strathspey Archive: Glasgow Highlanders

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Glasgow Highlanders

Message 28634 · Anselm Lingnau · 5 Dec 2001 11:21:34 · Top

Angus Henry <ahenry@octa4.net.au> writes:

> Does anybody know why the irregular progression in this dance (which
> incidentally I enjoy dancing), or how it was decided?

I wouldn't know for sure, but I think this is one of those dances that
used to be done in a longways set `for as many as will'. (At any rate it
works rather well that way, and we do it like that frequently
hereabouts.) This means that the irritating discontinuity only took
place at the very ends of the line, and people could just discreetly
`fudge it' without generating undue attention to themselves. I agree
with Ian's comment that the standing couples are probably supposed to
loiter around on their own side of the dance.

There is some material on Glasgow Highlanders in Flett & Flett,
`Traditional Dancing in Scotland' but it doesn't talk about the
progression at all. However they describe a very weird and unusual form
of rights and lefts, which derives from the Quadrilles but seems to have
been used in Glasgow Highlanders as well. As RSCDS dancers, we of course
use the `RSCDS standard' rights and lefts, which according to the Fletts
`is the oldest of these three [versions of rights and lefts that they
explain], and is found in Country Dances from at least 1700 onwards. It
was becoming obsolete by the beginning of the nineteenth century, and
occurs in very few of the Country Dances known to have been performed in
Scotland within living memory'. (So there! Glasgow Highlanders, of
course, is a 19th c. dance.)

Anselm
--
Anselm Lingnau .......................................... anselm@strathspey.org
Writing science fiction for about a penny a word is no way to make a living. If
you really want to make a million, the quickest way is to start your own
religion. -- L. Ron Hubbard, SF author and founder of Scientology

Glasgow Highlanders

Message 28635 · Andrew Buxton · 5 Dec 2001 11:58:28 · Top

I think it would be much better as a longways set. It's the awkward getting
into place at the beginning and end(s) that puts me off the dance.

Andrew Buxton
Brighton

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Anselm Lingnau [SMTP:anselm@strathspey.org]
> Sent: 05 December 2001 10:12
> To: strathspey@strathspey.org
> Subject: Re: Glasgow Highlanders
>
> Angus Henry <ahenry@octa4.net.au> writes:
>
> > Does anybody know why the irregular progression in this dance (which
> > incidentally I enjoy dancing), or how it was decided?
>
> I wouldn't know for sure, but I think this is one of those dances that
> used to be done in a longways set `for as many as will'. (At any rate it
> works rather well that way, and we do it like that frequently
> hereabouts.) This means that the irritating discontinuity only took
> place at the very ends of the line, and people could just discreetly
> `fudge it' without generating undue attention to themselves. I agree
> with Ian's comment that the standing couples are probably supposed to
> loiter around on their own side of the dance.
>
>

Glasgow Highlanders

Message 28636 · Priscilla M. Burrage · 5 Dec 2001 13:00:06 · Top

On Wed, 5 Dec 2001, Andrew Buxton wrote:

> I think it would be much better as a longways set. It's the awkward getting
> into place at the beginning and end(s) that puts me off the dance.

TACTALK had an interesting discussion of this problem in several issues a
few years ago.

Personally, I like the progression. I have some dances in my
yet-to-be-published next book that use this form of longways. They are
ideal for sets of 5 to 9 mor more couples as the supporting couples dance
as much as the dancing couples. At Bruce Hamilton's suggestion, I
recommend that the dance be repeated only five times because of the high
activity level of all the dancers.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Priscilla Burrage Vermont US
(pburrage@zoo.uvm.edu)

Glasgow Highlanders

Message 28691 · Bryan McAlister · 6 Dec 2001 15:03:30 · Top

In article <86452E1F2EE2B64F8033051C52FF6CF6036955@FONT1.ad.ids.ac.uk>,
Andrew Buxton <A.Buxton@ids.ac.uk> writes
>I think it would be much better as a longways set. It's the awkward getting
>into place at the beginning and end(s) that puts me off the dance.
>
>Andrew Buxton
>Brighton

We often do it as a "Round the room " dance.
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

Glasgow Highlanders

Message 28694 · Adam Hughes · 6 Dec 2001 15:11:45 · Top

Bryan McAlister wrote:
> We often do it as a "Round the room " dance.

Now that is such a cool idea, I may just steal it...

Adam
Cambridge, UK.

Glasgow Highlanders

Message 28762 · John P. McClure · 7 Dec 2001 20:56:10 · Top

I've recently read Simon Scott's article on one or two chords. I think he
makes quite a good argument for the two chords at the beginning of GH
(i.e., to honour both your partner and your "opposite") (and
I think the same argument would justify two chords at the beginning of
some square formation dances, although I don't recall that
happening). What his argument does _not_ seem to justify is requiring
everyone to start and finish on "proper" sides - with the resulting
awkward scramble on the second chord, and difficult movement for couples
coming to the top of the set (and also for some couples at the end of the
dance). The justificatiion for that appears to be that the dance is a
classic. I think it would be a more popular classic if Simon's argument
for _not_ having two chords in the modern dances where 3s and 4s start on
opposite sides, was applied to GH, with couples forming up in lines of
couple facing couple. For what it's worth,

Peter McClure
Winnipeg, MB

Glasgow Highlanders

Message 28763 · simon scott · 7 Dec 2001 21:46:55 · Top

PETER McCLURE WROTE

>I've recently read Simon Scott's article on one or two chords. I think
he
>makes quite a good argument for the two chords at the beginning of GH
>(i.e., to honour both your partner and your "opposite") (and
>I think the same argument would justify two chords at the beginning of
>some square formation dances, although I don't recall that
>happening). What his argument does _not_ seem to justify is requiring
>everyone to start and finish on "proper" sides - with the resulting
>awkward scramble on the second chord, and difficult movement for
couples
>coming to the top of the set (and also for some couples at the end of
the
>dance). The justificatiion for that appears to be that the dance is a
>classic. I think it would be a more popular classic if Simon's
argument
>for _not_ having two chords in the modern dances where 3s and 4s start
on
>opposite sides, was applied to GH, with couples forming up in lines of
>couple facing couple. For what it's worth,

SIMON REPLIES

Yes, a classic indeed !

If, for the Glasgow Highlanders, you form sets with all ladies on
partner's right with 1C facing 2C and 3C facing 4C ready for all dancers
to begin on the first repetition then you can have one beginning chord.

I think, that because the dance is such a "classic" and who are we to
make such an alteration, that this change, if so desired, should only be
local for those who wish.

Glasgow Highlanders

Message 28799 · SMiskoe · 8 Dec 2001 21:30:19 · Top

In the contra dance world there is a form known as 'Becket formation' where
on'e partner is alongside rather than across. Becket refers to the town in
massachusetts where this was first danced. Nowadays callers often tell the
dancers to 'line up with your partner alongside; this is a Becket formation
dance'.
SCD could eliminate the 2 chord, dancer shuffle, if when the dance is called,
the MC simply says 'Form sets with your partner alongside, as in Glasgow
Highlanders'. Since that dance is a classic people should be familiar enough
with its formation to know how to line up.
Cheers,
Sylvia Miskoe, Concord, NH USA

Becket formation. Was Glasgow Highlanders

Message 28804 · Patricia Ruggiero · 9 Dec 2001 00:40:05 · Top

Sylvia wrote:

>Nowadays callers often tell the dancers to 'line up with your partner
alongside; this is a Becket formation dance'.

Folk up your way (New Hampshire) are obviously a bit quicker on the uptake
than those farther south (Washington, D.C., and Virginia). Here it's easier
to let folks line up in proper formation and then move them into Becket
positions; otherwise there is a miserable muddle as dancers try to figure
out where they belong....

Would you happen to know how the Becket formation came to contradance? Like
maybe someone saw Glasgow Highlanders being danced...? More likely a
felicitous inspiration?

Pat
Charlottesville twig of the RSCDS Northern Virginia Branch, USA

Becket formation.

Message 28828 · Benjamin Stein · 9 Dec 2001 16:42:32 · Top

Well I doubt that Glasgow Highlanders filtered into New
England Contra dance in the form of Becket Formation for I
know a number of "old" traditional Contra dances that were
done that way. Any dances in the form of four facing four,
(one of the variations on Portland fancy), such as Portland
Fancy, the Tempest (in one form), the Fireman's dance etc.
were done with partners on the same side.

I frankly was startled when Priscilla first used the term
"Beckett Formation" to me since I had known these dances
well over 50 years ago, long before I ever heard of the
Beckett Formation, in fact the first Contra dances I ever
did, back in the early 1940's, were in the Portland Fancy
formation. Evidently, according to Sylvia, the term
originated in New Hampshire but I wonder when?

In any case it is easy enough to say line up with partners
adjacent, women on their partner's right, or in Beckett
Formation, or as in Glasgow Highlands (or La Tempete) and
dispense with the he double chords. When I teach Blooms of
Bon Accord I have the bottom two couples cross over first
and tell them to ignore the double chords-why not?

Ben Stein
Burlington Vermont, USA (just so you know it is "that" Ben Stein)

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Becket formation. Was Glasgow Highlanders

Message 28833 · SMiskoe · 9 Dec 2001 21:30:00 · Top

I don't know all the specifics on the origins of the Becket dances but here's
what I do know.
There was a dance weekend in Becket Massachusetts. A dance leader/caller
named Herbie Gaudreau introduced the formation in a dance named The Bucksaw.
To get into the formation the dancers lined up, actives crossed over. (This
is a very common formation.) Then each 2 couple set was asked to circle left
one quarter which puts the partners side by side. In this dance the
progression occurred when the couples danced a half right and left with the
couple diagonally across and then a half right and left with the couple
directly across.
Cheers,
Sylvia Miskoe, Concord NH USA

Becket formation. Was Glasgow Highlanders

Message 28836 · Colleen Putt · 9 Dec 2001 22:41:21 · Top

Thanks for clearing that up. I taught a John Drewry dance at Ramblewood a
number of years ago (Cabot Trail) and, when I got the sets all organized
,someone nodded and said, "Oh, right. Becket formation." I asked him where
the name had come from, he didn't know.
But, my question is, which came first: Becket formation or Glasgow
Highlanders?
Cheers,
Colleen Putt
Halifax, Nova Scotia
> I don't know all the specifics on the origins of the Becket dances but
here's
> what I do know.
> There was a dance weekend in Becket Massachusetts. A dance leader/caller
> named Herbie Gaudreau introduced the formation in a dance named The
Bucksaw.
> To get into the formation the dancers lined up, actives crossed over.
(This
> is a very common formation.) Then each 2 couple set was asked to circle
left
> one quarter which puts the partners side by side. In this dance the
> progression occurred when the couples danced a half right and left with
the
> couple diagonally across and then a half right and left with the couple
> directly across.
> Cheers,
> Sylvia Miskoe, Concord NH USA
>

Becket formation. Was Glasgow Highlanders

Message 28838 · Mike Mudrey · 10 Dec 2001 00:04:24 · Top

>
>But, my question is, which came first: Becket formation or Glasgow
>Highlanders?

Herbie choreographed the the Becket Reel about 1969, so the Glasgow
Highlanders precedes it by many years.

However the figure is very common in 19th Century Quadrilles.

mm

Becket formation. Was Glasgow Highlanders

Message 28843 · Priscilla M. Burrage · 10 Dec 2001 15:59:35 · Top

On Sun, 9 Dec 2001, Mike Mudrey wrote:

> >But, my question is, which came first: Becket formation or Glasgow
> >Highlanders?
>
> Herbie choreographed the the Becket Reel about 1969, so the Glasgow
> Highlanders precedes it by many years.
>
> However the figure is very common in 19th Century Quadrilles.

Herbie also explained the formation by saying it's a square with lots of
side and no heads. . .
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Priscilla Burrage Vermont US
(pburrage@zoo.uvm.edu)

Glasgow Highlanders

Message 28807 · Iain Boyd and Noeline O'Connor · 9 Dec 2001 01:22:18 · Top

Greetings all,

While I also regard "Glasgow Higlanders" as a 'classic' I do not regard it as such
a classic that we can not 'improve' the way the dance starts and finishes and the
way dancers progress through the dance.

I certainly agree that there is no need for a second chord just to get into places
to start the dance - everyone should already be there!

However, as the starting positions are a little unusual, I would suggest that two
chords are still necessary - the first to acknowledge one's partner beside you (who
you should be facing at the beginning of the dance) and the second to acknowledge
the woman/man across the set with whom you are actually going to start the dance
with.

As regards the progression and finishing on own sides at the top and also at the
end of the dance - I regard this as an unthinking adherance to the dictates of some
senior teachers of the RSCDS - who in their wisdom can not see how much damage they
are doing to the dance.

Unless I am directed otherwise, I will finish in top place on opposite sides - this
being the natural place to finish. Also, it is a more natural position from which
to position oneself for the next time through.

Also, if I happen to start as second or third couple I prefer to finish the eight
times through facing my partner on the side lines. Again, it is the easier and more
natural thing to do.

Way back in the 1960's when I and my contemporaries were much more agile (and a lot
fitter) we tended to ignore the boundaries between sets and just continued dancing
'for as many as will'. As a consequence, when I put "Glasgow Highlanders" on the
'formal' dance programmes for the club I was teaching at the time I arranged dancers
in a circular set and everyone kept dancing.

Regards,

Iain Boyd

Wellington
New Zealand

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Glasgow Highlanders

Message 28818 · Chris1Ronald · 9 Dec 2001 03:19:34 · Top

In a message dated 12/08/2001 7:23:07 PM Eastern Standard Time,
boyd.oconnor@zfree.co.nz writes:
> While I also regard "Glasgow Higlanders" as a 'classic' I do not regard it
> as such
> a classic that we can not 'improve' the way the dance starts and finishes
> and the
> way dancers progress through the dance.
>
I like the idea of two concentric circles. I'll try it next time I get a
chance. And I also like the idea of starting with woman on man's right. I've
not yet seen Glasgow Highlanders danced without a fair amount of confusion
and scrambling on bars 31, 32 not to mention bars 1, 2,.. of the next
repetition. Keeping partners side by side as much as possible should help
reduce that confusion.

We do seem to have rather fixed ideas about what are acceptable ways of
beginning a dance. As another example, take the triangular set. In this
case, contrary to GH, we seem to insist that women begin the dance at their
partner's side. I've devised a few dances with a triangular set where
partners begin opposite each other. Has anyone else seen this formation?

Chris.

Glasgow Highlanders

Message 28820 · res009k3 · 9 Dec 2001 05:02:47 · Top

In Scotland, in the 60's, I was in a round the room version one time, never saw it again, but it was fun.

The dance was only repeated 8 times and most of the dancers began and ended with the "GH setting step, using the other 6 repeats to do a standard SOBHD 6 step fling.

One problem with being tied to the longways as standard is that we tend not to see the possibility of our figures and / or dances modified for other formations.

There is a formation, called "union" for some reason I have yet to understand. I think it originally involved a medly of dances from both sides of the border [Union, as in act of ... {crowns or parliaments, I am not sure which, as the dance form dates from the early 1800s as opposed to 1700's}].

Anyway, the only RSCDS dance in this formation, I can think of off hand is "La Tempete". In this formation two couples face two couples with ladies to the right of their partners. If you look at the figures in this dance [2.1] it could well have been a flattened quadrille. I know the dance has both Scottish and English versions, and the US version is called the Kentucky Tempest.
(2)> <[4]
[2]> <(4)
(1)> <[3]
[1]> <(3]

{I could never figure out why men were round and women square?}

the round the room GH would be something such as ...
1- 8: 1w3 + 2w4 rights and lefts to end in lines of 3+1

[2]> (4)>
(1)> (2)> (3)> [4]>
[1]> (3]>
9-16: CCW round the room & back, odd man switch in as per
usual, to end as they began in two parallel lines of
four facing partners.
17-24: set
25-32: reel of four 6 bars, breaking to pass through
opposites to progress in original direction.
(2)>
(2) [4] <[4]
| | to <(4) and on to the next foursome, etc.
[2] (4) [2]>
(1) [3] (1)>
| | <[3]
[1] (3} <(3)
[1]>

Goss

R Goss
[richard.n.goss@gte.net]

Glasgow Highlanders

Message 28825 · Alan Macpherson MSc CChem · 9 Dec 2001 12:51:27 · Top

If you would like to see Glasgow Highlanders danced "without a fair amount
of confusion
and scrambling on bars 31, 32 not to mention bars 1, 2,.. of the next
repetition" may I suggest that you view the video "A Highland Fling"
available from
http://www.scottishdancevideos.com/
You will see it danced as Gilles intended

Alan

-----Original Message-----
From: Chris1Ronald@aol.com [mailto:Chris1Ronald@aol.com]
Sent: 09 December 2001 02:19
To: strathspey@strathspey.org
Subject: Re: Glasgow Highlanders

In a message dated 12/08/2001 7:23:07 PM Eastern Standard Time,
boyd.oconnor@zfree.co.nz writes:
> While I also regard "Glasgow Higlanders" as a 'classic' I do not regard it
> as such
> a classic that we can not 'improve' the way the dance starts and finishes
> and the
> way dancers progress through the dance.
>
I like the idea of two concentric circles. I'll try it next time I get a
chance. And I also like the idea of starting with woman on man's right. I've
not yet seen Glasgow Highlanders danced without a fair amount of confusion
and scrambling on bars 31, 32 not to mention bars 1, 2,.. of the next
repetition. Keeping partners side by side as much as possible should help
reduce that confusion.

We do seem to have rather fixed ideas about what are acceptable ways of
beginning a dance. As another example, take the triangular set. In this
case, contrary to GH, we seem to insist that women begin the dance at their
partner's side. I've devised a few dances with a triangular set where
partners begin opposite each other. Has anyone else seen this formation?

Chris.

Glasgow Highlanders

Message 28847 · SallenNic · 10 Dec 2001 16:13:41 · Top

In a message dated 9/12/01 4:03:18 am, res009k3@verizon.net writes:

> I know the dance has both Scottish and English versions, and the US version
>is called the Kentucky Tempest.
What about the Vermont Tempest?
Nicolas B., Lanark, Scotland.

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