strathspey Archive: The Garry Strathspey

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The Garry Strathspey

Message 1182 · Andrew J. Smith · 7 Mar 1995 18:39:45 · Top

I don't think you need to flout any dogma to do this dance. I *prefer* a
nearer hand lead and a cast, because this feels most natural to me. The
original instructions are open to interpretation, and I don't think I'm
violating the devisors intentions, although I don't know this for a
fact. The cast seems to me to give a much smoother entry into the HS

Another poster commented on the convention of lead and dance being
relatively new. It is also useful to note that many dance devisors use
terminology quite loosely, and do not necessarily intend what a strict
RSCDS interpretation of a particular term may imply.

It is always most enlightening to have a devisor teach his or her own
dance, particularly if you have learned it from someone else. The
variations that occur are often astonishing.

Andrew Smith
Message from:
Andrew J. M. Smith

The Garry Strathspey

Message 1183 · Kent W. Smith · 7 Mar 1995 18:42:02 · Top

In message Tue, 7 Mar 95 16:14:46 +0100, ( Helmut Biesenbach) writes:

>> From: Martin Mulligan <>
>> Subject: The Garry Strathspey
> ...
>> 13-16 first couple lead up to top
>> The instructions say that 1C lead up on bars 13-16. According to
>> RSCDS interpretation that means right hand in right. Then 1C must
>> face down.
> The RSCDS convention concerning 'dance up' and 'lead up' is fairly new.
> All older books mix the terms freely - only the revised reprints can
> be trusted, so a lot of confusion is around on what is "correct".
> I remember having danced the Garry Strathspey with nearer hands while
> dancing up to the top, which gives both 1st man and 1st lady the
> opportunity to cast into facing down.
> A similar situation is John Drewry's Silver Tassie, where all 3 couples
> Lead down and up, 1st couple leading both times, ie 2nd and 3rd couples
> have to divide. This is much nicer with nearer hands, especially when
> joining again to dance up.
> For dances from before the mid-eighties it is worthwile to think about
> the picture while reading the instructions.

In fact, somewhere in the minutes of the Research and Publications Committee
is a note that Silver Tassie should be done with nearer hands by everyone.
I know that committee has debated about how much to rewrite all the old
books to adopt the modern distinction between lead and dance, and I think
they decided not to. However, somewhere in the new Manual there is
the statement that nearer hands should be used when there is not a change of
direction or crossing over ("dance") and right hands should be used with a
change of direction or crossing over, unless the dance instructions say
otherwise (occasionally left is specified, as in Miss Milligan's Strathspey)

Kent Smith (Illinois, USA)
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| Kent W. Smith Telephones:
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| 750 N. Lake Shore Drive Home: 708-869-7803
| Chicago, IL 60611

The Garry Strathspey

Message 1184 · Alan Paterson · 7 Mar 1995 19:33:09 · Top

Andrew Smith writes:

>It is always most enlightening to have a devisor teach his or her own
>dance, particularly if you have learned it from someone else. The
>variations that occur are often astonishing.

One experience I had of this was last year at St. Andrews when we were trying to
get "Miss Florence Adams" together for the Younger Hall demonstration. It wasn't
terribly obvious how to finish the set-and-link part (bars 17-24) to get ready
for the "corners pass and turn". So, what did we do? We asked John (Drewry) who
was at Summer School at the same time. His answer: "Oh - just let it flow

Bless him. (Actually - he's correct)

I also remember talking to Linda Gaul about the firt few bars of "Portnacraig".
Apparently (and keep this to yourselves!) the (for me) natural way to hold hands
is as the author originally intended, however this was not accepted by the RxxxS
nd had to be modified to be included in Book 36. So the author wasn't *allowed*
to teach it as originally written.

Alan Paterson -
Berne, Switzerland

The Garry Strathspey

Message 1187 · John P. McClure · 7 Mar 1995 21:05:39 · Top

This is not really about The Garry Strathspey anymore, but never mind. I'm
curious about the handing in the "first few bars" of Portnacraig; I don't
understand what was meant by "the natural way to hold hands", and would very
much appreciate having it described. Re the same dance: I have been told
that the devisor's original wish was to have the first couple give left hands
when crossing down at bars 25-26, but that that was not approved; can anyone
confirm that? It ties in with the general question of handing, and reminds
me that somewhere, in one of the versions of the manual, is a comment to
the effect that one of the important functions of handing is to be helpful
and supportive, so that hands should generally be given with that in mind.
I think that supports the near-hand side at the point in question in The
Garry Strathspey, and also supports the use of left hands much more than is
usually mentioned in SC dancing.

I really would appreciate a reply about the first few bars of Portnacraig;
privately would be fine.

Peter McClure Winnipeg, MB, Canada

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