strathspey Archive: Strathspey Setting

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Strathspey Setting

Message 29230 · Malcolm Brown · 23 Jan 2002 12:45:49 · Top

I'm glad to say that there is no definite rule on the following questions,
but I'm just interested in other people's views.

Strathspey Setting.

When setting in the sidelines, as say second couple, do people a) shorten
their setting step so that they stay in the sidelines but do not bump into
the people on either side, b) set going in front of the people on either
side who are not setting, c) set going behind the people on either side ?

What do they do if there are 2 couples setting, and the person who is
setting with them, and on the left of the pair, takes a long setting step,
(with a stiff arm)?

I can think of an argument against all three solutions!

As an ancillary question, when the couple that is setting to each other are
in diagonal positions (1M 2L, or 1L 2M), do the dancers set in the
sidelines, or face each other and set diagonally ? - does this depend on
what comes next, e.g. turn each other with two hands?

Malcolm (& Helen) Brown
York (U.K.)

Strathspey Setting

Message 29232 · Andrew Smith · 23 Jan 2002 12:52:08 · Top

I was taught to stay on the sideline and not to bump in to or overlap the
standing persons.
To your ancillary question, I usually face the person to whom I'm setting.
regards,
Andrew.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Malcolm Brown" <Mlamontbrown@btopenworld.com>
To: "Strathspey Submissions" <strathspey@strathspey.org>
Sent: Wednesday, January 23, 2002 11:46 AM
Subject: Strathspey Setting

Strathspey Setting

Message 29234 · Martin.Sheffield · 23 Jan 2002 15:03:13 · Top

At 12:50 23/01/02, you wrote:
>I was taught to stay on the sideline and ...

That is hardly a reply to Malcolm's question "What do people do" to avoid
treading on anyone's toes ? (my interpetation!)
What we are taught and what we do ...

I don't know what is usual, but, if I am standing to the right of someone
that is due to set, I get ready to move out of his way, to my right, or
backwards if there's no room to the right. I feel it is the standing
dancer's duty not to hinder the dancing dancer's movements.

Not everyone feels this way. Some years ago at summer school, the person
standing on my right in a certain 'spey did not give way at all, and the
person on my left with whom I was setting was using strong sideway steps. I
therefore set in front of my standing neighbour.
My reward for this was a lecture about how one should NEVER move in front
of another dancer. My neighbour just happened to be a teacher with whom I
had had an argument the previous day !

Lesson one in SCD (Rscd?) : Better forget all you ever learnt about
elegant stepwork, rather than upset someone.

The answer I'd like to give to Malcolm's question is: don't go to a dance
where you won't have enough room to dance comfortably and properly.
But, of course, if you all follow that advice, there'll be no-one at next
year's summer school -- the lack of space being the most disappointing
aspect of dancing in St Andrews, imho.

Strathspey Setting

Message 29239 · Norah Link · 23 Jan 2002 15:44:29 · Top

>
> When setting in the sidelines, as say second couple, do
> people a) shorten
> their setting step so that they stay in the sidelines but do
> not bump into
> the people on either side, b) set going in front of the
> people on either
> side who are not setting, c) set going behind the people on
> either side ?
>

What Anselm said.

> What do they do if there are 2 couples setting, and the person who is
> setting with them, and on the left of the pair, takes a long
> setting step,
> (with a stiff arm)?
>

Take a short setting step with an equally stiff arm. If the person beside
me doesn't respond to the cue (sometimes a stiff arm just means that they're
prepared to receive feedback), I would probably collapse my own arm somewhat
and extend it to the front to avoid being knocked over, and perhaps to even
guide the person in front of me with their overly long step. The latter
(having them go in front) will usually get the message across that their
step was too long, but if it doesn't then at least it has avoided
collisions. Depending on how well I know the person, I might even suggest
quietly, or not so quietly, out of the corner of my mouth that they're
pushing me over.

Of course, in the heat of the moment anything can happen.

Norah Link
(Montreal, QC, Canada)

Strathspey Setting

Message 29244 · Lee Fuell · 23 Jan 2002 22:02:34 · Top

All,

Re:
All,

Re:
>
> Strathspey Setting.
>
> When setting in the sidelines, as say second couple, do people a)
> shorten their setting step so that they stay in the sidelines but do
> not bump into the people on either side, b) set going in front of the
> people on either side who are not setting, c) set going behind the
> people on either side ?

Although I've complained on more than one occasion about
contradictory instruction from different teachers, this is one area
where the instruction I've received has been consistent: "a" seems
to be the prevailing standard. Having said that, I think a cramped
and shortened Strathspey setting step is as ugly as all get-out.
Aesthetically, I much prefer "b" and never really thought of it as
being rude (either as the active dancer or while standing on the
side). Strikes me as something that could reasonably fall into the
personal preference category.

Lee

Strathspey Setting

Message 29245 · e.ferguson · 24 Jan 2002 01:32:31 · Top

On 23 Jan 2002 Malcolm Brown wrote:

> When setting in the sidelines, as say second couple, <...> What do
> they do if there are 2 couples setting, and the person who is setting
> with them, and on the left of the pair, takes a long setting step,
> (with a stiff arm)?

In a very crowded (Younger) Hall, with three couples setting in a 4C
set, I have seen 4C joining hands with both the own and next set and
setting with them (and have done so myself). It is not by the book,
but very social as it really frees the movement for everyone.

Who has met other situations where "being social" means bending the
rules?

Eric

--
Eric T. Ferguson, van Dormaalstraat 15, NL-5624 KH EINDHOVEN,
Netherlands
tel: (+31)(0)40-243 2878 fax:40-246 7036 e-mail: e.ferguson@antenna.nl

Strathspey Setting

Message 29251 · Lee Fuell · 24 Jan 2002 02:52:02 · Top

Eric,

Re:

> Who has met other situations where "being social" means bending the
> rules?
>
> Eric

Frequently, but I would say "being social" is the overriding rule of
SCD, and something that enhances the sociability of the dancing
without changing its fundamental nature cannot really be bending
the rules. Joining hands with the other set while setting in lines
across doesn't fundamentally change the dance, it enhances it.

Lee

Donald Lee Fuell, Jr.
Beavercreek, Ohio
e-mail: fuell@mindspring.com

Strathspey Setting

Message 29257 · Martin.Sheffield · 24 Jan 2002 10:36:46 · Top

At 12:50 23/01/02, you wrote:
>I was taught to stay on the sideline and ...

That is hardly a reply to Malcolm's question "What do people do" to avoid
treading on anyone's toes ? (my interpetation!)
What we are taught and what we do ...

I don't know what is usual, but, if I am standing to the right of someone
that is due to set, I get ready to move out of his way, to my right, or
backwards if there's no room to the right. I feel it is the standing
dancer's duty not to hinder the dancing dancer's movements.

Not everyone feels this way. Some years ago at summer school, the person
standing on my right in a certain 'spey did not give way at all, and the
person on my left with whom I was setting was using strong sideway steps. I
therefore set in front of my standing neighbour.
My reward for this was a lecture about how one should NEVER move in front
of another dancer. My neighbour just happened to be a teacher with whom I
had had an argument the previous day !

Lesson one in SCD (Rscd?) : Better forget all you ever learnt about
elegant stepwork, rather than upset someone.

The answer I'd like to give to Malcolm's question is: don't go to a dance
where you won't have enough room to dance comfortably and properly.
But, of course, if you all follow that advice, there'll be no-one at next
year's summer school -- the lack of space being the most disappointing
aspect of dancing in St Andrews, imho.

Strathspey Setting

Message 29259 · Loren Wright · 24 Jan 2002 15:30:46 · Top

> When setting in the sidelines, as say second couple, do people a) shorten
> their setting step so that they stay in the sidelines but do not bump into
> the people on either side, b) set going in front of the people on either
> side who are not setting, c) set going behind the people on either side ?

definitely a), but you have to be prepared to accommodate others who do b)
or c), and...

If I'm moving into the sideline position before setting, I try to anticipate
the setting by ending a little to the left of where I'd normally end. That
way my setting is less cramped!

Loren Wright
Nashua, NH, USA

Strathspey Setting

Message 29270 · marjoriem · 25 Jan 2002 01:58:12 · Top

Martin said:
> I don't know what is usual, but, if I am standing to the right of someone
> that is due to set, I get ready to move out of his way, to my right, or
> backwards if there's no room to the right. I feel it is the standing
> dancer's duty not to hinder the dancing dancer's movements.

One of the practices I find pleasant in English Country dancing is that
dancers standing in the line of the set move forwards, backwards and
sideways for those who are dancing around them or who can be helped by a
shorter path to their destination. It can be done gracefully, musically, and
unobtrusively (or with a bit of panache) depending on the dance and the
music and it always seems to add to the sociability of the dance.

On the other hand, when standing out in top place, I've also been known to
join the hand of the woman to my left and set with her rather than be a
hindrance to her strathspey setting step. Maybe I wouldn't do it in an exam,
but in the appropriate social situation it seems more enjoyable than
standing still.

Marjorie McLaughlin
San Diego, CA

Strathspey Setting

Message 29272 · Priscilla M. Burrage · 25 Jan 2002 03:07:44 · Top

On Thu, 24 Jan 2002, marjoriem wrote:

> Martin said:
> > I don't know what is usual, but, if I am standing to the right of someone
> > that is due to set, I get ready to move out of his way, to my right, or
> > backwards if there's no room to the right. I feel it is the standing
> > dancer's duty not to hinder the dancing dancer's movements.
>
> One of the practices I find pleasant in English Country dancing is that
> dancers standing in the line of the set move forwards, backwards and
> sideways for those who are dancing around them or who can be helped by a
> shorter path to their destination.

Hi, Marjorie,

You ae describing the ways I was taught to dance in squares, contras,
English, --- and Scottish (by Miss M herself)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Priscilla Burrage Vermont US
(pburrage@zoo.uvm.edu)

Moving out of the way. Was: Strathspey Setting

Message 29273 · Patricia Ruggiero · 25 Jan 2002 05:03:29 · Top

Priscilla wrote, in response to Marjorie's remarks about English dancers
moving out of the way:

"You ae describing the ways I was taught to dance in squares, contras,
English, --- and Scottish (by Miss M herself)"

May I offer the opposite view?

I learned ECD in the mid-80s, from an Englishman, in Washington, D.C., and
he did not teach such movement. My husband learned ECD in the 70s from
Barbara Harding (still teaching, in northern Virginia), who herself had
learned from May Gadd, and Barbara does not teach that. More recently, the
noted British caller Colin Hume admonishes against such pronounced movement.
We observe that practice becoming ever more common, including at Pinewoods;
we refrain from doing it ourselves, seeing it as drawing attention away from
the active dancers and as cluttering the clean line of the set.

If it is absolutely necessary to move, then we make the minimum, most
discreet movement. One situation that seems to require some movement from
the supporting dancers is when the two men, starting from their own side,
cross through the two women and cast back to each other's place, and then
the two women do as much. There usually isn't room for the casting dancers
to fit between the standing dancers of adjacent minor sets. See "Juice of
Barley" for an example of this. As supporting dancers we take a small step
to the side to allow the active dancers to pass by, and then take a small
sidestep back to place.

Pat
Charlottesville, Virginia USA

Moving out of the way. Was: Strathspey Setting

Message 29274 · Caberfei · 25 Jan 2002 05:37:30 · Top

Pat
Are you saying we Scottish dancers are to well mannered when making space
for the dancing couple? Or that we should keep a stiff upper lip and hold are
ground like the English dancers?

Amused and Confused

Ralph

Moving out of the way. Was: Strathspey Setting

Message 29275 · Caberfei · 25 Jan 2002 05:43:04 · Top

Sorry guys that was meant for Pat only. That's what I get for using the
computer so late.

Now embarrassed as well < blushing >
Ralph

Moving out of the way. Was: Strathspey Setting

Message 29305 · marjoriem · 25 Jan 2002 23:43:17 · Top

Thank you, Patricia and Nicholas for giving me another view of this practice
from ECD experience much more extensive than mine. I am not sure I was ever
"taught" to move in this manner, rather I picked up the habit from
observation and it was never corrected. But I will say that most of the time
I found it to be done with minimal fuss and certainly not as a distraction
from the dancing couple. The practice appeared to be a "freer" and less
rigid way of accommodating the movement of couples around one another.

This seems analogous to the method of stepping up or down in ECD which is
commonly done with the couple taking hands and moving together, or when
couples stay closer to the center of the set after a back to back and before
beginning changes of a circular hey. I may be running afoul of approved
practice but I confess that the freer movement appealed to me after many
years of "this is the only way thus-and-such can be done" classes in SCD.

I'm not advocating uncontrolled abandon as I enjoy the well-executed dance
and figure, but my overriding motivation is always the joy of the music and
the joy of the social interaction and if that means freer movement, I plead
guilty.

Marjorie McLaughlin
San Diego, CA

> If it is absolutely necessary to move, then we make the minimum, most
> discreet movement. One situation that seems to require some movement from
> the supporting dancers is when the two men, starting from their own side,
> cross through the two women and cast back to each other's place, and then
> the two women do as much. There usually isn't room for the casting
dancers
> to fit between the standing dancers of adjacent minor sets. See "Juice of
> Barley" for an example of this. As supporting dancers we take a small
step
> to the side to allow the active dancers to pass by, and then take a small
> sidestep back to place.
>
> Pat
> Charlottesville, Virginia USA

Strathspey Setting

Message 29291 · SallenNic · 25 Jan 2002 14:22:43 · Top

In a message dated 25/1/02 12:58:46 am, marjoriem@cox.net writes:

>One of the practices I find pleasant in English Country dancing is that
>dancers standing in the line of the set move forwards, backwards and
>sideways for those who are dancing around them or who can be helped by
>a shorter path to their destination. It can be done gracefully, musically,
>and unobtrusively (or with a bit of panache) depending on the dance and the
>music and it always seems to add to the sociability of the dance.

I am sorry to have to disagree most strongly over this, but this is one of my
absolute betes noirs! I try very hard, when teaching ECD to persuade people
NOT to move about just because someone is dancing round them - I always think
it makes the whole set look like a field of waving corn - Ugh! This is a
habit which has simply grown up with sloppier dancing these days: I do not
believe anyone was ever taught to do it.
I should, of course, say that my remarks refer to ECD in the UK.
Nicolas B., Lanark, Scotland.

Moving out of the way. Was: Strathspey Setting

Message 29311 · Patricia Ruggiero · 26 Jan 2002 03:43:14 · Top

Nicolas concluded his remarks with:

"This is a habit which has simply grown up with sloppier dancing these days:
I do not believe anyone was ever taught to do it. I should, of course, say
that my remarks refer to ECD in the UK."

As mine, which mirror yours, referred to my experience of ECD in the U.S.
So this is not exactly an isolated irritant.

By now you will have seen Marjorie's gracious reply to both of us. I've
replied to her privately, as I think any further discussion of ECD
aesthetics belongs off-list.

Pat
Charlottesville, Virginia USA

Moving out of the way. Was: Strathspey Setting

Message 29326 · SallenNic · 26 Jan 2002 20:35:39 · Top

In a message dated 26/1/02 2:43:51 am, ruggierop@earthlink.net writes:

>By now you will have seen Marjorie's gracious reply to both of us. I've
>
>replied to her privately, as I think any further discussion of ECD
>
>aesthetics belongs off-list.
Snap! I also replied privately.

Nicolas B., Lanark, Scotland.

Moving out of the way. Was: Strathspey Setting

Message 29296 · ron.mackey · 25 Jan 2002 18:37:20 · Top

> May I offer the opposite view?
>
> I learned ECD in the mid-80s, from an Englishman, in Washington, D.C., and
> he did not teach such movement. My husband learned ECD in the 70s from
> Barbara Harding (still teaching, in northern Virginia), who herself had
> learned from May Gadd, and Barbara does not teach that. More recently, the
> noted British caller Colin Hume admonishes against such pronounced movement.
> We observe that practice becoming ever more common, including at Pinewoods;
> we refrain from doing it ourselves, seeing it as drawing attention away from
> the active dancers and as cluttering the clean line of the set.

> Pat

Hi, Pat
If one is dancing in a demonstration then fine guidelines need to
be set but the big lesson is that in social dancing (as in any art)
it is up to the person involved. Surely there can be no rules for
an individuals feeling for social behaviour?
Once again, if you ask for a rule, you will get one. Even if it is
not strictly necessary.
Cheers, Ron :)

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

Strathspey Setting

Message 29298 · ron.mackey · 25 Jan 2002 18:37:22 · Top

> You are describing the ways I was taught to dance in squares, contras,
> English, --- and Scottish (by Miss M herself)
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> Priscilla Burrage

Hi, Priscilla
Do you ever feel that Miss M had more understanding of social
dancing than some of her successors as top rank dancing teachers?

Cheers, Ron :)

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

Strathspey Setting

Message 29405 · simon scott · 29 Jan 2002 19:05:02 · Top

I totally respect those who dance option (a) and stay on the sideline
and, if needed, shorten their step. However it is my feeling that if a
couple are setting together across the set, and particularly if that is
the only thing happening in the dance at that time, that that takes
precedence. I do not consider it impolite, either as the "setter" or the
"stander" if the couple doing the setting come inside the standing
people in order to set well and, importantly, maintain eye contact with
partner. This is, IMO, what is important within the set for those bars.

Simon Scott
Vancouver

Strathspey Setting

Message 29409 · simon scott · 30 Jan 2002 03:40:35 · Top

I had a private reply to my "option (a)" for setting on the sidelines
and thought I'd send my response to the list.

It must certainly "NOT" be "show off" at all, and that is not my
intention, but I do believe that it can be executed with courtesy. There
should be absolutely no need to bump or step on ones neighbour either.
In virtually every case it should not be necessary to go as far as
"right" in front of the person next to you, but rather just coming
inside enough to complete the step.

By eye contact I mean instead of dancing behind the line and loosing
sight of ones partner.

My main point is that the setting of the couple, or couples, is the most
important part of the dance at that time and hopefully the other,
standing dancers, will understand that.

Simon Scott
Vancouver

Strathspey Setting

Message 29410 · Malcolm Brown · 30 Jan 2002 11:09:48 · Top

Many thanks for the different replies on this subject, and as it turns out I
would appear to be the one out of step, as I go for option c.

My objections to option a), setting in the sidelines, are that
1) in a crowded set the step is so modified as to be ridiculous (possible
but silly)
2) when setting together with the person on my left, I seem to meet an
overwhelming number of people who set with a "firm arm" and a long step, and
some sort of self preservation is necessary

My objection to option b), setting in front of the standing couple, probably
arises from my lack of stature. At 5 foot 4 in I don't feel too vertically
challenged until some 6 footer sets in front of me, with his shoulders about
2 inches from my face - even if they are my height I still get a close up
view of their hair. (I understand that Anselm doesn't have this problem!)

I find that if I and my partner both set going behind the right hand person
I can still maintain eye contact, (providing they are looking at me), and I
don't obstruct the view of anyone else, or stick what is left of my hair up
their nose.

Those people who object to the dancers going behind standing couples need to
consider what happens when setting on the diagonal - when 1L and 2M set to
each other, the movement to the right takes them both into the set - but
when it is 1M and 2L the movement takes them outside the line of the set (
and if the 4 bar phrase is set and turn both hands it becomes a very
non-linear movement!)

Anyway, I hope the discussion has made people a bit more tolerant of the
various solutions people have come up with for the same problem (and for
preference I will chose a set with a bit more space between the couples)

Malcolm

Malcolm (& Helen) Brown
York (U.K.)

Strathspey Setting - etiquette?

Message 29412 · Pia Walker · 30 Jan 2002 12:55:52 · Top

Hi Malcolm

I must admit to being out of step too - I have always been taught that it is
impolite to barge in front of others, so always angle my body to aim for the
back of standing couple, unless both couples are moving round each other
like in moving up and down. Not completly behind, but shoulder behind
shoulder. This way you don't fall over other peoples toes, and they can't
step on your moving heels if they make a movement in some way.

But then Malcolm - I'm certain you were also taught to fill up the sets from
the bottom. And always take the last place available, and wait until the
music starts to take the floor etc etc etc :>) Ach what it was like in the
old days eh?

Pia

----- Original Message -----
From: Malcolm Brown <Mlamontbrown@btopenworld.com>
To: Strathspey Submissions <strathspey@strathspey.org>
Sent: Wednesday, January 30, 2002 10:12 AM
Subject: Re: Strathspey Setting

> Many thanks for the different replies on this subject, and as it turns out
I
> would appear to be the one out of step, as I go for option c.
>
> My objections to option a), setting in the sidelines, are that
> 1) in a crowded set the step is so modified as to be ridiculous (possible
> but silly)
> 2) when setting together with the person on my left, I seem to meet an
> overwhelming number of people who set with a "firm arm" and a long step,
and
> some sort of self preservation is necessary
>
> My objection to option b), setting in front of the standing couple,
probably
> arises from my lack of stature. At 5 foot 4 in I don't feel too vertically
> challenged until some 6 footer sets in front of me, with his shoulders
about
> 2 inches from my face - even if they are my height I still get a close up
> view of their hair. (I understand that Anselm doesn't have this problem!)
>
> I find that if I and my partner both set going behind the right hand
person
> I can still maintain eye contact, (providing they are looking at me), and
I
> don't obstruct the view of anyone else, or stick what is left of my hair
up
> their nose.
>
> Those people who object to the dancers going behind standing couples need
to
> consider what happens when setting on the diagonal - when 1L and 2M set to
> each other, the movement to the right takes them both into the set - but
> when it is 1M and 2L the movement takes them outside the line of the set (
> and if the 4 bar phrase is set and turn both hands it becomes a very
> non-linear movement!)
>
> Anyway, I hope the discussion has made people a bit more tolerant of the
> various solutions people have come up with for the same problem (and for
> preference I will chose a set with a bit more space between the couples)
>
> Malcolm
>
> Malcolm (& Helen) Brown
> York (U.K.)
>
>

Strathspey Setting - etiquette?

Message 29423 · ron.mackey · 30 Jan 2002 23:33:31 · Top

> But then Malcolm - I'm certain you were also taught to fill up the sets from
> the bottom. And always take the last place available, and wait until the
> music starts to take the floor etc etc etc :>) Ach what it was like in the
> old days eh?
>
> Pia

Hi, Pia
Malcolm wasn't around in the old days!! He's still a
youngster! :)
As for the good manners, of course. If a teacher saw one
committing any of these solecisms you got an earful in class the
following week. Notice I do no say 'next time one attended class'
because you attended every week because by signing on for a class
you were committed to attend. If you missed - you apologized.
In those days it wasn't called Ceilidh dancing but Old Time
Dancing. A mixed program was advertised as Old Time and Scottish
Dancing, at least in this part of the world but, I understood, in
Scotland also.
Anyone owning up to knowledge of those days?

Cheers, Ron :)

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

Strathspey Setting - etiquette?

Message 29426 · Pia Walker · 31 Jan 2002 09:24:27 · Top

Hi Ron

I counted myself in as being from the same "old days" which I lumbered
Malcolm into, but of course I can see that there might be "old days from
waaaaaaaay back when" :>) also :>) :>) :>)

What was your teacher doing at dances - if he/she managed to keep such an
eye on you ???????

Pia

----- Original Message -----
From: <ron.mackey@mail.btinternet.com>
To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
Sent: Wednesday, January 30, 2002 10:32 PM
Subject: Re: Strathspey Setting - etiquette?

>
> > But then Malcolm - I'm certain you were also taught to fill up the sets
from
> > the bottom. And always take the last place available, and wait until
the
> > music starts to take the floor etc etc etc :>) Ach what it was like in
the
> > old days eh?
> >
> > Pia
>
> Hi, Pia
> Malcolm wasn't around in the old days!! He's still a
> youngster! :)
> As for the good manners, of course. If a teacher saw one
> committing any of these solecisms you got an earful in class the
> following week. Notice I do no say 'next time one attended class'
> because you attended every week because by signing on for a class
> you were committed to attend. If you missed - you apologized.
> In those days it wasn't called Ceilidh dancing but Old Time
> Dancing. A mixed program was advertised as Old Time and Scottish
> Dancing, at least in this part of the world but, I understood, in
> Scotland also.
> Anyone owning up to knowledge of those days?
>
> Cheers, Ron :)
>
> < 0 Ron Mackey,(Purveyor of Pat's Party Pieces)
> 'O> Mottingham,
> /#\ London. UK.
> l>
> Ron.Mackey@btinternet.com

Strathspey Setting

Message 29422 · Oberdan Otto · 30 Jan 2002 23:21:53 · Top

>Many thanks for the different replies on this subject, and as it turns out I
>would appear to be the one out of step, as I go for option c.
>
>My objections to option a), setting in the sidelines, are that
>1) in a crowded set the step is so modified as to be ridiculous (possible
>but silly)
>2) when setting together with the person on my left, I seem to meet an
>overwhelming number of people who set with a "firm arm" and a long step, and
>some sort of self preservation is necessary

I have encountered the "firm arm and a long step" in a crowded dance
situation only infrequently. I consider it to be a most inconsiderate
behavior and I do not accommodate it by modifying my dancing
step--rather, I release the hand, and if that person is so foolish as
to crash into me, it is his foolishness.

Like others in this thread, I prefer to stay in the set line even if
it means a mincing setting step, avoiding eclipsing the dancer next
to me and avoiding playing peek-a-boo with my opposite. I submit that
if the problem is a cramped set, "a little bit" of eclipsing or
hiding still requires a mincing step. If your aim is to do a full,
proper setting step, you are very likely to fully eclipse or to be
completely hidden by the person next to you. If I am the "next to"
standing person, I don't appreciate disappearing behind the setting
person; neither do I care to have him/her closely examining my
back/neck/hairline. For these reasons, neither the setting "in front
of" or "behind" the person next to me falls within my personal
parameters for dancing etiquette.

Just another 2p.

Oberdan.

184 Estaban Drive, Camarillo, CA 93010-1611 USA
Voice: (805) 389-0063, FAX: (805) 484-2775, email: ootto@ootto.com

Strathspey Setting

Message 29425 · Martin.Sheffield · 31 Jan 2002 09:12:59 · Top

I have been most surprised to see such vehement statements in favour of
mangled steps, and against dancing in the usual style.

We are all well aware of the importance of courtesy , very much part of
our tradition on the dance floor, and yet you seem to consider that
standing dancers have no duty to show that courtesy by facilitating dancing
dancers' movements. While standing, you are playing a secondary supporting
role. The important people at that moment are the dancing couple(s). Is it
really asking too much to exepct them to give way when neveseeary?

Surely politely stepping aside or back a little is common sense (especially
if you don't like too close a view of someone's back), and getting back
into line as soon as the coast is clear is hardly going to spoil the
general appearance of the set, confuse other dancers, nor set Miss M
revolving in her grave.

Martin
in Grenoble, France
http://perso.wanadoo.fr/scots.in.france/index.htm

Strathspey Setting

Message 29433 · Priscilla M. Burrage · 31 Jan 2002 15:33:36 · Top

On Thu, 31 Jan 2002, Martin S wrote:

> I have been most surprised to see such vehement statements in favour of
> mangled steps, and against dancing in the usual style.
>
> We are all well aware of the importance of courtesy , very much part of
> our tradition on the dance floor, and yet you seem to consider that
> standing dancers have no duty to show that courtesy by facilitating dancing
> dancers' movements. While standing, you are playing a secondary supporting
> role. The important people at that moment are the dancing couple(s). Is it
> really asking too much to exepct them to give way when neveseeary?
>
> Surely politely stepping aside or back a little is common sense (especially
> if you don't like too close a view of someone's back), and getting back
> into line as soon as the coast is clear is hardly going to spoil the
> general appearance of the set, confuse other dancers, nor set Miss M
> revolving in her grave.

Why would it set Miss M revolving in her grave. I remembeer her teaching
that the standing dancer should step out of the way when necessary -- and,
of course, return as quickly as possible and with as little fuss as
possible to his/her original place.

Indeed, teaching the standing dancers not to move under any circumstances
is really giving them permission to tune out of the dance, isn't it?

And the way to avoid spashy twirls and turns is to teach moderation, isn't
it?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Priscilla Burrage
Vermont US (pburrage@zoo.uvm.edu)

Strathspey Setting

Message 29446 · ron.mackey · 1 Feb 2002 00:49:52 · Top

> Priscilla wrote:
>
> >Why would it set Miss M revolving in her grave. I remember her teaching
> >that the standing dancer should step out of the way when necessary ...
>
> Ah, what a relief. I'm not alone after all.
> A slap in the face of the rigid pillars of righteousness?
> Martin

Probably some haven't read WYJTD thoroughly? :)
There is so much between the lines.
Cheers, Ron :)

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

Strathspey Setting

Message 29435 · Martin.Sheffield · 31 Jan 2002 16:19:20 · Top

Priscilla wrote:

>Why would it set Miss M revolving in her grave. I remember her teaching
>that the standing dancer should step out of the way when necessary ...

Ah, what a relief. I'm not alone after all.
A slap in the face of the rigid pillars of righteousness?

Martin
in Grenoble, France
http://perso.wanadoo.fr/scots.in.france/index.htm

Miss M's opinions.

Message 29447 · Oberdan Otto · 1 Feb 2002 01:26:45 · Top

>Priscilla wrote:
>
>>Why would it set Miss M revolving in her grave. I remember her teaching
>>that the standing dancer should step out of the way when necessary ...
>
>Ah, what a relief. I'm not alone after all.
>A slap in the face of the rigid pillars of righteousness?
>

With all due respect to Miss M's memory, I continue to be amazed by
how much weight some people place on recollections of her
teachings/sayings/opinions.

It is my opinion that Miss M is neither a Saint nor a God. She was
human, albeit at very talented one. She did and said many wonderful
things. She also did and said some things that were less than
wonderful.

On the wonderful side she wrote "...it is always correct to give hands..."

On the less wonderful side, I believe she was principally responsible
for messing up the strathspey poussette.

By this time, any snippet alleged to Miss M is almost assuredly
missing the context in which it was made. So I take such snippets as
interesting historical tidbits, but they are inappropriate as
justification for my own conclusions.

This particular note: "the standing dancer should step out of the way
when necessary" is a logical truism (i.e. obviously true). As such it
carries no useful information and is not a behavioral guide. Unless
you are a complete idiot, if something is necessary, you do it. The
problem comes in knowing what is necessary, which is where one's
individual judgment comes in.

Oberdan.

184 Estaban Drive, Camarillo, CA 93010-1611 USA
Voice: (805) 389-0063, FAX: (805) 484-2775, email: ootto@ootto.com

Miss M's opinions.

Message 29448 · McBride, Ann · 1 Feb 2002 01:36:52 · Top

Oberdan wrote:

It is my opinion that Miss M is neither a Saint nor a God. She was
human, albeit at very talented one. She did and said many wonderful
things. She also did and said some things that were less than
wonderful.

Omygosh Oberdan --- was that lightening I saw strike you?!
Ann McBride
Tel:(310) 423-2012
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Los Angeles, CA
email: mcbridea@cshs.org

> ----------
> From: Oberdan Otto[SMTP:ootto@ootto.com]
> Reply To: strathspey@strathspey.org
> Sent: Thursday, January 31, 2002 3:16 PM
> To: strathspey@strathspey.org
> Subject: Miss M's opinions.
>
> >Priscilla wrote:
> >
> >>Why would it set Miss M revolving in her grave. I remember her teaching
> >>that the standing dancer should step out of the way when necessary ...
> >
> >Ah, what a relief. I'm not alone after all.
> >A slap in the face of the rigid pillars of righteousness?
> >
>
> With all due respect to Miss M's memory, I continue to be amazed by
> how much weight some people place on recollections of her
> teachings/sayings/opinions.
>
> It is my opinion that Miss M is neither a Saint nor a God. She was
> human, albeit at very talented one. She did and said many wonderful
> things. She also did and said some things that were less than
> wonderful.
>
> On the wonderful side she wrote "...it is always correct to give hands..."
>
> On the less wonderful side, I believe she was principally responsible
> for messing up the strathspey poussette.
>
> By this time, any snippet alleged to Miss M is almost assuredly
> missing the context in which it was made. So I take such snippets as
> interesting historical tidbits, but they are inappropriate as
> justification for my own conclusions.
>
> This particular note: "the standing dancer should step out of the way
> when necessary" is a logical truism (i.e. obviously true). As such it
> carries no useful information and is not a behavioral guide. Unless
> you are a complete idiot, if something is necessary, you do it. The
> problem comes in knowing what is necessary, which is where one's
> individual judgment comes in.
>
> Oberdan.
>
> 184 Estaban Drive, Camarillo, CA 93010-1611 USA
> Voice: (805) 389-0063, FAX: (805) 484-2775, email: ootto@ootto.com
>

Miss M's opinions.

Message 29467 · Oberdan Otto · 2 Feb 2002 08:02:46 · Top

>
>Omygosh Oberdan --- was that lightening I saw strike you?!
>
>Ann McBride

I'M OK! I'M OK! Just a little singed around the edges...

Oberdan.

184 Estaban Drive, Camarillo, CA 93010-1611 USA
Voice: (805) 389-0063, FAX: (805) 484-2775, email: ootto@ootto.com

Miss M's opinions.

Message 29461 · Priscilla M. Burrage · 1 Feb 2002 17:39:06 · Top

On Thu, 31 Jan 2002, Oberdan Otto wrote:
> This particular note: "the standing dancer should step out of the way
> when necessary" is a logical truism (i.e. obviously true). As such it
> carries no useful information and is not a behavioral guide. Unless
> you are a complete idiot, if something is necessary, you do it.

You obviuosly don't have teachers in your area who insist that the
standing dancers must, nder no circumstances, move to assist those
dancing. Indeed, it so common here tha tI use this point as one of the
differences between ECD and SCD when teaching ECD to SCD dancers. (In
ECD, you must watch the dancers coming up or down the line towards you to
know which way to execute a figure. For example, skipping turn if the
other person is still able to skip or be sure to step in when a less
capable person is casting around you. An action is never taught as THE
RULE; always taught as continuing choices are you dance.)

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

Miss M's opinions.

Message 29462 · Norah Link · 1 Feb 2002 18:28:09 · Top

I find this whole discussion rather interesting.... I never met the
hallowed lady, but I was most certainly taught that one way for the
supporting dancers to be supportive was to move into the set slightly to
allow the dancing couple to execute a figure IF IT WAS NECESSARY TO THEIR
BEING ABLE TO COMPLETE IT COMFORTABLY. i.e. stepping up vs stepping IN and
up, or just stepping in and back. Maybe this explains the reluctance of
some dancers to move at all. What I do object to is random movement that
either is not really related to the dance or that winds up messing up the
next figure - usually because the dancers either don't go back to where they
are supposed to be (they either stay where they are or go back to somewhere
else), so the set loses shape, or because the dancers don't realize that
they should stay where they are and use their movement to anticipate the
next figure. The judgement to know what to do takes experience, and the
role of the teacher is to impart some of that experience for a particular
dance (a) so that dancers get to hear the rule repeated and (b) so they get
to see the rule in application and thereby be able to add it in to their own
experience.

As an example, we danced Sutters of Selkirk last week. Even with a narrow
set, if the standing couples aren't prepared to move to allow the dancing
couple a shorter path in the promenade figures of 8, the dance becomes
nothing but an exercise in frustration. If they move in and out carefully
timed with the dancing couple and aware of and anticipating what comes next,
the dance can be quite fun.

Being polite and helping out the dancing couple doesn't have to mean
wandering about continually to the music. Perhaps in an effort to prevent
that, some teachers are requiring their dancers to stand rock still at all
times and never to "bend" in support of the rest of the set.

Norah Link
Montreal, QC

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Priscilla M. Burrage [mailto:pburrage@zoo.uvm.edu]
> Sent: February 1, 2002 11:39 AM
> To: strathspey@strathspey.org
> Subject: Re: Miss M's opinions.
>
>
> On Thu, 31 Jan 2002, Oberdan Otto wrote:
> > This particular note: "the standing dancer should step out
> of the way
> > when necessary" is a logical truism (i.e. obviously true).
> As such it
> > carries no useful information and is not a behavioral guide. Unless
> > you are a complete idiot, if something is necessary, you do it.
>
> You obviuosly don't have teachers in your area who insist that the
> standing dancers must, nder no circumstances, move to assist those
> dancing. Indeed, it so common here tha tI use this point as
> one of the
> differences between ECD and SCD when teaching ECD to SCD dancers. (In
> ECD, you must watch the dancers coming up or down the line
> towards you to
> know which way to execute a figure. For example, skipping turn if the
> other person is still able to skip or be sure to step in when a less
> capable person is casting around you. An action is never
> taught as THE
> RULE; always taught as continuing choices are you dance.)
>
> happy dancing,
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> Priscilla Burrage Vermont US
> (pburrage@zoo.uvm.edu)
>
>

Miss M's opinions.

Message 29463 · simon scott · 1 Feb 2002 19:51:37 · Top

Well said Norah. Surely most of this discussion relates to "common
sense" more than dance rules.

"Common sense" ... sadly, often the least common of all.

Simon Scott
Vancouver

I find this whole discussion rather interesting.... I never met the
hallowed lady, but I was most certainly taught that one way for the
supporting dancers to be supportive was to move into the set slightly to
allow the dancing couple to execute a figure IF IT WAS NECESSARY TO
THEIR
BEING ABLE TO COMPLETE IT COMFORTABLY. i.e. stepping up vs stepping IN
and
up, or just stepping in and back. Maybe this explains the reluctance of
some dancers to move at all. What I do object to is random movement
that
either is not really related to the dance or that winds up messing up
the
next figure - usually because the dancers either don't go back to where
they
are supposed to be (they either stay where they are or go back to
somewhere
else), so the set loses shape, or because the dancers don't realize that
they should stay where they are and use their movement to anticipate the
next figure. The judgement to know what to do takes experience, and the
role of the teacher is to impart some of that experience for a
particular
dance (a) so that dancers get to hear the rule repeated and (b) so they
get
to see the rule in application and thereby be able to add it in to their
own
experience.

As an example, we danced Sutters of Selkirk last week. Even with a
narrow
set, if the standing couples aren't prepared to move to allow the
dancing
couple a shorter path in the promenade figures of 8, the dance becomes
nothing but an exercise in frustration. If they move in and out
carefully
timed with the dancing couple and aware of and anticipating what comes
next,
the dance can be quite fun.

Being polite and helping out the dancing couple doesn't have to mean
wandering about continually to the music. Perhaps in an effort to
prevent
that, some teachers are requiring their dancers to stand rock still at
all
times and never to "bend" in support of the rest of the set.

Norah Link
Montreal, QC

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Priscilla M. Burrage [mailto:pburrage@zoo.uvm.edu]
> Sent: February 1, 2002 11:39 AM
> To: strathspey@strathspey.org
> Subject: Re: Miss M's opinions.
>
>
> On Thu, 31 Jan 2002, Oberdan Otto wrote:
> > This particular note: "the standing dancer should step out
> of the way
> > when necessary" is a logical truism (i.e. obviously true).
> As such it
> > carries no useful information and is not a behavioral guide. Unless
> > you are a complete idiot, if something is necessary, you do it.
>
> You obviuosly don't have teachers in your area who insist that the
> standing dancers must, nder no circumstances, move to assist those
> dancing. Indeed, it so common here tha tI use this point as
> one of the
> differences between ECD and SCD when teaching ECD to SCD dancers. (In
> ECD, you must watch the dancers coming up or down the line
> towards you to
> know which way to execute a figure. For example, skipping turn if the
> other person is still able to skip or be sure to step in when a less
> capable person is casting around you. An action is never
> taught as THE
> RULE; always taught as continuing choices are you dance.)
>
> happy dancing,
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> Priscilla Burrage Vermont US
> (pburrage@zoo.uvm.edu)
>
>

Miss M's opinions.

Message 29464 · Pia Walker · 1 Feb 2002 21:50:50 · Top

I never met the Lady either, but I went to summerschool for the first time
the year she died - I had heard all about her from my teacher in DK - Mrs
Joan Kinn - and really, really wanted to meet this epithome of Queen
Victoria., which is why I joined St. A summerschool - learning to dance
scottish was a mere second choice.

I went to summerschool, first fortnight, and I think, Miss M died on the
Wednesday - the feeling of grief and love and respect was touchable,
feelable and quite amazing fora first time summerschooler who also was a
Dane not given to outward showings of emotion. And what amazed me the most
was everybodys' determination to follow on, nothing, but nothing should
reduce the feeling of summerschool that year.

I don't think, that if I had gone to summerchool for the first time the year
after, or at another time having become involved with the RSCDS, I would
have been able to understand how much influence Miss M had on everybody. I
must confess though that from what I have gleaned from people knowing her
and talking about her, she had quite a sense of humour, and a lot of the
"sayings" has been exagerated interpretations of the world acording to Miss
M and not how Miss M really wanted the world to be.

Having never met her, I feel that she was a Lady to be respected, but also a
lady with a wicked sense of humour and a very down to earth sense of what is
feasible - but still knowing that you would have to spell things out in
order to get people to listen and act.

She (who must be obeyed) had a lot of common sense, and a lot to teach the
world to dance.

Please ignore punctuation and spelling :>)

Pia
Foreigner, non-Gaelic speaker, scottish country dancer, Scotland

Miss M's opinions.

Message 29486 · Oberdan Otto · 3 Feb 2002 06:26:20 · Top

>On Thu, 31 Jan 2002, Oberdan Otto wrote:
> > This particular note: "the standing dancer should step out of the way
> > when necessary" is a logical truism (i.e. obviously true). As such it
> > carries no useful information and is not a behavioral guide. Unless
> > you are a complete idiot, if something is necessary, you do it.
>
>You obviuosly don't have teachers in your area who insist that the
>standing dancers must, under no circumstances, move to assist those
>dancing.

An astute and absolutely correct observation! I am sorry to hear that
you encounter dancers who are so rigid and unhelpful. It appears that
some dancers, in there own quest for excellence, can lose sight that,
ultimately, SCD is supposed to be a fun and cooperative venture. I
believe that dancers who fail to capture the fun and cooperative
aspects are exhibiting poor SCD technique.

Cheers, Oberdan.

184 Estaban Drive, Camarillo, CA 93010-1611 USA
Voice: (805) 389-0063, FAX: (805) 484-2775, email: ootto@ootto.com

Strathspey Setting

Message 29451 · Pia Walker · 1 Feb 2002 09:54:19 · Top

Hi Martin

Of course they should move - but never backwards, as one who recently was
injured by someone stepping backwards into another set.

Pia
----- Original Message -----
From: Martin S <martin.sheffield@wanadoo.fr>
To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
Sent: Thursday, January 31, 2002 3:08 PM
Subject: Re: Strathspey Setting

> Priscilla wrote:
>
> >Why would it set Miss M revolving in her grave. I remember her teaching
> >that the standing dancer should step out of the way when necessary ...
>
> Ah, what a relief. I'm not alone after all.
> A slap in the face of the rigid pillars of righteousness?
>
>
> Martin
> in Grenoble, France
> http://perso.wanadoo.fr/scots.in.france/index.htm
>

Strathspey Setting

Message 29441 · simon scott · 31 Jan 2002 20:44:40 · Top

I totally agree with Martin. The dancing couple or couples, while they
are, should be supported by the standing couples. If I am standing to
the right of a dancer who is setting with strathspey I am happy to allow
them to dance in front of me in order that they may enjoy their setting
to the full. For me there is no lack of courtesy on their part.

Simon Scott
Vancouver


We are all well aware of the importance of courtesy, very much part of
our tradition on the dance floor, and yet you seem to consider that
standing dancers have no duty to show that courtesy by facilitating
dancing
dancers' movements. While standing, you are playing a secondary
supporting
role. The important people at that moment are the dancing couple(s). Is
it
really asking too much to exepct them to give way when neveseeary?

Surely politely stepping aside or back a little is common sense
(especially
if you don't like too close a view of someone's back), and getting back
into line as soon as the coast is clear is hardly going to spoil the
general appearance of the set, confuse other dancers, nor set Miss M
revolving in her grave.

Martin
in Grenoble, France
http://perso.wanadoo.fr/scots.in.france/index.htm

Strathspey Setting

Message 29432 · Adam Hughes · 31 Jan 2002 13:46:51 · Top

I used to be an "infronter" until I met the first person who objected to
me doing so, and now I am a "mincer". But first and foremost, I am a
person who says "can we make the set bigger" at every opportunity...

Mrs Hamilton of Wishaw. What a hateful first 8 bars for trying not to
step on the other men.

Adam
Cambridge, UK.

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