strathspey Archive: "Thou Shalt Not..."

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"Thou Shalt Not..."

Message 35999 · Lee Fuell · 10 Aug 2003 00:23:08 · Top

Hey, folks,

This whole discussion of bars 11-12 of Monymusk is kinda grating on me. I've
come to the conclusion over the years that there are entirely too many "thou shalt
nots" in SCD, and it is adversely affecting participation. The other night in our
class, an experienced dancer used the word "illegal" to criticize a variation on a
figure, as if an offender would be arrested, charged, and imprisoned for not doing
the figure exactly as described in the RSCDS manual. This is taking ourselves far
too seriously!

So do you set right, set left, set right, then pivot into the new position on bars 9-12
of Monymusk, or do you set left, set right, then Petronella? Guess what - IT
DOESN'T MATTER! Do you pass left shoulder or right shoulder in Mairi's
Wedding? IT DOESN'T MATTER! Do men cast or dance into Ladies' Chain? IT
DOESN'T MATTER! Do you twiddle between corners in Set To and Turn Corners,
or not? IT DOESN'T MATTER! Do you know why it doesn't matter? Because
none of these variations affect the other dancers in the set. As long as no other
dancers are interfered with, and can dance their role in the dance undisturbed,
variations like these are within the acceptable envelope, as far as I'm concerned.

I realize some devisors are offended if anyone dances their dances any way other
than written. I expect the RSCDS wants us to exactly copy the manual. Sorry - no
one's perfect, not even devisors and 12 Coates Crescent. Personally, I think
Mairi's Wedding (or Mairi's Divorce, if you must...) is a much better dance with a
right-shoulder pass. Ladies Chain is a much more interesting figure when the men
cast into it rather than dancing straight in. Set to and turn corners is great fun with
a good kilt-flipping twiddle in the middle. And any arguments along the lines of
"They don't do it that way in Scotland" are specious - I've seen more ad-libbing in
Scotland than out. SCD has to be a living, evolving, adapting activity if it is to
survive. A degree of standardization is important to allow us the pleasure of
dancing everywhere, but none of the variations listed above prevent us from doing
so.

As a great teacher of SCD recently asked, "Is SCD fun or life-threatening?" I fear
that too many of us behave like the latter, not the former. Let's all try to change
that, shall we?

OK, I'll get off my soapbox now. Maybe I should stop by Speaker's Corner at Hyde
Park later this month and take a turn...

Happy (and fun!) Dancing,

Lee
(Deep breath - deep breath - deep breath...)

"Thou Shalt Not..."

Message 36000 · Lee Fuell · 10 Aug 2003 00:33:54 · Top

Nuts. Lousy proofreading. In paragraph 2, I wrote: "...or do you set left, set right,
then Petronella?" That WOULD matter! Of course, what I meant was, "...or do
you set right, set left, then Petronella?"

If I'm going to rant, I should at least rant accurately. Shame on me.

Lee

Send reply to: strathspey@strathspey.org
From: "Donald Lee Fuell, Jr." <fuell@mindspring.com>
To: strathspey@strathspey.org
Date sent: Sat, 9 Aug 2003 18:25:06 -0400
Subject: "Thou Shalt Not..."
Priority: normal

> Hey, folks,
>
> This whole discussion of bars 11-12 of Monymusk is kinda grating on
> me. I've come to the conclusion over the years that there are
> entirely too many "thou shalt nots" in SCD, and it is adversely
> affecting participation. The other night in our class, an experienced
> dancer used the word "illegal" to criticize a variation on a figure,
> as if an offender would be arrested, charged, and imprisoned for not
> doing the figure exactly as described in the RSCDS manual. This is
> taking ourselves far too seriously!
>
> So do you set right, set left, set right, then pivot into the new
> position on bars 9-12 of Monymusk, or do you set left, set right, then
> Petronella? Guess what - IT DOESN'T MATTER! Do you pass left
> shoulder or right shoulder in Mairi's Wedding? IT DOESN'T MATTER! Do
> men cast or dance into Ladies' Chain? IT DOESN'T MATTER! Do you
> twiddle between corners in Set To and Turn Corners, or not? IT
> DOESN'T MATTER! Do you know why it doesn't matter? Because none of
> these variations affect the other dancers in the set. As long as no
> other dancers are interfered with, and can dance their role in the
> dance undisturbed, variations like these are within the acceptable
> envelope, as far as I'm concerned.
>
> I realize some devisors are offended if anyone dances their dances any
> way other than written. I expect the RSCDS wants us to exactly copy
> the manual. Sorry - no one's perfect, not even devisors and 12 Coates
> Crescent. Personally, I think Mairi's Wedding (or Mairi's Divorce, if
> you must...) is a much better dance with a right-shoulder pass.
> Ladies Chain is a much more interesting figure when the men cast into
> it rather than dancing straight in. Set to and turn corners is great
> fun with a good kilt-flipping twiddle in the middle. And any
> arguments along the lines of "They don't do it that way in Scotland"
> are specious - I've seen more ad-libbing in Scotland than out. SCD
> has to be a living, evolving, adapting activity if it is to survive.
> A degree of standardization is important to allow us the pleasure of
> dancing everywhere, but none of the variations listed above prevent us
> from doing so.
>
> As a great teacher of SCD recently asked, "Is SCD fun or
> life-threatening?" I fear that too many of us behave like the latter,
> not the former. Let's all try to change that, shall we?
>
> OK, I'll get off my soapbox now. Maybe I should stop by Speaker's
> Corner at Hyde Park later this month and take a turn...
>
> Happy (and fun!) Dancing,
>
> Lee
> (Deep breath - deep breath - deep breath...)

"Thou Shalt Not..."

Message 36008 · Pia Walker · 10 Aug 2003 12:35:46 · Top

So is this THE Donald Lee Fuell Rant or just Donald Lee Fuel's Rant :>)

Pia
----- Original Message -----
From: "Donald Lee Fuell, Jr." <fuell@mindspring.com>
To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
Sent: Saturday, August 09, 2003 11:35 PM
Subject: Re: "Thou Shalt Not..."

> Nuts. Lousy proofreading. In paragraph 2, I wrote: "...or do you set
left, set right,
> then Petronella?" That WOULD matter! Of course, what I meant was, "...or
do
> you set right, set left, then Petronella?"
>
> If I'm going to rant, I should at least rant accurately. Shame on me.
>
> Lee
>
> Send reply to: strathspey@strathspey.org
> From: "Donald Lee Fuell, Jr." <fuell@mindspring.com>
> To: strathspey@strathspey.org
> Date sent: Sat, 9 Aug 2003 18:25:06 -0400
> Subject: "Thou Shalt Not..."
> Priority: normal
>
> > Hey, folks,
> >
> > This whole discussion of bars 11-12 of Monymusk is kinda grating on
> > me. I've come to the conclusion over the years that there are
> > entirely too many "thou shalt nots" in SCD, and it is adversely
> > affecting participation. The other night in our class, an experienced
> > dancer used the word "illegal" to criticize a variation on a figure,
> > as if an offender would be arrested, charged, and imprisoned for not
> > doing the figure exactly as described in the RSCDS manual. This is
> > taking ourselves far too seriously!
> >
> > So do you set right, set left, set right, then pivot into the new
> > position on bars 9-12 of Monymusk, or do you set left, set right, then
> > Petronella? Guess what - IT DOESN'T MATTER! Do you pass left
> > shoulder or right shoulder in Mairi's Wedding? IT DOESN'T MATTER! Do
> > men cast or dance into Ladies' Chain? IT DOESN'T MATTER! Do you
> > twiddle between corners in Set To and Turn Corners, or not? IT
> > DOESN'T MATTER! Do you know why it doesn't matter? Because none of
> > these variations affect the other dancers in the set. As long as no
> > other dancers are interfered with, and can dance their role in the
> > dance undisturbed, variations like these are within the acceptable
> > envelope, as far as I'm concerned.
> >
> > I realize some devisors are offended if anyone dances their dances any
> > way other than written. I expect the RSCDS wants us to exactly copy
> > the manual. Sorry - no one's perfect, not even devisors and 12 Coates
> > Crescent. Personally, I think Mairi's Wedding (or Mairi's Divorce, if
> > you must...) is a much better dance with a right-shoulder pass.
> > Ladies Chain is a much more interesting figure when the men cast into
> > it rather than dancing straight in. Set to and turn corners is great
> > fun with a good kilt-flipping twiddle in the middle. And any
> > arguments along the lines of "They don't do it that way in Scotland"
> > are specious - I've seen more ad-libbing in Scotland than out. SCD
> > has to be a living, evolving, adapting activity if it is to survive.
> > A degree of standardization is important to allow us the pleasure of
> > dancing everywhere, but none of the variations listed above prevent us
> > from doing so.
> >
> > As a great teacher of SCD recently asked, "Is SCD fun or
> > life-threatening?" I fear that too many of us behave like the latter,
> > not the former. Let's all try to change that, shall we?
> >
> > OK, I'll get off my soapbox now. Maybe I should stop by Speaker's
> > Corner at Hyde Park later this month and take a turn...
> >
> > Happy (and fun!) Dancing,
> >
> > Lee
> > (Deep breath - deep breath - deep breath...)
>
>

"Thou Shalt Not..."

Message 36001 · Ray D. Sampson · 10 Aug 2003 02:27:45 · Top

About "this whole discussion of Bars 9-12 of Munymusk" it has taken
on a life of its own! I wrote a thank- you to all who wrote earlier in
the Day! Please let us drop the thread! And Yes, I've printed all the
responses, and will present the most logical to class on Thursday!
Thank-you, Merci Bien, Muchas Gracias, Muito Obrigada!

Best, Ray Sampson
On Saturday, August 9, 2003, at 03:25 PM, Donald Lee Fuell, Jr. wrote:

> Hey, folks,
>
> This whole discussion of bars 11-12 of Monymusk is kinda grating on
> me. I've
> come to the conclusion over the years that there are entirely too many
> "thou shalt
> nots" in SCD, and it is adversely affecting participation. The other
> night in our
> class, an experienced dancer used the word "illegal" to criticize a
> variation on a
> figure, as if an offender would be arrested, charged, and imprisoned
> for not doing
> the figure exactly as described in the RSCDS manual. This is taking
> ourselves far
> too seriously!
>
> So do you set right, set left, set right, then pivot into the new
> position on bars 9-12
> of Monymusk, or do you set left, set right, then Petronella? Guess
> what - IT
> DOESN'T MATTER! Do you pass left shoulder or right shoulder in Mairi's
> Wedding? IT DOESN'T MATTER! Do men cast or dance into Ladies' Chain?
> IT
> DOESN'T MATTER! Do you twiddle between corners in Set To and Turn
> Corners,
> or not? IT DOESN'T MATTER! Do you know why it doesn't matter? Because
> none of these variations affect the other dancers in the set. As long
> as no other
> dancers are interfered with, and can dance their role in the dance
> undisturbed,
> variations like these are within the acceptable envelope, as far as I'm
> concerned.
>
> I realize some devisors are offended if anyone dances their dances any
> way other
> than written. I expect the RSCDS wants us to exactly copy the manual.
> Sorry - no
> one's perfect, not even devisors and 12 Coates Crescent. Personally, I
> think
> Mairi's Wedding (or Mairi's Divorce, if you must...) is a much better
> dance with a
> right-shoulder pass. Ladies Chain is a much more interesting figure
> when the men
> cast into it rather than dancing straight in. Set to and turn corners
> is great fun with
> a good kilt-flipping twiddle in the middle. And any arguments along
> the lines of
> "They don't do it that way in Scotland" are specious - I've seen more
> ad-libbing in
> Scotland than out. SCD has to be a living, evolving, adapting activity
> if it is to
> survive. A degree of standardization is important to allow us the
> pleasure of
> dancing everywhere, but none of the variations listed above prevent us
> from doing
> so.
>
> As a great teacher of SCD recently asked, "Is SCD fun or
> life-threatening?" I fear
> that too many of us behave like the latter, not the former. Let's all
> try to change
> that, shall we?
>
> OK, I'll get off my soapbox now. Maybe I should stop by Speaker's
> Corner at Hyde
> Park later this month and take a turn...
>
> Happy (and fun!) Dancing,
>
> Lee
> (Deep breath - deep breath - deep breath...)
>

"Thou Shalt Not..."

Message 36002 · Fyreladdie · 10 Aug 2003 05:09:10 · Top

Lee,
I agree, in spirit, to several of the things mentioned. With the
exception of passing right or left, extra twirl, it should not matter as long as, your
partner and set are aware, should they be invovled with these modifications.
As a dance deviser, I don't mind if people have fun with my dances and do
extra things to make it more enjoyable. But it also does distress me when the flow
of the dance is ruined, because someone wanted to do something extra, leaving
them out of position for the next figure.
I have to admit, I like the "team" effort of dancing. As a team, I am
only one part, no more important nor less important, than any others. For the few
wild bright stars, in the heavens, I suggest taking Highland. Individual
attention will be more appreciated in that setting. There is something very
satisfying about finishing a SCD dance, where all have performed to their best
level, as a team. We all take a bow. That doesn't mean we have crossed all the "Ts"
and dotted all the "Is" as far and the dance may be written.
Dance, play and enjoy it. It's only dancing, after all.

Bob Mc Murtry
San Francisco Branch
Felton, California

"Thou Shalt Not..."

Message 36003 · Lee Fuell · 10 Aug 2003 05:50:43 · Top

Yes, Bob, you are right - it's only dancing. Interfering with other people's dancing is
discourteous, disrupts the team aspect of the dance, and is not something I
condone - but this is team dancing, not precision drill competition (at least, not on
the social dance floor). My unfortunate experience has been that too many people
try to make it the latter.

I guess I'm also very frustrated that folks on this list will spend days debating a
relatively insignificant matter like bars 11-12 of Monymusk, which thousands of
people have danced successfully for years, but seems to be completely ignoring
issues critical to the future health of SCD like those Mel Briscoe recently tried to
raise. For example, I wish I would see as much energy spent on brainstorming
how the RSCDS might transform its counterproductive (original adjectives deleted)
teacher examination process into an effective and positive teacher development
program.

Sighing heavily,

Lee

Send reply to: strathspey@strathspey.org
From: Fyreladdie@aol.com
Date sent: Sat, 9 Aug 2003 23:09:42 EDT
Subject: Re: "Thou Shalt Not..."
To: strathspey@strathspey.org

> Lee,
> I agree, in spirit, to several of the things mentioned. With the
> exception of passing right or left, extra twirl, it should not matter
> as long as, your partner and set are aware, should they be invovled
> with these modifications. As a dance deviser, I don't mind if people
> have fun with my dances and do extra things to make it more enjoyable.
> But it also does distress me when the flow of the dance is ruined,
> because someone wanted to do something extra, leaving them out of
> position for the next figure.
> I have to admit, I like the "team" effort of dancing. As a team, I
> am
> only one part, no more important nor less important, than any others.
> For the few wild bright stars, in the heavens, I suggest taking
> Highland. Individual attention will be more appreciated in that
> setting. There is something very satisfying about finishing a SCD
> dance, where all have performed to their best level, as a team. We all
> take a bow. That doesn't mean we have crossed all the "Ts" and dotted
> all the "Is" as far and the dance may be written.
> Dance, play and enjoy it. It's only dancing, after all.
>
> Bob Mc Murtry
> San Francisco Branch
> Felton, California

RSCDS Exams

Message 36020 · Doug Mills · 11 Aug 2003 00:50:01 · Top

"Donald Lee Fuell, Jr." wrote:

> ..... For example, I wish I would see as much energy spent on brainstorming
> how the RSCDS might transform its counterproductive (original adjectives deleted)
> teacher examination process into an effective and positive teacher development
> program.

hmmmm. I always get a bit miffed when I see comment's such as Lee's about the RSCDS exam
process.

The Society has set a standard for it's exams, it is what they would expect from a teacher
if that teacher is trained and qualified as an "RSCDS Teacher". Surely they are entitled to
draw a line in the sand and say "you must come up to this mark if you want our
qualification"?

Perhaps Lee is referring to the way the exams are run, rather than the content? Taking any
exam is a nerve wracking experience, and dealing with any critique is never easy. In my
post exam discussion, the examiner pointed out several things that could improve my
teaching, which I took as encouragement not critisim. (They were valid points, and yes, I
still passed) It could be that some individual examiners lack some of the "people skills"
to get their message across to the candidates effectively (and compassionately?) and I
couldn't argue with that.

The Society (to my knowledge) has never said that if you are going to teach SCD you must be
an RSCDS qualified teacher, or that if you are going to dance SCD then you must dance it the
way the RSCDS way. I turn on 12, but wouldn't have a hissy fit if my partner or anyone else
turned on 11 & 12.

If you think you would find taking the exam daunting or "counterproductive" - then don't do
it!

Wishing I was in Britian as our "high" today will be 8 degrees! (46 in olde worlde numbers)

Doug Mills
Christchurch, NZ

RSCDS Exams

Message 36022 · Lee Fuell · 11 Aug 2003 01:44:32 · Top

All,

Re:


> hmmmm. I always get a bit miffed when I see comment's such as Lee's
> about the RSCDS exam process.
>
> The Society has set a standard for it's exams,

Lee's comments about the exam process have nothing to do with setting standards
and expecting people to meet them. They have everything to do with the apparent
(from his perspective) lack of a common understanding and application of
standards, and the negative conduct of the exams.

First, some qualifying disclaimers: Lee has never taken and RSCDS exam, so
none of what follows is "sour grapes" from someone who failed. However, Lee has
learned a lot about the exam process because once upon a time, he had a goal of
becoming an RSCDS teacher. Unfortunately, the conduct of the RSCDS exam
process has sucked that goal out of him - he no longer considers the process valid
and doesn't respect it enough to subject himself to it. Here's why, based on
observation and consultation with teachers, candidates and tutors:

- Standards for passing of failing are not commonly understood or applied. Too
many tutors (who observe their candidates taking the exam) report that candidates
they believe should have passed, failed, and vice-versa. This tells Lee that there is
insufficient understanding and even application of standards for tutors to be able to
prepare students for the exam.

- Although the RSCDS has established graded elements on the examination form,
there appears to be no link between grades and overall pass or fail (i.e., you have
to get a "C" average to pass, for example). If such a standard exists, Lee is not
aware of it.

- There is no evident requirement for examiners to explicitly and clearly explain to a
candidate who does not pass why they did not pass and what they need to improve
to pass on the next attempt. Some examiners may do this, but it is most certainly
not universal.

- There is no accountability for examiners - no review process and no appeal
process. Examiners can be as arbitrary and capricious as they choose, and
candidates just have to live with it.

- The "burden of proof" lies with the candidate. Despite having completed a
prescribed candidate course, and having a tutor sign off on the candidate to take
the exam, there is no presumption that the candidate meets standards. For a
recreational certification like SCD teacher (sorry, it's not a professional certification
for the vast majority, despite Jean Milligan's desires...), the presumption should be
that if the candidate has completed the course, he/she is qualified unless the
examiners can substantiate that they failed to meet standards. The tutor knows
the candidate better, and his/her recommendation should be the determinant
unless clearly justified otherwise by the examiners.

- Adjectives Lee has heard applied to the RSCDS examination process: "sadistic"
(by a holder of the Teacher's Certificate) and "un-Christian" (by a Presbyterian
minister who passed his Prelim but was so put off by the process that he refuses to
go for the Teacher's Certificate).

Mel Briscoe outlined an excellent alternative approach to developing teachers in a
cooperative, nurturing way in his article, "Is Scottish Country Dancing Fun or Life
Threatening?" which is posted on the Strathspey website. Lee thinks Mel has a
much more insightful understanding of how SCD needs to develop teachers than
does the RSCDS.

Re: "The Society (to my knowledge) has never said that if you are going to
teach SCD you must be an RSCDS qualified teacher,"

No, but the society has said that to teach SCD in an RSCDS branch or
affiliated group, you must be an RSCDS qualified teacher. The majority of
SCD groups in North America are branches or affiliates, and the "culture"
here is that if you're not a Prelim or Teacher, you shouldn't teach.

Re: "If you think you would find taking the exam daunting or
"counterproductive" - then don't do it!"

Lee tends to get a bit miffed when he encounters this "take it or leave it"
attitude about anything. Change in the form of continuous improvement is
essential to the health of any organization; stagnation equals death.
Qualified teachers are the key to promoting and furthering SCD, teaching
new dancers so we'll have someone to dance with when we're old and gray.
We need a better, more cooperative and development-oriented process to
produce more qualified teachers so we'll have more happy dancers. In Lee's
opinion, it's the most important issue facing SCD today, and the most
important determinant of the future health of SCD.

Read Mel's article and see what you think!

Happy dancing,

Lee, himself.

RSCDS Exams

Message 36023 · Garth Martens · 11 Aug 2003 02:57:33 · Top

Here, here!

"Donald Lee Fuell, Jr." <fuell@mindspring.com> wrote:
Lee tends to get a bit miffed when he encounters this "take it or leave it" attitude about anything. Change in the form of continuous improvement is essential to the health of any organization; stagnation equals death. Qualified teachers are the key to promoting and furthering SCD, teaching new dancers so we'll have someone to dance with when we're old and gray.
We need a better, more cooperative and development-oriented process to produce more qualified teachers so we'll have more happy dancers. In Lee's opinion, it's the most important issue facing SCD today, and the most important determinant of the future health of SCD.

Read Mel's article and see what you think!

Happy dancing,

Lee, himself.

---------------------------------
Post your free ad now! Yahoo! Canada Personals

RSCDS Exams

Message 36025 · Garth Martens · 11 Aug 2003 06:00:24 · Top

oosie... i believe i meant, "hear, hear" - oh dear

Garth Martens <midnight_strathspey@yahoo.ca> wrote:Here, here!

"Donald Lee Fuell, Jr." wrote:
Lee tends to get a bit miffed when he encounters this "take it or leave it" attitude about anything. Change in the form of continuous improvement is essential to the health of any organization; stagnation equals death. Qualified teachers are the key to promoting and furthering SCD, teaching new dancers so we'll have someone to dance with when we're old and gray.
We need a better, more cooperative and development-oriented process to produce more qualified teachers so we'll have more happy dancers. In Lee's opinion, it's the most important issue facing SCD today, and the most important determinant of the future health of SCD.

Read Mel's article and see what you think!

Happy dancing,

Lee, himself.

---------------------------------
Post your free ad now! Yahoo! Canada Personals

---------------------------------
Post your free ad now! Yahoo! Canada Personals

RSCDS Exams

Message 36042 · Pia Walker · 11 Aug 2003 21:08:38 · Top

There There Garth don't worry :>)

Pia
----- Original Message -----
From: "Garth Martens" <midnight_strathspey@yahoo.ca>
To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
Sent: Monday, August 11, 2003 5:00 AM
Subject: Re: RSCDS Exams

> oosie... i believe i meant, "hear, hear" - oh dear
>
> Garth Martens <midnight_strathspey@yahoo.ca> wrote:Here, here!
>
> "Donald Lee Fuell, Jr." wrote:
> Lee tends to get a bit miffed when he encounters this "take it or leave
it" attitude about anything. Change in the form of continuous improvement is
essential to the health of any organization; stagnation equals death.
Qualified teachers are the key to promoting and furthering SCD, teaching new
dancers so we'll have someone to dance with when we're old and gray.
> We need a better, more cooperative and development-oriented process to
produce more qualified teachers so we'll have more happy dancers. In Lee's
opinion, it's the most important issue facing SCD today, and the most
important determinant of the future health of SCD.
>
> Read Mel's article and see what you think!
>
> Happy dancing,
>
> Lee, himself.
>
>
>
> ---------------------------------
> Post your free ad now! Yahoo! Canada Personals
>
>
>
>
> ---------------------------------
> Post your free ad now! Yahoo! Canada Personals
>

RSCDS Exams

Message 36059 · Helen P. · 12 Aug 2003 07:00:03 · Top

Don't you mean, "Their, their"? ;-)

-- Helen (Md USA)
From: "Pia Walker" <piawalke@nascr.net>
Sent: Monday, August 11, 2003 3:10 PM

> There There Garth don't worry :>)
>
> Pia

> From: "Garth Martens" <midnight_strathspey@yahoo.ca>
> Sent: Monday, August 11, 2003 5:00 AM
> > oosie... i believe i meant, "hear, hear" - oh dear
> >
> > Garth Martens <midnight_strathspey@yahoo.ca> wrote:Here, here!

YOUTH NETWORK

Message 36027 · Garth Martens · 11 Aug 2003 06:46:30 · Top

Strathspeyers,

First, I apologise if this comes across as less word efficient, indeed more on the rambling side, than I would have wished.

I am interested in seeking access and permission to use articles of interest to youth involved with SCD. This includes Mel Briscoe's TACtalk article, also, any articles in general that speak of the future of SCD. Testimonials of successful ventures in garnering youth interest in SCD is also desirable.

I'm setting up a website independent of my local UVic Caledonian Club website. It's aim is to serve as a network for SCD "youth" [a term left intentionally vague in definition :p] Over the past year, and especially in the months following the YOUTH WEEKEND WEST 2003, I have made extensive contacts with other "youth" in various locations in Canada, as well as a few in the United States. It is important to make use of these contacts, to expand them, and to establish an accessible, interactive newsletter-style front to the growing network between isolated pockets of youth in Scottish country dance communities across the continents [though for now we're North American based].

As the ideas formed, I found Strathspey.org a role model of sorts, in terms of making it an interactive, fluid thing. It isn't up and running yet, and will start off small. However, as it grows, it will feature things of interest to youthful SCDers.

There will be a forum of discussion - possible topics to be discussed: How to start your own university class? Where is SCD headed, and how can you as youth be a part of it? do you have any ideas of improvement for next year's Youth Weekend West? It can be a method of exchanging experiences, successes in starting after-school SCD classes, ideas on making SCD more "marketable" to our youthful peers, etc., etc.

An up to date Events section will feature events of interest to Youth, whether they be like the Youth Weekend, specifically designed to allure youth, or whether they simply be awesome beyond words, and thus also of particular allure to youth [Ruth Jappy's March Spring Fling comes to mind, for example.]

Depending on the interest of dancers to do so, there will be reviews of cds and dance books - anything coming out of TAC, certainly, not to mention the likes of Natalie MacMaster, Ashley MacIsaac, Irish Descendants, The Spirit of the West, or whomever.

Also, the site will feature information on events regarding, for instance, celtic language classes, musicians' workshops, etc.

Any ideas are welcome, but particularly, at this point, permission to use articles, and access to them.

Also, keep in mind that this "Youth Network" is not an "Anti-Non-Youth Network." I want that very clear. Obviously us pups appreciate dancers of whatever experience and vintage, otherwise would we still be dancing? Also, input from dancers of any age in the forums is not only allowed, but encouraged.

Okay, enough Rambling Garth -

Cheers,

Garth Martens, Youth Coordinator, Victoria Branch

Victoria, BC Canada

midnight_strathspey@yahoo.ca

---------------------------------
Post your free ad now! Yahoo! Canada Personals

YOUTH NETWORK

Message 36044 · Ian Brockbank · 11 Aug 2003 21:22:58 · Top

Hi Garth,

Have you been in touch with RSCDS Headquarters? There is a subcommittee
of the Education and Training committee dedicated to promoting SCD to
younger dancers, and I'm sure they'd be delighted to have your
input/work with you.

Ian Brockbank
Applications Software Engineer
e: ian.brockbank@wolfsonmicro.com
scd: ian@scottishdance.net
t: +44 131 272 7076
f: +44 131 272 7001

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Garth Martens [mailto:midnight_strathspey@yahoo.ca]
> Sent: 11 August 2003 05:47
> To: strathspey@strathspey.org
> Subject: YOUTH NETWORK
>
>
>
> Strathspeyers,
>
> First, I apologise if this comes across as less word
> efficient, indeed more on the rambling side, than I would have wished.
>
> I am interested in seeking access and permission to use
> articles of interest to youth involved with SCD. This
> includes Mel Briscoe's TACtalk article, also, any articles in
> general that speak of the future of SCD. Testimonials of
> successful ventures in garnering youth interest in SCD is
> also desirable.
>
> I'm setting up a website independent of my local UVic
> Caledonian Club website. It's aim is to serve as a network
> for SCD "youth" [a term left intentionally vague in
> definition :p] Over the past year, and especially in the
> months following the YOUTH WEEKEND WEST 2003, I have made
> extensive contacts with other "youth" in various locations in
> Canada, as well as a few in the United States. It is
> important to make use of these contacts, to expand them, and
> to establish an accessible, interactive newsletter-style
> front to the growing network between isolated pockets of
> youth in Scottish country dance communities across the
> continents [though for now we're North American based].
>
> As the ideas formed, I found Strathspey.org a role model
> of sorts, in terms of making it an interactive, fluid thing.
> It isn't up and running yet, and will start off small.
> However, as it grows, it will feature things of interest to
> youthful SCDers.
>
> There will be a forum of discussion - possible topics to
> be discussed: How to start your own university class? Where
> is SCD headed, and how can you as youth be a part of it? do
> you have any ideas of improvement for next year's Youth
> Weekend West? It can be a method of exchanging experiences,
> successes in starting after-school SCD classes, ideas on
> making SCD more "marketable" to our youthful peers, etc., etc.
>
> An up to date Events section will feature events of
> interest to Youth, whether they be like the Youth Weekend,
> specifically designed to allure youth, or whether they simply
> be awesome beyond words, and thus also of particular allure
> to youth [Ruth Jappy's March Spring Fling comes to mind, for example.]
>
> Depending on the interest of dancers to do so, there will
> be reviews of cds and dance books - anything coming out of
> TAC, certainly, not to mention the likes of Natalie
> MacMaster, Ashley MacIsaac, Irish Descendants, The Spirit of
> the West, or whomever.
>
> Also, the site will feature information on events
> regarding, for instance, celtic language classes, musicians'
> workshops, etc.
>
> Any ideas are welcome, but particularly, at this point,
> permission to use articles, and access to them.
>
> Also, keep in mind that this "Youth Network" is not an
> "Anti-Non-Youth Network." I want that very clear. Obviously
> us pups appreciate dancers of whatever experience and
> vintage, otherwise would we still be dancing? Also, input
> from dancers of any age in the forums is not only allowed,
> but encouraged.
>
> Okay, enough Rambling Garth -
>
> Cheers,
>
> Garth Martens, Youth Coordinator, Victoria Branch
>
> Victoria, BC Canada
>
> midnight_strathspey@yahoo.ca
>
>
>
> ---------------------------------
> Post your free ad now! Yahoo! Canada Personals
>

YOUTH NETWORK

Message 36278 · Garth Martens · 22 Aug 2003 04:37:38 · Top

Thanks Ian,

I communicated briefly with Fiona Turnbull shortly after the Youth Weekend West (mid May) - though not recently. I will talk to her again, though. However, I am looking for a minimum of content with which to "unveil" the little junction I hope to get hopping, namely in the realm of articles of interest to youth, be they youth related or otherwise.

- Garth

Ian Brockbank <ian@scottishdance.net> wrote:
Hi Garth,

Have you been in touch with RSCDS Headquarters? There is a subcommittee
of the Education and Training committee dedicated to promoting SCD to
younger dancers, and I'm sure they'd be delighted to have your
input/work with you.

Ian Brockbank
Applications Software Engineer
e: ian.brockbank@wolfsonmicro.com
scd: ian@scottishdance.net
t: +44 131 272 7076
f: +44 131 272 7001

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Garth Martens [mailto:midnight_strathspey@yahoo.ca]
> Sent: 11 August 2003 05:47
> To: strathspey@strathspey.org
> Subject: YOUTH NETWORK
>
>
>
> Strathspeyers,
>
> First, I apologise if this comes across as less word
> efficient, indeed more on the rambling side, than I would have wished.
>
> I am interested in seeking access and permission to use
> articles of interest to youth involved with SCD. This
> includes Mel Briscoe's TACtalk article, also, any articles in
> general that speak of the future of SCD. Testimonials of
> successful ventures in garnering youth interest in SCD is
> also desirable.
>
> I'm setting up a website independent of my local UVic
> Caledonian Club website. It's aim is to serve as a network
> for SCD "youth" [a term left intentionally vague in
> definition :p] Over the past year, and especially in the
> months following the YOUTH WEEKEND WEST 2003, I have made
> extensive contacts with other "youth" in various locations in
> Canada, as well as a few in the United States. It is
> important to make use of these contacts, to expand them, and
> to establish an accessible, interactive newsletter-style
> front to the growing network between isolated pockets of
> youth in Scottish country dance communities across the
> continents [though for now we're North American based].
>
> As the ideas formed, I found Strathspey.org a role model
> of sorts, in terms of making it an interactive, fluid thing.
> It isn't up and running yet, and will start off small.
> However, as it grows, it will feature things of interest to
> youthful SCDers.
>
> There will be a forum of discussion - possible topics to
> be discussed: How to start your own university class? Where
> is SCD headed, and how can you as youth be a part of it? do
> you have any ideas of improvement for next year's Youth
> Weekend West? It can be a method of exchanging experiences,
> successes in starting after-school SCD classes, ideas on
> making SCD more "marketable" to our youthful peers, etc., etc.
>
> An up to date Events section will feature events of
> interest to Youth, whether they be like the Youth Weekend,
> specifically designed to allure youth, or whether they simply
> be awesome beyond words, and thus also of particular allure
> to youth [Ruth Jappy's March Spring Fling comes to mind, for example.]
>
> Depending on the interest of dancers to do so, there will
> be reviews of cds and dance books - anything coming out of
> TAC, certainly, not to mention the likes of Natalie
> MacMaster, Ashley MacIsaac, Irish Descendants, The Spirit of
> the West, or whomever.
>
> Also, the site will feature information on events
> regarding, for instance, celtic language classes, musicians'
> workshops, etc.
>
> Any ideas are welcome, but particularly, at this point,
> permission to use articles, and access to them.
>
> Also, keep in mind that this "Youth Network" is not an
> "Anti-Non-Youth Network." I want that very clear. Obviously
> us pups appreciate dancers of whatever experience and
> vintage, otherwise would we still be dancing? Also, input
> from dancers of any age in the forums is not only allowed,
> but encouraged.
>
> Okay, enough Rambling Garth -
>
> Cheers,
>
> Garth Martens, Youth Coordinator, Victoria Branch
>
> Victoria, BC Canada
>
> midnight_strathspey@yahoo.ca
>
>
>
> ---------------------------------
> Post your free ad now! Yahoo! Canada Personals
>

---------------------------------
Post your free ad now! Yahoo! Canada Personals

RSCDS Exams

Message 36026 · Doug Mills · 11 Aug 2003 06:25:09 · Top

"Donald Lee Fuell, Jr." wrote:

> - Standards for passing of failing are not commonly understood or applied.

There is some merit in this. However the NZ Branch organised a class for teaching candidate
tutors, it was taken by one of the Australian examiners and has given our Branch the next
generation of Prelim/Teachers Certificate teachers who understand things from the examiners
point of view.

> - There is no evident requirement for examiners to explicitly and clearly explain to a
> candidate who does not pass why they did not pass and what they need to improve
> to pass on the next attempt.

I don't know if the Society has guidelines for it's examiners in regard to post exam
discussions, but I haven't yet heard of a candidate who hasn't had a "chat" with the examiner
after the exam. If there are areas of concern they are usually explained to the candidate at
this point, and if you are not successful then you will be aware of what to improve on. As a
more subtle hint you can look at the dance you are given to teach - if it's something like
Lord Rosslyn's Fancy, then it's an odds on bet that the examiners are concerned about your
pas-de-basque.

> .... the presumption should be that if the candidate has completed the course, he/she is
> qualified unless the examiners can substantiate that they failed to meet standards.

If I understand Lee's comment correctly, he is saying that doing the exam course should be
sufficeint to gain the certificate. When you got you learnt to drive, did you have 30 hours
of tuition from your father/mother/brother/driving instructor and then demand your licence
from authorities? No, you had to sit an exam, and the onus is on you to prove that you are
competent to drive a car, not on the examiner to prove that you are not.

> - Adjectives Lee has heard applied to the RSCDS examination process: "sadistic"
> (by a holder of the Teacher's Certificate)

This certainly is a problem, if a candidate feels the examiner is "sadistic" then someone has
over-stepped the mark. But this relates to an individual examiner, not the system.

> The majority of SCD groups in North America are branches or affiliates, and the "culture"
> here is that if you're not a Prelim or Teacher, you shouldn't teach.

If this is the case, then your Branches need a fire lit under them. How are you ever going
to encourage new teachers if they aren't allowed to get experience teaching first?

Cheers

Doug Mills
Christchurch, NZ

RSCDS Exams

Message 36032 · Ron Taylor · 11 Aug 2003 13:01:18 · Top

This topic is going to raise a lot of differing views, the RSCDS does a very worth while job in organising examinations, please let us not forget that it is NOT a professional oreganisation with paid examiners, paid tutors etc, if it were then I think there would be a lot of valid complaints about the examination system.The RSCDS is"staffed" by individuals devoted to SCD - which is there for enjoyment.

I took the Teachers Certificate at St Andrews in 1978 and enjoyed every minute of it. However on returning home to Liverpool a very experienced Teacher said to me "now you have to learn to teach" - and never has a truer word been spoken. Some people never learn!

A friend of mine went in for the Teachers Certificate - on my recommendation - and she failed disastrously. I think she is a good teacher - but she is a poor dancer. She found that the two weerks at St. Andrews were spent on bringing the class to Demonstration Team standards and there was virtually no emphasis on teaching. Now personally I think that was wrong.

I would like to see the examination system altered, the Preliminary Test should be an examination of peoples dancing ability; I would not place too high an emphasis on this, as my tutor at St. Andrews pointed out if you cannot personally do pas de basque perfectly get someone in your class to demonstrate it for you - however you MUST know if it's done correctly.

Having passed the Prelim. Test the Teachers certificate should then be devoted 99.9% to TEACHING. That then is my personal opinion as to how the examinationsshould be re-tailored.

One final point, I have never seen it in print that an RSCDS class must be taught by a person holding one or other of the Society Certificates.

Regards

Ron Taylor

RON29@blueyonder.co.uk

RSCDS Exams

Message 36041 · Oliver Thinius · 11 Aug 2003 20:37:27 · Top

Ron,

I disagree with you in one major point:

As my tutor - Frans Ligtmans from Eindhoven/NL - in both examination
classes used to say: If the preparation for the Preliminary Test is
done properly you've got everything of what is required for the Full
Certificate. (apart maybe from two more years of teaching experience)

I have taken both Examinations "out of St. Andrews", Prelim in 1995
in Eindhoven/NL and the Full Certificate in the "German Examination
Project 1997", the latter having been a "mixed course" with 12 Prelim
and 2 Teacher candidates. Which of course meant that most of what I
got in 1997 was a repetition of the Prelim contents with a quick
"extra" on the formations omitted in the Prelim syllabus and (thanks
to the kind assistance of the Prelim candidates) a reasonable but not
overly extended go on the prescribed test dances.

If it's done properly there is no need of a second two-week course,
but only for a quick go over the previously "omitted formations", a
brush-up on individual dancing (with the main aspect demonstration in
lessons) and an assessment of the candidates' teaching qualities.

RSCDS Exams

Message 36066 · Anselm Lingnau · 12 Aug 2003 17:30:20 · Top

Oliver Thinius wrote:

> If it's done properly there is no need of a second two-week course,
> but only for a quick go over the previously "omitted formations", a
> brush-up on individual dancing (with the main aspect demonstration in
> lessons) and an assessment of the candidates' teaching qualities.

I passed my Prelim with Frans when Oliver took his certificate in 1997, and
passed the Teachers' Certificate in St. Andrews in 2000, and I disagree
completely with what Oliver said. I think I learned as much from the second
two-week course as I did from the first -- different things, to be sure, but
I wouldn't have missed it for the world! This may be due to the fact that in
our Certificate class the focus was really on teaching, most of the time --
we didn't neglect the prescribed dances, to be sure, but a very large
proportion of the class time was spent doing simulated lessons and going
through lots of different dances in the process. Almost every single one of
the dances brought up an interesting point of technique, of teaching, or of
»dance lore« not included in the printed instructions. The St. Andrews
candidate class was really the most intense experience in the whole of my
dancing career so far, and it was very saddening to realize at the end that I
was probably never going to dance the Golden Pheasant quite the same way
again :^(

Of course most of the benefit, I think, comes from not having the same tutor
both in the Prelim and in the Certificate. It's easy for you or Frans to say
that having taken the Prelim course you already knew basically all you had to
know for the Certificate -- but that's only because Frans made sure you were
as well prepared for the Prelim as she knew how already! (I can tell because
I went through her class as well.) And since you did pass the Certificate it
is clear that she must have been right in principle. But then again there is
so much you can pick up from another tutor that is worth knowing, too, and
since the point of the exercise is not expending the least amount of effort
in order to obtain a certain a piece of paper, but assimilating knowledge and
learning how to pass it on, the second class is in my opinion well worth
having. I'm sure it made *me* a better teacher than I would have become
otherwise!

Anyway I don't want to imply that Frans left anything important out that it
was necessary to get elsewhere. I consider myself doubly fortunate to have
been prepared for the exams by two quite different ladies who, as dance
teachers, exam tutors, and wonderful pals, remain at the very top of my
personal list. (And I'm not saying this just because they may both be reading
this.)

It's good to hear that the exams process is being reevaluated, but in the end
it all comes down to people -- candidates, tutors, and examiners. I'm in the
wonderful position of having been part of the correct mixture both times, and
I agree that in the right (or, rather, wrong) circumstances an exam class can
turn out to be an utterly horrible experience. However this does not mean
that the process itself is at fault. If the process can be fixed to make the
reasons for individual success or failure more obvious (to the candidates and
tutors, anyway), and to tie this to the candidate's performance as a dancer
or teacher rather than whether the examiner likes their nose (figuratively
speaking) then all should be well.

Anselm
--
There are only two real problems in computing: computers are too hard to use
and too hard to program. -- Brian W. Kernighan

RSCDS Exams

Message 36054 · Lee Fuell · 12 Aug 2003 04:29:58 · Top

Ron,

Re:

-----Original Message-----
From: RON [mailto:RON29@blueyonder.co.uk]
Sent: Monday, August 11, 2003 2:04 PM
To: strathspey@strathspey.org
Subject: RSCDS Exams

<snip>

One final point, I have never seen it in print that an RSCDS class must be
taught by a person holding one or other of the Society Certificates.

Regards

Ron Taylor

************************************************
Please see the RSCDS web site at the URL below, from which the following is
copied:

"To ensure a consistently high standard of teaching, the RSCDS has developed
a programme of examinations, which all teachers of branch classes must have
passed."

http://www.rscds.org/about/index.html?teaching.html

Lee

RSCDS Exams

Message 36057 · Lee Fuell · 12 Aug 2003 05:10:04 · Top

Doug and All,

Malcolm Brown's post makes a lot of the below moot, but in the interest of
contributing to the RSCDS review of the exam process, I'll respond to some
of your further comments below for further consideration, rumination,
cogitation, and/or pontification.

-----Original Message-----
"Donald Lee Fuell, Jr." wrote:

> - Standards for passing of failing are not commonly understood or applied.

"There is some merit in this. However the NZ Branch organised a class for
teaching candidate
tutors, it was taken by one of the Australian examiners and has given our
Branch the next
generation of Prelim/Teachers Certificate teachers who understand things
from the examiners
point of view."

A great idea, and as long as all the examiners are on the same page, should
be a big help. However, there's no guarantee of that and in some cases
tutors may actually understand the standards better than examiners.
Regardless, we've just got to get everyone singing from the same page with
clear, unequivocal expectations that all agree and stick to.

"I don't know if the Society has guidelines for it's examiners in regard to
post exam
discussions, but I haven't yet heard of a candidate who hasn't had a "chat"
with the examiner
after the exam."

Yes, but by all accounts I've received these debriefs are inadequate,
especially for candidates who subsequently learned they did not pass. The
examiners, perhaps from fear of confrontation with an irate candidate, do
not explicitly tell the candidates whether they passed or failed, and the
feedback is (from all evidence I've received) vague and obtuse. I expect
it's vague and obtuse to avoid tipping off a candidate that he/she has
failed and risk an emotional response. Sorry, but the feedback needs to be
clear and specific. Candidates who invest months of their time, travel
hundreds or thousands of miles over the course of a candidate class, and may
spend thousands of dollars in travel costs all for the sake of their hobby
deserve better. I'm not exaggerating about the time, miles, and money -
here in North America, exam opportunities are so rare and distances so great
that's the way it happens.

> .... the presumption should be that if the candidate has completed the
course, he/she is
> qualified unless the examiners can substantiate that they failed to meet
standards.

"If I understand Lee's comment correctly, he is saying that doing the exam
course should be
sufficeint to gain the certificate. "

You do not understand Lee's comment correctly. In our legal system, as I
believe in all legal systems based on English common law, a defendant is
presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt - but you
still have a trial. What I want here is for the examiners to adopt the
attitude that if a tutor, who knows the candidate's ability better than the
examiners, has approved the candidate to take the test, the candidate
probably meets standards. As with prosecutors, the burden of proof should
lie on the examiners to justify failing a candidate, not the other way
around. Examiners should have to provide a verbal and written explanation
to any candidate they fail as to why they failed (see above). This is just
recreation, not a matter of life or death.

However, let's explore this further for a moment: In my younger days, I was
a firefighter/paramedic. To become a paramedic, I had to take a year-long
course and a comprehensive written and practical exam. The written was
graded by the state, but the practical exam was administered by my teacher.
He was grading me not just on the exam, but the totality of his knowledge of
my abilities gained over a year. During that time, I was qualified to teach
basic and advanced vehicle extrication, basic structural rescue, and
emergency vehicle driving. I decided who passed the courses I taught, not a
third-party examiner. All of these are far more important - they are
matters of life and death - than teaching Scottish Country Dancing, so why
do we have to have such an adversarial third-party examination process, at
least at the first level?

If the volunteer-run RSCDS would transfer the time and effort it puts into
teaching and testing prelims to teaching and certifying tutors, then
empowering tutors to determine who gets the preliminary pass based on their
performance over the course of the candidate class, I think we'd all be
better off. We'd probably have more prelims in development who would
subsequently do better on the Teacher's Certificate exam. I'd probably want
to add an expiration date to the preliminary pass, just to ensure they went
on for the exam at some point. However, I'd give them at least five years.

> - Adjectives Lee has heard applied to the RSCDS examination process:
"sadistic"
> (by a holder of the Teacher's Certificate)

"This certainly is a problem, if a candidate feels the examiner is
"sadistic" then someone has
over-stepped the mark. But this relates to an individual examiner, not the
system."

Negative. It relates to the system, and that was the context in which it
was used in the conversation in question. Because the examiners are not
accountable and can be as arbitrary or capricious as they choose, the system
is sadistic. It is unnecessarily cruel to candidates who put their heart
and soul (and money) into trying to become teachers, then get little more
than, "So sorry; not good enough. Better luck next time." Emotionally
sadistic, in my book.

Let me add another adjective, used by a prelim candidate who failed but
doesn't know why: "gutless." This relates to the examiners' unwillingness
or inability to give direct, on-the-spot, clear and unequivocal feedback on
how the candidate did on the exam.

> The majority of SCD groups in North America are branches or affiliates,
and the "culture"
> here is that if you're not a Prelim or Teacher, you shouldn't teach.

"If this is the case, then your Branches need a fire lit under them. How
are you ever going
to encourage new teachers if they aren't allowed to get experience teaching
first?"

Excellent point, but I'd turn that around - how are you ever going to
encourage new teachers if the prelim exam process is so harsh?

Cheers,

Lee

RSCDS Exams

Message 36062 · Doug Mills · 12 Aug 2003 07:36:55 · Top

Donald Lee Fuell wrote:

> Excellent point, but I'd turn that around - how are you ever going to
> encourage new teachers if the prelim exam process is so harsh?

Is the exam process really that harsh? Most dancers who have attempted the exam
would find it a bit harrowing, but we go into it with our eyes open. We know
what the course involves and that there will be an examination at the end of it.

We tend only to hear from those people who had a bad experience at exam time,
but I wonder how many (like me) came away with only sore feet and wondering just
how come when you come to utter your first words in front of the expectant
stooges and eagle eyed examiners your lips have suddenly stuck to your teeth?

Cheers

Doug
Christchurch, NZ

RSCDS Exams

Message 36064 · Marilyn Knight · 12 Aug 2003 13:57:47 · Top

Doug,
I believe you innocently, subtly, raise an inequality inherent in
candidates, perhaps? It's my understanding that SCD is very popular
among many in New Zealand? And, RSCDS is supported by many fine dancers
and teachers? As one who lives in an area where, until this summer, we
have had only one prelim-approved teacher for miles around, it has been
exceptional, rather than common, to have local exposure to RSCDS quality
dancers to model after. That makes a big difference not only among area
dance teaching level, but also, as a 'non-candidate' SCD teacher, for my
own class dancers to implicitly 'osmose' the high standards of RSCDS
that I endeavor to inculcate when they go to area dances where RSCDS
might just as well never have been heard of. It makes teaching a little
'schizophrenic.....'.
:) Having said all this, I, too, feel there are significant 'wrinkles'
RSCDS needs to iron out to rise to a finer level for all.

This is just a shared observation. I think, after many years, I've
finally come to accept this reality, having wished for RSCDS Heaven to
be within driving distance...
What is Life without unobtainable dreams????
Marilynn Latta Knight

-----Original Message-----
From: Doug Mills [mailto:radagast@cyberxpress.co.nz]
Sent: Tuesday, August 12, 2003 1:38 AM
To: strathspey@strathspey.org
Subject: Re: RSCDS Exams

Donald Lee Fuell wrote:

> Excellent point, but I'd turn that around - how are you ever going to
> encourage new teachers if the prelim exam process is so harsh?

Is the exam process really that harsh? Most dancers who have attempted
the exam would find it a bit harrowing, but we go into it with our eyes
open. We know what the course involves and that there will be an
examination at the end of it.

We tend only to hear from those people who had a bad experience at exam
time, but I wonder how many (like me) came away with only sore feet and
wondering just how come when you come to utter your first words in front
of the expectant stooges and eagle eyed examiners your lips have
suddenly stuck to your teeth?

Cheers

Doug
Christchurch, NZ

RSCDS Exams

Message 36065 · Kent Smith · 12 Aug 2003 14:22:05 · Top

Just to tweak some more interesting in reading and thinking about Mel's article, Ron is right that diving can be a matter of life and death while SCD is not, and yet part of Mel's argument is that the training of instructors and the focus of teaching in diving is on both education and entertainment, with perhaps more emphasis on the latter than in the normal approach to teaching SCD. Avocational divers are doing it because they enjoy it, and part of the teaching responsibility is to keep it enjoyable and positive for all, while also maximizing safety for all.

Kent, Connecticut USA

-----Original Message-----
From: ron.mackey@mail.btinternet.com
[mailto:ron.mackey@mail.btinternet.com]
Sent: Monday, August 11, 2003 7:07 PM
To: strathspey@strathspey.org
Subject: Re: RSCDS Exams

I understand that Mel's article is based on training given for
underwater activities? (Haven't had a chance to read it yet Am I
wrong?)
Now that could be in a matter of life and death. I don't
think SCD requires such rigour.

RSCDS Exams

Message 36076 · ron.mackey · 13 Aug 2003 00:05:41 · Top

> Just to tweak some more interesting in reading and thinking about
> Mel's article, Ron is right that diving can be a matter of life and
> death while SCD is not, and yet part of Mel's argument is that the
> training of instructors and the focus of teaching in diving is on
> both education and entertainment, with perhaps more emphasis on the
> latter than in the normal approach to teaching SCD. Avocational
> divers are doing it because they enjoy it, and part of the teaching
> responsibility is to keep it enjoyable and positive for all, while
> also maximizing safety for all.
>
> Kent, Connecticut USA

Kent
Do you really mean that??? That teachers of SCD are not doing so
for entertainment/enjoyment purposes?? What else is it for??
All who go dancing are doing so for enjoyment, even taking exams.
If any teacher/tutor oversteps the mark of politeness to the class
then I advise you to approach them quietly and tell them firmly that
they did not volunteer (and probably go to great trouble and
expense to attend) to be bullyragged or insulted. Even the most
inept pupil is entitled to gentle consideration.
I was under the impression that the days of the oldfashioned
hectoring teacher was a thing of the past. Please tell me that I'm
right in that assumption??

Happy Dancing
Cheers :)
Ron

Ron Mackey. London Branch (and Croydon)
39, Grove Park Road,
Mottingham
London SE9 4NS

RSCDS Exams & Noisy Negativists

Message 36083 · Garth Martens · 13 Aug 2003 04:11:31 · Top

Ron,

ron.mackey@mail.btinternet.com wrote:
I was under the impression that the days of the oldfashioned
hectoring teacher was a thing of the past. Please tell me that I'm
right in that assumption??

Ron

Though happy to say it's rare I come across it in the SCD world, I have to disagree. I do *not* disagree that everyone must enjoy SCD to attend, or teach. What I mean is, there are such people in this world who, for various reasons, use social events as their sole outlet of frustrations, bitterness, and upheaval. These people mean well, no doubt. These people say they loved SCD, or whatever it is they do. However, among these are people I affectionately call "noisy negativists."

I knew one in particular, who once lorded over our SCD executive [none of you would know her, she will remain nameless for the sake of civility]. Without realizing it, she hurt people's feelings, bullied them with a tone of voice, and generally was a big grumpy rain cloud - but always in a subtle way so that you couldn't respond to the inappropriate treatment without appearing silly yourself. She was abrasive as they come, and domineering. Many were afraid to tell her what she should have been told a long time ago. As a result, it only got worse.

Due to the particular circumstances, I decided that it was time someone told her. Her sort of personality turned people away from our classes, old and new alike, and made class tedious for the rest. A dilemma then - tell her not to come? In her own way, she does love SCD. By what right do I tell her not to come? It was not an attractive option. So a couple of us from the executive met with her personally, and told her. We were blunt, though tactful, and made it clear that present circumstances could not continue. It is a difficult thing we were asking, that is, for someone to change how she acts.

I've gone off track. My point is, there are those who find a pleasure in bullying, in whatever capacity. Oh my, you say, they certainly can't make it through the rings of the exination! Oh yes, I would say, they certainly can. After all, they do - and some become Examiners, no less - I heard stories of one particular tyrant on the circuit these past couple years in North America, a horror story! As far as "noisy negativists" taking the exam, a person isn't their normal "social" self at an examination, they are trying to present themselves the best they can be, not necessarily what they might be most other days ;p. It is not always intentional, but it is always destructive. We are all human and we aren't perfect. Still, these people can be a poison in an otherwise healthy association, and they needn't be teachers to sour the atmosphere.

Nonetheless, I might ask you - how else can you know a great teacher, a great social dancer, without seeing the contrast of a bad? That said, none of us enjoys the lesson much.

Garth Martens

Victoria, BC Canada

---------------------------------
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Ugly Sets - Bad Form (not the technique kind!)

Message 36084 · Garth Martens · 13 Aug 2003 04:37:36 · Top

Hullo,

Continuing with the discussion of bad “social” form [whether it be from a teacher or a dancer], what of the “ugly” set scenario? You are in a set, and you’ve made a mistake. Normally, you could correct this yourself in a few seconds, [or a gentle subtle indication from your partner, or some other tactful benevolent soul], but instead, someone with no understanding of how to help you begins to yank and point and grump and growl/snarl/bark you into greater confusion? The reason I abhor these situations completely, is that when in one of these "ugly" sets, the three people who are growling ineffectually and hissing directions, are often howling and hissing DIFFERENT directions from one another! These are instances where it's truest to say that the SET failed the dance, and not the dancer. It's great to strive for great carriage, footwork and geography, but if dancers lack the ability to help one another in a dignified fashion – it’s all for naught.

You know what I mean, right, when I say dignified fashion? Those who use their eyes, or a subtle movement of their hand, [all in combination with a smile] reap not only the satisfaction of the dance keeping together respectably, but also the silent thanks of the person they’ve helped [provided said person isn’t a nob]. As soon as someone gives me the imperial stare of condemnation at a slight infraction [before you have a chance to correct it yourself], and yanks and growls me into one direction or another with a frown, all chances of rectifying my infraction fall to pieces. Why? Because I’m angry! Naturally when a person yanks and hisses at me, this is the result. As soon as this happens, I know it won’t work out as it might have given appropriate help by civilized people – in fact, if most in the set are of this barbaric nature, I don’t even care anymore, and the greater result is that the next hour of the event will be soured for me, so shocked am I by this bad form.
Thankfully, this has only occurred twice in my two years of dancing.

Not much to do about it either, but suffer!

Other examples of BAD FORM, are these: Have any of you been in a set where someone withdraws from the set *mid* dance, because of a derisive attitude to those of less experience? It happens. It's rude, but it happens. It’s also a shame to their partner, left gaping at the social ineptitude of guilty person.

There are small communities of SCD that in principle encourage new dancers, but in practice present stuffy thinking and a snobbish "holier-than-thou art" attitude to beginners. I strive and enjoy good technique as much as anyone, but this attitude is not conducive to longevity for SCD. In almost all cases, the communities are shrinking at a much greater rate than the friendlier ones, as the bitter righteous stalwarts croak, and the curious potentials run in fear to the hills.

I suppose this was a rant – but what can one DO about these examples of bad form?

Garth Martens

Victoria, BC Canada

---------------------------------
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Ugly Sets - Bad Form (not the technique kind!)

Message 36094 · Helen P. · 13 Aug 2003 12:56:54 · Top

From: "Garth Martens" <midnight_strathspey@yahoo.ca>
Sent: Tuesday, August 12, 2003 10:38 PM

> It's great to strive for great carriage, footwork and geography, but if
dancers lack the ability to help one another in a dignified fashion - it's
all for naught.
>
> You know what I mean, right, when I say dignified fashion? Those who use
their eyes, or a subtle movement of their hand, [all in combination with a
smile] reap not only the satisfaction of the dance keeping together
respectably, but also the silent thanks of the person they've helped
[provided said person isn't a nob].

Actually, a dignified fashion doesn't necessarily mean silently. For
example, I often dance with this friend who's a fairly new dancer She often
is unsure about getting through a tricky dance by herself, even though her
technique is o.k. Before we start a dance, she may ask me to cue her. So
I'll quietly call her rounds, as concisely as possible. Of course, I look
for opportunities to use nonverbal cues instead, or to not cue her at all
when it's clear she knows the next figure.

This always works very smoothly. It's enjoyable and much more dignified for
everyone in the set (n.b., she always thanks me *out loud* afterwards).

I simply assume that everything must be called, unless it's obviously
unneeded. Normally, I assume that *nothing* must be called, unless a
problem crops up.

I'll do the same thing, sometimes unasked, if it's clear that other
individuals are getting confused and frustrated. Newer dancers especially
appreciate this, and it really builds their confidence. Facing the "terror"
of a tough dance, but then completing it beautifully is an especial delight
for any of us. :-)

-- Helen (Md USA)

Ugly Sets - Bad Form (not the technique kind!)

Message 36113 · Blain Nelson · 13 Aug 2003 20:03:20 · Top

Helen P. wrote:

> I simply assume that everything must be called, unless it's obviously
> unneeded. Normally, I assume that *nothing* must be called, unless a
> problem crops up.
>

Makes sense. I find my brain resetting in the middle of a dance
sometimes, and I just can't remember my very next move. I am learning
how the figures flow from one to the next in a convenient fashion, and
that helps. Also, doing the same dance multiple times helps a great
deal (I really don't need much prompting for Flowers of Edinburgh
anymore).

> I'll do the same thing, sometimes unasked, if it's clear that other
> individuals are getting confused and frustrated. Newer dancers especially
> appreciate this, and it really builds their confidence. Facing the "terror"
> of a tough dance, but then completing it beautifully is an especial delight
> for any of us. :-)
>

Oh, it's great. An important part of SCD is the "puzzle" aspect of
being in the right place at the right time and having your partner be at
the right place at the same time -- it's very magical sometimes.
Especially that first moment when you "get" the dance that seemed random
shortly before. I love that.

I do think the notion of not doing pointing and directing needs to be
floated in a general fashion, though, even if there is a beginner in the
set. I remember one of the first times I was doing Flowers of Edinburgh
at a dance, and, on the second chase, had third man pointing me up the
dance in such a way that I very nearly had to go through his arm (I
think he might have been pointing me up the middle of the dance
erroneously). I actually knew that figure on my own, and didn't need
the help. On top of that, the "help" was counter-productive.

As always, the difficulty with this is that the people who are going to
see this and recognize what I'm talking about are unlikely to be the
people who need this pointed out to them. Most everybody considers
themselves a better-than-average driver, and self-assessment of dancing
ability and knowledge is likely to be as distored (albeit in both
positive and negative directions).

Myself, I'm a pointer. I learn by watching, doing, and teaching. I
found myself in a set for Flowers of Edinburg at our ceileidh with my
daughter and I being the only ones in our set who had ever done it
before (we were the only ones who had done a pousette before too). She
was dancing with my son, and I was dancing with his date, and we were
busy pointing and prompting whenever we weren't dancing (and prompting
and leading our partners when we were). It was odd to go from being the
one who needed the help to the one who was giving the help.

We beginners need help. It can't be given perfectly, because mind
reading doesn't work. Perhaps watching to see if someone else in the
set is taking the "prompter" role (and knowing if this is someone who
can carry that off or not) will help in deciding when and how to do
prompting.

> -- Helen (Md USA)
>
>

Take care,
Blain

Ugly Sets - Bad Form (not the technique kind!)

Message 36121 · Garth Martens · 14 Aug 2003 01:33:04 · Top

Blain Nelson <blainn13@earthlink.net> wrote:

Myself, I'm a pointer. I learn by watching, doing, and teaching. I

Oh, I don't think there's a problem with pointing - but I think there's a difference between a calm civilised point, and a panicked imperial glowering shaking frantic arm of JUSTICE - :p

-Garth

---------------------------------
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Ugly Sets - Bad Form (not the technique kind!)

Message 36135 · Blain Nelson · 14 Aug 2003 19:19:16 · Top

Garth Martens wrote:

> Blain Nelson <blainn13@earthlink.net> wrote:
>
> Myself, I'm a pointer. I learn by watching, doing, and teaching. I
>
> Oh, I don't think there's a problem with pointing - but I think
> there's a difference between a calm civilised point, and a panicked
> imperial glowering shaking frantic arm of JUSTICE - :p
>

Well, yes, I can see that. However, from the perspective of the
pointer, it can seem to be pretty much the same thing. That's why I
raised the notion of considering whether one might not help more by not
pointing or prompting -- those most likely to benefit from such
consideration are less likely to consider it, but it's something to
start with.

> -Garth
>
>

Take care,
Blain

Ugly Sets - Bad Form (not the technique kind!)

Message 36119 · ron.mackey · 14 Aug 2003 00:25:48 · Top

> Other examples of BAD FORM, are these: Have any of you been in a
> set where someone withdraws from the set *mid* dance, because of a
> derisive attitude to those of less experience? It happens. It's
> rude, but it happens. It's also a shame to their partner, left
> gaping at the social ineptitude of guilty person.
>
---------------------------------------------------
> I suppose this was a rant - but what can one DO about these
>examples of bad form?
>
> Garth Martens

Garth,
Again, quietly tell them that it was objectionable behaviour and
that you will not, in future, be asking them to dance with you, not
least because you do not wish to be their next victim.
Happy Dancing
Cheers :)
Ron

Ron Mackey. London Branch (and Croydon)
39, Grove Park Road,
Mottingham
London SE9 4NS

RSCDS Exams

Message 36124 · Ian Thomson · 14 Aug 2003 03:03:14 · Top

I sent this a few days ago but for some reason it didn't appear, so I'll
try again:

My wife Sue recently passed her Preliminary Test. While she found the whole
process very stressful, she felt that on the whole the process was a fair
one. She had both examiners together at the viva, and they weren't playing
"good examiner, bad examiner" either! Her main quibble, (and as a Uni.
lecturer I would agree with her) was that the examiners told her that
regardless of the quality of dancing, they never awarded As to prelim
candidates. I can imagine my students' reactions if I told them the same
thing! After all what is the point of having a mark if it isn't used?
Now that the exam process is under review, it will be interesting to see
what changes are made. Personally, I would be in favour of abolishing the
Preliminary Test altogether, and perhaps make the one exam slightly more
demanding. After all, it's not as if teachers receive a vast financial
reward for their work, and SC dancing is just a hobby, unless it's being
taught in schools in Scotland. I agree that RSCDS standards should be
maintained, but at what cost?
Incidentally Sue and I recently had an extremely enjoyable visit from Robb
Quint, (aka.volleyballjerry) who was over here in Oz for an all too brief
holiday. It's great to be able to meet one's e-mail friends after
corresponding over the oceans for several years.
Happy dancing to all,
Ian
At 07:46 10/08/03 -0400, you wrote:
>All,
>
>Re:
>
>
> > hmmmm. I always get a bit miffed when I see comment's such as Lee's
> > about the RSCDS exam process.
> >
> > The Society has set a standard for it's exams,
>
>Lee's comments about the exam process have nothing to do with setting
>standards
>and expecting people to meet them. They have everything to do with the
>apparent
>(from his perspective) lack of a common understanding and application of
>standards, and the negative conduct of the exams.
>
>First, some qualifying disclaimers: Lee has never taken and RSCDS exam, so
>none of what follows is "sour grapes" from someone who failed. However,
>Lee has
>learned a lot about the exam process because once upon a time, he had a
>goal of
>becoming an RSCDS teacher. Unfortunately, the conduct of the RSCDS exam
>process has sucked that goal out of him - he no longer considers the
>process valid
>and doesn't respect it enough to subject himself to it. Here's why, based on
>observation and consultation with teachers, candidates and tutors:
>
>- Standards for passing of failing are not commonly understood or
>applied. Too
>many tutors (who observe their candidates taking the exam) report that
>candidates
>they believe should have passed, failed, and vice-versa. This tells Lee
>that there is
>insufficient understanding and even application of standards for tutors to
>be able to
>prepare students for the exam.
>
>- Although the RSCDS has established graded elements on the examination form,
>there appears to be no link between grades and overall pass or fail (i.e.,
>you have
>to get a "C" average to pass, for example). If such a standard exists,
>Lee is not
>aware of it.
>
>- There is no evident requirement for examiners to explicitly and clearly
>explain to a
>candidate who does not pass why they did not pass and what they need to
>improve
>to pass on the next attempt. Some examiners may do this, but it is most
>certainly
>not universal.
>
>- There is no accountability for examiners - no review process and no appeal
>process. Examiners can be as arbitrary and capricious as they choose, and
>candidates just have to live with it.
>
>- The "burden of proof" lies with the candidate. Despite having completed a
>prescribed candidate course, and having a tutor sign off on the candidate
>to take
>the exam, there is no presumption that the candidate meets standards. For a
>recreational certification like SCD teacher (sorry, it's not a
>professional certification
>for the vast majority, despite Jean Milligan's desires...), the
>presumption should be
>that if the candidate has completed the course, he/she is qualified unless
>the
>examiners can substantiate that they failed to meet standards. The tutor
>knows
>the candidate better, and his/her recommendation should be the determinant
>unless clearly justified otherwise by the examiners.
>
>- Adjectives Lee has heard applied to the RSCDS examination
>process: "sadistic"
>(by a holder of the Teacher's Certificate) and "un-Christian" (by a
>Presbyterian
>minister who passed his Prelim but was so put off by the process that he
>refuses to
>go for the Teacher's Certificate).
>
>Mel Briscoe outlined an excellent alternative approach to developing
>teachers in a
>cooperative, nurturing way in his article, "Is Scottish Country Dancing
>Fun or Life
>Threatening?" which is posted on the Strathspey website. Lee thinks Mel
>has a
>much more insightful understanding of how SCD needs to develop teachers than
>does the RSCDS.
>
>Re: "The Society (to my knowledge) has never said that if you are going to
>teach SCD you must be an RSCDS qualified teacher,"
>
>No, but the society has said that to teach SCD in an RSCDS branch or
>affiliated group, you must be an RSCDS qualified teacher. The majority of
>SCD groups in North America are branches or affiliates, and the "culture"
>here is that if you're not a Prelim or Teacher, you shouldn't teach.
>
>Re: "If you think you would find taking the exam daunting or
>"counterproductive" - then don't do it!"
>
>Lee tends to get a bit miffed when he encounters this "take it or leave it"
>attitude about anything. Change in the form of continuous improvement is
>essential to the health of any organization; stagnation equals death.
>Qualified teachers are the key to promoting and furthering SCD, teaching
>new dancers so we'll have someone to dance with when we're old and gray.
>We need a better, more cooperative and development-oriented process to
>produce more qualified teachers so we'll have more happy dancers. In Lee's
>opinion, it's the most important issue facing SCD today, and the most
>important determinant of the future health of SCD.
>
>Read Mel's article and see what you think!
>
>Happy dancing,
>
>Lee, himself.

Ian Thomson,
"Braeburn",
27 Thomas Place,
Upper Kedron,
Queensland 4055, Australia.

Ph. (07) 3851 1164

E-mail: i.thomson@qut.edu.au
or ithomson@bretts.net.au

RSCDS Exams

Message 36126 · T L Harris · 14 Aug 2003 09:29:45 · Top

>>> ron.mackey@mail.btinternet.com 13-08-03 01:06 >>>
>>I was under the impression that the days of the oldfashioned
hectoring teacher was a thing of the past. Please tell me that I'm
right in that assumption??<<<

If only....

>>> ron.mackey@mail.btinternet.com 13-08-03 01:06 >>>
>>>Do you really mean that??? That teachers of SCD are not doing so for entertainment/enjoyment purposes?? What else is it for??<<<

And then there are some who keep pointing out what a favour they're doing you by being there and how grateful you should be. If they don't want to give up their time, then they should rather not be there.

Terry Lynne Harris
Pretoria, South Africa

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Please refer to http://www.unisa.ac.za/disclaimer for full details.
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<<<< gwavasig >>>>

Whew! Photographs!

Message 36128 · Garth Martens · 14 Aug 2003 10:22:30 · Top

After three hours of sorting a year's worth of photographs - [totalling about 175] - there's one remarkable theme... Scottish country dancing! This will be the first album to contain 90 % SCD related photographs. It makes a bloke feel he's done a lot more than he remembers. Seven workshops/balls, five specialty evening dances [ceilidhs/formal], and all the revelry in between..... Good Lord.

Well, time to start another year!

-Gareth

---------------------------------
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Whew! Photographs!

Message 36129 · Pia Walker · 14 Aug 2003 10:41:51 · Top

You should meet Ron Mackeys collection - every year at summerschool, he very
kindly carries last years harvest up for perusal and distribution - I wonder
how he has got any time to dance and socialise, since he seem to be able to
catch you on a photo at all times :>) (Mind you he has not managed to get
my good side yet :>) :>) :>)

Hi Ron :>)

Pia
----- Original Message -----
From: "Garth Martens" <midnight_strathspey@yahoo.ca>
To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
Sent: Thursday, August 14, 2003 9:23 AM
Subject: Whew! Photographs!

> After three hours of sorting a year's worth of photographs - [totalling
about 175] - there's one remarkable theme... Scottish country dancing! This
will be the first album to contain 90 % SCD related photographs. It makes a
bloke feel he's done a lot more than he remembers. Seven workshops/balls,
five specialty evening dances [ceilidhs/formal], and all the revelry in
between..... Good Lord.
>
> Well, time to start another year!
>
> -Gareth
>
>
>
>
> ---------------------------------
> Post your free ad now! Yahoo! Canada Personals
>

Whew! Photographs!

Message 36143 · ron.mackey · 15 Aug 2003 00:13:28 · Top

> You should meet Ron Mackeys collection - every year at summerschool,
> he very kindly carries last years harvest up for perusal and
> distribution - I wonder how he has got any time to dance and
> socialise, since he seem to be able to catch you on a photo at all
> times :>) (Mind you he has not managed to get my good side yet :>)
> :>) :>)
>
> Hi Ron :>)
>
> Pia
Hi, Pia
Think I may have a good one this year. Tried to get one of you
through the bottom of a glass but the camera got wet. :-(
:))
Happy Dancing
Cheers :)
Ron

Ron Mackey. London Branch (and Croydon)
39, Grove Park Road,
Mottingham
London SE9 4NS

Whew! Photographs!

Message 36153 · Pia Walker · 15 Aug 2003 09:25:42 · Top

Oh it wasn't the glass I was holding up then :>)

Pia
----- Original Message -----
From: <ron.mackey@mail.btinternet.com>
To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
Sent: Friday, August 15, 2003 12:13 AM
Subject: Re: Whew! Photographs!

>
>
> > You should meet Ron Mackeys collection - every year at summerschool,
> > he very kindly carries last years harvest up for perusal and
> > distribution - I wonder how he has got any time to dance and
> > socialise, since he seem to be able to catch you on a photo at all
> > times :>) (Mind you he has not managed to get my good side yet :>)
> > :>) :>)
> >
> > Hi Ron :>)
> >
> > Pia
> Hi, Pia
> Think I may have a good one this year. Tried to get one of you
> through the bottom of a glass but the camera got wet. :-(
> :))
> Happy Dancing
> Cheers :)
> Ron
>
>
> Ron Mackey. London Branch (and Croydon)
> 39, Grove Park Road,
> Mottingham
> London SE9 4NS

Hip joints

Message 36130 · David Grubb · 14 Aug 2003 15:27:58 · Top

Does anyone on the list have experience / knowledge about mixing THA and
SCD? That is, how is dancing after getting a hip joint
replacement? Wonderful or forbidden or somewhere in between?

David

David Grubb <dtg1@cornell.edu>
Ithaca NY, USA

Hip joints

Message 36131 · Marilyn Knight · 14 Aug 2003 15:33:10 · Top

David,
Have you already had the surgery? If not, there may be alternatives you
aren't yet aware of.
Marilynn Latta Knight

-----Original Message-----
From: David Grubb [mailto:dtg1@cornell.edu]
Sent: Thursday, August 14, 2003 9:28 AM
To: strathspey@strathspey.org
Subject: Hip joints

Does anyone on the list have experience / knowledge about mixing THA and

SCD? That is, how is dancing after getting a hip joint
replacement? Wonderful or forbidden or somewhere in between?

David

David Grubb <dtg1@cornell.edu>
Ithaca NY, USA

Hip joints

Message 36133 · Loretta Holz · 14 Aug 2003 16:20:00 · Top

David--
Three people in our SCD group (Fanwood, NJ) have had hip surgery in the
last year or so. Results very mixed. One man came back dancing so
quickly we were all amazed. A second man was slower coming back to
dance but his problem was more than hips. A woman had the surgery and
we were all hoping to have her back after three years. She is still not
back and having serious problems--in no way able to dance.

If you can find another solution, do look into it. You will find lots
of info on health issues on www.lef.org (Life Extension Foundation)
This is a non-profit group devoted to getting information about health
related issues out to the public. They give you a lot to read and will
make you a far more knowledgeable person in talking to your doctors
(remember they profit from every operation they do).
Loretta Holz
Warren, NJ

-----Original Message-----
From: David Grubb [mailto:dtg1@cornell.edu]
Sent: Thursday, August 14, 2003 9:28 AM
To: strathspey@strathspey.org
Subject: Hip joints

Does anyone on the list have experience / knowledge about mixing THA and

SCD? That is, how is dancing after getting a hip joint
replacement? Wonderful or forbidden or somewhere in between?

David
David Grubb <dtg1@cornell.edu>
Ithaca NY, USA

Hip joints

Message 36136 · Helen Brown · 14 Aug 2003 19:22:16 · Top

Hi David,

I have just come back from two weeks in the Seniors class at Summer School.
During second fortnight, the class is quite large - just over 40 this year
and many of those have had various joint replacements. I feel quite
jealous at the moment of the ease with which they move - they are obviously
enjoying their dancing after the operation. As an aside, someone was
commenting that the class was getting too big and there should be a metal
detector at the door - if it sounded you were in!

Helen

Helen (and Malcolm) Brown
York (UK)

> -----Original Message-----
> From: David Grubb [mailto:dtg1@cornell.edu]
> Sent: 14 August 2003 14:28
> To: strathspey@strathspey.org
> Subject: Hip joints
>
>
> Does anyone on the list have experience / knowledge about mixing THA and
> SCD? That is, how is dancing after getting a hip joint
> replacement? Wonderful or forbidden or somewhere in between?
>
> David
>
>
>
> David Grubb <dtg1@cornell.edu>
> Ithaca NY, USA
>
>

Hip joints/Seniors Class

Message 36140 · ron.mackey · 15 Aug 2003 00:13:23 · Top

As an aside, someone was commenting that the class
> was getting too big and there should be a metal detector at the door
> - if it sounded you were in!
>
> Helen
>
> Helen (and Malcolm) Brown
-----------------------------------
:-)))

-----------------------------------
Happy Dancing
Cheers :)
Ron

Ron Mackey. London Branch (and Croydon)
39, Grove Park Road,
Mottingham
London SE9 4NS

Hip joints

Message 36483 · Jan Wilson · 8 Sep 2003 09:36:56 · Top

My husband has had both hip joints replaced and attends regular weekly
classes - his dancing is not what one would call "lively" but he certainly
manages to be in the right place at the right time and, as far as I know,
does enjoy classes. However he does not enjoy social evenings quite as much
as he used to - but don't know if this is due to the hip joints or just a
general slowing down!

Also I have a lady over 80 in my class who REALLY enjoys a number of classes
every week (square dancing and SCD) and goes to every social that she can
and never sits out a dance!

Maybe the difference between men and women!

Hope this helps -

Jan Wilson

Alexandria,
Sydney, Australia.

Hip joints

Message 36488 · Bryan McAlister · 8 Sep 2003 15:00:49 · Top

>
>Also I have a lady over 80 in my class who REALLY enjoys a number of classes
>every week (square dancing and SCD) and goes to every social that she can
>and never sits out a dance!
>
I was playing at a dance near Stranraer (SW Scotland) recently and was
told afterwards there was a man of 94 years dancing. He danced 3 times
a week apparently!
--
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

RSCDS Exams

Message 36137 · Kent Smith · 14 Aug 2003 22:16:30 · Top

Ron,

I also think the days of the hectoring teaching are a thing of the past, perhaps with occasional exceptions. In fact, in the U.S. I personally have seldom encountered such teachers. But the interpersonal styles of individual teachers is not really the focus of Mel Briscoe's article. The issues raised by Mel have more to do with the structuring of SCD classes, the approaches we take in class to improving individuals, how we address the needs and desires of different dancers, and so forth. Also, the differences between the teaching approaches of at least some in SCD and those emphasized in diving may not be as large as I implied in my attempt to tweak interest in reading Mel's article. Still, I think he is right that there are some systemic differences, and thinking about the relevance and applicability of training and teaching approaches in an entirely different area can be instructive.

Kent (Connecticut, USA)

-----Original Message-----
From: ron.mackey@mail.btinternet.com
[mailto:ron.mackey@mail.btinternet.com]
Sent: Tuesday, August 12, 2003 7:06 PM
To: strathspey@strathspey.org
Subject: RE: RSCDS Exams

[snip]
... I was under the impression that the days of the oldfashioned
hectoring teacher was a thing of the past. Please tell me that I'm
right in that assumption??

Whew! Photographs!

Message 36142 · ron.mackey · 15 Aug 2003 00:13:27 · Top

> Reply-to: strathspey@strathspey.org
> Date: Thu, 14 Aug 2003 04:23:07 -0400 (EDT)
> From: Garth Martens <midnight_strathspey@yahoo.ca>
> Subject: Whew! Photographs!
> To: strathspey@strathspey.org

> After three hours of sorting a year's worth of photographs -
> [totalling about 175] - there's one remarkable theme... Scottish
> country dancing! This will be the first album to contain 90 % SCD
> related photographs. It makes a bloke feel he's done a lot more
> than he remembers. Seven workshops/balls, five specialty evening
> dances [ceilidhs/formal], and all the revelry in between..... Good
> Lord.
>
> Well, time to start another year!
>
> -Gareth
>

Managed to get about 250 during week 3 this year. And I was trying
to restrict myself to 5 rolls of film! And I didn't attend Dancing
in the Streets this year!

>
>
> ---------------------------------
> Post your free ad now! Yahoo! Canada Personals
>
Happy Dancing
Cheers :)
Ron

Ron Mackey. London Branch (and Croydon)
39, Grove Park Road,
Mottingham
London SE9 4NS

Hip joints:summary

Message 36162 · David Grubb · 15 Aug 2003 19:36:19 · Top

Thanks to everyone who replied to this.
To summarize, I learned that while of course individuals and their results
vary widely, one might reasonably hope to get back to dancing 6-12 months
after hip replacement, and keep going until other systems fail. This list
is a great resource - doctors are happy to say that you return to normal
activities, play golf etc., but SCD is outside their experience, in general.

David

At 09:27 AM 8/14/2003 -0400, you wrote:
>Does anyone on the list have experience / knowledge about mixing THA and
>SCD? That is, how is dancing after getting a hip joint
>replacement? Wonderful or forbidden or somewhere in between?
>
>David
>
>David Grubb <dtg1@cornell.edu>
>Ithaca NY, USA

RSCDS Exams

Message 36049 · ron.mackey · 12 Aug 2003 00:06:36 · Top

> Read Mel's article and see what you think!
>
> Happy dancing,
>
> Lee, himself.

I understand that Mel's article is based on training given for
underwater activities? (Haven't had a chance to read it yet Am I
wrong?)
Now that could be in a matter of life and death. I don't
think SCD requires such rigour.


Happy Dancing
Cheers :)
Ron

Ron Mackey. London Branch (and Croydon)
39, Grove Park Road,
Mottingham
London SE9 4NS

RSCDS Exams

Message 36050 · mlbrown · 12 Aug 2003 01:01:17 · Top

The points made by Lee and the others are not new, which probably explains
why almost the first task undertaken by the Education and Training Committee
which came into existence last November was to undertake a complete review
of the exam process.
Two sub committees were set up, one to look at the examination system and
content etc, and one to look at the development and training of new
examiners.
These committees have already come up with some fairly detailed proposals,
and the Management Board has given broad approval to develop these proposals
further.

The current procedures have been in place for many years, and have gradually
evolved - changes have been introduced, such as the marking sheets, but the
basic two stage, 3 part examination, has been unchanged for many years. Not
surprisingly there are problems with the current system. Whereas the marking
sheet seems a good idea, so that the candidates can see what areas they need
to work on to improve, it does make a huge amount of extra work for the
examiners. While most of us can go into a class and in five minutes know
whether we have a good teacher or not, the examiners have to judge on some
26 different criteria to come to the same conclusion!

So we are looking at all aspects of the process - we have started, but it
will take a little time.
It is hoped to be able to come up with the detailed proposals about the
appointment and training of examiners later this year, with the teacher
training proposals following shortly afterwards. As there will then be a
period of consultation with branches and members, the changes may take
longer than we would wish, but it is a small price to pay to ensure that
people who have a view can be heard.

Malcolm

Malcolm & Helen Brown
York - UK

RSCDS Exams

Message 36056 · Lee Fuell · 12 Aug 2003 04:39:59 · Top

Malcolm,

You just made my day. No, my week. No, my year! One piece of immediate
feedback - please don't abandon some kind of grade sheet! Maybe it can be
pared down to fewer than 26 elements, but there really really needs to be
clear and explicit feedback to candidates who don't pass. Even if it's as
simple as:

Reasons for not passing:

1. Inadequate turnout
2. Failed to observe and correct passing right shoulder in Mairi's Wedding
(sorry; couldn't resist that one!)
3. Did not emphasise closing in third position on skip change of step.

The candidates can't be left guessing. I know two candidates who did not
pass the preliminary exam in March, and to this day neither they nor their
tutor know why and what to work on to have a chance next time - it there is
a next time; they are so jaded and disgusted they may not re-sit. They can
guess, or try to infer, but that's just not good enough.

Anyway, I'm ecstatic to hear the whole process is under review. Good luck;
I can't wait until the opportunity for Branch comment.

Cheers,

Lee Fuell
Class Coordinator
Flying Ghillies Scottish Country Dancers
Dayton, Ohio, USA

-----Original Message-----
From: mlbrown [mailto:mlbrown@supanet.com]
Sent: Monday, August 11, 2003 6:02 PM
To: strathspey@strathspey.org
Subject: RSCDS Exams

The points made by Lee and the others are not new, which probably explains
why almost the first task undertaken by the Education and Training Committee
which came into existence last November was to undertake a complete review
of the exam process.

<snip>

RSCDS Exams

Message 36061 · Helen P. · 12 Aug 2003 07:00:06 · Top

From: "Donald Lee Fuell, Jr." <fuell@mindspring.com>
Sent: Sunday, August 10, 2003 7:46 PM

> - Adjectives Lee has heard applied to the RSCDS examination process:
"sadistic"
> (by a holder of the Teacher's Certificate) and "un-Christian" (by a
Presbyterian
> minister who passed his Prelim but was so put off by the process that he
refuses to
> go for the Teacher's Certificate).

> Mel Briscoe outlined an excellent alternative approach to developing
teachers in a
> cooperative, nurturing way in his article, "Is Scottish Country Dancing
Fun or Life
> Threatening?" which is posted on the Strathspey website. Lee thinks Mel
has a
> much more insightful understanding of how SCD needs to develop teachers
than
> does the RSCDS.

"Threatening?" "sadistic"? "un-Christian"? Those adjectives might easily be
applied to the most recent teacher training sessions & examinations held
around here.

For example, at one practice, one of the teachers' teachers went out of his
way to angrily berate a very experienced dancer who was there as a "stooge"
to help the candidates practice. The "crime" was that the dancer had been
forced to pause (patiently, quietly, and repeatedly) to let a beginner
dancer struggle through reels during drills (up to 2 bars late at every
pass). No attempt was made to let the beginner know she was constantly out
of position, nor was the candidate teacher rebuked for failing to do this.

Another of the teachers' teachers, at the end of one practice, hostilely
attacked another beginner. It had been clearly announced that the next
session was to be only for experienced stooges, yet this instructor singled
out and started bullying that one beginner: "Are you planning to come next
time? You know it's only for experienced dancers? We only want people who
know what they're doing. You're certain that you're not coming? Good! We
really can't have you attend. You're definitely know not to come? We want
to be sure you're not there." and so on, almost non-stop for several
*minutes*. This was in front of almost the entire class -- it was terribly
embarrassing for the poor beginner. That beginner was never seen again at
any class.

Oh, and the candidates themselves were very stressed out and on edge at
every session. Some became physically ill, and most of them wouldn't dance
at all for one to three months afterwards. That doesn't sound like a
process to create enthusiasm for teaching SCD, but rather an attempt to
"kill off" the weaker candidates.

Finally, politics by the teachers' teachers at the time of the examination
left an uneasy rift in our group.

The above teachers' teachers were Mel and Ellie Briscoe, respectively.
"Great teacher"? "developing teachers in a cooperative, nurturing way"?
"much more insightful understanding... than... the RSCDS"? I don't think
so.

As Mel himself wrote, most of the ideas in that article weren't his at all.
It seems fairly clear that, although he echoed them moderately well, he
doesn't really understand how to put these concepts into practice. It would
make better sense to talk to the originators of the ideas, although that's
difficult to do since they weren't credited.

-- Helen (Md USA)

"Thou Shalt Not..."

Message 36004 · Ron Taylor · 10 Aug 2003 06:23:08 · Top

Well said Donald, it couldn't have been put better! I've tried to make the
same point a number of times and have received some very aggressive and rude
responses.
I recall (again) going to a very formal Ball in Scotland when The Duke of
Perth was danced, a number of dancers "twirled " their partners in the set &
turn figures . There was a demand for an encore, The MC refused this request
saying "you haven;t done it properly" A very large gentleman said quite
loudly "well that's how aa hairy a***d highlander would do it" - and a large
group left the hall and didn't return. The MC subsequently received a severe
dressing down.

However having said that can someone please explain how in strathspey time
one can set right, set left, set right and then do a quarter turn to the
RIGHT whilst moving with the left foot.?

Regards
Ron Taylor
RON29@blueyonder.co.uk

----- Original Message -----
From: "Donald Lee Fuell, Jr." <fuell@mindspring.com>
To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
Sent: Saturday, August 09, 2003 3:25 PM
Subject: "Thou Shalt Not..."

"Thou Shalt Not..."

Message 36005 · Lee Fuell · 10 Aug 2003 06:37:52 · Top

Ron,

Saw exactly the same thing in Duke of Perth at the RSCDS AGM in 2001. Even
more dramatic were the dancers who birled down the middle for the first eight bars,
finishing facing their first corners (second couple having stepped up while the first
couple were birling). Must have been a lot of hairy a***d highlanders there,
because there was no such pedantry from the MC that night!

Re your question about setting right, left, right, then dancing a quarter turn: At the
end of the third setting step, your left foot is up and behind your right calf. You just
slide it out and extend forward into a travelling step with the left foot. It's identical
to the second bar of a Petronella turn.

Happy dancing,

Lee

Send reply to: strathspey@strathspey.org
Send reply to: "RON" <RON29@blueyonder.co.uk>
From: "RON" <RON29@blueyonder.co.uk>
To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
Subject: Re: "Thou Shalt Not..."
Date sent: Sun, 10 Aug 2003 05:25:44 -0700
Organization: home

> Well said Donald, it couldn't have been put better! I've tried to make
> the same point a number of times and have received some very
> aggressive and rude responses. I recall (again) going to a very formal
> Ball in Scotland when The Duke of Perth was danced, a number of
> dancers "twirled " their partners in the set & turn figures . There
> was a demand for an encore, The MC refused this request saying "you
> haven;t done it properly" A very large gentleman said quite loudly
> "well that's how aa hairy a***d highlander would do it" - and a large
> group left the hall and didn't return. The MC subsequently received a
> severe dressing down.
>
> However having said that can someone please explain how in strathspey
> time one can set right, set left, set right and then do a quarter turn
> to the RIGHT whilst moving with the left foot.?
>
> Regards
> Ron Taylor
> RON29@blueyonder.co.uk
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Donald Lee Fuell, Jr." <fuell@mindspring.com>
> To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
> Sent: Saturday, August 09, 2003 3:25 PM
> Subject: "Thou Shalt Not..."
>
>

The Puke of Dearth

Message 36010 · Peter Hastings · 10 Aug 2003 13:14:17 · Top

> Even more dramatic were the dancers who birled down
> the middle for the first eight bars,
> finishing facing their first corners (second couple
> having stepped up while the first
> couple were birling).

Of course it has to be a left-arm birl....

Peter Hastings
Murieston

__________________________________
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The Puke of Dearth

Message 36016 · SMiskoe · 10 Aug 2003 21:50:51 · Top

Isn't birling down to corners a somewhat accepted variant in Scotland?
Sylvia Miskoe, Concord, NH USA

"Thou Shalt Not..."

Message 36011 · Ron Taylor · 10 Aug 2003 14:02:08 · Top

Thanks Donald for the explanation, seems awkward to me and personally I
prever the way that I've done it for the past 40 years, taught it and have
been taught it, i.e. a
conventional petronalla turn for two bars. But as you say
it just doesn't matter.
I would add just one proviso though about this latter point. The way dances
are done varies from country to country, district to district, for example
in "my" area the first 8 bars of Ian Powries Farewell etc are done "round &
back", the last 8 bars are done all the way round to the left. However at a
dance at Dunblane I was very careful to do the dance "as written", thats the
way the rest of the set wanted it. So I think it's sometimes prudent for you
& your partner just to check with the rest of the set if they have any local
variations which they prefer.

Happy dancimg

Ron Taylor
RON29@blueyonder.co.uk.

"Thou Shalt Not..."

Message 36018 · Oberdan Otto · 11 Aug 2003 00:38:40 · Top

>However having said that can someone please explain how in strathspey time
>one can set right, set left, set right and then do a quarter turn to the
>RIGHT whilst moving with the left foot.?

Hi,

This is a simple movement that is better demonstrated, not explained.
I show it to the class once, they all try it, do it successfully and
we move on. The movement is well within the skill set of the average
dancer--and it is fun!

However, I would describe it differently from the way you have. I dance it as:
"Set Right, Set Left, Set Right, Dance forward turning 3/4 right-face
to face across the dance, ready to Set Twice".

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

"Thou Shalt Not..."

Message 36028 · Wouter Joubert · 11 Aug 2003 08:30:14 · Top

For what this is worth - I have found that even the simplest of
formations can cause havoc if one treats them as obstacles. Devisers
don't devise dances that are intended to be un-danceable. Have an
positive attitude and you'll be surprised at how many things work well
and are enjoyable.

Happy Dancing
Wouter Joubert
Pretoria Branch RSCDS
Suid-Afrika

-----Original Message-----
From: Oberdan Otto [mailto:ootto@ootto.com]
Sent: 11 August 2003 12:38 AM
To: strathspey@strathspey.org
Subject: Re: "Thou Shalt Not..."

>However having said that can someone please explain how in strathspey
time
>one can set right, set left, set right and then do a quarter turn to
the
>RIGHT whilst moving with the left foot.?

Hi,

This is a simple movement that is better demonstrated, not explained.
I show it to the class once, they all try it, do it successfully and
we move on. The movement is well within the skill set of the average
dancer--and it is fun!

However, I would describe it differently from the way you have. I dance
it as:
"Set Right, Set Left, Set Right, Dance forward turning 3/4 right-face
to face across the dance, ready to Set Twice".

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

Perfection & Ad Libs

Message 36006 · Helen P. · 10 Aug 2003 07:53:55 · Top

IMHO, Ad libbing is a bad idea if:

I can't do the dance "straight" (*),
I can't complete the ad lib in position,
I can't complete it in time,
It upstages the first couple, or
It confuses or obstructs anyone in the set.

(*) This means that I must have the overall pattern, plus all the fiddly
little details of hands, feet, etc., down cold first.

Ad libbing may be a good idea if:

It will help tense person(s) to relax
(That may even include terrified beginners at their first big dance --
relaxed, happy dancers think & dance better!), or

It will simply add to the fun
(e.g., the last dance at a wedding celebration, where both of the
twirl-loving bride & groom were in the set).

That is, there are times where selective ad libs should be preferred over
"straight" dancing -- not just so one person or couple can show off, but
rather for the benefit of the entire set.

-- twirlin' Helen (Md USA)

Monymusk

Message 36019 · ron.mackey · 11 Aug 2003 00:42:44 · Top

Personally, I think Mairi's Wedding (or Mairi's
> Divorce, if you must...) is a much better dance with a
> right-shoulder pass.
OOOh I couldn't do that!!

Ladies Chain is a much more interesting figure
> when the men cast into it rather than dancing straight in.

This, of course depends on the preceeding bars and how the transition
works.

I must have missed some mail because I didn't read anyone who said
Thou Shalt Not. I actually like discussing different ways things
are done and evolve.

> As a great teacher of SCD recently asked, "Is SCD fun or
> life-threatening?" I fear that too many of us behave like the
> latter, not the former. Let's all try to change that, shall we?

I'll go further and re-iterate my belief that dance is an art form
not an Army parade-ground manoeuvre.

But I still like to turn into line on bar four!!! :)

Happy Dancing
Cheers :)
Ron

Ron Mackey. London Branch (and Croydon)
39, Grove Park Road,
Mottingham
London SE9 4NS

"Thou Shalt Not..."

Message 36030 · Bryan McAlister · 11 Aug 2003 12:50:59 · Top

In article <3F353C82.14031.F006474@localhost>, "Donald Lee Fuell, Jr."
<fuell@mindspring.com> writes
>Hey, folks,
>
>This whole discussion of bars 11-12 of Monymusk is kinda grating on me. I've
>come to the conclusion over the years that there are entirely too many
>"thou shalt
>nots" in SCD, and it is adversely affecting participation. The other
>night in our
>class, an experienced dancer used the word "illegal" to criticize a
>variation on a
>figure, as if an offender would be arrested, charged, and imprisoned
>for not doing
>the figure exactly as described in the RSCDS manual. This is taking
>ourselves far
>too seriously!

Hallelujah! Praise de Lawd!
--
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

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