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On Apr 5, 3:57pm, Ian Price wrote:
> > Dances will be briefed. The full script for the dances
> >will be included with the tickets.
> > Practice dance will be held on Thursday, May 16 1996,
> >8pm in Seeley Hall, Trinity College. Cost is $3 per person.
> >The full crib for the dances is available by email.
> Back on the hobbyhorse for one more lap ...
> First of all -- nice programme!
> But if you put the source of each dance on the advertising flyers, AND print
> full cheatsheets on the tickets, AND have an e-mail pickup for the crib, AND
> have a practice dance ....
> ... then WHY THE HELL brief the dances on the night as well??? The
> must think Toronto dancers are awfy stupid!
> Seriously, this IS overkill, isn't it?
i don't think so. i get the cheats for every dance i plan to go
to, but that still doesn't mean i MEMORIZE them all.
i refresh what i can, but except for the handful i've memorized
(most either done 1 million times or are inverarity "house dances")
i rely on the talk through to really get it "down pat".
the talk-through (in the groups i dance with especially) is another
form of communication in the set. many dancers give handsignals to
help geometrically place where they are to go, plus give eye
contact to the appropriate partners when mentioned, such as
"blahblahblah to end facing first corners."
sometimes that's a complicated track to follow, so it helps at the
talk through to make eye-contact with the corner in question so _they_
know to look out for you and be ready when you get there (or help
make sure you get there if you get lost anyways).
i use the talk through to create a "link" between me and the set.
when that link is strong (which it often is), the dance almost
a talk-through is never overkill.
a walk-through on the other hand...
plus, not everyone will have advanced access to the "Cheats" or
the original "sources". some will not know a thing about the
program until they get there that night.
Joseph Shelby : Software Engineer firstname.lastname@example.org
5301 Shawnee Rd. Alexandria, VA 22312-2333 (703) 658-4071
I'm not sure who he is, but I've heard he's got his hand in a lot of things.
--Kermit, about Jim Henson
In a message dated 96-04-05 16:11:06 EST, you write:
>But if you put the source of each dance on the advertising flyers, AND print
>full cheatsheets on the tickets, AND have an e-mail pickup for the crib,
>have a practice dance ....
>... then WHY THE HELL brief the dances on the night as well??? The
>must think Toronto dancers are awfy stupid!
To pick up a theme I first heard from Sara Gratiot, different people learn
things different ways.
Some learn more easily from graphic, visual cues, like Pillings. Some people
learn better from written descriptions. Some people get it after they've
walked it, a kinetic style of learning. Some people learn better from oral
input, like talk throughs.
This is a laudable attempt to provide a *variety* of means for learning the
program because a variety of people are expected to attend.. It is not an
indication that Toronto area dancers are stupid, by any means.
I'm surpised that you would even suggest such a thing in jest.
San Jose, CA
To my way of thinking, talk throughs are never over kill. I dance socially,
have danced for years and teach. But I enjoy that last minute talk through
at a dance. I'm a busy person and don't have time to look up the directions
for each dance. I tend to skim the cheat sheets to see if the dance is one I
can get through with a reminder and will enjoy. As dances become more
complicated, walk throughs will become more frequent. If one wishes to avoid
walk throughs, keep the ball programs simple.
A recent Tartan Times publication included notices for about 5 dance parties,
covering about 75 dances. I know folks who will attend all five parties, I
doubt they will have researched all the dances listed to avoid the necessity
of talk/walk throughs.
If we all did the same 100 dances, we'd never need a briefing of any kind.
Sylvia Miskoe, Concord, NH
I have to add my "hear! hear!" to Sylvie's message. Talk-throughs are
friendlier and have the effect of focussing the mind on the dance to come.
You also minimize the bawling out of instructions during the dance, in a
misguided attempt to get the less experienced or knowledgeable through the
dance. Then we get to enjoy the music more.
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Ian Price comments that all the "aids" presented for the attendees of
the above event might well be overkill.
It's quite a coincidence in that I was intending today to say a little
more on this theme myself.
I have just returned from a weekend course in Dijon (France). Many
things went very well on this weekend and some not so well, but I want
to tell you about my observations on one little thing.
There were two dances (Saturday and Sunday) and they were not
One reason given for not re-capping was that there had been a
walk-through session on both days for the difficult dances. Well,
firstly the first of these sessions was not published, so only the
'locals' plus a few who were there by accident were able to attend.
Secondly, I find such walk-throughs (personally) to be a waste of
time. Reason: after a break of four, five, or more hours, the
necessary information has been flushed from memory.
It was also pointed out, that we had all been sent instructions for
the dances in diagrammatical (P******s) form. Well, my opinion of such
diagrams as learning aids is shared by many and it's not favourable.
These comments have been personal, but I was able to make the
following (hopefully objective) observations:
- Since the MC was not going to re-cap he/she was effectively ignored
until he/she had shouted long and loud enough to get people's
attention. After the dance had been announced there was immediately a
mass of tiny little groups of people talking loudly and with an air of
panic. Doing what? re-capping of course! This had a large number of
faults. Firstly (I forget who said it on this list) the feeling of
being all together while listening to the single, correct, re-cap was
gone. Secondly the level of noise while the private re-caps were
taking place was painful. and, thirdly, these recaps seemed, in
a lot of cases, to be ineffective. I was in many a set which fell to
pieces because more than half of the dancers were lost.
- The second observation was that by the end of the dance on Sunday
evening, there were two sets left dancing (there were about 16 at the
beginning). These two sets consisted almost entirely of "locals", i.e.
those who needed re-caps least. I have never experienced this rate of
decay before anywhere and my logic tells me that it may well be that
people go to balls for fun and not to be continually under stress.
This was certainly the case for my wife and myself who gave up shortly
after the break.
So, are the plans for the Trinity Assembly overkill or not? I myself
would not be interested in receiving instructions, by post or by
e-mail, but I would certainly want to have the dances re-capped just
before the "off".
I shall say nothing. I am resolved. I am strong. I shall stuff
my mouth with pastries from the buffet table and sit on my hands.
There is nothing which is quite so perfect a pastime as a formal
SCD ball: the ladies in beautiful ball gowns and the men immaculate
in their prince charlies and doublets#; the dances are announced and
the sets form up and are quickly and smoothly counted; the band
begins to play. I haven't been at one of those for years. Perhaps
I never was. It may simply be distance lending enchantment.
Personally, I dislike talk throughs. If I miss anything (through
the talker's brevity or unfamiliar terminology or the antics of
some other dancer) I am lost and can't pick the thing up again
when I no longer know where all the dancers "are" in the dance. And if
they are too detailed (ie give more information than *I* need) I
invariably let my mind wander and get lost, with all of the aforesaid
> One reason given for not re-capping was that there had been a
> walk-through session on both days for the difficult dances...
> Secondly, I find such walk-throughs (personally) to be a waste of
> time. Reason: after a break of four, five, or more hours, the
> necessary information has been flushed from memory.
I agree. Most of us do need reminders of how the dances go. Would
those who advocate no briefings be prepared to enter the fray if
they were required to leave their programme booklets and
aide-memoires of whatever form at home and forbidden to ask another
dancer at any time "how does this one go?" I think they might not.
> It was also pointed out, that we had all been sent instructions for
> the dances in diagrammatical (P******s) form. Well, my opinion of such
> diagrams as learning aids is shared by many and it's not favourable.
And probably as many have the opposite opinion. I don't like them
as a learning aid for a dance which one does not know (although
simple dances can often be picked up from them. BUT, I find that
they are the fastest way of reminding myself of a dance which I have
previously learned, and better than the full instructions,which
contain too much information at this point. But many people do not,
and some of them seem able to follow verbal instructions without
being amused or irritated into distraction as I am. A predance
briefing provides what they need and therefore produces a much
happier and more relaxed evening.
My point is that this should be a briefing, it need not contain any
more information than the Pillings adict can glean from his little
green book. It is only a reminder and one should not be surprised if
(s)he -- how's that for a non-gender specific pronoun? -- can not
learn a dance from it. For that you need the complete instructions
or to go to the pre-ball practice or to ask the teacher of a local
class "could we do 'The Maggots' sometime because I am going to the
ball in Upper Midden next month?" My complaint therefore is that
talk-throughs are usually too long because people expect to be able
to learn the dances from them and, like Shopsy packaged meat*, people
expect to be able to learn the dances from them because they are too
long. So let's have brief recaps, with as far as possible standard
I guess the Trinity Ball effort is not overkill, but it is certainly
an extremely thorough effort at satisfying everybody. Perhaps next
year they could add a web page with animated digrams and nintendo
# That's a different kettle of worms, isn't it?
* More people eat them because they're fresher, and they're fresher
because more people eat them (for those of you who are deprived of
the advantages of North American television).
Damn! I seem to have temporarily lost control of my fingers...
(George) Brian Mackintosh Email: ay026@FreeNet.Carleton.CA
60 Cymbeline Drive, Tel: (613) 829-9932
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
There is something about the repeated sight of this subject line that is
bringing out a kind of protectiveness -- or perhaps just defensiveness -- in
The Trinity Assembly currently seems synonymous on this network with
"overkill" and the fraught topics of walk-throughs and talk-throughs. As
one who joyfully attended the Assembly for most of its first 14 years, I
would prefer to see it mentioned rather as one of Toronto's
most delightful spring balls. The setting -- Trinity College at the
University of Toronto -- is lovely in its own neo-gothic style, the floor of
Strachan Hall is a pleasure to dance on, the live music is a pleasure to
dance to, the challenging Trinity programs are a pleasure to dance through,
and the supper is always delicious! And the briefings are just that:
brief, clear, and helpful.
Perhaps I should add that May is a very nice month for a weekend in
Toronto -- it would be great to inspire dancers from out of town to attend.
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