strathspey Archive: Scottish Reform (was Hamilton House aka poor interpretation)

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Scottish Reform (was Hamilton House aka poor interpretation)

Message 14943 · The_Healys · 7 Dec 1998 01:26:08 · Top

Thanks Priscilla - you know I was looking for an excuse, so I will
answer Sylvia's question:
> What happened in Scottish Reform? It has always been a bit
> disconcerting to go from so many 2 bar turns to one 4 bar turn...
which doesn't work because there is too much music. So much so that
the Manual has to mutter along the lines of dance out to place and
back in to the middle to meet ready for the lead down. Garbage!

> This dance has an astonishing similarity to the American contra
> Hull's Victory which commemorates Gen Hull's victory over Gen
> Howe in the War of 1812.
Now, there, Sylvia, you have the advantage over me as I know nothing
of American Contra but I do know that when I learned Scottish Reform
the first sixteen bars were two bars skip change; two bars pas de
basque which meant that bars 13-16 were turn tight two bars and
finish close in the middle then two pas de basque to retire to
place mirroring the poussete to come 16 bars later.

Someone will no doubt have the evidence that my memory is faulty
but I recall watching the film Tunes of Glory years ago and there
is a wonderful scene with John Mills and Alex Guiness at the
Regimental dinner and there in the background are a bunch of
dancers doing Scottish Reform exactly as I recall it from school and
fitting the music.

I wonder if young Helen's memory stretches back that far, Malcolm?

Jim

PS I got the hints about retiring but I will wait to read the
answers to this lot first :)

Scottish Reform (was Hamilton House aka poor interpretation)

Message 14951 · Ian Price · 7 Dec 1998 08:06:18 · Top

Message text written by INTERNET:strathspey@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.d=
e
>Tunes of Glory years ago and there
is a wonderful scene with John Mills and Alex Guiness at the
Regimental dinner and there in the background are a bunch of
dancers doing Scottish Reform exactly as I recall it from school and
fitting the music.<

My recollection is the 'bunch of dancers' were from the London Scottish
(regimental) Reel Club, and led at that time by one Alan Morris with whom=

I've lost touch. He was a good friend of my father who was an officer in
the regiment at the time, and I think Dad got in on the block of tickets
they obtained for the movie's premiere in the Odeon Leicester Square. I d=
o
recall stories of Mills (and possibly Sir Alec) being entertained in the
officers' mess as part of their 'background research' into their parts.

Also figuring in the movie (for you trivia buffs) was P/M Leslie de Laspe=
e
who not only ran the tightest pipe band in London at the time, but was al=
so
for many tears the Queen Mum's personal piper and would frequently do the=

morning stint under the bedroom windows at Clarence House when HM was in
town. Even giants of that stature were apparently not averse to a little
moonlighting as movie extras. (de Laspee was also in "The Longest Day"
playing the part of Lord Lovat's piper marching the commandos across the
<whassisname> bridge under fire).

... sorry, lapsing into unrestrained nostalgia.

-2chter

Scottish Reform (was Hamilton House aka poor interpretation)

Message 14966 · Benjamin Stein · 7 Dec 1998 16:27:12 · Top

A little about the relationship between Scottish Country Dancing and New
England Contra Dancing. The earlier form of course was what we now call
English Country Dancing but the diversion into SCD took place some time
earlier than that to American Contra Dancing. Some of the earliest scotti=
sh
dances apparently emigrated to the US and underwent some minor
transformations. Evidently, some time around the War of 1812, the Pousett=
e
disappeared from the standard figures in the US and the last figure of
several dances changed to rights and lefts, following a cast off at the e=
nd
of the down the middle and back. A New England choriographer, entranced
with patriotism and the recently ended war,renamed the modified dances:
Thus, Scottish Reform became Hull's Victory (Isaac Hull-Captain of the
Constitution-Old Ironsides), Linton Ploughman became Jefferson and Libert=
y,
etc. Petronella however stayed Petronella. In all these cases the change
from down the middle and back followed by Pousette, to down the middle a=
nd
back, cast off and rights and lefts persisted. In some parts of the east
the setting step changed to a kick balance but in others, particularly
central Vermont, the balance step is a rather reserved setting step: i.e =
a
slightly forward and back right, left, right; left, right left-not at all=

un-scottish. Watching the Larkin Dancers (a demonstration group establish=
ed
in the 1920's to keep the old dances alive) dancing these dances in the o=
ld
style is very illuminating. I think that most of us are aware that even t=
he
Scottish dances were danced "in lines for as many as will" until almost
1900-as are contra dances to this day.

Ben Stein
Burlington, Vt
dancers@Compuserve.com

Scottish Reform (was Hamilton House aka poor interpretation)

Message 14973 · RSCDSSD · 7 Dec 1998 19:12:59 · Top

In a message dated 12/7/98 6:28:39 AM Pacific Standard Time,
dancers@compuserve.com writes:

> I think that most of us are aware that even the
> Scottish dances were danced "in lines for as many as will" until almost
> 1900-as are contra dances to this day.

Ben,

Thanks for an interesting bit of insight into the variations between Scottish
and contra. Ironically, your last comment, noted above, directly addresses
the other thread going on at the moment -- how do we deal with getting the
dancing couple to the bottom of the set after the second repetition? That is
a 20th century problem created by the decision to dance in four couple sets
rather than longwise for as many as will.

On that thread, I do agree with those who say -- quickly, quietly and
unobtrusively is the best way. Or we could go back to longwise for as many as
will . . . ;> )

Marjorie McLaughlin
RSCDSSD@aol.com

Scottish Reform (was Hamilton House aka poor interpretation)

Message 14977 · Priscilla M. Burrage · 7 Dec 1998 20:27:50 · Top

On Mon, 7 Dec 1998 RSCDSSD@aol.com wrote:

> Ben,
>
> Thanks for an interesting bit of insight into the variations between Scottish
> and contra. Ironically, your last comment, noted above, directly addresses
> the other thread going on at the moment -- how do we deal with getting the
> dancing couple to the bottom of the set after the second repetition? That is
> a 20th century problem created by the decision to dance in four couple sets
> rather than longwise for as many as will.
>
> On that thread, I do agree with those who say -- quickly, quietly and
> unobtrusively is the best way. Or we could go back to longwise for as many as
> will . . . ;> )

The thought of doing a 20th century dance with 20th century style in a
'longwise for as many as will' is frightening. Isn't it great that we
have developed another dance culture that suits us and our way of life?

I would like to include some 18thcentury dances 'as is' in our books and
mark those 'for as many as will.' How about it?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Priscilla Burrage Vermont US
(pburrage@zoo.uvm.edu)

Scottish Reform (was Hamilton House aka poor interpretation)

Message 14980 · Richard L. Walker · 7 Dec 1998 21:20:51 · Top

Please include Glasgow Highlanders. It would be like the Eveready
Bunny - going and going and going.

-----Original Message-----
From: Priscilla M. Burrage <pburrage@zoo.uvm.edu>
...I would like to include some 18thcentury dances 'as is' in our
books and
mark those 'for as many as will.' How about it?...

Scottish Reform (was Hamilton House aka poor interpretation)

Message 14984 · Benjamin Stein · 7 Dec 1998 22:56:16 · Top

Oh golly-here I go disagreeing with the RSCDS again! Much as it is not
condoned, when a dance finishes with a pousette, and the fourth couple ha=
s
to get into the next round immediately-I really think that the practice o=
f
finishing the pousette with the couple at the bottom taking nearer hands
and dancing to the bottom of the set, letting the bottom couple step up o=
n
the last two bars, rather than falling back to new places-is a neat and
elegant solution to a sticky problem. Damn it-it works, why not use it!
Thank you Marjorie.

I also agree with Priscilla (and she well knows that isn't always the
case). I like the 20th century dances done current style but why not have=

some of the old dances in longways sets,particularly the two couple dance=
s.
It is anoying to start a two couple dance with just the top two couples i=
n
a four couple set.

As to Ken McFarland's comment. Sure-ever since Mr. Isaac introduced Count=
ry
Dancing to the French Court in the 17th century, and they thought he was
saying Contre' rather than Country, the terms were often interchangeable.=

And thank you Ken-John Millar's book is a great resource-if not still
available from the Country Dance Society, I think it can be ordered throu=
gh
the bookstore at Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts.

Ben Stein
Burlington, Vt =

dancers@Compuserve.Com

Scottish Reform (was Hamilton House aka poor interpretation)

Message 14989 · SMiskoe · 8 Dec 1998 01:36:46 · Top

Following Jim Healy's explanation of the changes to Scottish Reform, my next
question is: Did the Society actually change the dance or did they perhaps
learn it from someone/group who had forgotten the movement for bars 13-16? Or
was it a regional variation?
Cheers,
Sylvia Miskoe, Concord, NH USA

Scottish Reform (was Hamilton House aka poor interpretation)

Message 14993 · SallenNic · 8 Dec 1998 03:04:25 · Top

To say that the problem of getting the top couple down to the bottom is a
C20th problem caused by the decision to dance in four couple sets rather than
"Longways for as many as will" is not entirely true. Most Scottish country
dances (until fairly recently) are triple minor in form, that is they involve
three couples in dancing each turn of the dance. It is easily seen,
therefore, that even if danced "Longways for as many as will" (Triple minor),
the working couple(s) will have to go to the bottom when there is only one
couple below them. An exception to this is Jessie's Hornpipe, in which there
was a footnote under the dance instructions in the 1st edition of Book 1 - or
is it Book 2? - (deleted in the next edition!) to the effect that when there
is only one couple below the working couple, the figure of eight is to be
danced across the set.
Nicolas Broadbridge, Lanark, Scotland.

Scottish Reform (was Hamilton House aka poor interpretation)

Message 14994 · Ian Price · 8 Dec 1998 03:41:10 · Top

Message text written by INTERNET:strathspey@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.d=
e
>Scottish Reform, my next
question is: Did the Society actually change the dance or did they perhap=
s
learn it from someone/group who had forgotten the movement for bars 13-16=
?
Or
was it a regional variation?<

Could it not quite possibly be an actual example of the kind of reform th=
e
collectors, cataloguers, and choreographers wanted to achieve? Maybe the
joke's on us, folks!

-2chter

Scottish Reform (was Hamilton House aka poor interpretation)

Message 14997 · John Chambers · 8 Dec 1998 04:30:35 · Top

| To say that the problem of getting the top couple down to the bottom is a
| C20th problem caused by the decision to dance in four couple sets rather than
| "Longways for as many as will" is not entirely true. Most Scottish country
| dances (until fairly recently) are triple minor in form, that is they involve
| three couples in dancing each turn of the dance. It is easily seen,
| therefore, that even if danced "Longways for as many as will" (Triple minor),
| the working couple(s) will have to go to the bottom when there is only one
| couple below them. ...

Some contradance crowds do a lot of triple-minor dances, and a common
approach is to tell people to dance with the "ghost" couple at the
bottom the last time through, and modify the dance "however" to make
it work. Most people who are clever enough to understand the figures
are also clever enough to incorporate the ghosts, especially after
they've had a few times through the dance to get the pattern down.

The ghosts seem to be very shy; they seem to be satisfied just
hanging around at the bottom of the line, without ever progressing.

Scottish Reform (was Hamilton House aka poor interpretation)

Message 15002 · Priscilla M. Burrage · 8 Dec 1998 07:24:14 · Top

On Mon, 7 Dec 1998 SallenNic@aol.com wrote:

> Most Scottish country
> dances (until fairly recently) are triple minor in form, that is they involve
> three couples in dancing each turn of the dance. It is easily seen,
> therefore, that even if danced "Longways for as many as will" (Triple minor),
> the working couple(s) will have to go to the bottom when there is only one
> couple below them.

In English country dancing, which is still done 'longways for as many as
will,' the first couple dance with the couple below them and a 'ghost'
couple, adjusting the figures so that they end below the other couple by
the end of that round.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Priscilla Burrage Vermont US
(pburrage@zoo.uvm.edu)

Scottish Reform (was Hamilton House aka poor interpretation)

Message 15016 · SallenNic · 8 Dec 1998 22:42:42 · Top

In a message dated 8/12/1998 5:24:26 am, you wrote:

>In English country dancing, which is still done 'longways for as many as
>will,' the first couple dance with the couple below them and a 'ghost'
>couple, adjusting the figures so that they end below the other couple by
>the end of that round.
Not in Britain! Here the longways triple minor is done as I said. Of course,
you will find the occasional couple who "make up" something to fill in the
time, but by and large, they reach one place from the bottom and simply retire
to the bottom.
Nicolas.

Scottish Reform (was Hamilton House aka poor interpretation)

Message 15022 · Ron.Mackey · 9 Dec 1998 02:37:50 · Top

> Following Jim Healy's explanation of the changes to Scottish Reform, my next
> question is: Did the Society actually change the dance or did they perhaps
> learn it from someone/group who had forgotten the movement for bars 13-16? Or
> was it a regional variation?
> Cheers,
> Sylvia Miskoe, Concord, NH USA
>
Or could it have been a rush of common sense to some-one's head??
:)
Cheers, Ron :)

< 0 Ron Mackey,
'O> Mottingham,
/#\ London. UK.
l>
Ron.Mackey@btinternet.com

Re:Scottish Reform

Message 15014 · Malcolm and Helen Brown · 8 Dec 1998 21:35:15 · Top

Jim enquired;

> Someone will no doubt have the evidence that my memory is faulty
> but I recall watching the film Tunes of Glory years ago and there
> is a wonderful scene with John Mills and Alex Guiness at the
> Regimental dinner and there in the background are a bunch of
> dancers doing Scottish Reform exactly as I recall it from school and
> fitting the music.
>
> I wonder if young Helen's memory stretches back that far, Malcolm?
>

Helen says she has no memory of doing Scottish Reform from that time,
let alone how to do it!

However she did have to teach the 4 couple poussette in "OFSGITN" as
her full certificate dance - so she has fond? memories of it!

We would like to endorse the 3cple poussette variation in Muirland Willie
as a widely danced and widely known variation throughout the UK -
I think I have been doing it that way for as long as I've known
the dance.

Malcolm

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_ _
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