strathspey Archive: embellishments

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Message 17848 · Stefan Barthel · 30 Jun 1999 22:20:18 · Top

>From: Oberdan Otto <>
>I like the idea of doing a dance 8 times correctly. In fact, doing a dance
>correctly (and well) even once can be quite a challenge, even for very
>basic dances.

Sorry for my question, what is "correctly"? There is not a single way dances
are taught. I've learnt many dances from different teachers in different
ways - who was right? I've seen many dances danced in different styles. And
what is "doing a dance well"? I think it's possible to do a dance well (and
believe everybody tries to do that at a ball), with fun for all dancers in
the set, without causing breakdowns, but with little differences in the
style from couple to couple, still dancing together. That doesn't make it a
different dance!

>The more I try to make the dance fun for my partner and my set members, the
>less inclined I am to embellishment.

I think we all aim for fun not just for ourselves but the set members as
well. Their fun is our fun.

But if it is a well known dance, being on nearly every recent programme, it
is sometimes more fun with little embellishments. Sure you have to think
about your set. Do they like little variations? If you know the answer is
"yes" (which may be the case with young dancers in Germany and everywhere
else) then it is OK.
If I don't know the dance (or my company in the set), then I prefer to dance
it the way it is written or the way I was told it should be. But if I
already know how it feels, then I try to dance it a bit less by brain and a
bit more by heart. Sometimes my heart likes to jump.

>If I use embellishments at all, I
>usually save them for an encore (not including unintended embellishments),
>after I am satisfied that I have fully derived the enjoyment of doing the
>dance well.

I like that enjoyment, too. For me dance is done well, if my set enjoyed the
dancing as well, and we all were dancing together. This may be the case with
embellishment or without, depending on the dance, the dancers and the
situation. After all life can be full of surprises.

Stefan Barthel <>

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