strathspey Archive: Respect-was Tattoo

Previous thread: Web addresses - Affiliated Societies
Next thread: Respect

Respect-was Tattoo

Message 27074 · John McCain · 28 Aug 2001 14:35:48 · Top

I've asked some organizers about this. The two prevailing
reasons are space required and crowd interest. The space
issue is sometimes difficult, especially when stages are
involved. SCD, of course, requires a minimum area which is
sometimes larger than what is available. And dancers
need a clear space, which neccessitates moving gear.

Interest of observers is less clear to discuss. But I've
noticed SCD demos which are poorly organized to the
point of choosing partners and dances on stage. It's
difficult to gauge the impact of unorganized time on
audiences when one is is in the performance. I've found
it very enlightning to video record demonstrations and
watch the video later from an audience member point of view.

Dances that are danced to full length, i.e. 8x through,
often cause audience boredom. I've also heard comments
on poor quality of source music, and many people don't
enjoy the way SCD music is played with the
instrumentation often heard.

I think the biggest challenge is presenting a social
activity as a performance art.

Best,
John McCain
Denton Texas Celtic Dancers
(soon to be dancing in Maine!)

---------- Original Message ----------------------------------
From: Marilynn Knight <marilynnk@scchamber.net>
Reply-To: strathspey@strathspey.org
Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2001 07:50:17 -0400

>It always mystifies me when SCD repeatedly gets so little respect
from so
>many Scottish event organizers. Do we suffer from low self-
esteem, I ask
>myself. I've seen it locally from The Burns Society, from Games
Week Ends
>in the greater area. I honestly feel SCD is a gem when it is
understood
>correctly, a gem that the whole world could benefit from, in so
many ways.

________________________________________________________________
Sent via VEI's Travel Mail system at Http://members.vei.net/



Respect-was Tattoo

Message 27100 · Steve Wyrick · 29 Aug 2001 18:36:23 · Top

John McCain wrote:

> I've asked some organizers about this. The two prevailing
> reasons are space required and crowd interest. The space
> issue is sometimes difficult, especially when stages are
> involved. SCD, of course, requires a minimum area which is
> sometimes larger than what is available. And dancers
> need a clear space, which neccessitates moving gear.
>
> Interest of observers is less clear to discuss. But I've
> noticed SCD demos which are poorly organized to the
> point of choosing partners and dances on stage. It's
> difficult to gauge the impact of unorganized time on
> audiences when one is is in the performance. I've found
> it very enlightning to video record demonstrations and
> watch the video later from an audience member point of view.
>
> Dances that are danced to full length, i.e. 8x through,
> often cause audience boredom. I've also heard comments
> on poor quality of source music, and many people don't
> enjoy the way SCD music is played with the
> instrumentation often heard.

These are all good points. Remember that unlike Highland dancing, Irish
Step, piping & etc., SCD was not created for performance but for
participation. I think in order to keep an audience interested (well, the
audiences around here anyway) you have to jazz it up, for example with extra
choreography, highland steps, medleys of dances, more contemporary music,
interspersing Highland or Step dances amongst the SC dances. Not to
criticize any demo groups, but I often wonder exactly what it is about the
typical SCD demos that appeals to the audiences. I personally would not be
watching them if I didn't have an active interest in the dancing; in my
opinion this is a hobby that's much more fun to participate in than to
watch! -Steve
--
Steve Wyrick <sjwyrick@earthlink.net> -- Concord, CA

Respect-was Tattoo

Message 27102 · Marilynn Knight · 29 Aug 2001 19:32:20 · Top

Agreed! However, I love to watch the faces of ANY dancers performing
anywhere. If they radiate sparkle and enthusiasm, I feel it, too. I see
too many fine dancers who forget to let their spirits even be glimpsed.
Then, I don't care how great the technique level is. Am I on the wrong
planet???? (And, when I'm dancing with a dead-looking expression, I find it
hard to feel enthusiasm.....am afraid I can't look back...)

Marilynn Latta Knight
Columbia, SC

-----Original Message-----
From: Steve Wyrick [mailto:sjwyrick@earthlink.net]
Sent: Wednesday, August 29, 2001 12:36 PM
To: strathspey@strathspey.org
Subject: Re: Respect-was Tattoo

John McCain wrote:

> I've asked some organizers about this. The two prevailing
> reasons are space required and crowd interest. The space
> issue is sometimes difficult, especially when stages are
> involved. SCD, of course, requires a minimum area which is
> sometimes larger than what is available. And dancers
> need a clear space, which neccessitates moving gear.
>
> Interest of observers is less clear to discuss. But I've
> noticed SCD demos which are poorly organized to the
> point of choosing partners and dances on stage. It's
> difficult to gauge the impact of unorganized time on
> audiences when one is is in the performance. I've found
> it very enlightning to video record demonstrations and
> watch the video later from an audience member point of view.
>
> Dances that are danced to full length, i.e. 8x through,
> often cause audience boredom. I've also heard comments
> on poor quality of source music, and many people don't
> enjoy the way SCD music is played with the
> instrumentation often heard.

These are all good points. Remember that unlike Highland dancing, Irish
Step, piping & etc., SCD was not created for performance but for
participation. I think in order to keep an audience interested (well, the
audiences around here anyway) you have to jazz it up, for example with extra
choreography, highland steps, medleys of dances, more contemporary music,
interspersing Highland or Step dances amongst the SC dances. Not to
criticize any demo groups, but I often wonder exactly what it is about the
typical SCD demos that appeals to the audiences. I personally would not be
watching them if I didn't have an active interest in the dancing; in my
opinion this is a hobby that's much more fun to participate in than to
watch! -Steve
--
Steve Wyrick <sjwyrick@earthlink.net> -- Concord, CA

Anyone here going to McPherson, KS?

Message 27105 · Ray Brown · 30 Aug 2001 01:10:19 · Top

Or, is anyone from the Wichita area on-line?

(The McPherson Games are Sept. 22, I believe, and we're debating about going, and there's supposed to be some SCD there.
:-)

Thanks!

_Ray_
Member, RSCDS, SoFla Branch
but living in Joplin, MO :-)

Anyone here going to McPherson, KS?

Message 27107 · Rebecca Sager · 30 Aug 2001 02:11:13 · Top

Don't know if he's on Strathspey, but Andy Aitken is in that area
ataitken@southwind.net and I believe he's involved with the Games,
Becky

Becky Sager
Marietta GA USA

On Wed, 29 Aug 2001 18:10:24 -0500 "Ray Brown" <raybrown@ipa.net> writes:
> Or, is anyone from the Wichita area on-line?
>
> (The McPherson Games are Sept. 22, I believe, and we're debating
> about going, and there's supposed to be some SCD there.
> :-)
>
> Thanks!
>
> _Ray_
> Member, RSCDS, SoFla Branch
> but living in Joplin, MO :-)
>
>
>

Respect-was Tattoo

Message 27106 · Martha Phillips · 30 Aug 2001 01:33:28 · Top

I'm glad someone kept this thread going, I had a few thoughts (which, of
course, came after I had already deleted the e-mails):

> > Interest of observers is less clear to discuss. But I've
> > noticed SCD demos which are poorly organized to the
> > point of choosing partners and dances on stage. It's
> > difficult to gauge the impact of unorganized time on
> > audiences when one is is in the performance. I've found
> > it very enlightning to video record demonstrations and
> > watch the video later from an audience member point of view.

The SCDers in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, take their demonstrations very
seriously, and, in turn, have really fantastic demos. Many things
contribute to this.

(1) Demo dancers elect to rehearse an extra day outside of regular class.
(2) The entire program is selected well in advance, so the dancers have a
chance to learn the dances inside out and upside down.
(3) Everyone is assigned at partner *and* an initial position at the time
the dances are selected, so not only are the performers learning the dances
thoroughly, they're learning them with the same person and from the same
position as they'll perform them.

> > Dances that are danced to full length, i.e. 8x through,
> > often cause audience boredom. I've also heard comments
> > on poor quality of source music, and many people don't
> > enjoy the way SCD music is played with the
> > instrumentation often heard.

(4) During performance day, strathspeys are usually only performed three
times through, and quicktime dances are only performed four times through.
Dances and music are sometimes tweaked to accomodate for this.
(5) If they have live music, no worries, because the fiddler has practiced
with them. Milwaukee also has a dancer who finds particular delight in
searching for the PERFECT tune for a dance, and frequently succeeds. I've
heard some fantastic recorded music in Milwaukee.

> Remember that unlike Highland dancing, Irish
> Step, piping & etc., SCD was not created for performance but for
> participation. I think in order to keep an audience interested (well, the
> audiences around here anyway) you have to jazz it up, for example with
extra
> choreography, highland steps, medleys of dances, more contemporary music,
> interspersing Highland or Step dances amongst the SC dances.

(6) If possible, the Milwaukee group ends the performance with a incredibly
easy dance, and pulls people from the audience to join in.

And in the demos in Madison, we've often included our children's class in a
dance or two (often parents will register their children for such a class
after seeing the performance), and we've also had Highland dancers perform
with us.

SCD is truly not a performance dance like step dancing or highland, but if
you're going to perform, treat it like a serious performance. You may not
get anyone knocking on your door to join up, but you do make people aware
that SCD *exists!* And if the dancers are spot on and ready to perform,
then they'll be smiling anyway and enjoying themselves. And THAT is what
draws people to join....they want part of the fun, too!

-Martha

Martha Phillips
(newly again of the) Madison Scottish Country Dancers
Madison, WI, USA
http://sprott.physics.wisc.edu/mscd/home.htm

***************

"Surprise, Stevie! Dinner's on the table! I let myself in through the back
window with a brick."

-Steve Dallas' mother, Bloom County

Making demos interesting. Was: Respect-was Tattoo

Message 27108 · Patricia Ruggiero · 30 Aug 2001 03:24:08 · Top

Enjoyed your post, Martha. If I didn't know her better, I'd have thought
our demo leader came from your group, as her ideas so match yours (except we
don't have the children...)

Pat Ruggiero
Charlottesville, Virginia

Martha wrote:
>The SCDers in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, take their demonstrations very
seriously, and, in turn, have really fantastic demos. Many things
contribute to this....[snip to end]

Respect-was Tattoo

Message 27110 · Pia Walker · 30 Aug 2001 10:04:09 · Top

I tend to agree with you Martha

Showing SCD should be fun, both for the audience and for the dancers. I
have often heard, dem groups changing their dances often - why - presumably
it is for a new audience every time, so the dances will be new for them - It
is the audience that matters - they have paid to see it in some way - so it
is up to us to make it as professional as possible. The more we know the
dances, the better we can do the dances, and the more we can show the joy.

I don't think there ever has been a rule stating that dems must dance the
dances all the way 8 times through in the correct manner - surely it is up
the the individual group to chop and change - although if you state that a
dance is called so and so, it would be nice mostly to keep to the original -
but again, the audience won't know anyway. And get them up to participate -
they are all tapping their feet at this stage.

And yes training, very important, both in knowing the dances, knowing each
other, so you are comfortable with each other - I find dem groups who have
danced with each other for ages are delightful to watch, because they
interact on a completely different level. But stage presence and audience
interaction are also very important - audiences doesn't want to see
something static - people going through the motions - they want to be
entertained, and dancers are there to entertain. Think of why Riverdance
was/is so popular - it is the pure emotion which emanates from the dancers -
if we could capture this in SCD - we would be home and dry - I think some
redesigning of the white dresses would have to be made though :>)

Of course this is for when you do one form of dems - another form is when
you show the dancing for example to dancers - then of course you should do
the dances in their entirety, because the the objective is to "educate" as
well as hopefully entertain.

This is my opinion for what it is worth

Pia
Who suffers from terrible blanks on a dem floor.

----- Original Message -----
From: Martha Phillips <marta@peoplepc.com>
To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
Sent: Thursday, August 30, 2001 12:36 AM
Subject: Re: Respect-was Tattoo

> I'm glad someone kept this thread going, I had a few thoughts (which, of
> course, came after I had already deleted the e-mails):
>
> > > Interest of observers is less clear to discuss. But I've
> > > noticed SCD demos which are poorly organized to the
> > > point of choosing partners and dances on stage. It's
> > > difficult to gauge the impact of unorganized time on
> > > audiences when one is is in the performance. I've found
> > > it very enlightning to video record demonstrations and
> > > watch the video later from an audience member point of view.

Respect-was Tattoo

Message 27115 · Alan Paterson · 30 Aug 2001 12:05:31 · Top

Pia Walker wrote:
>
> Think of why Riverdance
> was/is so popular - it is the pure emotion which emanates from the dancers -

Now there I really must beg to differ. Emotion is the one thing which
Irish step dancers do NOT display. Sure. Their feet are moving like the
clappers, but those stony faces and ramrod backs...

Don't get me wrong. I love to watch it - but emotion? Sorry, no.

Alan

Respect-was Tattoo

Message 27116 · Jim Healy · 30 Aug 2001 12:07:12 · Top

Martin Sheffield asks:
>Has anyone ever heard of new recruits turning up at a club after seeing a
>demo at a show such as the tattoo?

No, because these are performances not demonstrations, which presumably
would show what we actually do on the social dance floor, mental blanks,
giggles and all. The usual audience reaction to this type of performance is
"Oh! I couldn't possibly do that!" Interestingly (to me), Bill Ireland, in
his article on the history of London Branch in the current issue of the
Reel, laments the fact that we refer to the sort of polished, pointed toe,
white-frock performances that have been discussed in this thread as
"demonstrations".

The first question when asked to provide dancers has to be "what are we
trying to achieve"? And if that means pas de basque to Runrig (or Iron
Maiden), then so be it.

Jim Healy
Perth, Scotland

_________________________________________________________________
Get your FREE download of MSN Explorer at http://explorer.msn.com/intl.asp

Respect-was Tattoo

Message 27118 · Pia Walker · 30 Aug 2001 15:47:07 · Top

In riverdance, the dancers did move away from traditional Irish by moving
their upper bodies, and with regard to the word emotion, I merely please
substitute this with a three-letter word starting with s and ending in x :>)

Being in the audience is completely different from seeing it on video - you
get completely blown away by what is coming from the stage direction

Pia
----- Original Message -----
From: Alan Paterson <alanp@paranor.ch>
To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
Sent: Thursday, August 30, 2001 11:05 AM
Subject: Re: Respect-was Tattoo

> Pia Walker wrote:
> >
> > Think of why Riverdance
> > was/is so popular - it is the pure emotion which emanates from the
dancers -
>
> Now there I really must beg to differ. Emotion is the one thing which
> Irish step dancers do NOT display. Sure. Their feet are moving like the
> clappers, but those stony faces and ramrod backs...
>
> Don't get me wrong. I love to watch it - but emotion? Sorry, no.
>
> Alan

Respect-was Tattoo

Message 27119 · Marilynn Knight · 30 Aug 2001 15:49:32 · Top

Even though what is coming from the stage is 'totally' sound synched?? From
the fiddle to the sound of the dancers footwork???

-----Original Message-----
From: Pia Walker [mailto:piawalke@nascr.net]
Sent: Thursday, August 30, 2001 10:06 AM
To: strathspey@strathspey.org
Subject: Re: Respect-was Tattoo

In riverdance, the dancers did move away from traditional Irish by moving
their upper bodies, and with regard to the word emotion, I merely please
substitute this with a three-letter word starting with s and ending in x :>)

Being in the audience is completely different from seeing it on video - you
get completely blown away by what is coming from the stage direction

Pia
----- Original Message -----
From: Alan Paterson <alanp@paranor.ch>
To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
Sent: Thursday, August 30, 2001 11:05 AM
Subject: Re: Respect-was Tattoo

> Pia Walker wrote:
> >
> > Think of why Riverdance
> > was/is so popular - it is the pure emotion which emanates from the
dancers -
>
> Now there I really must beg to differ. Emotion is the one thing which
> Irish step dancers do NOT display. Sure. Their feet are moving like the
> clappers, but those stony faces and ramrod backs...
>
> Don't get me wrong. I love to watch it - but emotion? Sorry, no.
>
> Alan

Respect-was Tattoo

Message 27122 · Bryan McAlister · 30 Aug 2001 23:29:31 · Top

In article <001f01c1315c$e6740540$ce225ad4@iasitojd>, Pia Walker
<piawalke@nascr.net> writes
>In riverdance, the dancers did move away from traditional Irish by moving
>their upper bodies, and with regard to the word emotion, I merely please
>substitute this with a three-letter word starting with s and ending in x :>)

Isn't it the case that Pia has pressed the right button here... the
organisers are looking more and more for dumbed down sexier displays and
"old people in long white dresses and kilts" don't quite fit that bill.

Thinking back to the White heather Club which I watched (under "duress")
as a child it went that way as well, the dances got more "highland" and
the dancers did more and more twirls as the programme went on.

Maybe we need to rethink..short white dresses might do the trick:-)
Bryan McAlister B Arch RIBA ARIAS
Web page www.bryanmac.demon.co.uk
Email bryan@bryanmac.demon.co.uk
Mobile phone 07801 793849
FAX number - 0870 052 7625

Respect-was Tattoo

Message 27120 · 0AM7L@SIA · 30 Aug 2001 18:29:41 · Top

I couldn't agree more with John and Steve! As someone who has both
demonstrated AND sat in the audience many times, I can assure you there is
'one whole lotta' rustling around, talking, and fidgeting during
Strathspeys. They simply do not hold the audience's interest. I can't
think of one reason they are included in demonstrations. Are they to
encourage people who are arthritic or elderly who can't do reels and jigs?
How happy will those people be when they join and discover they can only do
1/3 of the dances? And strathspeys are physically challenging, anyway (if
done correctly). Nothing "easy" about them.

If I ruled the world, I would eliminate strathspeys from demonstrations.
And frankly, judging from audience reaction, one reel and one jig are
enough, period. They've gotten the picture. They either like SCD or they
don't. No sense boring them and completely turning them off.
And truthfully, since someone asked, IMHO it's only the men dancing in kilts
that draws attention. It's something unique that you don't see every day.

And, if you MUST use a Strathspey, pick a 4 X 32; in other words, the
shorter the better. (Even dancers get bored with 8 x 32's!)

Try it sometime: Watch a demo. Watch and listen to the audience. During
the first dance, you can hear a pin drop. By the second, particularly a
STRATHSPEY, the noise level goes up considerably, as people find other
things to relieve the boredom: unwrapping candy, whispering, visiting the
loo, etc.

If we're to attract young people, we must omit the 'minuet' at our demo's,
and just enjoy them ourselves at dances.

Margaret Sarna, Michigan (USA)

> From: Steve Wyrick <sjwyrick@earthlink.net>
> Reply-To: strathspey@strathspey.org
> Date: Wed, 29 Aug 2001 09:35:31 -0700
> To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
> Subject: Re: Respect-was Tattoo
>
> John McCain wrote:
>
>> I've asked some organizers about this. The two prevailing
>> reasons are space required and crowd interest. The space
>> issue is sometimes difficult, especially when stages are
>> involved. SCD, of course, requires a minimum area which is
>> sometimes larger than what is available. And dancers
>> need a clear space, which neccessitates moving gear.
>>
>> Interest of observers is less clear to discuss. But I've
>> noticed SCD demos which are poorly organized to the
>> point of choosing partners and dances on stage. It's
>> difficult to gauge the impact of unorganized time on
>> audiences when one is is in the performance. I've found
>> it very enlightning to video record demonstrations and
>> watch the video later from an audience member point of view.
>>
>> Dances that are danced to full length, i.e. 8x through,
>> often cause audience boredom. I've also heard comments
>> on poor quality of source music, and many people don't
>> enjoy the way SCD music is played with the
>> instrumentation often heard.
>
> These are all good points. Remember that unlike Highland dancing, Irish
> Step, piping & etc., SCD was not created for performance but for
> participation. I think in order to keep an audience interested (well, the
> audiences around here anyway) you have to jazz it up, for example with extra
> choreography, highland steps, medleys of dances, more contemporary music,
> interspersing Highland or Step dances amongst the SC dances. Not to
> criticize any demo groups, but I often wonder exactly what it is about the
> typical SCD demos that appeals to the audiences. I personally would not be
> watching them if I didn't have an active interest in the dancing; in my
> opinion this is a hobby that's much more fun to participate in than to
> watch! -Steve
> --
> Steve Wyrick <sjwyrick@earthlink.net> -- Concord, CA
>

Respect-was Tattoo

Message 27121 · Steve Wyrick · 30 Aug 2001 19:17:49 · Top

Well, Riverdance is a good example of what I meant by "jazzing up." Riverdance's tunes and dances were mostly traditional, but the score and choreography presented them in a way that got audiences excited! Regarding music for SCD and Step, when I say "more contemporary music" I don't mean I advocate dancing to non-Scottish tunes but there's a lot of great Scottish music out there that moves beyond the accordian bands and in our experience has much more audience appeal! -Steve

-----Original Message-----
From: M Sheffield <martin.sheffield@wanadoo.fr>
Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2001 09:22:59 +0200
To: strathspey@strathspey.org
Subject: Re: Respect-was Tattoo

[I wrote:]
> >Remember that unlike Highland dancing, Irish Step, SCD was not
> >created for performance but for participation.
> > think in order to keep an audience interested, you have to jazz it up,
> for example with (...) more contemporary music,

[Martin wrote:]
> The populairity of the orignial Riverdance was based on traditional Irish
> music (good old-fashioned fiddles and whistles)and the group succeeded
> without any jazzing up. More recent versions of the show and its spinoffs
> on the other hand have given in to pressure from show-biz moghuls who know
> what we really like better than most of us ourselves. A disappointing
> recuperation of popular art forms inb the intersts of money and a sad move
> away from tradition.
> I certainly hope that SCD does not folllow the same path. A greater variety
> of instruments, yes, but jazzing up, definitely , no.

--

_______________________________________________
Get your free email from http://webmail.earthlink.net

Respect-was Tattoo

Message 27159 · Stella Fogg · 2 Sep 2001 03:39:50 · Top

Just received this website information, checked it out and the first page
has Scottish Country Dancers at the Royal Albert Hall. Has anyone seen the
show?
Stella Fogg
Richmond, VA

http://www.thescottishtattoo.com

Respect-was Tattoo

Message 27203 · John Sturrock · 6 Sep 2001 00:52:02 · Top

On September 2nd, Stella Fogg wrote : -

> Just received this website information, checked it out and the first page
> has Scottish Country Dancers at the Royal Albert Hall. Has anyone seen the
> show?
> http://www.thescottishtattoo.com

The show took place on the 22nd of April. It is being repeated this coming
Sunday in Portsmouth, the following Sunday in Basingstoke, and a third, and
final, time on Saturday 6th October, in Bournemouth.

It consisted of a dialogue between two characters, "MacGregor" and "Highland
Lady", each exchange leading naturally into an 'Item' by one the performing
ensembles. These consisted of Scottish Country Dancers, Highland Dancers,
Irish Dancers, Scottish Country Dance Band, Clarsach, Gaelic Choir, Pipe
Band, Military Band and Singers. Most ensembles appeared 4 times, once in
each quarter of the show.

This was a good show, well worth seeing. 6 Branches / Groups provided 9
Sets for the SCD Items, 72 dancers neatly filling the arena. While the
dancers within each Set were roughly the same sort of age, the Sets spanned
the range from teens to pensioners, illustrating the possibilities of SCD
for all age groups very well. The 40 Highland Dancers all looked under 20.

The show attracted a large audience - the majority of whom probably had
some connection with the performers ; relatives, friends, or members of
neighbouring same-interest Groups. I travelled in the charabanc my local
Scottish Society hires to support 'Scottish' ventures, such as this, in
London. Almost all were, therefore, Adherents.

At 3 hours 40 minutes, the show was probably too long for any who were not.
I am sure each 'Item' passed in a flash to the performers, and each was,
of course, distinctly different to them, but the effect from many seats in
the Hall was of seeing the same show through 4 times. It is very, very,
hard to make a five minute Medley of Jig, Strathspey, Reel look any
different from the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th five minute Medleys of Jig,
Strathspey, Reel, however inventive the choreography.

But the Adherents had a great evening !

John Sturrock
Cambridge UK

John.M.Sturrock@btinternet.com

Respect-was Tattoo

Message 27138 · Lara D. Friedman~Shedlov · 1 Sep 2001 00:05:16 · Top

Quoting "Donald S. Sarna" <dssarna@sprintmail.com>:

> I couldn't agree more with John and Steve! As someone who has both
> demonstrated AND sat in the audience many times, I can assure you
> there is
> 'one whole lotta' rustling around, talking, and fidgeting during
> Strathspeys. They simply do not hold the audience's interest. I
> can't
> think of one reason they are included in demonstrations.

Our branch here in the Twin Cities does quite a bit of performing,
especially at this time of year. Over the course of August and
September, we will have done a total of 48 half-hour performances at
the Minnesota Renaisance Festival, where our group have been regular
performers for the past 31 years.

Every year when we are putting together the performance repertoire for
the Renaissance Festival we debate the merit of including strathspeys.
Our experience has been that they DO seem to hold an audience's
interest if carefully chosen. The informal nature of the Renaissance
Festival makes it very easy for people to drift away if what they are
watching doesn't hold their interest, but we don't really notice that
happening during the strathspeys. Note that we include only 2
strathpseys in our program of 8-9 dances and we dance them only 2x
through (we do quick-time dances 3x). We also frequently have more
than one set performing them simultaneously (we generally use 3-couple
sets for performances). Multiple sets of dancers can really make a
huge difference in the impact a performance makes. We usually
introduce the strathspeys by pointing out that the music the audience
will be hearing is a style unique to Scotland, and perhaps that also
piques the interest of a few people who are musically inclined.

Another thing that makes our performances at the Renaissance Festival
effective, I think, is that we perform to bagpipes. While this is not
the traditional music for SCD, it is a lot of fun for the dancers and
it certainly catches the attention of the festival-goers. I highly
recommend it for outdoor performances.

FYI, the Renaissance Festival has been our main source of new dancers
for many years, so this approach seems to be effective at making SCD
look like something fun to do (we also include an audience
participation dance at the end of each performance and we pass out
business cards with info about our fall classes printed on the backs to
those who we get dancing with us).

For anyone who is interested, strathspeys that have used in recent
years are Wind on Loch Fyne, Gypsy Glen, Neidpath Castle, and Wisp of
Thistle. This year we are performing Dunsmuir Strathspey and Gypsy
Weaver.

--Lara Friedman-Shedlov
Minneapolis, MN USA

*******************************
Lara Friedman-Shedlov
ldfs@bigfoot.com
*******************************

Respect-was Tattoo

Message 27177 · Adam Hughes · 3 Sep 2001 16:48:31 · Top

Dancers from "New Scotland", the University of Edinburgh's SCD group
manage to entertain groups of up to 100 American teenagers who visit
Edinburgh each summer. The format is a Ceilidh, with "helpers" to teach
the ceilidh dances, and then dem a few dances in regular intervals (5 in
3 hours?) while the teenagers get their breath back. They do dance
strathspeys (as well as reels and jigs) to a traditional fiddle and
accordion music, and usually their audience is completely silent and
rapt. However, they always stick to the "three times is plenty" maxim
for longways dances. In addition, they often use a highland dancer for
one of the intervals, and they also demonstrate the construction and
deportment of a feilidhmhor, which usually gets a laugh.

Is there a trick? It might be that the dancers are mostly students aged
between 18 and 30.

<provocative>
There is nothing more likely to put off an audience than 6 or 8 "older"
ladies and gentlemen creaking through a dance, whether it is a
strathspey, reel or jig. SCD can be enjoyed socially by people of any
age, but it might get more respect if it displayed itself with a younger
profile. Perhaps there are "too many" people willing to perform SCD
badly. It might be better if there were fewer groups willing to dance
SCD for an audience, so the ones which were able to do it well (such as
Corryvrecken, and from the sound of it Red Thistle) got the respect they
deserve. Instead we hear "SCD is a social dance style which cannot hold
the attention of an audience" from people who have only seen "branch
dems".
</provocative>

Adam
Cambridge UK.

Respect-was Tattoo

Message 27183 · Andrew Smith · 4 Sep 2001 08:55:03 · Top

Picking up on Adam's 'provocative' point there are two issues, I think. The
Corryvrechan presentation is very good, and their displays are very
impressive (I danced with several members of that team before it became
well-known under the present name, so must declare an interest. Maybe I was
the one holding them back.) However, I have often wondered whether someone
(considering taking up SCD) who saw a highly choreographed display would be
inspired or dismayed. I expect a lot would depend on the state of their ego.

To a certain extent I agree with his comment about 'creaking older dancers',
but as an older dancer who is not quite creaking (yet) I feel that there is
still scope for both presentations. I would suggest that a group of
non-creaking older dancers might come across as really enjoying their
dancing while doing it reasonably well, because they are not concentrating
on complicated patterns and worrying about making a mistake.

There is still a place for the top-notch teams, but it probably really is at
dance occasions where their skills can really be appreciated by the
audience.

What I think is really needed in general to encourage new blood is groups
of younger dancers who dance with élan and joie de vivre (seeing Strathspey
is now bi-lingual) at a level at which most people would feel encouraged to
have a go.
Andrew.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Adam Hughes" <adamoutside@yahoo.co.uk>
To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
Sent: Monday, September 03, 2001 3:48 PM
Subject: Re: Respect-was Tattoo

> Dancers from "New Scotland", the University of Edinburgh's SCD group
> manage to entertain groups of up to 100 American teenagers who visit
> Edinburgh each summer. The format is a Ceilidh, with "helpers" to teach
> the ceilidh dances, and then dem a few dances in regular intervals (5 in
> 3 hours?) while the teenagers get their breath back. They do dance
> strathspeys (as well as reels and jigs) to a traditional fiddle and
> accordion music, and usually their audience is completely silent and
> rapt. However, they always stick to the "three times is plenty" maxim
> for longways dances. In addition, they often use a highland dancer for
> one of the intervals, and they also demonstrate the construction and
> deportment of a feilidhmhor, which usually gets a laugh.
>
> Is there a trick? It might be that the dancers are mostly students aged
> between 18 and 30.
>
> <provocative>
> There is nothing more likely to put off an audience than 6 or 8 "older"
> ladies and gentlemen creaking through a dance, whether it is a
> strathspey, reel or jig. SCD can be enjoyed socially by people of any
> age, but it might get more respect if it displayed itself with a younger
> profile. Perhaps there are "too many" people willing to perform SCD
> badly. It might be better if there were fewer groups willing to dance
> SCD for an audience, so the ones which were able to do it well (such as
> Corryvrecken, and from the sound of it Red Thistle) got the respect they
> deserve. Instead we hear "SCD is a social dance style which cannot hold
> the attention of an audience" from people who have only seen "branch
> dems".
> </provocative>
>
> Adam
> Cambridge UK.
>

Respect

Message 27184 · Pia Walker · 4 Sep 2001 10:11:14 · Top

Re: Highly choreographed display - what you are saying are like saying
that nobody would take up ballet, after having seen a professional
production - yet this and other countries are full of ballet school bursting
to the seem with kids who wants to dance.

Re older dancers - I don't think age has anything to do with performing
well - it has to do with attitude - I have seen dems where the age were low,
and the attitude was: We are better than you, so there - totally spoiling
the fun for the audience, and I have seen dancers well over 60-70-80, which
have had the audience clapping, whistling, laughing and dancing because they
knew how to interact. What a lot of dem groups forget, is that you dance to
the audience, you interact with the audience, you give yourself to the
audience - and this is much more important than technique and perfect
execution (although these have to be fairly ok too).

Re: Groups of dancers - In order to get dem groups of younger dancers, we
have to have the young people join first, teach them, and get them to want
to perform.

This is a long term strategy at least here in the UK, as there are groups of
people out there, who feel absolutely threatened by young people and their
joie de vivre, and will do anything to contain it, who refuse to see that
their way of thinking is not the only way, that there could be other ways of
thinking, dressing etc.

I once was a 16-17 year old Scottish Country Dancer, with joie de vivre,
coming to Scotland to learn - there are still people in RSCDS, who will not
speak to me for fear of contamination - because I was different (still am
:>)) - who still see me as the same 16-17 year old scatter brain. I had two
choices, I could give up, or I could continue - my love of dancing overcame
the negative vibes I got then, and still get from some quarters - mostly
because in my own group in Denmark, I was accepted for what I was.

And I see it today - young people - behaving like normal young people do,
get shot down in flames all because of their good intentions - "their mode
of dress/hair/behaviour are not appropriate" or getting them on committees
as the obligatory young one, only to proceed to give them all the jobs which
nobody else wants, or where they will show their inexperience and fail, and
otherwise not listening to them. Not understanding that young people, will
move from group to group, because of a natural progression from home to
study to work, and getting upset with the person, because this person has to
move on.

These young people have enough on their plate to have to put up with this,
and they leave and we are stuck with older dancers who are afraid of
changing, or haven't got the imagination and a dying society and a lot of
moans and groans from us dinosaurs.

Sorry this turned into a diatribe - I have a bad morning - and this was
equivalent of kicking the dog.

Pia

----- Original Message -----
From: Andrew Smith <afsmith@bristolbs94lx.freeserve.co.uk>
To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
Sent: Tuesday, September 04, 2001 7:50 AM
Subject: Re: Respect-was Tattoo

> Picking up on Adam's 'provocative' point there are two issues, I think.
The
> Corryvrechan presentation is very good, and their displays are very
> impressive (I danced with several members of that team before it became
> well-known under the present name, so must declare an interest. Maybe I
was
> the one holding them back.) However, I have often wondered whether someone
> (considering taking up SCD) who saw a highly choreographed display would
be
> inspired or dismayed. I expect a lot would depend on the state of their
ego.
>
> There is still a place for the top-notch teams, but it probably really is
at
> dance occasions where their skills can really be appreciated by the
> audience.
>
> What I think is really needed in general to encourage new blood is groups
> of younger dancers who dance with élan and joie de vivre (seeing
Strathspey
> is now bi-lingual) at a level at which most people would feel encouraged
to
> have a go.
> Andrew.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Adam Hughes" <adamoutside@yahoo.co.uk>
> To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
> Sent: Monday, September 03, 2001 3:48 PM
> Subject: Re: Respect-was Tattoo
>
>
> > Dancers from "New Scotland", the University of Edinburgh's SCD group
> > manage to entertain groups of up to 100 American teenagers who visit
> > Edinburgh each summer. The format is a Ceilidh, with "helpers" to teach
> > the ceilidh dances, and then dem a few dances in regular intervals (5 in
> > 3 hours?) while the teenagers get their breath back. They do dance
> > strathspeys (as well as reels and jigs) to a traditional fiddle and
> > accordion music, and usually their audience is completely silent and
> > rapt. However, they always stick to the "three times is plenty" maxim
> > for longways dances. In addition, they often use a highland dancer for
> > one of the intervals, and they also demonstrate the construction and
> > deportment of a feilidhmhor, which usually gets a laugh.
> >
> > Is there a trick? It might be that the dancers are mostly students aged
> > between 18 and 30.
> >
> > <provocative>
> > There is nothing more likely to put off an audience than 6 or 8 "older"
> > ladies and gentlemen creaking through a dance, whether it is a
> > strathspey, reel or jig. SCD can be enjoyed socially by people of any
> > age, but it might get more respect if it displayed itself with a younger
> > profile. Perhaps there are "too many" people willing to perform SCD
> > badly. It might be better if there were fewer groups willing to dance
> > SCD for an audience, so the ones which were able to do it well (such as
> > Corryvrecken, and from the sound of it Red Thistle) got the respect they
> > deserve. Instead we hear "SCD is a social dance style which cannot hold
> > the attention of an audience" from people who have only seen "branch
> > dems".
> > </provocative>
> >
> > Adam
> > Cambridge UK.
> >
>

Respect

Message 27217 · seonaid.gent · 6 Sep 2001 20:27:39 · Top

GO PIA! I would agree but add a few pointers-

1. Don't assume that because we're young we're beginners / don't know what we're doing.

2. Don't assume that because we're young we won't want to be included in the activities of "oldies". It can be intimidating enough to go in to a room full of older people - if none of them then talk to you, you begin to wonder what you're doing there.

3. Don't assume that young people will find you're group / event on their own. If there is a group of young dancers, try going to their events and making a special effort to invite them to your events.

Seonaid
who does not guarantee that fulfilling the above will provide every group with hordes of young dancers ;o)!
-------------------------
Pia wrote:

>Re older dancers - I don't think age has anything to do with performing
>well - it has to do with attitude - I have seen dems where the age were low,
>and the attitude was: We are better than you, so there - totally spoiling
>the fun for the audience, and I have seen dancers well over 60-70-80, which
>have had the audience clapping, whistling, laughing and dancing because they
>knew how to interact. What a lot of dem groups forget, is that you dance to
>the audience, you interact with the audience, you give yourself to the
>audience - and this is much more important than technique and perfect
>execution (although these have to be fairly ok too).
>
>Re: Groups of dancers - In order to get dem groups of younger dancers, we
>have to have the young people join first, teach them, and get them to want
>to perform.
>
>This is a long term strategy at least here in the UK, as there are groups of
>people out there, who feel absolutely threatened by young people and their
>joie de vivre, and will do anything to contain it, who refuse to see that
>their way of thinking is not the only way, that there could be other ways of
>thinking, dressing etc.
>
>I once was a 16-17 year old Scottish Country Dancer, with joie de vivre,
>coming to Scotland to learn - there are still people in RSCDS, who will not
>speak to me for fear of contamination - because I was different (still am
>:>)) - who still see me as the same 16-17 year old scatter brain. I had two
>choices, I could give up, or I could continue - my love of dancing overcame
>the negative vibes I got then, and still get from some quarters - mostly
>because in my own group in Denmark, I was accepted for what I was.
>
>And I see it today - young people - behaving like normal young people do,
>get shot down in flames all because of their good intentions - "their mode
>of dress/hair/behaviour are not appropriate" or getting them on committees
>as the obligatory young one, only to proceed to give them all the jobs which
>nobody else wants, or where they will show their inexperience and fail, and
>otherwise not listening to them. Not understanding that young people, will
>move from group to group, because of a natural progression from home to
>study to work, and getting upset with the person, because this person has to
>move on.
>
>These young people have enough on their plate to have to put up with this,
>and they leave and we are stuck with older dancers who are afraid of
>changing, or haven't got the imagination and a dying society and a lot of
>moans and groans from us dinosaurs.
>
>Sorry this turned into a diatribe - I have a bad morning - and this was
>equivalent of kicking the dog.
>
>Pia
>
>
>----- Original Message -----
>From: Andrew Smith <afsmith@bristolbs94lx.freeserve.co.uk>
>To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
>Sent: Tuesday, September 04, 2001 7:50 AM
>Subject: Re: Respect-was Tattoo
>
>
> Picking up on Adam's 'provocative' point there are two issues, I think.
>The
> Corryvrechan presentation is very good, and their displays are very
> impressive (I danced with several members of that team before it became
> well-known under the present name, so must declare an interest. Maybe I
>was
> the one holding them back.) However, I have often wondered whether someone
> (considering taking up SCD) who saw a highly choreographed display would
>be
> inspired or dismayed. I expect a lot would depend on the state of their
>ego.
>
> There is still a place for the top-notch teams, but it probably really is
>at
> dance occasions where their skills can really be appreciated by the
> audience.
>
> What I think is really needed in general to encourage new blood is groups
> of younger dancers who dance with élan and joie de vivre (seeing
>Strathspey
> is now bi-lingual) at a level at which most people would feel encouraged
>to
> have a go.
> Andrew.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Adam Hughes" <adamoutside@yahoo.co.uk>
> To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
> Sent: Monday, September 03, 2001 3:48 PM
> Subject: Re: Respect-was Tattoo
>
>
> > Dancers from "New Scotland", the University of Edinburgh's SCD group
> > manage to entertain groups of up to 100 American teenagers who visit
> > Edinburgh each summer. The format is a Ceilidh, with "helpers" to teach
> > the ceilidh dances, and then dem a few dances in regular intervals (5 in
> > 3 hours?) while the teenagers get their breath back. They do dance
> > strathspeys (as well as reels and jigs) to a traditional fiddle and
> > accordion music, and usually their audience is completely silent and
> > rapt. However, they always stick to the "three times is plenty" maxim
> > for longways dances. In addition, they often use a highland dancer for
> > one of the intervals, and they also demonstrate the construction and
> > deportment of a feilidhmhor, which usually gets a laugh.
> >
> > Is there a trick? It might be that the dancers are mostly students aged
> > between 18 and 30.
> >
> > <provocative>
> > There is nothing more likely to put off an audience than 6 or 8 "older"
> > ladies and gentlemen creaking through a dance, whether it is a
> > strathspey, reel or jig. SCD can be enjoyed socially by people of any
> > age, but it might get more respect if it displayed itself with a younger
> > profile. Perhaps there are "too many" people willing to perform SCD
> > badly. It might be better if there were fewer groups willing to dance
> > SCD for an audience, so the ones which were able to do it well (such as
> > Corryvrecken, and from the sound of it Red Thistle) got the respect they
> > deserve. Instead we hear "SCD is a social dance style which cannot hold
> > the attention of an audience" from people who have only seen "branch
> > dems".
> > </provocative>
> >
> > Adam
> > Cambridge UK.
> >
>

--------------------
talk21 your FREE portable and private address on the net at http://www.talk21.com

Respect

Message 27219 · Pia Walker · 6 Sep 2001 21:28:12 · Top

Yo! Seonaid !

re 1: I know too many young people to say that all were beginners, I of
course meant catching young people who did not already know SCD - assuming
that the young people who already were experienced dancers were hooked.

re 2: You don't have that much choice at present :>)

re 3: I am trying to go to the uni doos, WHEN WE GET TO KNOW ABOUT THEM.

Pia
Mature youngster

----- Original Message -----
From: <seonaid.gent@talk21.com>
To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
Sent: Thursday, September 06, 2001 8:22 PM
Subject: Re: Respect

GO PIA! I would agree but add a few pointers-

1. Don't assume that because we're young we're beginners / don't know what
we're doing.

2. Don't assume that because we're young we won't want to be included in the
activities of "oldies". It can be intimidating enough to go in to a room
full of older people - if none of them then talk to you, you begin to wonder
what you're doing there.

3. Don't assume that young people will find you're group / event on their
own. If there is a group of young dancers, try going to their events and
making a special effort to invite them to your events.

Seonaid
who does not guarantee that fulfilling the above will provide every group
with hordes of young dancers ;o)!
-------------------------
Pia wrote:

>Re older dancers - I don't think age has anything to do with performing
>well - it has to do with attitude - I have seen dems where the age were
low,
>and the attitude was: We are better than you, so there - totally spoiling
>the fun for the audience, and I have seen dancers well over 60-70-80, which
>have had the audience clapping, whistling, laughing and dancing because
they
>knew how to interact. What a lot of dem groups forget, is that you dance
to
>the audience, you interact with the audience, you give yourself to the
>audience - and this is much more important than technique and perfect
>execution (although these have to be fairly ok too).
>
>Re: Groups of dancers - In order to get dem groups of younger dancers, we
>have to have the young people join first, teach them, and get them to want
>to perform.
>
>This is a long term strategy at least here in the UK, as there are groups
of
>people out there, who feel absolutely threatened by young people and their
>joie de vivre, and will do anything to contain it, who refuse to see that
>their way of thinking is not the only way, that there could be other ways
of
>thinking, dressing etc.
>
>I once was a 16-17 year old Scottish Country Dancer, with joie de vivre,
>coming to Scotland to learn - there are still people in RSCDS, who will not
>speak to me for fear of contamination - because I was different (still am
>:>)) - who still see me as the same 16-17 year old scatter brain. I had
two
>choices, I could give up, or I could continue - my love of dancing overcame
>the negative vibes I got then, and still get from some quarters - mostly
>because in my own group in Denmark, I was accepted for what I was.
>
>And I see it today - young people - behaving like normal young people do,
>get shot down in flames all because of their good intentions - "their mode
>of dress/hair/behaviour are not appropriate" or getting them on committees
>as the obligatory young one, only to proceed to give them all the jobs
which
>nobody else wants, or where they will show their inexperience and fail, and
>otherwise not listening to them. Not understanding that young people, will
>move from group to group, because of a natural progression from home to
>study to work, and getting upset with the person, because this person has
to
>move on.
>
>These young people have enough on their plate to have to put up with this,
>and they leave and we are stuck with older dancers who are afraid of
>changing, or haven't got the imagination and a dying society and a lot of
>moans and groans from us dinosaurs.
>
>Sorry this turned into a diatribe - I have a bad morning - and this was
>equivalent of kicking the dog.
>
>Pia
>
>
>----- Original Message -----
>From: Andrew Smith <afsmith@bristolbs94lx.freeserve.co.uk>
>To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
>Sent: Tuesday, September 04, 2001 7:50 AM
>Subject: Re: Respect-was Tattoo
>
>
> Picking up on Adam's 'provocative' point there are two issues, I think.
>The
> Corryvrechan presentation is very good, and their displays are very
> impressive (I danced with several members of that team before it became
> well-known under the present name, so must declare an interest. Maybe I
>was
> the one holding them back.) However, I have often wondered whether someone
> (considering taking up SCD) who saw a highly choreographed display would
>be
> inspired or dismayed. I expect a lot would depend on the state of their
>ego.
>
> There is still a place for the top-notch teams, but it probably really is
>at
> dance occasions where their skills can really be appreciated by the
> audience.
>
> What I think is really needed in general to encourage new blood is groups
> of younger dancers who dance with élan and joie de vivre (seeing
>Strathspey
> is now bi-lingual) at a level at which most people would feel encouraged
>to
> have a go.
> Andrew.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Adam Hughes" <adamoutside@yahoo.co.uk>
> To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
> Sent: Monday, September 03, 2001 3:48 PM
> Subject: Re: Respect-was Tattoo
>
>
> > Dancers from "New Scotland", the University of Edinburgh's SCD group
> > manage to entertain groups of up to 100 American teenagers who visit
> > Edinburgh each summer. The format is a Ceilidh, with "helpers" to teach
> > the ceilidh dances, and then dem a few dances in regular intervals (5 in
> > 3 hours?) while the teenagers get their breath back. They do dance
> > strathspeys (as well as reels and jigs) to a traditional fiddle and
> > accordion music, and usually their audience is completely silent and
> > rapt. However, they always stick to the "three times is plenty" maxim
> > for longways dances. In addition, they often use a highland dancer for
> > one of the intervals, and they also demonstrate the construction and
> > deportment of a feilidhmhor, which usually gets a laugh.
> >
> > Is there a trick? It might be that the dancers are mostly students aged
> > between 18 and 30.
> >
> > <provocative>
> > There is nothing more likely to put off an audience than 6 or 8 "older"
> > ladies and gentlemen creaking through a dance, whether it is a
> > strathspey, reel or jig. SCD can be enjoyed socially by people of any
> > age, but it might get more respect if it displayed itself with a younger
> > profile. Perhaps there are "too many" people willing to perform SCD
> > badly. It might be better if there were fewer groups willing to dance
> > SCD for an audience, so the ones which were able to do it well (such as
> > Corryvrecken, and from the sound of it Red Thistle) got the respect they
> > deserve. Instead we hear "SCD is a social dance style which cannot hold
> > the attention of an audience" from people who have only seen "branch
> > dems".
> > </provocative>
> >
> > Adam
> > Cambridge UK.
> >
>

--------------------
talk21 your FREE portable and private address on the net at
http://www.talk21.com

Respect

Message 27225 · Tim Harrison · 7 Sep 2001 01:00:03 · Top

Seonaid,

Maybe your pointers won't guarantee hordes of young dancers, but three years ago I did exactly as you describe. To get started, it was especially important to meet the teens on their own turf and invite them to join us. My first attempt flopped, because I didn't go out to meet them. I now have a classes of 20-25 teenagers. Some are in our group's demo team. The "class" demos several times a year. Most participate in what used to be our adult socials, but have become more like teen socials with adults. They have SCD birthday parties. They have teen-only socials every other month in addition to the "adult" social every month.

-- Tim Harrison
-- Austin, Texas

At 02:22 PM 9/6/01, you wrote:
>GO PIA! I would agree but add a few pointers-
>
>1. Don't assume that because we're young we're beginners / don't know what we're doing.
>
>2. Don't assume that because we're young we won't want to be included in the activities of "oldies". It can be intimidating enough to go in to a room full of older people - if none of them then talk to you, you begin to wonder what you're doing there.
>
>3. Don't assume that young people will find you're group / event on their own. If there is a group of young dancers, try going to their events and making a special effort to invite them to your events.
>
>Seonaid
>who does not guarantee that fulfilling the above will provide every group with hordes of young dancers ;o)!
>-------------------------
>Pia wrote:
>
>>Re older dancers - I don't think age has anything to do with performing
>>well - it has to do with attitude - I have seen dems where the age were low,
>>and the attitude was: We are better than you, so there - totally spoiling
>>the fun for the audience, and I have seen dancers well over 60-70-80, which
>>have had the audience clapping, whistling, laughing and dancing because they
>>knew how to interact. What a lot of dem groups forget, is that you dance to
>>the audience, you interact with the audience, you give yourself to the
>>audience - and this is much more important than technique and perfect
>>execution (although these have to be fairly ok too).
>>
>>Re: Groups of dancers - In order to get dem groups of younger dancers, we
>>have to have the young people join first, teach them, and get them to want
>>to perform.
>>
>>This is a long term strategy at least here in the UK, as there are groups of
>>people out there, who feel absolutely threatened by young people and their
>>joie de vivre, and will do anything to contain it, who refuse to see that
>>their way of thinking is not the only way, that there could be other ways of
>>thinking, dressing etc.
>>
>>I once was a 16-17 year old Scottish Country Dancer, with joie de vivre,
>>coming to Scotland to learn - there are still people in RSCDS, who will not
>>speak to me for fear of contamination - because I was different (still am
>>:>)) - who still see me as the same 16-17 year old scatter brain. I had two
>>choices, I could give up, or I could continue - my love of dancing overcame
>>the negative vibes I got then, and still get from some quarters - mostly
>>because in my own group in Denmark, I was accepted for what I was.
>>
>>And I see it today - young people - behaving like normal young people do,
>>get shot down in flames all because of their good intentions - "their mode
>>of dress/hair/behaviour are not appropriate" or getting them on committees
>>as the obligatory young one, only to proceed to give them all the jobs which
>>nobody else wants, or where they will show their inexperience and fail, and
>>otherwise not listening to them. Not understanding that young people, will
>>move from group to group, because of a natural progression from home to
>>study to work, and getting upset with the person, because this person has to
>>move on.
>>
>>These young people have enough on their plate to have to put up with this,
>>and they leave and we are stuck with older dancers who are afraid of
>>changing, or haven't got the imagination and a dying society and a lot of
>>moans and groans from us dinosaurs.
>>
>>Sorry this turned into a diatribe - I have a bad morning - and this was
>>equivalent of kicking the dog.
>>
>>Pia
>>
>>
>>----- Original Message -----
>>From: Andrew Smith <afsmith@bristolbs94lx.freeserve.co.uk>
>>To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
>>Sent: Tuesday, September 04, 2001 7:50 AM
>>Subject: Re: Respect-was Tattoo
>>
>>
>> Picking up on Adam's 'provocative' point there are two issues, I think.
>>The
>> Corryvrechan presentation is very good, and their displays are very
>> impressive (I danced with several members of that team before it became
>> well-known under the present name, so must declare an interest. Maybe I
>>was
>> the one holding them back.) However, I have often wondered whether someone
>> (considering taking up SCD) who saw a highly choreographed display would
>>be
>> inspired or dismayed. I expect a lot would depend on the state of their
>>ego.
>>
>> There is still a place for the top-notch teams, but it probably really is
>>at
>> dance occasions where their skills can really be appreciated by the
>> audience.
>>
>> What I think is really needed in general to encourage new blood is groups
>> of younger dancers who dance with élan and joie de vivre (seeing
>>Strathspey
>> is now bi-lingual) at a level at which most people would feel encouraged
>>to
>> have a go.
>> Andrew.
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: "Adam Hughes" <adamoutside@yahoo.co.uk>
>> To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
>> Sent: Monday, September 03, 2001 3:48 PM
>> Subject: Re: Respect-was Tattoo
>>
>>
>> > Dancers from "New Scotland", the University of Edinburgh's SCD group
>> > manage to entertain groups of up to 100 American teenagers who visit
>> > Edinburgh each summer. The format is a Ceilidh, with "helpers" to teach
>> > the ceilidh dances, and then dem a few dances in regular intervals (5 in
>> > 3 hours?) while the teenagers get their breath back. They do dance
>> > strathspeys (as well as reels and jigs) to a traditional fiddle and
>> > accordion music, and usually their audience is completely silent and
>> > rapt. However, they always stick to the "three times is plenty" maxim
>> > for longways dances. In addition, they often use a highland dancer for
>> > one of the intervals, and they also demonstrate the construction and
>> > deportment of a feilidhmhor, which usually gets a laugh.
>> >
>> > Is there a trick? It might be that the dancers are mostly students aged
>> > between 18 and 30.
>> >
>> > <provocative>
>> > There is nothing more likely to put off an audience than 6 or 8 "older"
>> > ladies and gentlemen creaking through a dance, whether it is a
>> > strathspey, reel or jig. SCD can be enjoyed socially by people of any
>> > age, but it might get more respect if it displayed itself with a younger
>> > profile. Perhaps there are "too many" people willing to perform SCD
>> > badly. It might be better if there were fewer groups willing to dance
>> > SCD for an audience, so the ones which were able to do it well (such as
>> > Corryvrecken, and from the sound of it Red Thistle) got the respect they
>> > deserve. Instead we hear "SCD is a social dance style which cannot hold
>> > the attention of an audience" from people who have only seen "branch
>> > dems".
>> > </provocative>
>> >
>> > Adam
>> > Cambridge UK.
>> >
>>
>
>
>
>--------------------
>talk21 your FREE portable and private address on the net at http://www.talk21.com

Respect-was Tattoo

Message 27185 · T L Harris · 4 Sep 2001 11:19:37 · Top

Hi All,

Picking up on the "age" issue: our dem team has a spread of ages in it, the oldest being 64 and the youngest 20, with the rest of us spread in between. We like that mix, as we feel it shows that both older folk and youngsters (as well as in-betweeners!) can do SCD and enjoy it!

Terry Lynne Harris
Pretoria, South Africa

>>> afsmith@bristolbs94lx.freeserve.co.uk 04/09/01 08:50 >>>
<snip>
To a certain extent I agree with his comment about 'creaking older dancers', but as an older dancer who is not quite creaking (yet) I feel that there is still scope for both presentations. I would suggest that a group of non-creaking older dancers might come across as really enjoying their dancing while doing it reasonably well, because they are not concentrating on complicated patterns and worrying about making a mistake.
<snip>

Respect-was Tattoo

Message 27190 · Martin.Sheffield · 5 Sep 2001 08:37:30 · Top

At 07:50 04/09/01 +0100, you wrote:
>What I think is really needed in general to encourage new blood is groups
>of younger dancers who dance with élan and joie de vivre ...

Quite agree.

Do you think the RSCDS would accept "Elan" as the title for a new dance?
(I wonder how it would be pronounced!)
Martin,
in Grenoble, France.

http://perso.wanadoo.fr/scots.in.france/
(dance groups, events, some new dances ...)

Respect-was Tattoo

Message 27191 · Pia Walker · 5 Sep 2001 15:42:31 · Top

Hi Martin

Whether it is going to be accepted or nor, I think rather depends on the
dance -don't you?

Why don't you try? And I don't think pronounciation will be much of a
problem here in Scotland, but try the rest of the world.

Pia
From the lands of Auchtermuchty, Auchterarder, Auchentoschan, and the likes.

----- Original Message -----
From: M Sheffield <martin.sheffield@wanadoo.fr>
To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
Sent: Tuesday, September 04, 2001 8:56 AM
Subject: Re: Respect-was Tattoo

At 07:50 04/09/01 +0100, you wrote:
>What I think is really needed in general to encourage new blood is groups
>of younger dancers who dance with élan and joie de vivre ...

Quite agree.

Do you think the RSCDS would accept "Elan" as the title for a new dance?
(I wonder how it would be pronounced!)
Martin,
in Grenoble, France.

http://perso.wanadoo.fr/scots.in.france/
(dance groups, events, some new dances ...)

Respect-was Tattoo

Message 27193 · Freeman/Pavey · 5 Sep 2001 18:57:27 · Top

> Do you think the RSCDS would accept "Elan" as the title for a new dance?
> (I wonder how it would be pronounced!)
> Martin,
> in Grenoble, France.

Over here in the backwoods of Canada we would pronounce it aye-lan, eh?

Cole Pavey
Maberly, Ontario

demo dances

Message 27151 · Martin.Sheffield · 1 Sep 2001 11:43:02 · Top

I'm pretty wary about speys in demos, but have found that medleys such as
Johnnie Walker, 1314, or Ann Dix's Welcome Abroad (each one 64 + 64) go
down well. Also, square sets, such as these, have a more obvious pattern
than longway sets for the profane audience to follow.

I once took part in a demo of (not my choice) Cauld Kale which the purists
decided shpould be down all 8 times through. I was dismayed ot learn what I
was letting myself in for, but surprisingly enough, none of the spectators
left before the end. They soon got the idea that, by sitting patiently
through the slow bits, they'd be able to join in clapping each time the
band went into fast tempo. Audience participation is what keeps'm happy !
Martin,
in Grenoble, France.

http://perso.wanadoo.fr/scots.in.france/
(dance groups, events, some new dances ...)

Respect-was Tattoo

Message 27123 · Lee Fuell · 30 Aug 2001 23:53:23 · Top

All,

Re:

Send reply to: strathspey@strathspey.org
Date sent: Thu, 30 Aug 2001 12:23:08 -0500
Subject: Re: Respect-was Tattoo
From: "Donald S. Sarna" <dssarna@sprintmail.com>
To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>

> I couldn't agree more with John and Steve! As someone who has both
> demonstrated AND sat in the audience many times, I can assure you there is
> 'one whole lotta' rustling around, talking, and fidgeting during
> Strathspeys. They simply do not hold the audience's interest. I can't
> think of one reason they are included in demonstrations.

I can think of a couple of good reasons to include some Strathspey
in a demo:

- Of the SCD music styles, it is the only one unique to Scotland.

- Strathspeys provide some useful "shade" to balance the "light" of
jigs and reels.

We build medleys of different dances, usually putting a Strathspey
in between jigs and/or reels, or vice versa. Examples:

- 2 x The Sailor + 2 x Niedpath Castle + 2 x De'il Amang the Tailors

- 2 x Blooms of Bon Accord + 2 x Glasgow Highlanders + 2 x
Rothesay Rant

Another good way to include Strathspey is to use a 16s/16r
medley like Glasgow Country Dance. I wouldn't do it more than
twice through, though. The Findhorn Medley is another great demo
dance, because it demonstrates jig, Strathspey, and reel tempos
in a tidy package.

I think it's important to include Strathspeys in demos, because
they are the soul of SCD, IMHO. However, they need to be kept
short, and should be lively. Anything with Highland steps would
help, like using the Highland travelling step for the down and back
part of Glasgow Highlanders, and Highland setting steps by the
men in the setting part.

Hope this helps,

Lee

P.S., I capitalized "Strathspey" in the above post, because it would
seem to be a proper noun when referring to the geographic region,
but is it correct to capitalize it in reference to the music or dance
style?

Tks,

LF

Lee Fuell & Patty Lindsay
Beavercreek, OH, USA
e-mail: fuell@mindspring.com, plindsay@mindspring.com

Respect-was Tattoo

Message 27124 · Miriam L. Mueller · 31 Aug 2001 00:19:23 · Top

SCD performances dull? Both our local performance groups, Red Thistle and
Dunsmuir Dancers, regularly make the final cut for the San Francisco
Ethnic Folk Festival. (Groups compete to be on the three programs.) They
use highland, step dancing, live music on stage, and inventive
choreography, and the audience always loves it. There are always lots of
children in the audience, and Scottish Country dance holds its own amidst
Hawaiian, Mexican, Japanese, Indian, etc.
There is a real difference between a performance and a demonstration -
perhaps some groups don't realize which is appropriate to the occasion.
And of course, we are blessed with gifted teachers and choreographers!
Miriam Mueller - San Francisco

Respect-was Tattoo

Message 27125 · Lee Fuell · 31 Aug 2001 00:31:40 · Top

I've seen the new Red Thistle demo video, and can attest to what
Miriam is saying. Based on the video, I'd say Red Thistle is
blessed with more than just gifted teachers and choreographers -
there are apparently quite a few gifted dancers in the area, too.

Lee

Send reply to: strathspey@strathspey.org
To: strathspey@strathspey.org
Date sent: Thu, 30 Aug 2001 15:14:40 -0700
Subject: Re: Respect-was Tattoo
From: "Miriam L. Mueller" <mimimueller@juno.com>

> SCD performances dull? Both our local performance groups, Red Thistle and
> Dunsmuir Dancers, regularly make the final cut for the San Francisco
> Ethnic Folk Festival. (Groups compete to be on the three programs.) They
> use highland, step dancing, live music on stage, and inventive
> choreography, and the audience always loves it. There are always lots of
> children in the audience, and Scottish Country dance holds its own amidst
> Hawaiian, Mexican, Japanese, Indian, etc.
> There is a real difference between a performance and a demonstration -
> perhaps some groups don't realize which is appropriate to the occasion.
> And of course, we are blessed with gifted teachers and choreographers!
> Miriam Mueller - San Francisco

Lee Fuell & Patty Lindsay
Beavercreek, OH, USA
e-mail: fuell@mindspring.com, plindsay@mindspring.com

Respect-was Tattoo

Message 27126 · Martha Phillips · 31 Aug 2001 04:14:33 · Top

I'm sure this question has been asked a million times and I'm sorry to
pester the list with it again, but where can I get a Red Thistle video?

thanks

-Martha

Martha Phillips
Madison Scottish Country Dancers
Madison, WI, USA
http://sprott.physics.wisc.edu/mscd/home.htm

----- Original Message -----
From: Donald Lee Fuell, Jr. <fuell@mindspring.com>
To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
Sent: Thursday, August 30, 2001 5:35 PM
Subject: Re: Respect-was Tattoo

> I've seen the new Red Thistle demo video, and can attest to what
> Miriam is saying. Based on the video, I'd say Red Thistle is
> blessed with more than just gifted teachers and choreographers -
> there are apparently quite a few gifted dancers in the area, too.
>
> Lee
>
> Send reply to: strathspey@strathspey.org
> To: strathspey@strathspey.org
> Date sent: Thu, 30 Aug 2001 15:14:40 -0700
> Subject: Re: Respect-was Tattoo
> From: "Miriam L. Mueller" <mimimueller@juno.com>
>
> > SCD performances dull? Both our local performance groups, Red Thistle
and
> > Dunsmuir Dancers, regularly make the final cut for the San Francisco
> > Ethnic Folk Festival. (Groups compete to be on the three programs.) They
> > use highland, step dancing, live music on stage, and inventive
> > choreography, and the audience always loves it. There are always lots of
> > children in the audience, and Scottish Country dance holds its own
amidst
> > Hawaiian, Mexican, Japanese, Indian, etc.
> > There is a real difference between a performance and a demonstration -
> > perhaps some groups don't realize which is appropriate to the occasion.
> > And of course, we are blessed with gifted teachers and choreographers!
> > Miriam Mueller - San Francisco
>
>
> Lee Fuell & Patty Lindsay
> Beavercreek, OH, USA
> e-mail: fuell@mindspring.com, plindsay@mindspring.com
>

***************

"So she went into the garden to cut a cabbage leaf to make an apple pie; and
at the same time a great she-bear, coming up the street, pops its head into
the shop. "What no soap?" So he died, and she very imprudently married the
barber; and there were present the Picninnies, and the Joblillies, and the
Garyalies, and the grand Panjandrum himself, with the little round button at
top, and they all fell to playing the game of catch as catch can, till the
gunpowder ran out at the heels of their boots."

-Samuel Foote, 1720-1777

Respect-was Tattoo

Message 27128 · Alan Twhigg · 31 Aug 2001 08:51:33 · Top

Martha et al.,

Both Red Thistle videos are available from the San Francisco Branch
website (http://www.rscds-sf.org), from TACSound, or you can contact
Zaza Wu (zazawu@yahoo.com), who handles video orders for the team.

-Alan Twhigg (Red Thistle member).

Martha Phillips wrote:

> I'm sure this question has been asked a million times and I'm sorry to
> pester the list with it again, but where can I get a Red Thistle video?
>
> thanks
>
> -Martha
>
>
>
> Martha Phillips
> Madison Scottish Country Dancers
> Madison, WI, USA
> http://sprott.physics.wisc.edu/mscd/home.htm
>
>
>
>

Respect-was Tattoo

Message 27127 · ron.mackey · 31 Aug 2001 00:54:55 · Top


> If I ruled the world, I would eliminate strathspeys from demonstrations.
> And frankly, judging from audience reaction, one reel and one jig are
> enough, period.

> And, if you MUST use a Strathspey, pick a 4 X 32; in other words, the
> shorter the better. (Even dancers get bored with 8 x 32's!)

> Margaret Sarna, Michigan (USA)

Hi,
Surely no-one ever does 8x32 of _anything_ for a demonstration?
':~)'
Occasionally a 4x32 if it is a real goer but to keep interest in non
dancers it must be something like a knife, fork & spoon?? With
a bit of Highland and something like Schiehallion as an eye-popper,
perhaps??
Cheers, Ron :)

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

Respect-was Tattoo

Message 27130 · Pia Walker · 31 Aug 2001 10:14:06 · Top

As a fan of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers, I cannot agree that
Strathspheys do not appeal to audiences - you just have to choose them well,
and execute them well, put a little emotion/s.x into them - and for the 2 -
4 - 6 - 8 times through - that is so that everyone in the set can have a
turn, and therefore might not be appropriate for a show/demonstration. Our
little dems have joined up spots with a reel, strathspey and a Jig all
"glued together" it can be 1-2-1 times though or 2-2-2- or whatever looks
good - we dont stop in between, and audinces seem to appreciate the shock of
change of tempo.

Pia
----- Original Message -----
From: <ron.mackey@mail.btinternet.com>
To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
Sent: Thursday, August 30, 2001 9:53 PM
Subject: Re: Respect-was Tattoo

>
> > If I ruled the world, I would eliminate strathspeys from demonstrations.
> > And frankly, judging from audience reaction, one reel and one jig are
> > enough, period.
>
> > And, if you MUST use a Strathspey, pick a 4 X 32; in other words, the
> > shorter the better. (Even dancers get bored with 8 x 32's!)
>
> > Margaret Sarna, Michigan (USA)
>
> Hi,
> Surely no-one ever does 8x32 of _anything_ for a demonstration?
> ':~)'
> Occasionally a 4x32 if it is a real goer but to keep interest in non
> dancers it must be something like a knife, fork & spoon?? With
> a bit of Highland and something like Schiehallion as an eye-popper,
> perhaps??
> Cheers, Ron :)
>
> < 0 Ron Mackey,(Purveyor of Pat's Party Pieces)
> 'O> Mottingham,
> /#\ London. UK.
> l>
> Ron.Mackey@btinternet.com

Respect-was Tattoo

Message 27145 · Andrew Smith · 1 Sep 2001 07:55:10 · Top

May I endorse Pia's comments - I have been involved in dems, on and off for
nearly 50 years, and was told, and have seen for myself, that a 5 minute max
at a time and leave the audience wanting more, rather than "Oh dear, are
they never going to finish?" is the best recipe.
I would also endorse the earlier comment re how much more important it is to
be seen to be really moving with the music and enjoying your dancing and the
company rather than concentrating desperately on technical excellence and
looking terribly serious. I cannot quote Miss Milligan accurately, but I
seem to remember her being reported as wanting to get the spirit of the
dance across.

Andrew.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Pia Walker" <piawalke@nascr.net>
To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>; <Ron.Mackey@BTInternet.com>
Sent: Friday, August 31, 2001 9:32 AM
Subject: Re: Respect-was Tattoo

> As a fan of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers, I cannot agree that
> Strathspheys do not appeal to audiences - you just have to choose them
well,
> and execute them well, put a little emotion/s.x into them - and for the
2 -
> 4 - 6 - 8 times through - that is so that everyone in the set can have a
> turn, and therefore might not be appropriate for a show/demonstration.
Our
> little dems have joined up spots with a reel, strathspey and a Jig all
> "glued together" it can be 1-2-1 times though or 2-2-2- or whatever looks
> good - we dont stop in between, and audinces seem to appreciate the shock
of
> change of tempo.
>
> Pia
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: <ron.mackey@mail.btinternet.com>
> To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
> Sent: Thursday, August 30, 2001 9:53 PM
> Subject: Re: Respect-was Tattoo
>
>
> >
> > > If I ruled the world, I would eliminate strathspeys from
demonstrations.
> > > And frankly, judging from audience reaction, one reel and one jig are
> > > enough, period.
> >
> > > And, if you MUST use a Strathspey, pick a 4 X 32; in other words, the
> > > shorter the better. (Even dancers get bored with 8 x 32's!)
> >
> > > Margaret Sarna, Michigan (USA)
> >
> > Hi,
> > Surely no-one ever does 8x32 of _anything_ for a demonstration?
> > ':~)'
> > Occasionally a 4x32 if it is a real goer but to keep interest in non
> > dancers it must be something like a knife, fork & spoon?? With
> > a bit of Highland and something like Schiehallion as an eye-popper,
> > perhaps??
> > Cheers, Ron :)
> >
> > < 0 Ron Mackey,(Purveyor of Pat's Party Pieces)
> > 'O> Mottingham,
> > /#\ London. UK.
> > l>
> > Ron.Mackey@btinternet.com
>
>

Respect-was Tattoo

Message 27112 · Martin.Sheffield · 30 Aug 2001 10:49:05 · Top

>Remember that unlike Highland dancing, Irish Step, SCD was not
>created for performance but for participation.
> think in order to keep an audience interested, you have to jazz it up,
for example with (...) more contemporary music,

The populairity of the orignial Riverdance was based on traditional Irish
music (good old-fashioned fiddles and whistles)and the group succeeded
without any jazzing up. More recent versions of the show and its spinoffs
on the other hand have given in to pressure from show-biz moghuls who know
what we really like better than most of us ourselves. A disappointing
recuperation of popular art forms inb the intersts of money and a sad move
away from tradition.
I certainly hope that SCD does not folllow the same path. A greater variety
of instruments, yes, but jazzing up, definitely , no.

I never fathomed the naming of this thread, but I assume that somewhere
there si the idea of respect for tradition?

Like Steve, I wouldn't be interested in watching 8 tiny dancers in the
middle of a huge arena, if I were not already immersed in the activity ( I
prefer the televised view, anyway). Has anyone ever heard of new recruits
turning up at a club after seeing a demo at a show such as the tattoo?

And, as Martha mentioned:
> they'll be smiling anyway and enjoying themselves. And THAT is what
>draws people to join....they want part of the fun, too!
that is certainly the message to put across, but who has a smile big enough
to fill an arena?
Martin,
in Grenoble, France.

http://perso.wanadoo.fr/scots.in.france/
(dance groups, events, some new dances ...)

Previous thread: Web addresses - Affiliated Societies
Next thread: Respect
A Django site.