strathspey Archive: Ceilidh dance at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival

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Ceilidh dance at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival

Message 35537 · steph · 13 Jun 2003 15:37:39 · Top

I've been lurking on this list for awhile, and found the recent discussion about
ceilidh versus SCD very interesting, having been part of the ceilidh scene in
Edinburgh in the 1980s. I'm also interested to see this vote for the best
Scottish dance band. A perfect segue to say that those of you who are within
driving distance of Washington, DC can experience ceilidh dancing to the
Occasionals during the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, June 25-29, and July 2-6.
There's info at:

http://www.folklife.si.edu/CFCH/festival2003/2003_festival.htm

and the schedule will be posted online in the next few days. The dance focus in
the Scotland program is participatory ceilidh dance, and there will also be a
Shetland dance teacher, Maria Leask, and Highland dancers Deryck and Gareth
Mitchelson. We'd be happy to have you join us. Feel free to email me at my
work address below if you have any questions about the Festival program.

Stephanie Smith
work:
Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
Smithsonian Institution
steph@folkways.si.edu

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Ceilidh dance at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival

Message 35538 · Helen P. · 13 Jun 2003 18:41:54 · Top

Attn: Musicians - Bring your instruments for daytime jamming with the
festival participants from Scotland and Mali at the festival every day in a
tent reserved for that purpose, on the National Capital Mall.

-- Helen (MD USA)
dancing shoes & accordion in hand

From: <steph@boo.net>
Sent: Friday, June 13, 2003 8:37 AM

> I've been lurking on this list for awhile, and found the recent discussion
about
> ceilidh versus SCD very interesting, having been part of the ceilidh scene
in
> Edinburgh in the 1980s. I'm also interested to see this vote for the best
> Scottish dance band. A perfect segue to say that those of you who are
within
> driving distance of Washington, DC can experience ceilidh dancing to the
> Occasionals during the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, June 25-29, and July
2-6.
> There's info at:
>
> http://www.folklife.si.edu/CFCH/festival2003/2003_festival.htm
>
> and the schedule will be posted online in the next few days. The dance
focus in
> the Scotland program is participatory ceilidh dance, and there will also
be a
> Shetland dance teacher, Maria Leask, and Highland dancers Deryck and
Gareth
> Mitchelson. We'd be happy to have you join us. Feel free to email me at
my
> work address below if you have any questions about the Festival program.
>
> Stephanie Smith
> work:
> Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
> Smithsonian Institution
> steph@folkways.si.edu

Ceilidh dance at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival

Message 35539 · John Chambers · 13 Jun 2003 19:29:42 · Top

Helen hints:
| Attn: Musicians - Bring your instruments for daytime jamming with the
| festival participants from Scotland and Mali at the festival every day in a
| tent reserved for that purpose, on the National Capital Mall.

This does seem to be a regular part of this festival. They set up
well-separated tents for the participants, and they tend to draw
crowds of interested people. The participants can get bored just
sitting around between events, and they'll appreciate people who want
to talk. Background music is generally welcome by the rest. If a bit
of dancing happens, so much the better.

Some years back, I was at the Smithsonian festival when there was a
crowd of Greeks. It was a very hot summer, but the Greeks had a
technique for handling it. There was an all-day jam session, which I
joined in occasionally. Part of any Greek gathering, of course, is
ouzo, and there would usually be a guy with a bottle who would fill a
small glass and hold it in front of a musician until he took it and
emptied it. Then the guy would fill it up and hold it in front of the
next musician. By noon, you didn't much notice the temperature.

Greeks insist that this is the only way to get the proper traditional
sound from musicians. And it also encourages dancers, who encourage
musicians, who encourage dancers. After a few days, we were all good
friends.

I'd think that the same approach would work well with Scottish and
Appalachian gatherings, except that you'd have to bring scotch or
bourbon. And bring the good stuff, so that people can get into long
discussions of the relative merits of each variety.

I was at another that had a crowd of Turks, who despite being Muslims
seemed to be well-supplied with raki. In their discussions, most of
them agreed that it was embarrassing to admit that the best raki was
Metaxa ouzo. I was actually one of the few who preferred a couple of
the Turkish brands, on the grounds that Metaxa ouzo is just a bit too
sweet. The same disagreement will arise in discussions of good scotch
and good bourbon, of course.

In any case, people from Scotland are especially likely to find the
D.C. weather a bit on the unbearably hot side ...

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