances done at their classes. They re-cap most dances.
So - if you like to browse far and wide for your sources it will be
good policy to re-cap. If you have a restricted vocab. you
shouldn't need to.
Cheers Ron :)

Ron Mackey London UK
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