strathspey Archive: Allemandes

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Message 1540 · Anselm Lingnau · 31 Mar 1995 15:56:49 · Top

Alan Bell <> writes in answer to Anonymous's
comment about dancing too far up during the allemande:

> Allemande, when phrased correctly, is a nice figure with several changes of
> pace.
> Often dancers simply dance the entire figure 'in second gear', all at the
> same speed.

I've just finished reading Hugh Thurston's _Dances_of_Scotland_. This book
dates back to the 50s and is a mine of useful information, not only about
the history of dancing in Scotland but also about the state of SCD at
the time it was written. If you can get hold of a copy, by all means have
a look at it -- it's rather short, well written and very interesting indeed.

It has a lot to say about the allemande as a figure of dance and its
history. The fascinating bit, to me, was that all the dances the (then) SCDS
had reconstructed and published by that time that included the allemande were
strathspeys. The allemande as a quick-time figure appears to have been so
unusual at the time to be virtually non-existent. In any case, Thurston says
that in his own personal opinion a reel-time allemande would be quite an
abomination (I can't recall the exact wording) because the higher speed
would make it nearly impossible to dance the figure with the appropriate

Well, today the quick-time allemande is rather often seen in dances,
even those published by the RSCDS, and it's quite good fun to dance. It is
also one of the more difficult figures to phrase correctly, especially when
three couples are dancing. It certainly takes *me* a lot of concentration
to get just right. Thus I suspect Anonymous's and Alan's concerns are well
justified :^)

Anselm Lingnau .........................
Real Software Engineers work from 9 to 5, because that is the way the job is
described in the formal spec. Working late would feel like using an
undocumented external procedure. --- Anon.

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