strathspey Archive: "Classes" and "Clubs"

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"Classes" and "Clubs"

Message 32796 · Volleyballjerry · 3 Dec 2002 19:34:14 · Top

Ian's distinction of clubs vs. Branch classes is certainly understandable,
but not universal, and points out that there is undoubtedly a quite a variety
of ways that things operate under the the umbrella of the R.S.C.D.S.

As I mentioned before, the term "club" as applies to a regularly meeting SCD
group is not even heard in Southern California, and perhaps likewise not
common throughout the United States (?). Here any regularly meeting group
for general instructional and social purposes (as opposed to a performance
group or demonstration team) is called a "class." I have often heard the
term "non-Branch class" to describe something independent and not under the
direct aegis of the branch. I believe, though do not speak with absolute
certainty, that the Los Angeles Branch makes a distinction between Branch
classes, which it directly supports and somewhat controls, and non-Branch
classes, which are independent but which are somehow associated with and
advertised by the Branch. My (San Gabriel Valley) branch operates somewhat
differently, and I wonder just how unique this is: Any teacher who is a
member of the Branch (primary or supporting) may request to have his/her
class designated as a Branch class, and thus it is. Each teacher is
responsible for the class in terms of level, material, manner of teaching,
venue, and finances. The Branch exercises no direct control over any "Branch
class." Branch teachers do however regularly meet, share, and confer at
Branch Teachers' Committee meetings and select the ~50 dances for each year's
annual list of dances, from which the Branch's individual programs are
devised.

Robb Quint
Thousand Oaks, CA, USA

"Classes" and "Clubs"

Message 32797 · Adam Hughes · 3 Dec 2002 19:52:21 · Top

Robb,

You are talking of "classes". I can understand a meeting being called a
class. But does every "class" have a teacher?

Are you really saying that nowhere near you is a group of individuals
who meet regularly just to dance? Dance without teaching involved; just
a programme each week[*], and a pile of CDs or a musician or two?

Adam
Cambridge, UK.
[*] the programme gets produced in defferent ways depending on the
group... maybe by one person, maybe two, maybe one or two different
people each week, maybe everyone attending brings a dance...

"Classes" and "Clubs"

Message 32798 · Alan Twhigg · 3 Dec 2002 21:10:31 · Top

Adam et al.,

In my home area (San Francisco environs), the groups that meet on a weekly
basis would generally be described as "classes". Some are directly part of the
Branch, some are "Branch-affiliated", meaning they have Branch teachers but
are financially separate, and some are listed as "Other" classes, meaning they
are advertised but don't meet the Branch requirements.

There are also more informal groupings where people get together to dance,
usually on a less frequent basis. Teachers may or may not attend or lead the
dancing, and there is no formal class structure, such as financial records,
insurance coverage, step practice, etc. These meetings are usually advertised
by word of mouth or an email list rather than in the Branch newsletter.
Similarly, a few of our Branch classes are run as socials during the Summer
months - there is no formal teaching and various class members take turns
briefing the dances.

regards, Alan Twhigg.

> Are you really saying that nowhere near you is
> a group of individuals
> who meet regularly just to dance? Dance
> without teaching involved; just
> a programme each week[*], and a pile of CDs or
> a musician or two?
>

"Classes" and "Clubs"

Message 32799 · Volleyballjerry · 3 Dec 2002 21:31:54 · Top

Actually, Adam, what you describe (below), in the manner that you describe
it, does not occur in Southern California to the best of my knowledge; I am
personally unaware of any such group. Every class does have a teacher.
There is certainly a social aspect, a significant one, and certainly all
participants attend class for their personal enjoyment, but a teacher there
nonetheless is, giving instruction and assistance and planning/controlling
the evening. Purely social events are the monthly branch dances and special
events, and aside from just enjoying the weekly class activity, a major
function of our classes is to teach/learn and practice the dances that then
will be on the upcoming social event, where participants from classes across
the region meet together. (There are also [at least] three purely
performance [I avoid "demonstration," though commonly used] groups in
Southern California, one associated with a branch, the L.A. Dem. Team, and
two independent, Channel Coast Dancers and Clan MacLeod Dancers.)

Robb

In a message dated 12/03/2002 10:52:39 AM Pacific Standard Time,
adamoutside@yahoo.co.uk writes:

> Subj:Re: "Classes" and "Clubs"
> Date:12/03/2002 10:52:39 AM Pacific Standard Time
> From:<A HREF="mailto:adamoutside@yahoo.co.uk">adamoutside@yahoo.co.uk</A>
> Reply-to:<A HREF="mailto:strathspey@strathspey.org">strathspey@strathspey.org</A>
> To:<A HREF="mailto:strathspey@strathspey.org">strathspey@strathspey.org</A>
> Sent from the Internet
>
>
>
> Robb,
>
> You are talking of "classes". I can understand a meeting being called a
> class. But does every "class" have a teacher?
>
> Are you really saying that nowhere near you is a group of individuals
> who meet regularly just to dance? Dance without teaching involved; just
> a programme each week[*], and a pile of CDs or a musician or two?
>
> Adam
> Cambridge, UK.
> [*] the programme gets produced in defferent ways depending on the
> group... maybe by one person, maybe two, maybe one or two different
> people each week, maybe everyone attending brings a dance...
>
>

"Classes" and "Clubs"

Message 32802 · simon scott · 4 Dec 2002 02:35:56 · Top

I started dancing in the UK and did SCD in village halls and church
halls, at youth clubs and in private houses but I had never heard of the
RSCDS until I immigrated to Canada. I think it is generally true to say
that because SCD's history is in Scotland and UK, that just gathering to
dance was a big part of its origin. It is the RSCDS that has promoted
the class activities. Although I fully support the RSCDS one hundred
percent, just gathering to do SCDing is just as valid.

Now in North America, as well as other countries, there is not that long
history and most of our groups have started by someone setting up a
class and teaching. Whether that has become a "club", a "class" or a
"branch", I think its origin has been more formal, because we have not
had the activity handed down from previous generations. Although many
dancers living abroad may well have brought it with them the larger
numbers have taken it up as an activity and done so in a class
environment.

Simon

"Classes" and "Clubs"

Message 32803 · Chris1Ronald · 4 Dec 2002 04:15:32 · Top

My experience is similar to Simon's. My initial experience of SCD was in
various Commonwealth countries, where no-one ever mentioned "classes". There
was no teaching as such. You somehow picked up what you needed to get through
dances. The word 'club' describes these groups rather well.

When Sue and I came to the US, we started looking for places where we could
dance. We were told that you couldn't just dance. You had to go to a class.
That nearly put us off going! For us, a 'class' was something we had stopped
going to about 30 years previously.

However, we persevered, and have never regretted it. But I do still find the
word 'class' reminds me too much of school.

Chris,
New York.

"Classes" and "Clubs"

Message 32808 · Adam Hughes · 4 Dec 2002 14:31:48 · Top

Volleyballjerry@aol.com wrote:
> Actually, Adam, what you describe (below), in the manner that you describe
> it, does not occur in Southern California to the best of my knowledge; I am
> personally unaware of any such group.

Wow. Thanks, now I have a clearer idea; and feel very small,
unsophisticated, and unworldly...

Adam
Cambridge, UK.

"Classes" and "Clubs"

Message 32825 · Steve Wyrick · 5 Dec 2002 06:19:29 · Top

Adam Hughes wrote:

> Volleyballjerry@aol.com wrote:
>> Actually, Adam, what you describe (below), in the manner that you describe
>> it, does not occur in Southern California to the best of my knowledge; I am
>> personally unaware of any such group.
>
> Wow. Thanks, now I have a clearer idea; and feel very small,
> unsophisticated, and unworldly...

I'm happy you brought this up, actually; having done all my dancing in the
San Francisco Branch I assumed that the way it's organized here was standard
throughout the world! I think the idea of a bunch of people getting
together to dance for fun outside of a class, without any formal
organization, and without a teacher keeping tabs on technique is pretty
cool!
--
Steve Wyrick -- Concord, California

"Classes" and "Clubs"

Message 32846 · Bryan McAlister · 5 Dec 2002 22:09:43 · Top

>
>I'm happy you brought this up, actually; having done all my dancing in the
>San Francisco Branch I assumed that the way it's organized here was standard
>throughout the world! I think the idea of a bunch of people getting
>together to dance for fun outside of a class, without any formal
>organization, and without a teacher keeping tabs on technique is pretty
>cool!

Linlithgow, West Lothian, Scotland is a Club and not a Class. It meets
weekly with a current membership of around 60 and a weekly attendance of
30 ish.

Calling is done by members and we try and vary this as much as possible
though it does boil down to a relatively small group who are prepared to
call.

Usually there will be 2 members calling on one evening. In the first
half of the evening all dances are walked through. Second half they are
called only. Nerve racking in the beginning but fine once you get used
to it.

Music is provided by CD with live music roughly once a month and 2
formal dances in the year. Next one is 28th December , programme is at
the following web site if anyone is interested.

www.scotdancelinlithgow.co.uk
--
Bryan McAlister B Arch RIBA ARIAS
Web page www.bryanmac.demon.co.uk
Email bryan@bryanmac.demon.co.uk
Mobile: 07732 600160 Fax: 0870 052 7625

"Classes" and "Clubs"

Message 32856 · Alan Paterson · 6 Dec 2002 08:57:20 · Top

Bryan McAlister wrote:
>
> <Snip a bit>

> Calling is done by members and we try and vary this as much as possible
> though it does boil down to a relatively small group who are prepared to
> call.
>
> Usually there will be 2 members calling on one evening. In the first
> half of the evening all dances are walked through. Second half they are
> called only. Nerve racking in the beginning but fine once you get used
> to it.

I'm a bit unsure, Bryan, what you mean here by "calling".

My first reaction is the "American" system (please forgive my ignorance in
using such a generic term) where the instructions are "called" to the
dancers a few seconds before they are expected to do the figure. I.e.
during the dance.

I believe that this would be somewhat unusual for SCD. I.e. it happens, but
not usually on its own.

Perhaps what you mean is that the dances are "re-capped"?

Isn't it fun having such a wide choice of terminology?

<vbg>

Alan

"Classes" and "Clubs"

Message 32858 · Bryan McAlister · 6 Dec 2002 11:30:37 · Top

>
>My first reaction is the "American" system (please forgive my ignorance in
>using such a generic term) where the instructions are "called" to the
>dancers a few seconds before they are expected to do the figure. I.e.
>during the dance.
>
>I believe that this would be somewhat unusual for SCD. I.e. it happens, but
>not usually on its own.
>
>Perhaps what you mean is that the dances are "re-capped"?
>
>Isn't it fun having such a wide choice of terminology?

Yes mostly "re-capped" but thats such a horrible wurd that dont use it.
Calling in American style is a no no but occasional calls to sort out
problems during dancing (at the beginning) occasionally. does happen

When calling at Ceilidhs with dancers who dont know the dance I would
definitely call through the dance - but American style? No!
--
Bryan McAlister B Arch RIBA ARIAS
Web page www.bryanmac.demon.co.uk
Email bryan@bryanmac.demon.co.uk
Mobile: 07732 600160 Fax: 0870 052 7625

"Classes" and "Clubs"

Message 32859 · Lee Fuell · 6 Dec 2002 13:53:40 · Top

Except in a classroom situation, I've hardly ever seen dances "called" as
described below in an SCD dance in America. If by "American-style," you are
referring to American square dance calling, the description below is
correct. However, over here the term used for "re-cap" is "brief" and it
occurs before, not during, the dance. It's basically a verbal crib sheet.

The practice of simply forming sets and starting the music for a dance, with
the assumption that the dancers know what to do, would terrify many if not
most American dancers, unfortunately. Too many of us have become dependent
on briefs and even want walk-throughs at formal balls. I guess the bottom
line is to get more people dancing and having fun and not initimidate
inexperienced dancers, but sometimes I do wish we'd set a higher standard
over here. We have too much standing around between dances.

Lee (who is probably guilty of being a bit elitist this morning...)

Lee Fuell
Maxwell AFB, AL

-----Original Message-----
From: Bryan McAlister [mailto:Bryan@bryanmac.demon.co.uk]
Sent: Friday, December 06, 2002 3:41 AM
To: strathspey@strathspey.org
Subject: Re: "Classes" and "Clubs"

>
>My first reaction is the "American" system (please forgive my ignorance in
>using such a generic term) where the instructions are "called" to the
>dancers a few seconds before they are expected to do the figure. I.e.
>during the dance.
>
>I believe that this would be somewhat unusual for SCD. I.e. it happens, but
>not usually on its own.
>
>Perhaps what you mean is that the dances are "re-capped"?
>
>Isn't it fun having such a wide choice of terminology?

Yes mostly "re-capped" but thats such a horrible wurd that dont use it.
Calling in American style is a no no but occasional calls to sort out
problems during dancing (at the beginning) occasionally. does happen

When calling at Ceilidhs with dancers who dont know the dance I would
definitely call through the dance - but American style? No!
--
Bryan McAlister B Arch RIBA ARIAS
Web page www.bryanmac.demon.co.uk
Email bryan@bryanmac.demon.co.uk
Mobile: 07732 600160 Fax: 0870 052 7625

"Classes" and "Clubs"

Message 32860 · Alan Paterson · 6 Dec 2002 15:35:44 · Top

Donald Lee Fuell wrote:
>
> The practice of simply forming sets and starting the music for a dance,
> with the assumption that the dancers know what to do, would terrify many
> if not most American dancers, unfortunately.

The "Carnoustie" way. (If you have never attended St Andrews Summer School
this may mean little to you)

Terrifies most dancers from anywhere (except Carnoustie)!

Alan

Briefing/Calling dances

Message 32867 · Chris Collin · 6 Dec 2002 23:11:20 · Top

Donald Lee Fuell wrote:

> The practice of simply forming sets and starting the music for a dance, with
> the assumption that the dancers know what to do, would terrify many if not
> most American dancers, unfortunately. Too many of us have become dependent
> on briefs and even want walk-throughs at formal balls. I guess the bottom
> line is to get more people dancing and having fun and not initimidate
> inexperienced dancers, but sometimes I do wish we'd set a higher standard
> over here. We have too much standing around between dances.

This is a much discussed question in this part of Canada. It would be great if we
all recognised the dance simply from the tune, but alas, this is not the case.

However, there may be a good reason for this. If you go to any Scottish party,
there will be a handful of dances that pretty much everyone knows. Dashing White
Sergeant, Strip the Willow, Eightsome Reel come to mind. But, the RSCDS books are
into the 40's now, and there are hundreds of other books, and thousands of
dances. Few of us could remember them all! If we danced the same old dances all
the time, not briefing would be fine. But, there are just too many dances these
days to do that.

Of course, having written a few dances myself, you can tell where my sympathies
lie! I also find it in interesting exercise to compare the dances written for a
given tune. Bauldy Bains Fiddle and the Golden Gaels Reel come to mind - with the
GG Reel (from the Kingston Ont. Branch) coming out a winner!

Chris Collin
Ottawa, Canada

Briefing/Calling dances

Message 32873 · GOSS9 · 7 Dec 2002 00:51:54 · Top

Of course, there is always the "wee green buke". I
can remember summer dances in Dundee (60´s - 80´s)
when one picked up a list of the next weeks dances as
one exited. This list contained only names and source
references - the afficianados, most of whom seldom
went to classes, used to study during the week and
some came with their own cue sheets. I also remember
that summer dances in Prince´s Street Gardens also
had one sheet that included the programs for the
entire season. For university dances, SCDUF, etc.,
the host university always sent out advance programs
to their potential guests.
Of course, SCD classes should take into consideration
the local dance and ball programs.

Another program is that briefing a dance takes some
prep on the part of the briefer. Too often they
ignore defaults, using too many words (often reading
the RSCDS text). Briefing should be brief both to
keep the dancers attention and encourage them to
learn the defaults. That way they can avoid such
delays as questions like ...
Q: Which hand do we use?
A: Either the right one the one that is left. :)

Briefing/Calling dances

Message 32875 · Lee Fuell · 7 Dec 2002 01:52:22 · Top

Chris and All,

Re:

-----Original Message-----
From: Chris Collin [mailto:collin@mondenet.com]
Sent: Friday, December 06, 2002 4:01 PM
To: strathspey@strathspey.org
Subject: Re: Briefing/Calling dances

<snip>

This is a much discussed question in this part of Canada. It would be great
if we
all recognised the dance simply from the tune, but alas, this is not the
case.

<snip>

Chris Collin
Ottawa, Canada

Oops, I wasn't clear enough - recognizing the dance from the tune is not
what I meant. That would terrify me immensely! What I meant was something
like,

"Please form sets for The Montgomeries Rant... Sets are complete," then the
band strikes up with no briefing in between.

Lee

Briefing/Calling dances

Message 32880 · Andrew Smith · 7 Dec 2002 08:07:52 · Top

I'm giving my age away here, but that was just what it was like when I
started going to dances in the 50's in Bath and Bristol.
I can still remember being petrified when taken on to the floor for
Schiehallion. It was not taught at classes, and took me about 3 Hogmanay
dances to master.
Then, in Bath particularly, there were very few non-RSCDS dances taught, and
one had a sporran full of the relevant Pocket Books ( and late Pilling - the
little green book) as aides -memoire, and having had the programme on the
ticket, once everyone was in place, the band did just that, as Lee so
graphically described.
The use of "cribs" as we call them is just a service to the dancers, because
there are now so many dances published by so many sources, but we do try to
minimise the number of "Talks-through", because, as has already be said, the
loss of momentum not only for the dancers, but also the band.
Having said that, our best attended dance is the "Newcomers'" where we
promise that every dance will be walked through once.
Andrew,
Bristol, UK

----- Original Message -----
From: "Donald Lee Fuell" <fuell@mindspring.com>
To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
Sent: Saturday, December 07, 2002 12:50 AM
Subject: RE: Briefing/Calling dances

What I meant was something
> like,
>
> "Please form sets for The Montgomeries Rant... Sets are complete," then
the
> band strikes up with no briefing in between.
>
> Lee
>
>

Briefing/Calling dances

Message 32879 · Helen P. · 7 Dec 2002 07:57:26 · Top

Seems like the basic categories might be:

(1) No briefing/calling;
(2) One talk-though;
(3) One talk-though, then a shorter recapitulation;
(4) One or more walk-thoughs;
(5) One or more walk-thoughs, then calling for all or part of the dance;
(6) Calling during the first few rounds of the dance;
(7) Calling for the whole dance; or
(8) Calling as an integral part of the entertainment (e.g., for singing
squares, where the caller sings the instructions). Note that a *good*
caller, whether singing or not, is an active entertainer as well.

All methods have advantages and disadvantages. I find that ECD and contra
dancers often use the caller as a crutch: they don't have to remember dances
for themselves. On the other hand, SCD dancers sometimes struggle to react
in time to a caller's instructions. It's partly a matter of what people get
used to doing, in both cases.

My two personal favorites are:
For ECD, contras, and squares: (6 or 8) Calling during the first few
rounds of the dance - preferably as a medley (several dances are called
while the musicians and dancers continue without pause); or

For SCD: (3) One talk-though, then a shorter recapitulation. Even with
very experienced dancers, this results in the best quality dancing. The
talk-through lets one settle the details in mind, then the recap gives an
overview for the overall pattern of figures (and a moment to fill in
anything missed, especially when one is tired at the end of a big ball). No
talk-throughs often leads to a lack of variety: the same few dances are
danced over and over.

Of course, I prefer whatever else is needed to help the beginners when we
have an event that includes them. After all, a scared, confused beginner
would just mess up the whole set; and it's so much nicer if they enjoy the
dance as much as everyone else!
:-)

Dearly loving to dance with those enthusiastic/terrified beginners, but also
adoring excellent dances with experienced dancers,

Helen
USA

Briefing/Calling dances

Message 32883 · mlbrown · 7 Dec 2002 12:31:08 · Top

Helen wrote:

>Seems like the basic categories might be:

> (1) No briefing/calling;
> (2) One talk-through;
> (3) One talk-through, then a shorter recapitulation;
> (4) One or more walk-throughs;
> (5) One or more walk-throughs, then calling for all or part of the
dance;
> (6) Calling during the first few rounds of the dance;
> (7) Calling for the whole dance; or
> (8) Calling as an integral part of the entertainment (e.g., for
singing squares, where the caller sings the
> instructions). Note that a *good* caller, whether singing or not, is
an active entertainer as well.

I assume that the name of the next dance is available to everyone via
the large sheet of paper on the wall listing the dances, often known as
a wall programme, and/or printed on the ticket. In which case I like to
get the band (or CD player) to play the first 8 bars as a signal for the
dancers to get onto the floor.

The other category not mentioned by Helen is the printed crib, either as
a separate sheet available at the dance, (or sent out before the dance),
or as part of the ticket.

In the class situation I find myself "calling" through most of the dance
- I think in class it is important that the dancers make the transitions
from one formation to the next, which only happens if they all know what
is coming next - I am more interested in getting them to dance
"correctly" (not the word I'm looking for), than in remembering the
dance for themselves.

Malcolm & Helen Brown
York (UK)

Briefing/Calling dances

Message 32885 · Marilynn Knight · 7 Dec 2002 14:25:34 · Top

Helen P.,
Where are you located? I find your thoughtful input here to be simply
elegant!!!! I hope all your fellow dancers feel the same. And I would love
to dance with your group.
I feel like a kindred spirit,
Marilynn Latta Knight

-----Original Message-----
From: Helen P. [mailto:leap@mindspring.com]
Sent: Saturday, December 07, 2002 2:13 AM
To: strathspey@strathspey.org
Subject: Re: Briefing/Calling dances

Seems like the basic categories might be:

(1) No briefing/calling;
(2) One talk-though;
(3) One talk-though, then a shorter recapitulation;
(4) One or more walk-thoughs;
(5) One or more walk-thoughs, then calling for all or part of the dance;
(6) Calling during the first few rounds of the dance;
(7) Calling for the whole dance; or
(8) Calling as an integral part of the entertainment (e.g., for singing
squares, where the caller sings the instructions). Note that a *good*
caller, whether singing or not, is an active entertainer as well.

All methods have advantages and disadvantages. I find that ECD and contra
dancers often use the caller as a crutch: they don't have to remember dances
for themselves. On the other hand, SCD dancers sometimes struggle to react
in time to a caller's instructions. It's partly a matter of what people get
used to doing, in both cases.

My two personal favorites are:
For ECD, contras, and squares: (6 or 8) Calling during the first few
rounds of the dance - preferably as a medley (several dances are called
while the musicians and dancers continue without pause); or

For SCD: (3) One talk-though, then a shorter recapitulation. Even with
very experienced dancers, this results in the best quality dancing. The
talk-through lets one settle the details in mind, then the recap gives an
overview for the overall pattern of figures (and a moment to fill in
anything missed, especially when one is tired at the end of a big ball). No
talk-throughs often leads to a lack of variety: the same few dances are
danced over and over.

Of course, I prefer whatever else is needed to help the beginners when we
have an event that includes them. After all, a scared, confused beginner
would just mess up the whole set; and it's so much nicer if they enjoy the
dance as much as everyone else!
:-)

Dearly loving to dance with those enthusiastic/terrified beginners, but also
adoring excellent dances with experienced dancers,

Helen
USA

Briefing/Calling dances

Message 32886 · Marilynn Knight · 7 Dec 2002 14:30:48 · Top

Would the word be 'smoothly'?

-----Original Message-----
From: mlbrown [mailto:mlbrown@supanet.com]
Sent: Saturday, December 07, 2002 6:31 AM
To: strathspey@strathspey.org
Subject: RE: Briefing/Calling dances

Helen wrote:

>Seems like the basic categories might be:

> (1) No briefing/calling;
> (2) One talk-through;
> (3) One talk-through, then a shorter recapitulation;
> (4) One or more walk-throughs;
> (5) One or more walk-throughs, then calling for all or part of the
dance;
> (6) Calling during the first few rounds of the dance;
> (7) Calling for the whole dance; or
> (8) Calling as an integral part of the entertainment (e.g., for
singing squares, where the caller sings the
> instructions). Note that a *good* caller, whether singing or not, is
an active entertainer as well.

I assume that the name of the next dance is available to everyone via
the large sheet of paper on the wall listing the dances, often known as
a wall programme, and/or printed on the ticket. In which case I like to
get the band (or CD player) to play the first 8 bars as a signal for the
dancers to get onto the floor.

The other category not mentioned by Helen is the printed crib, either as
a separate sheet available at the dance, (or sent out before the dance),
or as part of the ticket.

In the class situation I find myself "calling" through most of the dance
- I think in class it is important that the dancers make the transitions
from one formation to the next, which only happens if they all know what
is coming next - I am more interested in getting them to dance
"correctly" (not the word I'm looking for), than in remembering the
dance for themselves.

Malcolm & Helen Brown
York (UK)

Briefing/Calling dances

Message 32891 · Miriam L. Mueller · 8 Dec 2002 03:10:13 · Top

In the San Francisco Branch, we polled our membership and found that over
75% wanted brief briefings at formal balls; a second poll after a year of
such briefings showed an even higher preference rate.
From my own observation, ball dances are as often messed up by forgetful
experienced dancers as by beginners trying a dance they shouldn't.
Briefings may have improved this slightly, but it's hard to tell as our
branch always has well-attended practice sessions before a ball. Do other
branches schedule such "rehearsals"?
Personally, if I had to remember a dance from its music, I would have to
be doing something else - my brain just doesn't work that way.
Miriam Mueller, SF

Briefing/Calling dances

Message 32892 · Steve Wyrick · 8 Dec 2002 06:07:12 · Top

Miriam L. Mueller wrote:

> In the San Francisco Branch, we polled our membership and found that over
> 75% wanted brief briefings at formal balls; a second poll after a year of
> such briefings showed an even higher preference rate.
>> From my own observation, ball dances are as often messed up by forgetful
> experienced dancers as by beginners trying a dance they shouldn't.
> Briefings may have improved this slightly, but it's hard to tell as our
> branch always has well-attended practice sessions before a ball. Do other
> branches schedule such "rehearsals"?
> Personally, if I had to remember a dance from its music, I would have to
> be doing something else - my brain just doesn't work that way.
> Miriam Mueller, SF

I was one of the people who voted for "brief reminders" at the balls, but
I've changed my mind since then; I find that if I know the dance I don't
need them, and if I don't know the dance a brief reminder usually won't
help! Since the ball organizers publish programs that typically include
both diagrams and cribs, a quick glance at the program is usually enough of
a reminder for me. -Steve
--
Steve Wyrick -- Concord, California

Briefing/Calling dances

Message 33003 · Helen P. · 13 Dec 2002 08:35:03 · Top

From: "Miriam L. Mueller" <mimimueller@juno.com>
Sent: Saturday, December 07, 2002 9:06 PM

> practice sessions before a ball.
> Do other branches schedule such "rehearsals"?

We typically do the following in the Washington, DC, area.

Before any major dance (from Harrisburg, PA, to Richmond, VA, and
occasionally as far as NC or Boston, MA) most of our teachers include a few
of
the dances as part of normal classes, for maybe 2-4 weeks before the event.
"Cheat sheets" are mailed, available at class, and/or posted on the web
sites. At the our big dance weekends, there are 2-hour ball reviews on
Saturday afternoon.

Often, a few beginners will get together at any event (such as during the
break) to puzzle out hard dances. Inevitably, teachers or experienced
dancers will drift over, fill out a rough set, and help explain and walk it
through.

-- Helen Powell (MD, USA)

Briefing/Calling dances

Message 33004 · Helen P. · 13 Dec 2002 08:35:08 · Top

From: "Marilynn Knight" <marilynnk@scchamber.net>
Sent: Saturday, December 07, 2002 8:22 AM
>
> Helen P.,
> Where are you located? I find your thoughtful input here to be simply
> elegant!!!! I hope all your fellow dancers feel the same. And I would
> love to dance with your group.
> I feel like a kindred spirit,
> Marilynn Latta Knight
> Columbia, SC

Thanks for your kind words, Marilynn. I've been enjoying your postings,
too!

My location depends on the day of the week. <g> You might find me performing
on accordion or piano (or dancing) at SCD in Richmond, at Civil War
reenactments in Gettysburg, or at ECD and contras near Philadelphia.

More often, though, I'll be on my "home turf" in the Maryland suburbs of
Washington, DC, where I dance very often and play weekly for SCD classes
(and for ECD & contras when I have time). It's not easy to keep up,
especially with requests to play and/or dance at multiple places at once.

I've been especially grateful to have been able to help build our new SCD
classes for children and basic dancers, and create opportunities for new SCD
class musicians to develop their skills.

-- Some of those children have now joined regular classes. At the Friday
Basic classes (oh, goody, there's one tomorrow!), the beginners have
developed a strong feeling of comradery across group lines, and with the
experienced dancers (who regularly make up half of the class). The teachers
who run these classes have done an extraordinary job.

-- All but one of our SCD groups have adopted the idea of more live music in
classes, including more new musicians, often with an experienced player.
Costs are low, since the apprentices often play for a reduced fee or gratis.
No regular musician slots or fees have been lost in the process; rather,
their number has increased slightly.

I've been pleasantly surprised at how many people have told me how much they
have enjoyed my contributions in these areas and others, as both dancer and
musician.

I, too, would love to dance with you, and we would already have spent those
two weekends enjoying SCD together at Camp Ramblewood, if it weren't for the
Scottish Weekend, Inc., Committee's unethical and abusive behavior, which
has greatly upset a *lot* of us, across many states.

I do very much hope we get a chance to dance together soon, though! :-)

-- Helen Powell (MD, USA)
Washington (DC) Branch, RSCDS

Briefing/Calling dances

Message 32925 · Adam Hughes · 9 Dec 2002 15:20:02 · Top

Helen P. wrote sense, saying:
> Seems like the basic categories might be:
>
> (1) No briefing/calling;
> (2) One talk-though;
> (3) One talk-though, then a shorter recapitulation;
> (4) One or more walk-thoughs;
> (5) One or more walk-thoughs, then calling for all or part of the dance;
> (6) Calling during the first few rounds of the dance;
> (7) Calling for the whole dance; or
> (8) Calling as an integral part of the entertainment.

You might want to add
(9) A short explanation only;
(10) A demonstration set dance through 3 times.

(9) is what we have been using at formal dances for the university group
here in Cambridge (a brief which is quicker to say than once through the
dance).

(10) is what happens at dancing in the Prince's Street Gardens in the
summer in Edinburgh.... Gets you thinking!

Mostly I'm a (5) person. Unless as Malcolm mentioned there is a printed
crib, in which case (1) is sufficient, but (2) or (9) is nice just to
make sure you read the right crib... Although I went to a wedding in
Exeter with the most amazing singing square caller... He managed to get
total beginners through the dances, and keep the hardened SCD contingent
entertained at the same time!

Adam
Cambridge, UK.

Briefing/Calling dances

Message 32899 · Pia Walker · 8 Dec 2002 16:17:10 · Top

I am of the 'please brief brigade' - I cannot remember a dance from one week
to another (some would say from one minute to another :>)) I have not danced
SCD since before I could walk - also I am one of the unfortunate ones who
have to work for a living (like most of us) - and after 8-14 hours of work a
day, then transmogrifying into a mother, wife and housefrau, I am too tired
to sit down and learn dances by heart simply because someone at a
ball/dance expect me to know where to go.
There are so many dances out there and it is impossible to know them all -
so keep yelling both before and during the dance if I'm around.

Pia
What's next

----- Original Message -----
From: Chris Collin <collin@mondenet.com>
To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
Sent: Friday, December 06, 2002 10:00 PM
Subject: Re: Briefing/Calling dances

>
>
> Donald Lee Fuell wrote:
>
> > The practice of simply forming sets and starting the music for a dance,
with
> > the assumption that the dancers know what to do, would terrify many if
not
> > most American dancers, unfortunately. Too many of us have become
dependent
> > on briefs and even want walk-throughs at formal balls. I guess the
bottom
> > line is to get more people dancing and having fun and not initimidate
> > inexperienced dancers, but sometimes I do wish we'd set a higher
standard
> > over here. We have too much standing around between dances.
>
> This is a much discussed question in this part of Canada. It would be
great if we
> all recognised the dance simply from the tune, but alas, this is not the
case.
>
> However, there may be a good reason for this. If you go to any Scottish
party,
> there will be a handful of dances that pretty much everyone knows.
Dashing White
> Sergeant, Strip the Willow, Eightsome Reel come to mind. But, the RSCDS
books are
> into the 40's now, and there are hundreds of other books, and thousands of
> dances. Few of us could remember them all! If we danced the same old
dances all
> the time, not briefing would be fine. But, there are just too many dances
these
> days to do that.
>
> Of course, having written a few dances myself, you can tell where my
sympathies
> lie! I also find it in interesting exercise to compare the dances written
for a
> given tune. Bauldy Bains Fiddle and the Golden Gaels Reel come to mind -
with the
> GG Reel (from the Kingston Ont. Branch) coming out a winner!
>
> Chris Collin
> Ottawa, Canada
>

Briefing. Was: "Classes" and "Clubs"

Message 32878 · Patricia Ruggiero · 7 Dec 2002 03:28:44 · Top

Lee wrote:
>Too many of us have become dependent on briefs and even want walk-throughs
at formal balls.
>Lee (who is probably guilty of being a bit elitist this morning...)

Nah, you're not...

I dislike called dances in contra and ECD, but I've come to appreciate one
good feature of briefings at SCD parties -- if the dances weren't being
briefed, I would still take a moment to go over the dance in my head, to
"settle" myself, so to speak. I assume that there are others who would be
doing this as well, most likely while sets were being counted. Now I regard
the briefing as those few designated moments for all of us to settle
ourselves at the same time. As long as the briefing is exactly that:
*brief*

Walk-throughs bring the dance party's momentum to a crashing halt.

Pat

Briefing. Was: "Classes" and "Clubs"

Message 32887 · SMiskoe · 7 Dec 2002 14:59:20 · Top

Here is New England there is a dance party everymonth with the different
groups/classes taking turns sponsoring the party. It is impossible to attend
all the weekly classes each little group has, they are too spread out. Each
group makes up its own program. We have to carefully brief each dance. In
addition, there are often beginners attending these parties. It is better to
have a quick walk through than have these folks floundering through the
dance, becoming discouraged with themselves and worrying that they have
spoiled the fun of the more experienced dancers. Many of our dances are
becoming more and more complicated. Gone are the days when each dance
consisted of 4 or 5 figures and no meanwhile figures. So like it or not,
unless we want to have our parties consisting of small groups of experienced
dancers, we'll have to brief and walk.
Personally I don't have a problem with called dances, I do a lot of contra
and ECD but the SCDances do not lend themselves to being prompted.
Cheers,
Sylvia Miskoe, Concord, NH USA

Briefing

Message 32915 · Patricia Ruggiero · 9 Dec 2002 04:36:06 · Top

Sylvia wrote:

"... I do a lot of contra and ECD but the SCDances do not lend themselves to
being prompted."

Hello, Sylvia,

I'm curious as to why you find that SCD doesn't lend itself to prompting?
I've done it as easily as I've called English dances......

You mentioned dances with meanwhile figures. I agree that it's extremely
difficult, sometimes impossible, to call such dances; but, as modern English
dances also contain meanwhile figures, I'd say that is a function of the
difficulty of the dance, not whether it's contra, ECD, or SCD.

Pat

Briefing

Message 32918 · GOSS9 · 9 Dec 2002 08:24:40 · Top

Idea! Why to promote standardization, why does not
the Society produce a "brief" along with their
dances. Often why I brief a dance with which I am not
particularly familiar, I simply "read" pillings
aloud, leaving out defaults such as which hand to use
and how to cut the reels.

Briefing

Message 32922 · BSHobbs · 9 Dec 2002 11:10:33 · Top

In a message dated 08-Dec-02 11:24:59 PM Pacific Standard Time,
GOSS9@sbcglobal.net writes:

> Idea! Why to promote standardization, why does not
> the Society produce a "brief" along with their
> dances. Often why I brief a dance with which I am not
> particularly familiar, I simply "read" pillings
> aloud, leaving out defaults such as which hand to use
> and how to cut the reels.
>

Hmm. It seems to me that the dance books that the Society produces are
briefings. Some of the descriptions may be pared down a bit to make them
more concise. Just chose your verbs and adverbs carefully and you can get
rid of many superfluous words.
Still, I think it is far better to brief from a dance book verbatim than to
brief from Pillings. "Pillings" is an iconic visual language. The MC
translating symbols to a spoken language on the spot is often less brief than
if they read the full dance book description. This is especially true if
they are unfamiliar with the dance.
Briefings should be brief. They are as much of an artform as the dance
itself.

Bradley Hobbs
San Francisco Branch

Briefing

Message 32923 · Rebecca Sager · 9 Dec 2002 11:58:10 · Top

Why would someone unfamiliar with a dance be briefing it in the first
place?
The point of a briefing is that someone who knows the dance gives a
succinct explanation of how to do the dance, including a mention of which
hands or shoulders should be used if there is any possibility of there
being confusion.

Becky

Becky Sager
Marietta GA USA

>Often why I brief a dance with which I am not
> particularly familiar, I simply "read" pillings
> aloud, leaving out defaults such as which hand to use
> and how to cut the reels.
>
>
>
>
>

Briefing

Message 32933 · SMiskoe · 9 Dec 2002 23:14:58 · Top

Pat asked if ECD lends itself to prompting why SCD does not. I just think of
the meanwhile dances like Australian Ladies and Quarries Jig and wonder how
anyone could call them while they are beng danced. Just too many words in
too little time.
Cheers,
Sylvia Miskoe, Concord, NH USA

Briefing

Message 32936 · Loretta Holz · 10 Dec 2002 00:00:00 · Top

Sylvia M said
> Pat asked if ECD lends itself to prompting why SCD does not. I just
> think of the meanwhile dances like Australian Ladies and Quarries Jig and
wonder
> how anyone could call them while they are beng danced. Just too many
words
> in too little time.

I teach and call ECD and have been thinking about what Sylvia said--I had
the same question as Pat. ECD also has complex dances and meanwhile figures
(note--typically at least two rounds of each dance are called). What the
caller has to do is work out a quick code which the dancers will recognize
for the two figures being done simultaneously. For example, in
Fenterlarick, two dancers are turning 1 1/2 in the middle while their
partners are circling half way around them. You cannot call all of that so
you have to say something like "turn 1 1/2 or circle 1/2" or you might even
just call "meanwhile figure".

I have listened to SCD teachers calling dances, and realized they typically
call too late. Calling just BEFORE the dancers have to do a move (not as
they are supposed to start it) is an art you have to develop and something
most ECD callers are very aware of. So, if the SCD teacher wants to call,
he/she needs to work at the timing (as well as the brevity) of the calls.
If calling for SCD has been tried and has been unsuccessful in some venues I
suspect this is part of the problem. Perhaps I'm wrong but I doubt
developing effective calling is one of the skills taught in SCD teacher
prep.
Loretta Holz
Warren, NJ

Briefing

Message 32942 · SMiskoe · 10 Dec 2002 01:33:25 · Top

Loretta says that calling should be done before the figure. That is the
secret of a good contra/square dance caller. They are taught to call the
figure just before it happens, not as it happens.
I find that when I call for beginners, they cannot process a lot of
information in the space of 32 bars and are most comfortable with dances that
have 4-6 figures.
Cheers,
Sylvia Miskoe, Concord, NH USA

Briefing

Message 32943 · Patricia Ruggiero · 10 Dec 2002 05:11:39 · Top

Loretta wrote:

>I teach and call ECD and have been thinking about what Sylvia said--I had
the same question as Pat. ECD also has complex dances and meanwhile figures
(note--typically at least two rounds of each dance are called). What the
caller has to do is work out a quick code which the dancers will recognize
for the two figures being done simultaneously.

Hello, Loretta,
I'll corroborate what you wrote. During the teaching the teacher/caller
explains the complicated figure in full and then tells the group how the
call will be abbreviated. Using Australian Ladies as an example, after
teaching the meanwhile figure I'd tell the group that I would be using the
call "1s cross and cast; corners dance around" (or something like that; I've
actually never called this dance).

>I have listened to SCD teachers calling dances, and realized they typically
call too late....Perhaps I'm wrong but I doubt developing effective calling
is one of the skills taught in SCD teacher prep.

I think you're right.

Pat
Charlottesville, Virginia
USA

Briefing

Message 32944 · Katy Granberry · 10 Dec 2002 06:11:09 · Top

We have just returned from the 26th Annual Austin (Texas) Ball. For the
first time in my memory, they had three dances on the program which were not
briefed. It was clearly stated in advance that these three would not be
briefed so it was no surprise.

What was a surprise to me was that the floor was just as full for those
three, and the quality of dancing was excellent. So perhaps having a few on
a program that will not be briefed was an advantage.

The three dances were Wee Cooper of Fife, Culla Bay and Duke of Perth and
those three will not be forgotten for a long time, as they were learned well
and practiced often. I wouldn't want a full ball that I had to remember
completely, but this was well done.

Darla Granberry, Lubbock,Tx

_________________________________________________________________
Protect your PC - get McAfee.com VirusScan Online
http://clinic.mcafee.com/clinic/ibuy/campaign.asp?cid=3963

Briefing

Message 32948 · Adam Hughes · 10 Dec 2002 09:46:50 · Top

Loretta Holz wrote:> Sylvia M said
>> Pat asked if ECD lends itself to prompting why SCD does not.
>> I just think of the meanwhile dances like Australian Ladies
>> and Quarries Jig and wonder how anyone could call them while
>> they are beng danced. Just too many words in too little time.
>
> I have listened to SCD teachers calling dances, and realized they typically
> call too late.
...and Pat agreed.

Mostly I agree too. I've seen some teachers calling figure in classes
both here in Cambridge, and in Scotland, and they tend to *start* the
call at the right time for a short call, and then speak really fast to
try and fit in all the words they want to say - which means that no-one
can understand what they say, and it finishes late.

> If calling for SCD has been tried and has been unsuccessful in some venues I
> suspect this is part of the problem.

I've certainly successfully called Quarries' Jig (in a New England
style, Priscilla). As has been said, the trick is to shorten the
intruction to a memorable call in the walk through, and warn the dancers
that when you say "cross and set... turn and chase" they should do the
complicated bit.

The trouble I've hit is people complaining that I'm "not explaining it
properly", to which the reply "but I'm not explaining it at all, I'm
only reminding you of what I explained in the walk through" never seems
to cut it with Scottish dancers.

> Perhaps I'm wrong but I doubt developing effective calling is
> one of the skills taught in SCD teacher prep.

I think you are right. But since the people teaching the teachers don't
have the skill either, this is only natural. It would take quite an
upheaval to convince the RSCDS powers that be to import callers from the
US (or worse England ;-) to pass on the skills. On the other hand, I
have run into SCD teachers in callers workshops in England, so at least
some are aware that there is more to it than they know.

Then SMiskoe@aol.com wrote:
> I find that when I call for beginners, they cannot process a lot of
> information in the space of 32 bars and are most comfortable with dances that
> have 4-6 figures.

I think this is received wisdom elsewhere too. Most English Ceilidh
dances share that form - if they have 32 bars, then, they'll have two or
three 8 bar figures, and two or four 4 bar figures to make it up to 32
bars, and no meanwhiles.

One of the biggest differences I have seen between the dances used in
the contra/playford/scottish scene in England (often called dancing for
dancers) and the dances used in the English ceilidh scene (often mixed
up with barn dances, not unreasonably) is the minimum length of a figure
(~1 second in D4D, ~2 seconds at Ceilidhs).

I try and tailor a beginners program to take this into account, too...
Tying into another thread, this is where all those boring, fun free,
traditional RSCDS dances (particularly from books 1-8) are really,
really useful. And fun, with the "right" music and the "right"
attitude, which the RSCDS would certainly not condone... I think the
reason those dances survived "in the wild" to be collected, is that they
can be fun, and a lot have "long" 4 bar turns or casts, which helps the
less experienced dancers...

Adam
Cambridge, UK.

Briefing

Message 32949 · Andrew Smith · 10 Dec 2002 10:49:23 · Top

Adam wrote
"Tying into another thread, this is where all those boring, fun free,
traditional RSCDS dances (particularly from books 1-8) are really,
really useful. And fun, with the "right" music and the "right"
attitude, which the RSCDS would certainly not condone... "
and
"I think the reason those dances survived "in the wild" to be collected, is
that they can be fun, and a lot have "long" 4 bar turns or casts, which
helps the less experienced dancers..."

I think, Adam, that your statements are, with respect, contradictory, unless
I have missed your point.
If the dances survived in the wild because they were fun, then why are they
perceived as no longer fun now they are in captivity? I am old enough to
remember a lot of 1-8 dances being on programmes, and they *were* fun,
especially when danced to Jimmy Shand 78s or even to the Bristol Reels
Orchestra whose day job was more "Palm Court" than Scottish, but they did
sterling work.
I also do not think your comment about the RSCDS is fair in its entirety. I
have heard many teachers and others in the Society say that fun and
enjoyment are the point of the dancing. I am a committed member of the RSCDS
and am absolutely certain that dancing is for fun, and personally find that
the more involved dances get in the way of the fun because I need to
concentrate so hard on the manoeuvres.
I think that it is a human condition to seek more and more sophistication in
entertainment (as well as other spheres), and so the simple dances are
perceived as boring, it is unfashionable/ unsophisticated to be seen to be
really enjoying oneself, noses are turned up at JS recordings and the BRO
would not be acceptable today. I accept that there have been some with
influence in the RSCDS (and I'd suggest they are not the majority any
longer) who had this stance, but it was probably in an attempt to answer
this need for sophistication, and to distance from rustic simplicity and
possible over-exuberance.
I was asked to produce a programme for a dance, and went back to many of my
early favourites, plus some modern good-going but straight-forward dances
where the 4th C. gets a chance to watch and it was thrown out as too
simplistic. I have a theory, which I had hoped to test, that most people
would like a simple programme which is not too taxing mentally, as they see
a dance as a social occasion at which to relax and meet people and not to
spend every moment between dances with their nose in the LGB or a crib.
However, some people want more complexity, it seems, and I fear they are
either in the majority or, more likely, are more vocal. I do not think it is
the fault of the dances or the music, or even "the RSCDS" - "the fault, dear
Brutus" may be in ourselves.
Sorry about the length.
Happy dancing and above all, enjoy it, and don't be afraid to let it show.
Andrew,
Bristol, UK

----- Original Message -----
From: "Adam Hughes" <adamoutside@yahoo.co.uk>
To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
Sent: Tuesday, December 10, 2002 8:46 AM
Subject: Re: Briefing

Boring old dances was Re: Briefing

Message 32952 · Adam Hughes · 10 Dec 2002 12:43:40 · Top

Andrew Smith wrote:
> Adam wrote
> "Tying into another thread, this is where all those boring, fun free,
> traditional RSCDS dances (particularly from books 1-8) are really,
> really useful. And fun, with the "right" music and the "right"
> attitude, which the RSCDS would certainly not condone... "
> and
> "I think the reason those dances survived "in the wild" to be collected, is
> that they can be fun, and a lot have "long" 4 bar turns or casts, which
> helps the less experienced dancers..."
>
> I think, Adam, that your statements are, with respect, contradictory, unless
> I have missed your point.

From your mail I think you have got my point, or at least that we
agree(ish), but I must have expressed it badly. Sorry, the first
sentence of mine you've quoted could have benefited from a well placed
"supposedly"...

Some people in the other thread have ventured the opinion that the
traditional RSCDS dances aren't fun, eg amongst others:

Martin wrote:
> I recently sent out a questionnaire asking about preferences (RSCDS
> early books 1-29 / RSCDS recent books 30-42 / non-Society dances), and
> out of about 50 replies, one only expressed a preference for the older
> dances.
>
> With the exception of a dozen or so that have become popular, indeed
> not many older dances have anything distinctive to commend them. It
> looks as if they were published simply because they existed in some old
> manuscript (not that the Society always told us the origin) rather than
> for any particular merit or dance-worthiness.

I believe that more than the "dozen or so that have become popular" are
fun, but that many have been misrepresented by RSCDS teachers with a
belief that complicated is best, and knowledge of difficult modern
dances, trying to prove that the old dances are hard too, and
interpreting the dances within ridiculous constraints, rather than just
dancing them. (Although, I broadly agree with Martin for books 9ish-29ish.)

What makes me feel even more out of step with (what I perceive as) the
RSCDS, I think some of the dances need to be drawn back to their roots.
eg Hamilton House is not usually danced ending with a half two hand
turn using four pas-de-basque steps except by people influenced by the
RSCDS. That change from the ballroom version just makes it difficult
and boring.

Music... perhaps I need to get copies of some of the old 78s... the
modern CDs of the old tunes have a tendency to be staid, lacking the
lift of a band obviously enjoying what they play.

Andrew Smith wrote of complicated modern dances:
> I accept that there have been some with influence in the RSCDS
> (and I'd suggest they are not the majority any longer) who had
> this stance, but it was probably in an attempt to answer
> this need for sophistication, and to distance from rustic
> simplicity and possible over-exuberance.
> ...some people want more complexity, it seems, and I fear they are
> either in the majority or, more likely, are more vocal. I do not think it is
> the fault of the dances or the music, or even "the RSCDS" - "the fault, dear
> Brutus" may be in ourselves.
and
> I also do not think your comment about the RSCDS is fair in its entirety. I
> have heard many teachers and others in the Society say that fun and
> enjoyment are the point of the dancing.

As you say, any fault is in ourselves. But we are "the RSCDS". And our
actions, and our programmes, and even the new RSCDS books, speak louder
than our words. I don't think over-complexity is going away.

Adam
--
"Oh-oh!" Sally said.
"Don't you talk to that cat.
That cat is a bad one,
That Cat in the Hat..." (Dr. Seuss)

Boring old dances

Message 32958 · Patricia Ruggiero · 10 Dec 2002 20:50:51 · Top

Adam wrote:

"I don't think over-complexity is going away."

Well, it's lasted a long time in Western Square Dance, a very complex
evolution from traditional American square dance....

On the other hand, even the Western Square dancers enjoy the old, simple
dances. When I was dancing in the 70s, the sequence was one complex patter
call followed by a simple singing call. There was also the habit of
"stirring the bucket" after the first dance -- the square would rotate
one-quarter, so heads became sides in the second dance. After the two
dances, folks would "have a rest," and then the next tip would repeat the
sequence. As far as I know (which isn't very far), that pattern continues
today.

It looks to me that SCD and ECD have simply made the same evolution from the
simpler historical dances to a mix of simple and complex modern
compositions, with dancers having their various preferences. The existence
of complex dances today doesn't surprise me. What intrigues me is why there
weren't more of them in earlier centuries. I find it hard to believe that
folks weren't bright enough to devise or learn them; I conclude that dancing
meant something else to those folks such that complex dances didn't fit
their criteria for a social dance evening.

Pat
Charlottesville, Virginia
USA

Boring old dances

Message 32959 · Priscilla M. Burrage · 10 Dec 2002 21:20:16 · Top

On Tue, 10 Dec 2002, Patricia Ruggiero wrote:

> Adam wrote:
>
> "I don't think over-complexity is going away."
>
> Well, it's lasted a long time in Western Square Dance, a very complex
> evolution from traditional American square dance....

But Western Square membership dropped by 50% (!) in the latee 1990s.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Priscilla Burrage Vermont US
(pburrage@zoo.uvm.edu)

Boring old dances

Message 32960 · Fyreladdie · 10 Dec 2002 21:45:20 · Top

In a message dated 12/10/02 11:58:09 AM, ruggierop@earthlink.net writes:

<< I conclude that dancing

meant something else to those folks such that complex dances didn't fit

their criteria for a social dance evening. >>

It is only a guess, but I imagine that there was little time for most
people to learn many new dances and the old familiar ones, stayed in favor.
This is typical of many cultures where people dance the same dances year
after year. Traditional dances make a statement of the culture they come
from.
As a dance deviser, I understand the need to do things that are more
familiar and comfortable. My personal favorites may be a collection of both
old and new. But SCD is a living history and needs to explore other
possibilities without chucking the old ideas and practices. Some of the 18th
Century dances will surprise you. I taught a series of classes where I
intermixed 18th Century and modern dances. The class had to guess which was
which. Some were quite surprised. Happy old and new dancing!

Bob Mc Murtry
San Francisco Branch
Felton California

Boring old dances

Message 32970 · Patricia Ruggiero · 11 Dec 2002 04:01:18 · Top

Adam wrote:

>What makes me feel even more out of step with (what I perceive as) the
RSCDS, I think some of the dances need to be drawn back to their roots.

Not having made an extensive comparison between original sources and RSCDS
reconstructions, I'm not in a position to make such a statement. I'd like
to hear what you have in mind. Are you thinking of individual dances, such
as the Hamilton House example you cited, or are you thinking along the lines
of general principles or figures?

My husband and I led an English dance group for five years, and my
preference was to teach from original instructions, following certain
general principles of (1) eliminating figures that had been added in
reconstruction to provide gratuitous activity for otherwise standing couples
and (2) converting 3-cpl sets and certain duple minors back to triple minor
formation. The structure of 18th c. dances thus became transparent. Dances
that were unique in a seemingly arbitrary and capricious way, and therefore
difficult to learn and remember, reverted to their simple 18th c. types.

How does this compare with your ideas?

Pat
Charlottesville, Virginia
USA

Boring old dances

Message 32973 · GOSS9 · 11 Dec 2002 09:32:26 · Top

The problem of "boring old dances" is sociological.
Of course many of the permutations of old figures
were possible in historic times. It is one of the
trademarks of those composed by Foss and Haynes
(targe), that many of their simple dances would not
even be noticed as innovative.

What has changed is the dancing environment. In the
past the dances were part of a social setting that no
longer exists. The dances themselves were less
important than the event at which they were
performed. Because of this, there was no need to,
using an adiction metaphor, up the dosage as the kick
had nothing to do with the difficulty of the dances.

Today, the SCD community, has no necessary tie to any
other larger community than itself. So to keep its
members interested the stimulus becomes the dance
itself.

Having filmed village dances in Scotland for the
School of Scottish studies, I noticed several things.
1. Very limited repertoire, dances done twice
(allowing the less secure to dance the second repeat,
and the old folk to take a break).
2. No one begging for one more couple to complete a
set & ...
3. No one being made to feel guilty because they
would rather sit and watch then dance.

This has resulted in several things.
1. The older dancers, who choose not to keep up with
the latest, are dropping out before their time.
2. Lack of a constant flow of newcommers as it takes
more commitment to learn enough to get through an
evening´s program of dancing.
3. A lot of trivia on this site as to the "correct"
way of performing a dance, associated with social
criticism when one is not quite orthodox.

This has happened with a lot of other folk dance
traditions. Here my village [Spain], there are two
dance clubs who don´t speak to each other. They each
have their own band, choir, and dem teams. For
historical reasons, I will call them the fascists and
republicans, as they grew out of the two Churches in
town, one having mass in Castillano, the other
Catalá. There is a lot of dancing here, bands and
facilities, paid for by the town council. Teachers
from these groups are paid to hold classes, but are
relatively uninterested in their students who are not
potential members of their dem teams.

But when it comes to a dance, a band shows up in the
plaza, and after a short concert of traditional
music, they announce the dance (barely audible over
the mike but recognizable by the tune, usually having
an intro long enough to organize the floor). There is
no set program as the band leader simply picks the
dances he feels will keep the most people dancing,
pacing fast and slow to prolong the evening.

At various intervals one or more dem teams perform in
costume. Tourists and old folk tend to watch as the
younger set hits the bars until they can start
dancing again. The younger dem dancers even change
back into regular clothes after their dem.

My point is that because the folk dancing here is
part of the community it is a living thing, with
limited traditional repertoire, it does not need an
extensive support system of certificated teachers,
classes, and costume to make it work. Those who would
agree with the position of the RSCDS, have a place to
wear their costumes and do their special steps and
formations and have become a self marginalized
tourist attraction and in-group. Meanwhile the local
plaças are filled with dancers of all ages having a
good time, doing the same "boring old dances."

Imagine how dancing in Scotland would be different if
there was a common rep of about 8 dances that
everyone knew. All one would have to do is announce a
dance in the local hall, and get a lot of people
dancing. This is still happening in village ceilidhs,
but will probably die out as country dancing has been
replaced with various "movement" activities in the
Scottish school curriculum.

Boring old dances

Message 32991 · Adam Hughes · 12 Dec 2002 10:11:05 · Top

Patricia Ruggiero wrote:
> Not having made an extensive comparison between original sources and RSCDS
> reconstructions, I'm not in a position to make such a statement. I'd like
> to hear what you have in mind. Are you thinking of individual dances, such
> as the Hamilton House example you cited, or are you thinking along the lines
> of general principles or figures?

Neither have I made a vast comparison of historical Scottish dance.
Luckily SCD never foundered in quite the way the (R)SCDS was founded to
prevent...

I'm thinking of specific dances.

There are still people doing dances in Scotland without reference to the
RSCDS, who don't practice dancing twice a week, who can just turn up and
do the dances, because they are straight forward. These are presumably
the same ones that Richard complained about not wanting to learn the
dances for the St Andrew's Ball in Bangkok. Whatever. The point is,
there as a selection of dances (both traditional, and stolen from the
RSCDS) which are danced socially by people who don't consider themselves
"dancers".

If they can do it, surely our beginners can.

In general terms, I think there is room for us to teach and learn dances
like Hamilton House, The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh or Broun's Reel
in the way they are danced outside the RSCDS, rather than forcing them
into our form. The Hebridean Weaving Lilt and the Foula Reel are
examples of two dances which the RSCDS has perpetuated without changing
the style they are danced in to fit in. Strip the Willow is an example
of one which resisted for years, but is slowly being eroded. But
because the RSCDS style was supposed to be the same as the style of
Hamilton House etc, when it really isn't now (a recent evolution or a
difference from the start, I don't know) we lose sight of the
naturalness of Scottish dance, and focus on the pointy-toed, straight
lined, display oriented aspects of it. And it is great to dance dances
written in that paradigm - but that isn't the paradigm of the "boring
old dances".

Adam
Cambridge, UK.

Boring old dances

Message 32996 · seonaid.gent · 12 Dec 2002 21:11:24 · Top

Hi all,

Goss wrote:
" country dancing has been
>replaced with various "movement" activities in the
>Scottish school curriculum."

Has it? If this is the case, how come so many areas (Fife, Stirling and Edinburgh that I know of) are able hold a festival of dance with hundreds of primary children.

It may not be quite so widespread as it once was, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. Many times I have experienced the attitude of people in their late teens upwards who are not prepared to give SCD a try because "That's what they taught us at school and it was boring". Given the way that I have seen it be taught in schools this is not surprising.

The Dance Scottish packs that have been produced will hopefully enable teachers to get through that barrier. I would suggest that the next step for the RSCDS and anyone else who wants to help promote dancing in young people is to encourage them to keep at it (or start) during their teens - perhaps even with a similar pack aimed specifically at teenagers.

But SCD has certainly not been fully replaced from the Scottish curriculum.

Seonaid
Linlithgow (occassionaly, but a bit of a nomad)
Scotland (usually)

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

Boring old dances

Message 32998 · John P. McClure · 13 Dec 2002 01:45:11 · Top

On Thu, 12 Dec 2002, Adam Hughes wrote:

> There are still people doing dances in Scotland without reference to the
> RSCDS, who don't practice dancing twice a week, who can just turn up and
> do the dances, because they are straight forward. These are presumably
> the same ones that Richard complained about not wanting to learn the
> dances for the St Andrew's Ball in Bangkok. Whatever. The point is,
> there as a selection of dances (both traditional, and stolen from the
> RSCDS) which are danced socially by people who don't consider themselves
> "dancers".
>
> If they can do it, surely our beginners can.

A possibility in connection with this is that the people may decide that
that is what they really want to do, and stop being our beginners. I'm
pretty sure I've seen this happen, in the sense that people have attended
a short series of "open house" evenings, been coached through a few
dances, subsequently signed up for a beginners class, and lasted about six
weeks, after which they apparently decided that drill and practice, and
spending half a class on one dance and appropriate technique, was not what
they thought they'd signed up for.

I may be responding to something a bit different than what Adam had in
mind. Also, I do not say that this kind of outcome is a bad thing, only
that it is a possibility.

Peter McClure
Winnipeg, MB

Boring old dances

Message 32999 · simon scott · 13 Dec 2002 05:42:41 · Top

> > dances for the St Andrew's Ball in Bangkok. Whatever. The point
is,
> > there as a selection of dances (both traditional, and stolen from
the
> > RSCDS) which are danced socially by people who don't consider
themselves
> > "dancers".

I'm curious about what "stolen from the RSCDS" means.

It can't be an alternate to "traditional" and surely the RSCDS publishes
both old and new dances for the benefit of all who want to dance them.

Boring old dances

Message 33000 · GOSS9 · 13 Dec 2002 08:08:39 · Top

Having been to some of those festivals, I remember
one in Fife where Mina Corson was the adjudicator,
perhaps I should explain. While many teachers are
qualified, prepared, and do teach SCD, what I meant
to say is that while up into the 60´s, with, as you
pointed out, various levels of success, SCD was a
part of the required curriculum, it is now only an
option within the area of movement studies. Which
means, lacking a teacher so motivated it does not get
taught. Unfortunately, some of those teams one sees
in festivals have only learned a "party piece"
choreography and have no systematic knowledge of SCD
that would necessarily lead to a continued
involvement in secondary school or after.

Boring old dances

Message 33001 · GOSS9 · 13 Dec 2002 08:14:45 · Top

I think the concept of "stolen" refers to those
dances that have entered the repertoire of those
groups who have a local tradition without reference
to the RSCDS. If one of their members learns an RSCDS
dance and brings it back, it is now performed in the
preRSCDS style, traveling pdb, polka pousette, etc.
For example, if they do Dashing White Sergeant, this
might not be "stolen" as it existed as a living dance
when the Society was founded. Where as "Reel of the
51st Division", while not Society in origin, is
certainly a dance that was promoted by the Society.
As a result it has been adopted into the "County"
and "Ceilidh" repertoires and is done in the preRSCDS
local style.

Boring old dances

Message 33039 · Patricia Ruggiero · 14 Dec 2002 19:11:08 · Top

I've lost track of the original point of this thread; hence, the comments
which follow may be of an attenuated relevance....

1) Distinguish between "historical" dances and "traditional" dances. The
former are those known only from written sources; the latter being those
danced at the time of collection or within the memory of living persons.

2) Distinguish between "ballroom" dancing and "folk" dancing. My
understanding is that in the 18th c. country dancing was the ballroom
dancing of its day. Folks attended classes run by dancing masters to learn
technique and repertoire. Folks cared about buying the newest books to
learn the newest dances. After 1825 or so, country dancing was replaced by
couple dancing in the ballrooms in England but it continued in the rural
areas, although without benefit of dancing masters and new published
compositions. Regions developed their own styles and limited, usually
simple repertoire; it is under this condition that some refer to country
dancing at the *folk* dancing of England. I cannot speak to how country
dancing fared in 19th c. Scotland; it may have followed a similar path but
along a later timeline.

3) Dance styles differed between 18th c. and 19th c., and country dancing in
the later 19th c. and early 20th c. is influenced by ballroom (couples)
dancing style. Cecil Sharp or Jean Milligan probably saw dancers executing
a corner-partner figure as "swing corners" (could mean elbow turns), because
that was how folks danced in that period; whereas "turn corners" in an 18th
c. book would have meant two-handed turns or, if so stated, alternating R
and L hands. What C# and Miss M. chose to do in their reconstructions of
traditional dances reflects their ideas of how country dancing should be
performed. In some cases, it seems to me (without actually going to look up
specific examples right now), they chose to reinterpret traditional dances
in an earlier style, thereby changing "swing corners" to "turn corners".
Meanwhile, local folks, whose dances these were, continued dancing them in
their traditional way. Which is why we see more than one way of doing these
traditional dances.

4) Last night at ECD we did a traditional dance "Pins and Needles" (tune,
jig, "Hexham Races") a *traditional* dance *collected* in Northumberland.
The last 8 bars read: "Both couples take ballroom hold and dance once around
each other." The caller, himself a dance historian, instructed us not to
use the usual polka step but, rather, a "travelling pas de basque," as that
is (was?) what the Northumberland folks use. A tighter step, less
boisterous than polka. One understands why they'd use it if the "dance
around" is how most of their dances end, and if they're dancing in a pub
with limited floor space, and if they've been drinking, and if they're going
to be doing this all night, etc. I couldn't help seeing this as the figure
that Miss Milligan must have seen, and which she then returned to the
two-hand hold of the square poussette......

Pat
Charlottesville, Virginia
USA

Boring old dances

Message 33041 · SMiskoe · 14 Dec 2002 19:58:17 · Top

Miss Milligan decried the term 'folk dances' on the grounds that Scotland had
no 'folk' that everyone was equal.
Cheers,
Sylvia Miskoe, Concord NH USA

Boring old dances

Message 33042 · GOSS9 · 14 Dec 2002 21:48:21 · Top

"Miss Milligan decried the term 'folk dances' on the
grounds that Scotland had no 'folk' that everyone was
equal."

I agree that your statement is an accurate expression
of Miss M´s attitude. However, if you analyze it, you
can see that it is an oxymoron.

If everyone in Scotland was equal, than everyone
would be folk. Miss M definitely did not consider
herself one of the "folk," therefore everyone was not
equal.

So, for the sake of arguement, what is it about SCD
that is different from the folk dances of other
countries?

Boring old dances

Message 33049 · Lee Fuell · 14 Dec 2002 22:38:44 · Top

Apparently, the term "folk" has a different connotation in Scotland than here in the
US. I can't say as how the term "folk dancing" has in any way carried any kind of
lower-class distinction in my mind. It has always seemed to me to be a very
egalitarian term for an egalitarian activity. Perhaps folks (used in the American
sense...) who grew up in a society with a formal hierarchical structure and an
institutionalized aristocracy perceive things differently. From my perspective, SCD
is folk dancing - just like square or contra dancing - with no perjorative connotation,
regardless of Miss Milligan's attitude to the contrary.

Lee

Send reply to: strathspey@strathspey.org
To: strathspey@strathspey.org
Date sent: Sat, 14 Dec 2002 15:48:17 -0500
From: GOSS9@sbcglobal.net
Subject: Re: Boring old dances

> "Miss Milligan decried the term 'folk dances' on the
> grounds that Scotland had no 'folk' that everyone was
> equal."
>
> I agree that your statement is an accurate expression
> of Miss M´s attitude. However, if you analyze it, you
> can see that it is an oxymoron.
>
> If everyone in Scotland was equal, than everyone
> would be folk. Miss M definitely did not consider
> herself one of the "folk," therefore everyone was not
> equal.
>
> So, for the sake of arguement, what is it about SCD
> that is different from the folk dances of other
> countries?
>

Boring old dances

Message 33051 · John P. McClure · 16 Dec 2002 03:41:51 · Top

On Sat, 14 Dec 2002, Donald Lee Fuell, Jr. wrote:

> I can't say as how the term "folk dancing" has in any way carried any
> kind of lower-class distinction in my mind. It has always seemed to me
> to be a very egalitarian term for an egalitarian activity.

Maybe; however, sidestep a bit, and consider the genre "folk music".
Where does that sit in your (or, the general, if such a thing is possible)
hierarchy of musics? I can agree with Ellington (or whoever it was) who
said that there are only two kinds of music, the good and the bad, but I'm
not sure most people feel that way. How big is the folk section in music
shops tht you visit? Have you never heard the observation, used in
connection with the extent to which instruments are in tune, "good enough
for folk music"? Usually spoken with a smile, however ... where does
such an observation come from? I fear that when "folk" is attached as an
adjective, there is quite often an implicit valuation, and not a high one.
Perhaps Miss M knew, or implicitly understood, something.

Peter McClure
Winnipeg, MB

Boring old dances

Message 33052 · Lee Fuell · 16 Dec 2002 04:13:14 · Top

Hi, Peter,

Re your question:

On Sat, 14 Dec 2002, Donald Lee Fuell, Jr. wrote:

> I can't say as how the term "folk dancing" has in any way carried any
> kind of lower-class distinction in my mind. It has always seemed to me
> to be a very egalitarian term for an egalitarian activity.

Maybe; however, sidestep a bit, and consider the genre "folk music".
Where does that sit in your (or, the general, if such a thing is possible)
hierarchy of musics? <snip>

Peter McClure
Winnipeg, MB

Folk music sits in about the same place in my hierarchy of musics as folk
dancing: egalitarian music of the people - all the people. I do most of my
non-SCD music shopping in book & music stores like Borders, and they usually
have a pretty good selection of "folk" (broadly defined, if you include
"world music").

On the other hand, Country-Western has a definite redneck connotation! <g>
(Just kidding; my temporary Alabama location is getting to me...).

Lee

Lee Fuell
Maxwell AFB, AL

Boring old dances

Message 33056 · GOSS9 · 16 Dec 2002 07:46:45 · Top

Your post seems to suffer from the "ad populum"
logic. Or to put it another way, there is a reason
why a verdict of guilty requires a unanimous verdict.

Yes, our language suggests that the people, folk,
vulgar, common, is of less value than class, high
art, etc. But this is like saying that because the
word black has negative connotations, there is
something inherently wrong with Black people. Today´s
languages is a reflection of past values. In the
past, the values of society were defined by the upper
classes. If Miss M wishes to pretend that, unlike
other countries (where there is us and then there is
the folk), Scotland is, or was, an egalitarian
society, her very classication of SCD as ballroom
dancing denies the very point she is trying to make.

When it comes to dancing and SCD in Scotland, there
are really two kinds of folk, there is the "real
folk" who can´t be bothered with the activities of
the Society at all, and the "SCD" folk who have
pretenses that SCD is some sort of high art.

Using your music shop example, what we call folk
would rank along side classical and jazz in the small
shelf space category with pop being "high art," not!

There was a time when classical music was that of the
court, though much of its inspiration was from the
folk (Bach, Beethoven, Handel, etc.). By the 1800´s,
composers, without appologies, advertized that their
compositions were inspired by the Folk (Tchikovsky,
Mendelson (who never got to Finngal´s cave), Bartoc,
Gottschalk, Liszt, Borodine, Chopin, Ionesco, etc.).

So if shelf space is your criteria, high art is
measured by the smallness of the space, not its size.

"Have you never heard the observation, used in
connection with the extent to which instruments are
in tune, "good enough for folk music"?

Yes, I have, but only in the context of the "folk"
music of the 60´s, where if you knew three chords for
your guitar you were qualified to be a folk musician.

I have followed the career of James Galloway.
Personally, I preferred the classical flautist, who,
for an encore, pulled out a pennywhistle, to the one
who is now a classical pop album.

"Perhaps Miss M knew, or implicitly understood,
something."

Yes, if she wanted to impress the people by whom she
was impressed, she would have to lose the image of PE
teacher from Glasgow, who was, in terms of her
upbringing, not as successful as here sibs or parents.


>
>Peter McClure
>Winnipeg, MB
>

Boring old dances

Message 33062 · Richard S. Henderson · 16 Dec 2002 13:44:01 · Top

Was it not Tom Lehrer who pointed out that the trouble with folk music "is
that it was written by the people"? The context, if I recollect correctly,
was "Clementine", and he followed the observation by presenting the tune as
it would have been written/arranged by named composers.

Richard S. Henderson
11B Sachayan Court
27 Sukhumvit Soi 20
Bangkok 10110
Thailand

Phone +66 2 259 0586
Mobile +66 9 816 2832
Fax +66 2 259 6750
<mailto:rsh@myrealbox.com>

Boring old dances

Message 33064 · Ian McHaffie · 16 Dec 2002 14:45:46 · Top

Richard - thanks for the reminder about Tom Lehrer - can you remember
which album that was on? It's not on the one that I have!

Ian

>Was it not Tom Lehrer who pointed out that the trouble with folk music "is
>that it was written by the people"? The context, if I recollect correctly,
>was "Clementine", and he followed the observation by presenting the tune as
>it would have been written/arranged by named composers.
>
>Richard S. Henderson
>11B Sachayan Court
>27 Sukhumvit Soi 20
>Bangkok 10110
>Thailand
>
>Phone +66 2 259 0586
>Mobile +66 9 816 2832
>Fax +66 2 259 6750
><mailto:rsh@myrealbox.com>

--

Young people dancing was boring old dances

Message 33008 · Pia Walker · 13 Dec 2002 10:10:04 · Top

There are no adjudication at these festivals - it is non -competitive- it is
the primary schools who meet up and dance just for fun and if you have ever
seen a huge hall with rows upon rows of children in perfect order - dancing
their hearts out - it is an awesome sight.

My teenage class had their last class before Christmas yesterday - we had
fizzy drinks, loads of goodies and I was not teaching - just calling/mc'ing
the dances as they started - with the occasional yell like : THE OTHER LEFT
or THIS WAY - we invited the Branch Chairman and the Secretary to attend and
all the parents - and we had a great laugh - my ladies were twirled off
their little feet by the grown ups - in Duke of Perth and Strip the Willow.

In between dances we had conversation like : "Please Pia - can I have a
drink" - answer: "After the next dance" - or "Please can I try a muffin"
or "Yippeeeeeee! Snowman marshmallows!" or "you may now have a drink" or
"Yes! you can start eating" or "Could you let the grown ups to the table
too?"

Pia

----- Original Message -----
From: <GOSS9@sbcglobal.net>
To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
Sent: Friday, December 13, 2002 7:08 AM
Subject: Re: RE: Boring old dances

> Having been to some of those festivals, I remember
> one in Fife where Mina Corson was the adjudicator,
> perhaps I should explain. While many teachers are
> qualified, prepared, and do teach SCD, what I meant
> to say is that while up into the 60´s, with, as you
> pointed out, various levels of success, SCD was a
> part of the required curriculum, it is now only an
> option within the area of movement studies. Which
> means, lacking a teacher so motivated it does not get
> taught. Unfortunately, some of those teams one sees
> in festivals have only learned a "party piece"
> choreography and have no systematic knowledge of SCD
> that would necessarily lead to a continued
> involvement in secondary school or after.
>

Young people dancing was boring old dances

Message 33010 · GOSS9 · 13 Dec 2002 13:54:02 · Top

Must be a different kind of festival or they have
changed since the early 80´s.

Adjudication was not as in Highland games, but more
of a critique, there were no places or prizes given.

Hamilton House

Message 32992 · Martin.Sheffield · 12 Dec 2002 15:04:40 · Top

How is Hamilton House danced in non-RSCDS circles?

Swinging rather than turning with pdb?

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

Hamilton House

Message 32993 · Mike Briggs · 12 Dec 2002 16:13:19 · Top

Andrew Campbell and Roddy Martine, in "The Swinging Sporran, a
lighthearted guide to the basic steps and Scottish reels and country
dances" (1988), call for a crossed-hands swing, using what they describe
as a "travel step." They have a footnote to the effect that this is the
same step described by the Fletts as the "Travelling Pas de Basque."

(They also call for crossed-hand swings in The Reel of the 51st
Division, and in The Duke of Perth for a swing with left arms linked at
bars 5-8, and for linked-arm swings with corners and partner at bars
9-16.)

Mike
--
---------------------------------------------
Norma Briggs Voice: 608 835 0914
Michael J. Briggs Fax: 608 835 0924
BRIGGS LAW OFFICE
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Hamilton House

Message 32994 · Adam Hughes · 12 Dec 2002 16:34:47 · Top

Martin wrote:
> How is Hamilton House danced in non-RSCDS circles?

Michael Briggs wrote:
> Andrew Campbell and Roddy Martine...

I think the important thing is that the description they give is
descriptive, not prescriptive. In a single ballroom, you will find
variations from buzz stepped swings to half turns with pas-de-basque.
The dance "requires" the dancing couple to change places in four bars,
and it is traditional to do it by holding hands with your partner...
The rest is up to the individual dancers.

Adam
--
"Oh-oh!" Sally said.
"Don't you talk to that cat.
That cat is a bad one,
That Cat in the Hat..." (Dr. Seuss)

Hamilton House

Message 33007 · Martin.Sheffield · 13 Dec 2002 09:56:54 · Top

At 16:08 12/12/02, you wrote:
>... in The Duke of Perth for a swing with left arms linked at
>bars 5-8, and for linked-arm swings with corners and partner at bars
>9-16.)

Is that not the way it is always done?
;-)

Come to think of it, about 40 years ago (!) I remember D of P starting
with 8 bars of swing (just skip the turn & cast)...

Martin

Hamilton House

Message 33019 · Andrew Aitchison · 13 Dec 2002 17:42:52 · Top

On Thu, 12 Dec 2002, Martin wrote:

> Come to think of it, about 40 years ago (!) I remember D of P starting
> with 8 bars of swing (just skip the turn & cast)...

That's how DofP was encored well I was learning in Aberdeen a dozen
years ago.

--
Dr. Andrew C. Aitchison Computer Officer, DPMMS, Cambridge
A.C.Aitchison@dpmms.cam.ac.uk http://www.dpmms.cam.ac.uk/~werdna

Hamilton House

Message 33023 · Marie Pottinger · 13 Dec 2002 20:47:39 · Top

Puke of Derth starting with 8 bars of swing. Sounds about right. But - have
you ever seen 3 times round on the left hand turn in the middle of
corner-partner...?! Must dance in Edinburgh again soon...
M x.

----------------------
J. Marie Pottinger
15 Leabrook Road, Dronfield, S18 8YS
01246 412415 / 07752 854721
http://www.vickysjokes.com/funny/bush_aerobics.asp
http://www.vickysjokes.com/funny/dayo2.asp

_________________________________________________________________
MSN 8 with e-mail virus protection service: 2 months FREE*
http://join.msn.com/?page=features/virus

Hamilton House

Message 33032 · Martin.Sheffield · 14 Dec 2002 12:25:30 · Top

J. Marie wrote:
> But - have you ever seen 3 times round on the left hand turn in the
> middle of corner-partner...?!

No, but I used to have a partner who gave me some fast turns in Rest & be
Thankful -- I think we once reached five (and she must have weighed at
least 120 kilos!)

Martin

Programs. Was: Briefing

Message 32954 · Patricia Ruggiero · 10 Dec 2002 16:25:15 · Top

Andrew Smith wrote:
"....However, some people want more complexity, it seems, and I fear they
are either in the majority or, more likely, are more vocal...."

I'm happy to report that in the mid-Atlantic region (U.S.) dance programs
are a mix of old and new compositions, RSCDS and non-RSCDS dances, and easy,
intermediate, and complex dances. (Maybe it *is* possible to please all the
people all the time....)

Pat
Charlottesville, Virginia
USA

Programs. Was: Briefing

Message 32955 · Marilynn Knight · 10 Dec 2002 16:28:16 · Top

Pat,
Maybe that is particularly true when dealing with innately pleasant people?
Marilynn
Oh, how I'd like to be dancing right now....(if only my office mates felt
the same....unfortunately, not a dancing crowd)

-----Original Message-----
From: Patricia Ruggiero [mailto:ruggierop@earthlink.net]
Sent: Tuesday, December 10, 2002 10:25 AM
To: strathspey@strathspey.org
Subject: Programs. Was: Briefing

Andrew Smith wrote:
"....However, some people want more complexity, it seems, and I fear they
are either in the majority or, more likely, are more vocal...."

I'm happy to report that in the mid-Atlantic region (U.S.) dance programs
are a mix of old and new compositions, RSCDS and non-RSCDS dances, and easy,
intermediate, and complex dances. (Maybe it *is* possible to please all the
people all the time....)

Pat
Charlottesville, Virginia
USA

Briefing

Message 32957 · SallenNic · 10 Dec 2002 20:49:19 · Top

In a message dated 10/12/02 9:56:13 am, afsmith@bristolbs94lx.freeserve.co.uk
writes:

<< If the dances survived in the wild because they were fun, then why are they

perceived as no longer fun now they are in captivity? ........

... I think that it is a human condition to seek more and more sophistication
in

entertainment (as well as other spheres), and so the simple dances are

perceived as boring, it is unfashionable/ unsophisticated to be seen to be

really enjoying oneself ....

... this need for sophistication, and to distance from rustic simplicity and

possible over-exuberance.

I was asked to produce a programme for a dance, and went back to many of my

early favourites, plus some modern good-going but straight-forward dances

where the 4th C. gets a chance to watch ....
... I have a theory, which I had hoped to test, that most people

would like a simple programme which is not too taxing mentally ...

... However, some people want more complexity, it seems, and I fear they are

either in the majority or, more likely, are more vocal. ...
... "the fault, dear Brutus" may be in ourselves.

Very interesting set of observations, following as they do, my own experience
on the ECD scene.
Personally, I think it sad when complexity becomes mistaken for
sophistication. The only way I see of redressing this trend is for really
experienced teachers to set an example by shewing and speaking of their own
personal enjoyment in simpler/older dances.

Nicolas B., Lanark, Scotland.

Simple dances. Was: Briefing

Message 32969 · Patricia Ruggiero · 11 Dec 2002 04:01:17 · Top

Nicolas wrote:

>..The only way I see of redressing this trend is for really experienced
teachers to set an example by shewing and speaking of their own personal
enjoyment in simpler/older dances.

And for experienced dancers to do the same.

Pat
Charlottesville, Virginia
USA

Briefing

Message 32963 · Bryan McAlister · 10 Dec 2002 22:41:34 · Top

In article <009c01c2a031$860c7440$fa6687d9@default>, Andrew Smith
<afsmith@bristolbs94lx.freeserve.co.uk> writes
>Adam wrote
> "Tying into another thread, this is where all those boring, fun free,
> traditional RSCDS dances (particularly from books 1-8) are really,
> really useful. And fun, with the "right" music and the "right"
> attitude, which the RSCDS would certainly not condone... "
>and
>"I think the reason those dances survived "in the wild" to be collected, is
>that they can be fun, and a lot have "long" 4 bar turns or casts, which
>helps the less experienced dancers..."
Amen. These are often the dances that can bridge the gap between
dancers and non dancers (spouses?) Often these were the dances that
everyone knew and a fiddler or piper could trot out at wedding or a
hairst with no fear of the dance floor remaining empty. One of the down
sides of our modern huge, sometimes complicated, repertoire is that
memory no longer works and the general population is nowhere. Many of
the simple dances , by the introduction of the current poussette have
slipped out of reach.

Despite all that, it is hard to resist the temptation to go complex and
new dance devisors can no longer stick a rights and lefts, and down the
middle and back to a couple of other figures and sit back with a new
composition. Perhaps we should seek innovative simple figures and resist
the urge to invent a pelorus jack set and link in tandem....or has it
already been done?
--
Bryan McAlister B Arch RIBA ARIAS
Web page www.bryanmac.demon.co.uk
Email bryan@bryanmac.demon.co.uk
Mobile: 07732 600160 Fax: 0870 052 7625

Briefing

Message 33002 · Helen P. · 13 Dec 2002 08:27:25 · Top

> From: "Loretta Holz" <loretta@varisys.com>
> Sent: Monday, December 09, 2002 6:03 PM
Subject: Re: Briefing

Ah, Loretta, it's been too long since that gleeful ECD and SCD weekend!
<VBG>

Some ECD and contra/square dance callers call too late, too -- it's very
frustrating to the dancers!

One would expect that a SCD teacher and professional musician (who plays and
dances at all of these) would "obviously" have no such problem, what with
all that experience and sense of musical timing.

But, no, I've seen someone like that who consistently does have difficulty.
Because, as you say, there is a real art to it. It's a separate skill or
talent -- actually TWO. Getting the "brevity" part down is just as
important as the timing of the call. Call too early or late, or say too
much or too little, and the dancers get confused -- or stop paying attention
to the caller, as they struggle to keep their own set going. The situation
soon deteriorates as the dancers become unsettled and lose trust in the
caller.

What seems to work well is a single word or short phrase, spoken one or two
bars before a figure starts. That gives the dancers time to gracefully
finish the current figure, and to be mentally and physically positioned for
the next. If the upcoming figure is complex, a longer description during
the last several bars may be needed. For example, a warning call such as,
"Ladies, are you ready...?" might precede the short call, "Chain!"

Of course, any caller may get distracted and forget the next figure. If
there's no time to read the cue card (which a good caller has right at
hand), it's often possible to "read" the next figure off an experienced
dancer's movement, and at least make the call just as the figure starts.

If I notice that the caller needs help like this, I'll try to reach out my
hand, position my body, etc., slightly early -- so the caller can make the
call on time for everyone else. Note that what I'm doing is actually a form
of calling in its own way. I find that it's often helpful at other times,
too, as a way to cue other dancers. Beginner dancers absolutely LOVE it.
It assumes, however, that *I'm* not clueless, too! ;-)

-- Helen Powell (MD, USA)

Briefing

Message 32965 · Grant Logan · 10 Dec 2002 23:52:51 · Top

Further to what Loretta & Patricia said, and I agree entirely with Patricia
that SCD can be prompted. It is just a matter of developing the words to
describe a move or meanwhile moves which have to be called out in the few
beats available between the previous move and the next.
I teach SCD to square dancers and folk dancers, some of whom have never
danced SCD and some who might be exposed to SCD once or twice a year. If I
did not prompt them through the dance the set would quickly disintegrate.
These people are interested in dancing the dance. They do not want long
teaches.

As a matter of interest, I call a square dance, cue a round dance, lead a
folk dance, prompt contra & ECD, and brief SCD (with the exception of having
to prompt when necessary).

I prefer to use the term cue or prompt for contras, ECD and SCD. Calling is
unique to square dancing where the caller rarely says nothinig. Between
calling the move to be executed, singing calls are sung and other tunes are
filled with patter. The calls vary in length from 2 beats to 64 beats. A 32
or 64 beat move allows a caller to sing a whole verse or chorus.

Prompting or cueing are terms which describes what a contra leader does. It
is flexible in that it allows him or her to prompt when necessary using
whatever words best help the dancers to complete the dance.

Grant Logan
Thornhill, ON Canada

Briefing

Message 32972 · Patricia Ruggiero · 11 Dec 2002 04:30:08 · Top

Thanks, Grant, for an interesting perspective on the different aspects of
leading dancers to the next figures.

Did you see Priscilla's note that "...Western Square membership dropped by
50% (!) in the late 1990s"? I was unaware of this. How is the Lloyd Shaw
Foundation faring?

Pat
Charlottesville, Virginia
USA

Briefing

Message 33016 · Grant Logan · 13 Dec 2002 17:05:40 · Top

Pat wrote:
> Did you see Priscilla's note that "...Western Square membership dropped by
> 50% (!) in the late 1990s"? I was unaware of this. How is the Lloyd Shaw
> Foundation faring?

MWSD organizations have been singing the blues for the last ten years.
Callerlab's marketing initiatives have not been successful and have been a
waste of good money as far as I am concerned. However, it seems that classes
are doing better this year in many locations across North America.
Word-of-mouth and the efforts of individual clubs, dancers and callers are
the main reason for such limited success. We also refer to MWSD as being the
best kept secret... What is needed for all dance activities is some kind of
advertising that will attract people in the same way that all the fitness
centres are doing. People get up at 6 in the morning to attend a fitness
centre but can't get the energy or interest to spend an evening dancing!

The Lloyd Shaw Foundation is holding its own. New members mostly come from
those who attend one of the three dance camps they run each year (Cumberland
& Rocky Mountain Dance Roundup in the summer and Terpsichore's Holiday at
Christmas/NYs. We still generate renewals to LSF at York.

Talking about York, I am pleased to say we also have generated sufficient
interest in SCD that some of our new York dancers over the last few years
have taken up SCD. I taught St. Andrew's Links this year at York. This is a
great dance written by my teacher here in Toronto, Georgina Finlay. The York
dancers loved it.

Grant Logan
Thornhill, ON Canada

Briefing

Message 33017 · Marilynn Knight · 13 Dec 2002 17:18:05 · Top

But, hey, Grant, I'd gladly get out at 6am to dance....!!!!!

-----Original Message-----
From: Grant Logan [mailto:grant.logan@3web.net]
Sent: Friday, December 13, 2002 11:03 AM
To: strathspey@strathspey.org
Subject: Re: Briefing

Pat wrote:
> Did you see Priscilla's note that "...Western Square membership dropped by
> 50% (!) in the late 1990s"? I was unaware of this. How is the Lloyd Shaw
> Foundation faring?

MWSD organizations have been singing the blues for the last ten years.
Callerlab's marketing initiatives have not been successful and have been a
waste of good money as far as I am concerned. However, it seems that classes
are doing better this year in many locations across North America.
Word-of-mouth and the efforts of individual clubs, dancers and callers are
the main reason for such limited success. We also refer to MWSD as being the
best kept secret... What is needed for all dance activities is some kind of
advertising that will attract people in the same way that all the fitness
centres are doing. People get up at 6 in the morning to attend a fitness
centre but can't get the energy or interest to spend an evening dancing!

The Lloyd Shaw Foundation is holding its own. New members mostly come from
those who attend one of the three dance camps they run each year (Cumberland
& Rocky Mountain Dance Roundup in the summer and Terpsichore's Holiday at
Christmas/NYs. We still generate renewals to LSF at York.

Talking about York, I am pleased to say we also have generated sufficient
interest in SCD that some of our new York dancers over the last few years
have taken up SCD. I taught St. Andrew's Links this year at York. This is a
great dance written by my teacher here in Toronto, Georgina Finlay. The York
dancers loved it.

Grant Logan
Thornhill, ON Canada

Briefing

Message 33018 · Marilynn Knight · 13 Dec 2002 17:18:45 · Top

Also, how to get a copy of St. Andrew's Links????

-----Original Message-----
From: Grant Logan [mailto:grant.logan@3web.net]
Sent: Friday, December 13, 2002 11:03 AM
To: strathspey@strathspey.org
Subject: Re: Briefing

Pat wrote:
> Did you see Priscilla's note that "...Western Square membership dropped by
> 50% (!) in the late 1990s"? I was unaware of this. How is the Lloyd Shaw
> Foundation faring?

MWSD organizations have been singing the blues for the last ten years.
Callerlab's marketing initiatives have not been successful and have been a
waste of good money as far as I am concerned. However, it seems that classes
are doing better this year in many locations across North America.
Word-of-mouth and the efforts of individual clubs, dancers and callers are
the main reason for such limited success. We also refer to MWSD as being the
best kept secret... What is needed for all dance activities is some kind of
advertising that will attract people in the same way that all the fitness
centres are doing. People get up at 6 in the morning to attend a fitness
centre but can't get the energy or interest to spend an evening dancing!

The Lloyd Shaw Foundation is holding its own. New members mostly come from
those who attend one of the three dance camps they run each year (Cumberland
& Rocky Mountain Dance Roundup in the summer and Terpsichore's Holiday at
Christmas/NYs. We still generate renewals to LSF at York.

Talking about York, I am pleased to say we also have generated sufficient
interest in SCD that some of our new York dancers over the last few years
have taken up SCD. I taught St. Andrew's Links this year at York. This is a
great dance written by my teacher here in Toronto, Georgina Finlay. The York
dancers loved it.

Grant Logan
Thornhill, ON Canada

Briefing

Message 33030 · Martin.Sheffield · 14 Dec 2002 09:46:18 · Top

At 17:02 13/12/02, you wrote:
> I taught St. Andrew's Links this year at York. This is a
>great dance written by my teacher here in Toronto, Georgina Finlay.

Beg your pardon?

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

Briefing

Message 33031 · Alan Paterson · 14 Dec 2002 12:10:33 · Top

Martin wrote:
>
> At 17:02 13/12/02, you wrote:
> > I taught St. Andrew's Links this year at York. This is a
> >great dance written by my teacher here in Toronto, Georgina Finlay.
>
> Beg your pardon?
>
> Martin
> in Grenoble, France.
> http://perso.wanadoo.fr/scots.in.france/scd.htm

Saint Andrews Links was written by Martin Sheffield.

To my knowledge, Georgina Finlay has only devised (or at least made public)
the strathspey Bonavista (and a nice one it is too).

Alan

Briefing

Message 33035 · Martin Mulligan · 14 Dec 2002 15:21:59 · Top

On Sat, 14 Dec 2002, Alan Paterson wrote:
> Martin wrote:
> > At 17:02 13/12/02, you wrote:
> > > I taught St. Andrew's Links this year at York. This is a
> > >great dance written by my teacher here in Toronto, Georgina Finlay.
> >
> > Beg your pardon?
> >
> Saint Andrews Links was written by Martin Sheffield.
>
> To my knowledge, Georgina Finlay has only devised (or at least made public)
> the strathspey Bonavista (and a nice one it is too).

What we have here is an inadvertent duplication of a dance name.

Georgina Finlay has indeed written a dance called St. Andrews Links. I
was privileged to be given an advance copy and taught the dance at Winter
School in Sydney. (Where it inspired Iain Boyd to write The Tree Fern)

Georgina's dance is a 40 bar strathspey. It is intended to celebrate the
close "links" between the Home of Golf and the RSCDS. Georgina is a 4th
generation native of St. Andrews and she visits Summer School every year.
I believe that she presented copies of the dance at Summer School.

Music for the dance was composed by Billy Anderson of St Andrews and it
was this music that inspired Georgina to write the dance.

I was unaware that (the other) Martin had written a dance of the same
name. Thanks for making me aware of this, Martin. A subtle difference
between the two is that Georgina's dance uses "St." whereas Martin's
spells
out "Saint"

BTW, Alan, Bonavista is a reel! :-)
(it's correct in the database)

Martin
in St. John's, Newfoundland
mulligan@mun.ca

Briefing

Message 33065 · Grant Logan · 16 Dec 2002 16:00:16 · Top

Martin Mulligan wrote
> What we have here is an inadvertent duplication of a dance name.
> Georgina Finlay has indeed written ...
> I was unaware that (the other) Martin had written a dance of the same
> name. Thanks for making me aware of this, Martin. A subtle difference
> between the two is that Georgina's dance uses "St." whereas Martin's
> spells out "Saint".

Notwithstanding the spelling, we do have two dances with the same name.
Georgina was not aware that Martin Sheffield had written a dance with the
same name. I just spoke with her yesterday about it. As a matter of curious
interest, Martin's has a link for two while Georgina's had a link for three.

To get to my point, I thought I had searched the database a few weeks ago
and did not notice the name. In looking today, I see that Martin's dance is
now listed. It is also in the on-line dance description. Unfortunately some
teacher and authors do not have email or access to the internet (Georgina
just recently got her internet access). It would be nice to have a clearing
house for titles and dances so this duplication would not happen. What is
the solution, or does it matter! Perhaps if everyone was aware of the
existence of the database (I am assuming Alan Paterson's would be used for
this) even if someone did not have personal access, it could be done at
place of employment, at a library or by some friend. Perhaps even the
Society or TAC could publlish a list of those dances in the database which
have not yet been published by the Society.

Grant Logan
Thornhill, ON Canada

Briefing

Message 33066 · Alan Paterson · 16 Dec 2002 16:29:29 · Top

Grant Logan wrote:
>
> Martin Mulligan wrote
> > What we have here is an inadvertent duplication of a dance name.
> > Georgina Finlay has indeed written ...
> > I was unaware that (the other) Martin had written a dance of the same
> > name. Thanks for making me aware of this, Martin. A subtle difference
> > between the two is that Georgina's dance uses "St." whereas Martin's
> > spells out "Saint".
>
> Notwithstanding the spelling, we do have two dances with the same name.

Since I standardise the spelling of "Saint" in the database (for search
purposes), even this difference has gone.

> Georgina was not aware that Martin Sheffield had written a dance with the
> same name. I just spoke with her yesterday about it. As a matter of curious
> interest, Martin's has a link for two while Georgina's had a link for three.
>
> To get to my point, I thought I had searched the database a few weeks ago
> and did not notice the name. In looking today, I see that Martin's dance is
> now listed

Odd. It has been there for a few years now.

> It is also in the on-line dance description. Unfortunately some
> teacher and authors do not have email or access to the internet (Georgina
> just recently got her internet access).

Grant, Could you ask her to get in touch with me (alan@scottap.com) with
regard to filling in the missing information on her dances.

>It would be nice to have a clearing
> house for titles and dances so this duplication would not happen. What is
> the solution, or does it matter! Perhaps if everyone was aware of the
> existence of the database (I am assuming Alan Paterson's would be used for
> this) even if someone did not have personal access, it could be done at
> place of employment, at a library or by some friend. Perhaps even the
> Society or TAC could publlish a list of those dances in the database which
> have not yet been published by the Society.

I currently add dances at the average rate of about 10 per week. I suspect
(though it pains me to say it) that, if you want the most up-to-date
answer, then you will have to ask me.

However. Is this really such a problem? I confess that the situation
regrarding tune names (many duplicates and many aliases) does have me
pulling my hair out as it is much more difficult to determine which tune is
which. With dances this is less of a problem. It is usually clear, when two
dances have the same name, which is which (as long as one knows of all the
alternatives that is).

I believe it was Peter Hastings (correct me if I'm wrong Peter) who had his
lot dance all four "The Mercat Cross"es in one evening.

Then there are the 6 Celebration Reels, the 3 Always Welcomes, the 3
Anniversary Reels, the 4 Anniversary Strathspeys, ...

Alan

Same names. ( was Briefing ... )

Message 33071 · John Sturrock · 16 Dec 2002 18:44:15 · Top

Alan wrote :

>
> I believe it was Peter Hastings (correct me if I'm wrong Peter) who had
his
> lot dance all four "The Mercat Cross"es in one evening.
>

Quite a few years back, just after the third "Tappie Toorie" came out, one
of my classes danced them consecutively. I remember thinking at the time
that if only someone had written a Strathspey for a fourth, it would have
made for a wee bit more variety to the evening !

John Sturrock
Cupar UK

Same names. ( was Briefing ... )

Message 33072 · GOSS9 · 16 Dec 2002 19:28:37 · Top

One of Wilson´s publications provides three sets of
optional figures for each dance. It was the job of
the first man or woman to brief the dance he wanted.
Can´t remember the name of hand, but one of our
dances attributed to Wilson, is actually a splice
between two of these sets, 16 bars from each.

Same names. ( was Briefing ... )

Message 33087 · SallenNic · 17 Dec 2002 00:46:28 · Top

In a message dated 16/12/02 6:29:14 pm, GOSS9@sbcglobal.net writes:

<< One of Wilson´s publications provides three sets of

optional figures for each dance. It was the job of

the first man or woman to brief the dance he wanted.

Can´t remember the name of hand, but one of our

dances attributed to Wilson, is actually a splice

between two of these sets, 16 bars from each. >>

More than one of Wilson's voluminous oeuvres I think you'll find!
He usually gave two 'single figures' (AB) and then one 'double figure' (AABB).
Wilson was by no means the only perpetrator of this habit, either. Many of
the late C18th early C19th publishers did it.

Nicolas B., Lanark, Scotland.

Same names. ( was Briefing ... )

Message 33097 · GOSS9 · 17 Dec 2002 08:55:22 · Top

My "one of Wilson´s" was not an exclusive one. All I
meant to say, is he did this on one occasion, but not
on all occasions. While he, and others, did this in
the same book, Playford did it between books, I was
thinking of a particular book and RSCDS dance that
was misinterpreted from it.

Briefing

Message 33090 · Mike Briggs · 17 Dec 2002 04:36:20 · Top

It makes sense for Alan to standardize the spelling as 'Saint', since
the British and North American abbreviations for the word (St and St.)
are slightly different. The town itself is spelled (spelt?) St Andrews
(no apostrophe), and this spelling is accurately reflected in Dancedata,
so that you won't find Georgina's and Martin's dances between Saint
Andrew's Jig and Saint Andrew's Medley (I assume these dances are
connected to the holy man, not to the town).

Mike

Mike
--
---------------------------------------------
Norma Briggs Voice: 608 835 0914
Michael J. Briggs Fax: 608 835 0924
BRIGGS LAW OFFICE
1519 Storytown Rd Oregon WI 53575-2521 USA
---------------------------------------------
WWW.BRIGGSLAWOFFICE.COM
---------------------------------------------

dancedata standardizations (was briefings)

Message 33119 · Lara D. Friedman~Shedlov · 17 Dec 2002 16:03:15 · Top

Although DanceData is a fantastic resource and I love it, I have one
small pet peeve: I wish it had been designed to ignore apostrophes and
other punctuation when searching. This is the way many library
catalogs are designed. For example, a search for St. Andrew's would
retrieve

St Andrews
St. Andrews
St. Andrew's
St Andrew's

As a librarian who has helped people use many types of online catalogs,
databases, and indexes, I know from experience this would make the
search interface much more user friendly.

Cheers,
Lara Friedman~Shedlov
Minneapolis, MN USA

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

Quoting Michael or Norma Briggs <brigglaw@execpc.com>:

> It makes sense for Alan to standardize the spelling as 'Saint',
> since
> the British and North American abbreviations for the word (St and
> St.)
> are slightly different. The town itself is spelled (spelt?) St
> Andrews
> (no apostrophe), and this spelling is accurately reflected in
> Dancedata,
> so that you won't find Georgina's and Martin's dances between Saint
> Andrew's Jig and Saint Andrew's Medley (I assume these dances are
> connected to the holy man, not to the town).
>
> Mike
>
> Mike
> --
> ---------------------------------------------
> Norma Briggs Voice: 608 835 0914
> Michael J. Briggs Fax: 608 835 0924
> BRIGGS LAW OFFICE
> 1519 Storytown Rd Oregon WI 53575-2521 USA
> ---------------------------------------------
> WWW.BRIGGSLAWOFFICE.COM
> ---------------------------------------------
>

dancedata standardizations (was briefings)

Message 33121 · Alan Paterson · 17 Dec 2002 16:55:17 · Top

Lara Friedman-Shedlov wrote:
>
> Although DanceData is a fantastic resource and I love it, I have one
> small pet peeve: I wish it had been designed to ignore apostrophes and
> other punctuation when searching. This is the way many library
> catalogs are designed. For example, a search for St. Andrew's would
> retrieve
>
> St Andrews
> St. Andrews
> St. Andrew's
> St Andrew's
>
> As a librarian who has helped people use many types of online catalogs,
> databases, and indexes, I know from experience this would make the
> search interface much more user friendly.

Lara, you are absolutely correct there. What it needs doing is having a
separate field containing the normalised version of the name. This is
something which I know only too well from my professional database
activities. Why I didn't do it when I created DanceData I cannot now
explain.

This is a high priority extension. Perhaps in Version 4?

Alan

Dance titles

Message 33124 · Martin.Sheffield · 17 Dec 2002 17:17:29 · Top

Anselm wrote:
>...in naming a new dance. I'll just call it
>»No. 12345« or whatever number in the database it turns out to be.

There have been worse names; see book 40 !

Martin

Saint someone's links

Message 33073 · Martin.Sheffield · 16 Dec 2002 20:38:25 · Top

At 15:57 16/12/02, you wrote:

> > What we have here is an inadvertent duplication of a dance name.

No, in fact, two quite different names.

Saint Andrews Links (subject: home of summer school + verb: provides a
sense of belonging).
Saint Andrew's Links (reference to the parts of the chain that bound the
martyr to his cross -- or, perhaps, the cuff-links that the saint was wearing?)

Martin
in Grenoble, France.
http://perso.wanadoo.fr/scots.in.france/scd.htm
(page from which you can *link* to the dance instructions)

Saint someone's links

Message 33093 · GOSS9 · 17 Dec 2002 08:27:02 · Top

Links is simply the Scottish name for golf course, in
this case, the world´s most famous. A linksman is an
old word for a golfer. The original Scots word means
to walk briskly or trip along.

Saint someone's links

Message 33096 · GOSS9 · 17 Dec 2002 08:48:44 · Top

Interesting point St vs Saint. I never thought about
it before but just as "oxen" is the correct
abbreviation for an Oxford degree, my St Andrews
degree is indicated as "stan". In Fife, the town,
golf course, and university are pronounced in two
ways:
|STAN-drewz| or |sun-TAN-drewz|.
One can always identify an "incommer" when they say
|saint AN-drews|. Similarly, if the last syllable of
the capital does not sound like a woman´s upper
foundation garment, you are listening to an incommer.

Saint someone's links

Message 33102 · Adam Hughes · 17 Dec 2002 09:46:14 · Top

GOSS9@sbcglobal.net wrote:
> Interesting point St vs Saint. I never thought about
> it before but just as "oxen" is the correct
> abbreviation for an Oxford degree, my St Andrews
> degree is indicated as "stan".

Sorry, but I can't let that one slip... "(Oxon)" is the correct markup
of an Oxford degree.

Adam
--
"Oh-oh!" Sally said.
"Don't you talk to that cat.
That cat is a bad one,
That Cat in the Hat..." (Dr. Seuss)

Saint someone's links

Message 33109 · Rebecca Sager · 17 Dec 2002 11:42:54 · Top

When I lived in England the correct abbreviation for an Oxford degree was
(Oxon) and apparently still is:

A. J. Boyce, M.A., D.Phil. (Oxon).
University Reader in Human Population Biology; St John's College
V. Reynolds, M.A. (Oxon), B.A., Ph.D. (Lond).
University Lecturer in Physical Anthropology; Magdalen College

(pasted out of a Google search this a.m.)

Becky

Formerly P. J. Watkins B.Sc. (Lond)

On Tue, 17 Dec 2002 02:48:43 -0500 GOSS9@sbcglobal.net writes:
> Interesting point St vs Saint. I never thought about
> it before but just as "oxen" is the correct
> abbreviation for an Oxford degree, my St Andrews
> degree is indicated as "stan".

"Classes" and "Clubs"

Message 32862 · Priscilla M. Burrage · 6 Dec 2002 15:59:43 · Top

On Fri, 6 Dec 2002, Bryan McAlister wrote:

> When calling at Ceilidhs with dancers who dont know the dance I would
> definitely call through the dance - but American style? No!

OK, you got my attention. What do you mean "American style?" Western,
singing, or New England?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Priscilla Burrage Vermont US
(pburrage@zoo.uvm.edu)

"Classes" and "Clubs"

Message 32874 · SMiskoe · 7 Dec 2002 00:57:10 · Top

You cannot ask for sets and play the tune hoping that the dancers will know
the dance because:
there are so many dances that no one can know them all
the tunes are not always recognizable
the tunes are not always easily accessable so other tunes are substituted

The chestnut dances, ie Petronella, Money Musk, Montgomeries Rant might fly
but even Cadgers might go unrecognized if the name tune is the one played.
Cheers,
Sylvia Miskoe, Concord, NH USA

Calling. Was: "Classes" and "Clubs"

Message 32877 · Patricia Ruggiero · 7 Dec 2002 03:07:25 · Top

Bryan wrote:
>When calling at Ceilidhs with dancers who dont know the dance I would
definitely call through the dance - but American style? No!

How are these two practices different?

Pat

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