strathspey Archive: Test/Golden Pheasant

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Test/Golden Pheasant

Message 21668 · Lee Fuell · 26 Jun 2000 06:03:27 · Top

Hi, Folks,

Please excuse the interruption - after being in a mysterious
"receive only" mode with strathspey for a while, we finally changed
ISPs (plus, the new ISP can provide DSL service - more speed!
More speed!). The primary purpose of this message is to see if the
ISP change has restored my ability to post to strathspey.
However, to make it more on-topic, wrt The Golden Pheasant: Can
anyone explain how (short of being an Olympic-level long jumper or
Bolshoi ballet dancer) one can set and turn second corner, pass
one's partner by the right shoulder, and finish in double-triangles
position in only two bars? Is there an approved "cheat" for doing
this?

As some of you might guess, we've got a candidate going for her
full certificate, so some of us are "stooging" for her and are having
real troubles with this dance.

Thanks,

Lee

Lee Fuell & Patty Lindsay
(fuell@mindspring.com; plindsay@mindspring.com)
Cincinnati Branch RSCDS
http://www.rscdscincinnati.com

Test/Golden Pheasant

Message 21671 · Marjorie McLaughlin · 26 Jun 2000 08:12:05 · Top

Lee,

Others will give you an appropriate reply based on modern dancing
conventions. Feeling a bit perverse, let me offer an historical
perspective on why this figure seems difficult to execute.

The modern figure "double triangles" is an aberration of the figure
devised by, and published in the late 18th/early 19th century manuals
of, Thomas Wilson. In Thomas Wilson's manuals the figure Double
Triangles does not begin with the first couple back to back facing own
sides (the figure in bars 1-8 of the reel time portion of Cauld Kail is
the closest I have found to Wilson's original). Our modern figure
appears to have been a figment of Miss Milligan's fertile imagination,
though I am told she indicated that she "found it" in Wilson. Double
triangles as described by Wilson begins with the first couple facing
each other in second place on own sides.

It would take longer to go into the ramifications of this than can be
managed here, but suffice it to say, if the dance is noted as "Button
and Whitaker" (a London publishing firm which hired Thomas Wilson to
devise dances), or "Wilson's 1816 Companion to the Ballroom", then the
old double triangles figure should apply. Most of those dances would be
much easier to dance if the first couple didn't have to end up back to
back. Devisors who have used the modern reconstructed figure have been
successful in making it work. But I find many of the older dances which
try to apply the old figure in the new way to be awkward. That said,
we're never going to change "The Rakish Highlandman" or "The Golden
Pheasant", so modern technique and styling rules have to apply.

And I fear that the charming notion of the figure symbolizing the St
Andrews cross simply cannot be supported by any historical evidence. She
was a clever and imaginative woman . . .

Marjorie McLaughlin
San Diego, CA

Lee Fuell wrote:
>
> Hi, Folks,
>
> Please excuse the interruption - after being in a mysterious
> "receive only" mode with strathspey for a while, we finally changed
> ISPs (plus, the new ISP can provide DSL service - more speed!
> More speed!). The primary purpose of this message is to see if the
> ISP change has restored my ability to post to strathspey.
> However, to make it more on-topic, wrt The Golden Pheasant: Can
> anyone explain how (short of being an Olympic-level long jumper or
> Bolshoi ballet dancer) one can set and turn second corner, pass
> one's partner by the right shoulder, and finish in double-triangles
> position in only two bars? Is there an approved "cheat" for doing
> this?
>
> As some of you might guess, we've got a candidate going for her
> full certificate, so some of us are "stooging" for her and are having
> real troubles with this dance.
>
> Thanks,
>
> Lee
>
> Lee Fuell & Patty Lindsay
> (fuell@mindspring.com; plindsay@mindspring.com)
> Cincinnati Branch RSCDS
> http://www.rscdscincinnati.com

Test/Golden Pheasant

Message 21681 · Lee Fuell · 27 Jun 2000 01:57:54 · Top

Marjorie,

Thanks for the below! It prompts, however, a follow-up question:

> The modern figure "double triangles" is an aberration of the figure
> devised by, and published in the late 18th/early 19th century manuals
> of, Thomas Wilson. In Thomas Wilson's manuals the figure Double
> Triangles does not begin with the first couple back to back facing own
> sides (the figure in bars 1-8 of the reel time portion of Cauld Kail is
> the closest I have found to Wilson's original). Our modern figure
> appears to have been a figment of Miss Milligan's fertile imagination,
> though I am told she indicated that she "found it" in Wilson. Double
> triangles as described by Wilson begins with the first couple facing
> each other in second place on own sides.

It would seem, however, that the transition from "set and turn
corners" to Wilson's version of double triangles (as opposed to
Miss Milligan's) would still be quite a physical challenge. Not
having to scrunch in back-to-back would seem to make it
marginally easier, but still require quite an extended jete' on bar 32
to get there.

Regarding Cauld Kail, according to the description in Book 9, the
first eight bars of reel time look like simply figures of eight on the
opposite sides - a long way from Miss Milligan's version of double
triangles. Could you possibly be referring to bars 9-16 of reel time
(set to 1st corner, set to partner, set to second corner, turn partner
halfway with both hands in pas de basque)? It's easier for me to
see how that phrase could evolve into the modern double triangles
than bars 1-8.

Oh, well, we stooges are going to have quite a bit of "fun" with this
between now and Summer School! Thanks again for the help; I'm
always fascinated by the history of SCD.

Lee

Test/Golden Pheasant

Message 21692 · Norah Link · 27 Jun 2000 19:44:53 · Top

On Sun, 25 Jun 2000, Lee Fuell wrote:
> Can anyone explain how (short of being an Olympic-level
> long jumper or
> Bolshoi ballet dancer) one can set and turn second corner, pass
> one's partner by the right shoulder, and finish in double-triangles
> position in only two bars?

The critical piece of information being that a member of the Bolshoi ballet
would have a version of the pdb that does not require one to close in 3rd
posn on the 2nd beat (providing only one step for travel - perfect candidate
for the centre-shoulder-pass, if you ask me...) - i.e. if you use an RSCDS
pdb, you can't pass someone AND finish back-to-back with them in one pdb.
You can be b-t-b, but not quite past. You can be past but not quite b-t-b.
Hmmm... Unless you pass front-to-front and turn 360 degrees during the
step?

Now that we have the impossibility of the situation out of the way...

On Mon, 26 Jun 2000, Lara D. Friedman~Shedlov wrote:
> I am also a full cert. candidate and I have been told that
> the way this is
> generally done is to set to 2nd corner for 1 bar (instead of
> 2), turn for
> 2 bars, and then use the last bar to get round your partner and into
> position for the double triangles.
>

Interesting... this does seem to be the same "effective" phrasing as the
way we danced it when I did my cert., except that we didn't make it quite so
explicit. Suffice it to say that we cheated at both the beginning and the
end - a significant "anticipation" of the turn in the second bar of the
setting, and an acknowledgement that we could get past each other, but not
quite perfectly in double triangles posn, on the last bar of the turn by
dropping hands at the beginning of the bar. (Although we still managed to
adjust comfortably into position at the beginning of the 1st bar of the
double triangles.) Something tells me that the 1-2-1 phrasing Lara
describes would be neater, or at least more consistently executed by members
of the set. My only concern is that it could lead to "cheating into the
turn" on bar 1. Maybe a compromise - think of the turn as on bars 2&3, but
make sure to take hands in a relaxed fashion (not grabbing or offering hands
early)?

That said, I'm not sure what the RSCDS Examinations Board would accept as
being "correct" - always a point of discussion in the candidate classes I've
been part of. So one last piece of advice - get everyone doing it the same
way, have the class tutor bless the way you're doing it. Beyond that, you
can be sure the examiners are all sympathetic to the problems in the dance
and will be interested to see how you choose to cope with it.

The Golden Pheasant - a 42-bar jig for 3 couples (with thanks to our class
musician for the extra 2 bars).

best of luck,

Norah Link (Montreal)

Test/Golden Pheasant

Message 21695 · harvey · 27 Jun 2000 20:29:42 · Top

My approach to this figure combination is to plan ahead with partner
that we will end the eighth bar of STC passing right shoulders to end
just past each other, but not back to back. Then on the first beat of
bar one of DT, we move to our own right to get back to back. Agreeing
to do this means that we both do the same thing, so that it looks
good.

This approach has some advantages. It leaves the normal phrasing of
STC intact. If you are athletic and lucky enough to have a supportive
second corner, so that you have a little extra time, you can curve
your approach to DT position so that as you pass right shoulders with
your partner you will end up almost back to back. If you don't have
the extra time, the worst case is that you are still passing shoulders
on the start of bar one of DT, and that isn't a crime in most states.

If you practice with the same partner, you can add helpful bits like
angling your upper bodies (not leaning, angling) so that the right
shoulder is slightly forward as you pass, meaning that you can get
marginally closer and thus end more back to back.

Critical to getting the combination to look right is proper STC action
by the corners. Make sure that corners move in toward the dancing cpl,
not the other way around.

Terry Harvey

Test/Golden Pheasant

Message 21706 · B. G. Charlton · 28 Jun 2000 05:02:30 · Top

G'Day All,

Lee asks:

>Hi, Folks,

Please excuse the interruption - after being in a mysterious =

"receive only" mode with strathspey for a while, we finally changed =

ISPs (plus, the new ISP can provide DSL service - more speed! =

More speed!). The primary purpose of this message is to see if the =

ISP change has restored my ability to post to strathspey. =

However, to make it more on-topic, wrt The Golden Pheasant: Can =

anyone explain how (short of being an Olympic-level long jumper or =

Bolshoi ballet dancer) one can set and turn second corner, pass =

one's partner by the right shoulder, and finish in double-triangles =

position in only two bars? Is there an approved "cheat" for doing =

this?

As some of you might guess, we've got a candidate going for her =

full certificate, so some of us are "stooging" for her and are having =

real troubles with this dance.<

What appears to have been forgotten in this discussion is that the choice=

of Golden Pheasant as a Certificate Test Dances is based on the fact that=

they are not only for the dancing couple to demonstrate their prowess, bu=
t
for all dancers in the set to show how they can work together as a team.

To me, the most important part of set to and turn corners is the support
that the corners give to the dancing couple.

For each four bars of the set & turn, there should be a slight approach o=
f
the dancer and corner on the second setting step. The turn should be
accomplished on the third step and the dancer should reach the new positi=
on
on the fourth step as the corner returns to place. The pivot point of the=

turn should be half-way between the original position of the dancer and
corner.

Too often we see a 'leap to the side' on the second setting step, thus
giving the dancer a much further distance to travel. Also we see the corn=
er
making the dancer go round the outside of the corner rather than assistin=
g
the dancer by dancing into the set.

The assistance from corners is particularly important in a dance such as
Golden Pheasant.

If all dancers work together, then the figure is much easier to execute
correctly.

I hope that this addresses the original query which was, I think, how do
you get there?

Brian Charlton,
Sydney, Australia.

Test/Golden Pheasant

Message 21778 · Marjorie McLaughlin · 3 Jul 2000 05:28:35 · Top

Lee,

Sorry for the delay in replying. It's a bit involved to explain here in
words but Wilson's Double Triangles is done with a traveling step
(though he refers to a chasse, not a skip change of step) and does begin
with first couple in second place on own sides facing in.

In separate editions of "Analysis of Country Dancing" Wilson has
diagrams showing two versions of the figure. One looks better on paper,
one is better to dance, but they both are basically figures of eight
around one's corners finishing back in second place (i.e., the Cauld
Kail figure I mentioned). Can you picture the triangle formed when you
dance from second place, pass right shoulder around first corner, left
shoulder around second corner and return to place? Don't try to apply
modern skip change, pas de basque, or styling to these figures, the
technique would have been quite different from our 20th century SCD and
closer to what we see in contemporary English Country Dancing. Also, the
RSCDS reconstruction of the dances make other changes which affect the
execution of the dance.

Wilson was a prolific constructor of dances and formations and he is
quite clear in stating that the Double Triangles is a new figure of his
own making. How Miss Milligan turned it into a figure using pas de
basque and beginning with first couple back to back is something we'll
never know. But all the early RSCDS books using the figure say "Wilson's
1816 Companion to the Ballroom" or Button and Whitaker, so we can be
quite sure the figure comes from Wilson.

I use the word constructor, rather than devisor, because Wilson believed
dances could be made up from a formula. Anselm, and others, noted the
simplicity of the sequence in the Golden Pheasant. Most of Wilson's
dances are noted for their construction of "figure one, figure two,
figure three, etc". Miss Mary Douglas is a classic Wilson dance, as is
The Golden Pheasant. He truly believed that you could make up a dance on
the spot as long as it fit the music, had a progression, and could be
demonstrated by the first couple as they moved down the line.

Oh help - I'm getting into a workshop lesson here so I should stop, but
it is interesting to see how the "interpretation" of an old figure could
turn the original into a danceable variation. My only concern is that
the dances using the "original" invariably cause difficulties in
execution. As I mentioned in my earlier posting, modern devisors using
the modern double triangles do a much better job of getting the dancers
into and out of the figure than the reconstructed dances mixing the new
version into an old dance.

Enough for now,

Marjorie McLaughlin
San Diego

Lee Fuell wrote:
>
> Marjorie,
>
> Thanks for the below! It prompts, however, a follow-up question:
>
> > The modern figure "double triangles" is an aberration of the figure
> > devised by, and published in the late 18th/early 19th century manuals
> > of, Thomas Wilson. In Thomas Wilson's manuals the figure Double
> > Triangles does not begin with the first couple back to back facing own
> > sides (the figure in bars 1-8 of the reel time portion of Cauld Kail is
> > the closest I have found to Wilson's original). Our modern figure
> > appears to have been a figment of Miss Milligan's fertile imagination,
> > though I am told she indicated that she "found it" in Wilson. Double
> > triangles as described by Wilson begins with the first couple facing
> > each other in second place on own sides.
>
> It would seem, however, that the transition from "set and turn
> corners" to Wilson's version of double triangles (as opposed to
> Miss Milligan's) would still be quite a physical challenge. Not
> having to scrunch in back-to-back would seem to make it
> marginally easier, but still require quite an extended jete' on bar 32
> to get there.
>
> Regarding Cauld Kail, according to the description in Book 9, the
> first eight bars of reel time look like simply figures of eight on the
> opposite sides - a long way from Miss Milligan's version of double
> triangles. Could you possibly be referring to bars 9-16 of reel time
> (set to 1st corner, set to partner, set to second corner, turn partner
> halfway with both hands in pas de basque)? It's easier for me to
> see how that phrase could evolve into the modern double triangles
> than bars 1-8.
>
> Oh, well, we stooges are going to have quite a bit of "fun" with this
> between now and Summer School! Thanks again for the help; I'm
> always fascinated by the history of SCD.
>
> Lee
>
> --
> "Lee Fuell" <fuell@mindspring.com>

Test/Golden Pheasant

Message 21783 · hways · 4 Jul 2000 00:42:08 · Top

Not that it relates to, or detracts from the dance in any way, but "The Golden
Pheasants" was a name given to a select group of Nazi officials who were
permitted to wear the gilded swastika.
Let us hope that they were appropriately dealt with 50+ years ago.

Harry

Test/Golden Pheasant

Message 21789 · Marilynn Knight · 4 Jul 2000 16:43:12 · Top

Harry,
Why would a dance be named in their honor? Or is it incidental?

Marilynn Latta Knight
Columbia, SC

-----Original Message-----
From: harry ways [mailto:hways@ix.netcom.com]
Sent: Monday, July 03, 2000 4:42 PM
To: strathspey@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.de
Subject: Re: Test/Golden Pheasant

Not that it relates to, or detracts from the dance in any way, but "The
Golden
Pheasants" was a name given to a select group of Nazi officials who were
permitted to wear the gilded swastika.
Let us hope that they were appropriately dealt with 50+ years ago.

Harry

--
harry ways <hways@ix.netcom.com>

Test/Golden Pheasant

Message 21791 · Anselm Lingnau · 4 Jul 2000 17:00:09 · Top

Marilynn Knight <MarilynnK@sccc.org> writes:

> Why would a dance be named in their honor? Or is it incidental?

The dance in question dates back to the early 19th century, so I think
`incidental' would be a safe verdict, the gentle(?)men in question not
having been properly invented until the late 1920s, by which time the
dance had been long consigned to the back of the bottom drawer of one of
the less obvious cupboards in old Terpsichore's attic. Book 16, which
rescued the noble bird from oblivion, only came out in the 1950s.

As an aside, I believe it is still quite colloquial usage in the German
armed forces to refer to high-ranking officers with lots of gold braid
and stuff on their uniform as `golden pheasants' (not to their faces, of
course!). I don't think the term has anything in particular to do with
Nazis. Mind you, I haven't served in the military myself, but way back
when I was a fireman, we certainly had our own bunch of `goldfasane',
with no real disrespect intended. I can't think of an equivalent
American term just now, but if there is a G.I. version of `bigwigs' that
would probably be it.

Anselm
-- =

Anselm Lingnau ......................... lingnau@tm.informatik.uni-frankf=
urt.de
Of course, bits are not eggs---but if you program as if they were, you wi=
ll not
break any bits, whatever they may be, and thus you will never have to cl=
ean up
the mess. -- Chris=
Torek

Test/Golden Pheasant

Message 21799 · Leslie Henderson · 4 Jul 2000 21:43:44 · Top

--- Anselm Lingnau
<lingnau@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.de> wrote:
> I can't think of
> an equivalent
> American term just now, but if there is a G.I.
> version of `bigwigs' that
> would probably be it.

We enlisted folks just called our officers "the brass"
when I was in the Marine Corps. The second
(lower-ranking) lieutenants were "fondly" referred to
as "butter bars" because of the single gold bar that
indicates their rank. Other individual endearments
(such as "the old bird" for the colonel whose insignia
is an eagle) apply as well. The "top brass" is of
course the general(s) (or whoever is in charge of your
particular company).

Hmmmm. Now that sounds like a dance, doesn't it?
"The Old Bird" a 476 bar strathspey...

=====
-----------------------------------------------
Leslie Henderson, Bellingham WA USA
Web page address:
http://www.wwu.edu/~henderl
Skagit Scottish Country Dancers:
http://www.skagitscd.org

__________________________________________________
Do You Yahoo!?
Kick off your party with Yahoo! Invites.
http://invites.yahoo.com/

Test/Golden Pheasant

Message 21795 · Norah Link · 4 Jul 2000 17:47:39 · Top

On 2 Jul 2000, Marjorie McLaughlin wrote:
>
> Oh help - I'm getting into a workshop lesson here so I should
> stop,

Please don't stop on our account, Marjorie - this is fascinating stuff!

regards,
Norah Link (Montreal)

Test/Golden Pheasant

Message 21816 · hways · 5 Jul 2000 04:20:19 · Top

Marilynn Knight wrote:

> Harry,
> Why would a dance be named in their honor? Or is it incidental?

Digging deep in my files I found a little booklet "Scottish Country Dancing,
History, Suppositions and Interpretations" by W. R. Gibbs. Regarding The
Golden Pheasant, he notes:
"This bird is not native to Scotland but was introduced by the famous
Murray family, the chief of which is the Duke of Atholl ----having made a
search amongst the records of Blair Castle, Mr. Thomas P. Stewart, factor of
the estate writes, I have ascertained that a cross-breed Golden Pheasant was
shot here in 1886, and therefore there must have been pure-bred Golden
Pheasants here before then. I also know that Lady Amherst pheasants were
introduced probably about 1860-1870 and it is possible that both breeds were
introduced at the same time."

Sounds as if we need a dance for Lady Amherst!

Harry

Test/Golden Pheasant

Message 21676 · Lara D. Friedman~Shedlov · 26 Jun 2000 17:16:37 · Top

On Sun, 25 Jun 2000, Lee Fuell wrote:
> Can anyone explain how (short of being an Olympic-level long jumper or
> Bolshoi ballet dancer) one can set and turn second corner, pass
> one's partner by the right shoulder, and finish in double-triangles
> position in only two bars? Is there an approved "cheat" for doing
> this?

I am also a full cert. candidate and I have been told that the way this is
generally done is to set to 2nd corner for 1 bar (instead of 2), turn for
2 bars, and then use the last bar to get round your partner and into
position for the double triangles.

Regards,
Lara Friedman-Shedlov
Minneapolis, MN

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Lara Friedman~Shedlov "Thwart not the librarian!"
ldfs@bigfoot.com
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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