strathspey Archive: to dem or not to dem. {was cues

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to dem or not to dem. {was cues

Message 19195 · Pia Walker · 1 Nov 1999 18:01:02 · Top

Hi Ron and others

Ron - I always giggle - if I'm not laughing outright (in answer to a private
e-mail)

To Dem or not to Dem - that is the question.

What is a Dem ? To me it is a performance - entertainment for the spectators
and therefore you act as professionally as you possibly can. Teamwork,
body language, recovery, technique - it all has to be there - if you do not
enjoy exhibitionism, you should stay well away - it comes over - if you
think that the people watching doesn't matter - only the dancing - then IMHO
this is wrong too.

I agree that the dances doesn't have to be difficult - afterall the people
watching, unless they are dancers, don't know - they just want to see
the polished end result. It is more important that the teamwork - the
relationship between the dancers are well cemented - the covering and the
covering up is seamless.

To me it doesn't matter if the dancing is in an old people's home or
anywhere else - what matters to me when I'm out there, is to see people's
eyes light up, their feet tapping - that really makes me feel on top of the
world. And this can happen in St. A as well, Ron, in spite of the shaky
knees and the know that 300 pairs of eyes are on your feet, that you can
dance with your eyes crossed and a blue nose and nobody would be any the
wiser. You get 8 people out there in YOunger hall who have had less than 4
hrs together, doing dances they have never seen before - there is not time
to put together a show - so technique must be at the forefront - the poise
comes from telling your body that your knees should not be knocking together
it would deafen the pianist

Incidentally the selectors have some task in front of them - We want young
people, no old, no tall, no short, scottish, no American, French, Kiwis etc
etc - Why am I not in it? I have danced for many years? I know all the
important people? I dance better than....! I used to be....!

Over the years I have heard all these (been at the receiving end of some as
well)

At the same as having to please every one, they have to select 8 people who
can dance together, who dance in the same style, who can support eachother
and who won't go to pieces - I'm glad I'm not a selector. If they want
to change anything, half of the residents will complain about the changes -
if they don't change anything they will be told that they are too stick in
the mud, and told that they only use the same people - a loose / loose
situation.

Wow that got me going (again) - I bet a lot of people have automatic delete
functions with my name on it.

Happy dancing

Pia

Hi, Ian
Why do you think you are not good at demonstration dancing? Is it
because your image of the Dem. is great technique and poise that one
sees at St A. or do you not like standing up in public and showing
viewers what you enjoy doing?
I am interested in what dancers feel is necessary to be a Dem.
dancer. Many of the local Dem. teams one can describe as competent
without being unkind or causing offence. They just enjoy dancing so
much they want others to see what fun they have. I have seen very
few with high technique or superb footwork and most do not aspire to
such but they will demonstrate to the Seniors in the local Hospice
with great good will and humour any time they are asked.
So, friends, the question is:-
_ Why do you Demonstrate - or not?_

Cheers, Ron :)

< 0 Ron Mackey,(Purveyor of Pat's Party Pieces)
'O> Mottingham,
/#\ London. UK.
l>
Ron.Mackey@btinternet.com

to dem or not to dem. {was cues

Message 19203 · Trans Vector Technologies, Inc · 2 Nov 1999 00:05:48 · Top

>[Pia:] What is a Dem ? To me it is a performance - entertainment for the
>spectators and therefore you act as professionally as you possibly can.

Actually, I put Dems into two broad categories based on the main goal:

1) Performance Dancing whose main purpose is to entertain. Pia has nicely
described this category. Here beauty, uniformity, precision and alignment
are most appreciated.

2) Recruitment Dancing whose main purpose is to recruit new dancers. Darla
has described this form and the importance of the audience being able to
identify with the dancers, to see themselves doing this activity.

Cheers, Oberdan.

Trans Vector Technologies, Inc, 184 Estaban Drive, Camarillo, CA 93010-1611
Phone: (805)484-2775, FAX: (805)484-2718, EMail: ootto@tvt.com

to dem or not to dem. {was cues

Message 19208 · Lee Fuell · 2 Nov 1999 00:54:33 · Top

Of Oberdan's two broad categories of demonstrations, I much more
value the second (recruitment) than the first (performance).
Although we certainly don't want to embarass SCD with a shoddy
demo, I would much rather do a demo that produces an "I'd like to
try that" reaction from the audience than an "Oh, my, I could never
do anything that difficult" response. I believe demos have to be
entertaining enough to get people's attention, but still look like
something that's readily achievable by Joe or Jane Average.
Additionally, I would offer that great music is the key to an
entertaining demo; probably more important to a non-dancing
audience than the actual movements of the dance.

I'm sure the demographics of every SCD group are different, but at
our branch I'm really concerned about the inadequate (IMO) influx
of new, young dancers to help perpetuate this activity we all love.
Therefore, as I've discussed with our Demo Team coach, I view our
Demo Team as our most powerful recruiting tool. Now, if we could
just improve our recruiting success rate...

Bottom line - I think demo teams need to make it a priority to make
SCD look fun, not prohibitively difficult.

Lee

Lee Fuell
President, Cincinnati Branch
Royal Scottish Country Dance Society
http://www.infinet.com/~plindsay/rscds/
fuell@infinet.com

to dem or not to dem. {was cues

Message 19211 · Dianna Shipman · 2 Nov 1999 01:24:49 · Top

I'm not quite sure why but I seem to be getting younger dancers with my
informal group on Wednesdays than the local branch - possibly because I let
new people come every week - younger people often seem to have difficult
schedules with school, work, children, etc. that it's hard for them to
commit to a class structured on a requirement that they come every week
(here the branch doesn't give refunds for classes missed and sometimes
structures it such that if you miss a week it's may be hard to catch up).
And some of the younger dancers who get introduced to Scottish Country
dancing with my informal group then go on and take the branch classes when
they can fit it in - I keep them informed of Branch activities - and
anything else related to things Scottish or dance that I know about.
Dianna
Dianna L. Shipman
diannashipman@worldnet.att.net
Dianna L. Shipman, P.C., Attorney at Law
PMB 134, 1436 W. Gray
Houston, TX 77019-4946
web page: http://home.att.net/~diannashipman
phone: 713-522-1212
----- Original Message -----
From: Lee Fuell <fuell@infinet.com>
To: <strathspey@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.de>
Sent: Monday, November 01, 1999 4:57 PM
Subject: Re: to dem or not to dem. {was cues (was: unidentified subject)

> Of Oberdan's two broad categories of demonstrations, I much more
> value the second (recruitment) than the first (performance).
> Although we certainly don't want to embarass SCD with a shoddy
> demo, I would much rather do a demo that produces an "I'd like to
> try that" reaction from the audience than an "Oh, my, I could never
> do anything that difficult" response. I believe demos have to be
> entertaining enough to get people's attention, but still look like
> something that's readily achievable by Joe or Jane Average.
> Additionally, I would offer that great music is the key to an
> entertaining demo; probably more important to a non-dancing
> audience than the actual movements of the dance.
>
> I'm sure the demographics of every SCD group are different, but at
> our branch I'm really concerned about the inadequate (IMO) influx
> of new, young dancers to help perpetuate this activity we all love.
> Therefore, as I've discussed with our Demo Team coach, I view our
> Demo Team as our most powerful recruiting tool. Now, if we could
> just improve our recruiting success rate...
>
> Bottom line - I think demo teams need to make it a priority to make
> SCD look fun, not prohibitively difficult.
>
> Lee
>
> Lee Fuell
> President, Cincinnati Branch
> Royal Scottish Country Dance Society
> http://www.infinet.com/~plindsay/rscds/
> fuell@infinet.com
>

to dem or not to dem. {was cues

Message 19215 · Richard L. Walker · 2 Nov 1999 03:26:15 · Top

Ahhh, the hell associated with being friendly. ha ha

-----Original Message-----
From: Dianna Shipman [mailto:diannashipman@worldnet.att.net]
I'm not quite sure why but I seem to be getting younger dancers with my
informal group on Wednesdays

to dem or not to dem. {was cues

Message 19218 · Pia Walker · 2 Nov 1999 10:21:08 · Top

Dianna -

What ever it is - bottle it and sell it to other branches and you will make
a fortune.

bye PIa
-----Original Message-----
From: Richard L Walker <rlwalker@granis.net>
To: strathspey@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.de
<strathspey@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.de>
Date: 02 November 1999 01:28
Subject: RE: to dem or not to dem. {was cues (was: unidentified subject)

>Ahhh, the hell associated with being friendly. ha ha
>
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Dianna Shipman [mailto:diannashipman@worldnet.att.net]
>I'm not quite sure why but I seem to be getting younger dancers with my
>informal group on Wednesdays
>
>
>

to dem or not to dem. {was cues

Message 19251 · ron.mackey · 4 Nov 1999 02:48:36 · Top

> Dianna -
>
> What ever it is - bottle it and sell it to other branches and you will make
> a fortune.
>
> bye PIa

> >-----Original Message-----
> >From: Dianna Shipman [mailto:diannashipman@worldnet.att.net]
> >I'm not quite sure why but I seem to be getting younger dancers with my
> >informal group on Wednesdays
>

Or could it be that once there are a few who are obviously having ;a
ball' their peers will accept that it is the 'cool' (?) thing to do?
Perhaps the thing to do once the situation arises is to stay 'cool'
and keep doing what you were doing ?
What a wonderful position to be in. If you find the secret please
pass it on. It is just what the RSCDS is doing so much to discover.
Cheers, Ron :)

< 0 Ron Mackey,(Purveyor of Pat's Party Pieces)
'O> Mottingham,
/#\ London. UK.
l>
Ron.Mackey@btinternet.com

to dem or not to dem. {was cues

Message 19231 · parrymac · 3 Nov 1999 00:59:14 · Top

>From Oberdan <SNIP>
>2) Recruitment Dancing whose main purpose is to recruit new dancers. Darla
>has described this form and the importance of the audience being able to
>identify with the dancers, to see themselves doing this activity.

Yes, I can see how it would help to be able to see oneself as potentially
one of the dancers, but let us not leave out that spine-tingling,
goosebump-raising synchronisation that leaves us in the audience breathless
with pleasure. Not only does it not require a tricky dance to delight in
this way, but neophytes and non-dancers simply don't KNOW when you are
being tricky or doing something ridiculously difficult and so can't even
appreciate these.

What we can and do appreciate is the eye-candy of seeing people who are
obviously enjoying themselves AND each other, doing something that inspires
in us a determined desire to do/be the same!

Nona

* * * * * * *
"It's easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them."

Glyn & Nona Parry
22A Landcross Street
Kelburn, Wellington 6005
NEW ZEALAND

Tel +64 4 385 2319

to dem or not to dem. {was cues

Message 19234 · hways · 3 Nov 1999 03:54:13 · Top

Oberdan Otto wrote:
>
>
>
> Actually, I put Dems into two broad categories based on the main goal:
>
> 1) Performance Dancing whose main purpose is to entertain. Pia has nicely
> described this category. Here beauty, uniformity, precision and alignment
> are most appreciated.
>
> 2) Recruitment Dancing whose main purpose is to recruit new dancers. Darla
> has described this form and the importance of the audience being able to
> identify with the dancers, to see themselves doing this activity.

Whichever, but why not refer to them as "Performances" (my preference),
or Demonstrations" and banish forever the terms demo and dem?

Harry Ways
>

to dem or not to dem. {was cues

Message 19237 · Peter Hastings · 3 Nov 1999 10:36:16 · Top

> Whichever, but why not refer to them as "Performances" (my preference),
> or Demonstrations" and banish forever the terms demo and dem ?

Probably because 'dem' is a single syllable and Anglophones have always
preferred brevity in everyday conversation. Besides, at least in some
parts of the English-speaking world, the term 'performance' is used
colloquially to denote something over-complicated and unsatisfactory - as
in the phrase "a right performance".

Equally, and perhaps more in line with this thread, someone does not have
to do something particularly well to 'demonstrate' it - I can quite easily
'demonstrate' that I can do something well, badly, enjoyably....

Peter Hastings
Royal Observatory
Edinburgh
(:

to dem or not to dem. {was cues

Message 19242 · Dianna Shipman · 3 Nov 1999 18:38:35 · Top

of course if we change to performances it may be abbreviated to "perms"
created confusion on programs
Dianna L. Shipman
diannashipman@worldnet.att.net
Dianna L. Shipman, P.C., Attorney at Law
PMB 134, 1436 W. Gray
Houston, TX 77019-4946
web page: http://home.att.net/~diannashipman
phone: 713-522-1212
----- Original Message -----
From: Peter Hastings <prh@roe.ac.uk>
To: <strathspey@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.de>
Sent: Wednesday, November 03, 1999 2:36 AM
Subject: Re: to dem or not to dem. {was cues (was: unidentified subject)

>
>
> > Whichever, but why not refer to them as "Performances" (my preference),
> > or Demonstrations" and banish forever the terms demo and dem ?
>
> Probably because 'dem' is a single syllable and Anglophones have always
> preferred brevity in everyday conversation. Besides, at least in some
> parts of the English-speaking world, the term 'performance' is used
> colloquially to denote something over-complicated and unsatisfactory - as
> in the phrase "a right performance".
>
> Equally, and perhaps more in line with this thread, someone does not have
> to do something particularly well to 'demonstrate' it - I can quite easily
> 'demonstrate' that I can do something well, badly, enjoyably....
>
> Peter Hastings
> Royal Observatory
> Edinburgh
> (:
>
>
> --
> Peter Hastings <prh@roe.ac.uk>
>
>

to dem

Message 19247 · cnordj · 3 Nov 1999 23:23:41 · Top

Hello All,

>> Whichever, but why not refer to them as "Performances" (my preference),
>> or Demonstrations" and banish forever the terms demo and dem ?
For some, "demonstration" might conjure up "civil unrest" (which it may turn out to
be, but not intentionally ;-) ).

Happy (Dem) Dancing,
Carol Johnson, LA,CA,USA

Performance vs Demonstration (was to dem or not to dem.)

Message 19243 · Trans Vector Technologies, Inc · 3 Nov 1999 21:33:50 · Top

Hi Harry,

>Oberdan Otto wrote:
>> Actually, I put Dems into two broad categories based on the main goal:
>> 1) Performance Dancing whose main purpose is to entertain...
>> 2) Recruitment Dancing whose main purpose is to recruit new dancers...

>[Harry:]Whichever, but why not refer to them as "Performances" (my
>preference),
>or Demonstrations" and banish forever the terms demo and dem?

Actually, your suggestion is exactly my own preferred
terminology--Performances and Demonstrations as subcategories of Dancing
Exhibitions. But most people on this list use the word Demonstration (or
its abbreviation) to cover both forms of exhibition. Many Branches have
what they call Demonstration Teams. However, by their choice of repertoire,
the choreography and the emphasis on perfection and complexity, they are
clearly trying to be Performing Groups.

The problem with a lot of dance exhibitions is that the choreographer
either loses sight of the reason for the exhibition or doesn't have a clear
idea to begin with. I believe there is a place for both types of
exhibition, but if you get them scrambled, you won't get the hoped-for
results.

Maybe if the above terminology and the concepts which distinguish
performance from demonstration were more widely understoon and accepted, we
would have fewer misfires and more successful dancing exhibitions.

Cheers, Oberdan.

Trans Vector Technologies, Inc, 184 Estaban Drive, Camarillo, CA 93010-1611
Phone: (805)484-2775, FAX: (805)484-2718, EMail: ootto@tvt.com

Performance vs Demonstration (was to dem or not to dem.)

Message 19250 · mlbrown · 4 Nov 1999 02:29:05 · Top

Oberdan wrote:

> Many Branches have
> what they call Demonstration Teams. However, by their choice of repertoire,
> the choreography and the emphasis on perfection and complexity, they are
> clearly trying to be Performing Groups.
>
> The problem with a lot of dance exhibitions is that the choreographer
> either loses sight of the reason for the exhibition or doesn't have a clear
> idea to begin with. I believe there is a place for both types of
> exhibition, but if you get them scrambled, you won't get the hoped-for
> results.

Many years ago we were asked to provide some dancing for the start of a touring
Scottish show, "The White Heather Club", starring Andy Stewart. Everyone was
keen to take part, and I was able to pick some of the branch's more skilful and
experienced dancers for the performances on 5 consecutive evenings. I put
together a medley which lasted about 5 minutes, made up of parts of dances so
that although it looked complicated it was easy to learn (like the reels of 4,
highland Schottische setting & turns, from Robertson Rant) - we even had part of
the 4some with men leaping in the air - because we had to do so many nights we
all had at least one night off, and I had the opportunity to go upstairs and see
what it looked like - there was only one sequence which stood out - we danced
most if not all of Staffin Harvest, and the 2nd 4 bars, (1st 4 bars 1L,2M 3L,4M
set and change places RH) and the people in top & third places set to the
people in second and fourth places and change RH, looked really effective - to
be more correct, it was the setting that looked effective - with 4 people moving
together in one direction, while the other 4 moved together the other way looked
magical. Yes it was simple, but it looked better than the parallel reels of 4
which followed! In fact it was better than all the really clever things I had
included. It was a salutary lesson in what makes an effective display.

I remember being told by someone who had just returned from dancing in an
overseas folk festival, that someone had asked him "How do the dancers know when
to start dancing?". Sometimes I think we forget that one of the things we take
for granted, couples stopping and starting, is very uncommon; usually everyone
starts and keeps going until the music stops. (What I am trying to say is that
having people standing for a short while is not necessarily a bad thing in a
display - and I do not mean dancing a 2 couple dance with the top and bottom
couples standing for 32 bars.)

I suppose it's like all presentations, remember to KISS. (Keep It Simple,
Stupid!) - maybe thats why I keep making it complicated?

Malcolm

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