strathspey Archive: Dealing with mistakes/Helping

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Dealing with mistakes/Helping

Message 19159 · James R. Ferguson · 30 Oct 1999 08:18:45 · Top

Ellie's story about trying to get a set through Irish Rover reminded me of a
similar situation long ago. It was at the welcome dance during my husband's
and my very first workshop. It was early in the evening and I was very
nervous, sure I would ruin everything for everyone if I made a mistake, but
wanting very much to dance. ( I had studied the dances, but as you all
know, that doesn't always mean success). I mentioned that I would
appreciate a little help if I got stuck. A very kind man from Chicago (who
shall remain nameless) smiled and said not to worry. The problem was that
everyone else in the set acknowledged that they "might need a little help".
To make a long story short, the poor man spent his entire dance getting us
all through the dance. We made it, just barely, and all thanked him
profusely. He smiled, acted as if it was not problem, and then quickly
disappeared to the other end of the room. I'm sure he felt as though he had
been through a whole workshop by then, but you know, his patience and
attitude was one of the things I felt most important about that workshop.
If this was the kind of people that did Scottish Dancing, then I wanted to
keep at it and learn to do it well.
I'm not sure this quite fits the topic, but I've never forgotten it or him,
and I mentioned it to him some years later. Actually, I think he
remembered it, and seemed gratified to know the impression he made.
Whenever I see someone struggling with a dance, I think of that night and
the help I received. I still appreciate help that is given kindly, and try
to give help in the same way.
Donna

Ellie Briscoe wrote:

> Big mistake in "helping:" I mistakenly tried to "get a set of dancers
> through" Irish Rover. I was in the last set to form. "Ellie will help us
> through this!" ....................>

Dealing with mistakes/Helping

Message 19194 · Darla Granberry · 1 Nov 1999 16:57:45 · Top

My 16 y.o. son had a similar experience recently with Peat Fire Flame at
the Houston Ball.
He was in a bottom set and the group admitted before the first chord that
they didn't really know it.
He spent the entire 8 x thru first guiding them, then allowing them to sort
themselves out and starting again.
When the dance was over and several apologized for messing it up, he
smiled, shrugged and said -look, it's a Drewy dance- which was immediately
answered with smiles and groans. Needless to say I was very proud of the
way he handled it.

Darla Granberry
Lubbock, TX

At 12:16 AM 10/30/99 -0700, you wrote:
>Ellie's story about trying to get a set through Irish Rover reminded me of a
>similar situation long ago. It was at the welcome dance during my husband's
>and my very first workshop. It was early in the evening and I was very
>nervous, sure I would ruin everything for everyone if I made a mistake, but
>wanting very much to dance. ( I had studied the dances, but as you all
>know, that doesn't always mean success). I mentioned that I would
>appreciate a little help if I got stuck. A very kind man from Chicago (who
>shall remain nameless) smiled and said not to worry. The problem was that
>everyone else in the set acknowledged that they "might need a little help".
>To make a long story short, the poor man spent his entire dance getting us
>all through the dance. We made it, just barely, and all thanked him
>profusely. He smiled, acted as if it was not problem, and then quickly
>disappeared to the other end of the room. I'm sure he felt as though he had
>been through a whole workshop by then, but you know, his patience and
>attitude was one of the things I felt most important about that workshop.
>If this was the kind of people that did Scottish Dancing, then I wanted to
>keep at it and learn to do it well.
>I'm not sure this quite fits the topic, but I've never forgotten it or him,
>and I mentioned it to him some years later. Actually, I think he
>remembered it, and seemed gratified to know the impression he made.
>Whenever I see someone struggling with a dance, I think of that night and
>the help I received. I still appreciate help that is given kindly, and try
>to give help in the same way.
>Donna
>
>Ellie Briscoe wrote:
>
>> Big mistake in "helping:" I mistakenly tried to "get a set of dancers
>> through" Irish Rover. I was in the last set to form. "Ellie will help us
>> through this!" ....................>
>
>
>--
>Jim and Donna Ferguson <jfergie@jadeinc.com>
>
>

Dealing with mistakes/Helping

Message 19343 · Martin.Sheffield · 12 Nov 1999 12:31:33 · Top

Someone recently mentioned "Irish rover".

That reminds me of my first encounter with this dance.

My wife and I once joined a set as 4th cp, never before having heard of
this particularly dance, but confident that it wouldn't be any more
difficult than others on that evening's program (OK, sheer madness, but we
were quite young in those far-off days in the gardens of Hove). But we made
it quite clear to the others that we'd need guidance with a firm hand.
Luckily it was a helpful set, whose hands, eyes and voices got us
succesfully through the figures in time (I think) with the music. We made
it clear we needed help, and we got it. Everyone enjoyed the dance.

Last week, I was at another dance in Sussex, interesting program, mostly
competent dancers, no recaps. I found myself in a set for "Lord Maclay's
reel" -- nothing very difficult. But although at least half of my set did
not really know the dance, no-one gave any warning that they felt unsure of
themselves. We had 5 hands across, reel of 3 and a half, 7 hands round and
back, etc, etc: a hopeless mess, because no-one knew who to help or who to
look to for help. If someone had had the courage to say "How does it start?
and what happens next?, there's no reason why we shouldn't have succeeded
with honour. Instead of which ...

When you know some of the set need help, you can offer it with confidence.
When you don't know, it can be awkward giving instructuions that might be
resented (especially if, as in my case last week, the other members of my
set are total strangers).

Perhaps the best bet is to give a helping hand, regardless of whether
others may resent it or not.
On the other hand, if like me, you then forget you are doing a 40-bar
dance, and leap into figure one on bar 33, prepare for some dirty looks !

Risky business, country dancing.
Martin,
in Grenoble, France.
---
http://perso.wanadoo.fr/scots.in.france/
(dancing, dances, cycling ...)

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