strathspey Archive: Teaching and guns

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Teaching and guns

Message 44702 · campbell · 14 Mar 2006 15:03:59 · Top

Anselm wrote:

> The trick, apparently, is getting people to find out that while they
> *think*
> they're having lots of fun when they're just stampeding around the set
> like a
> herd of hippos, that once they've got the hang of current SCD technique
> they
> will be having even *more* fun. I don't have a foolproof method for doing
> this.

As the originator of this thread, and having so far got away with only a
few bullet grazes on the left thigh as I ducked round the corner, I think
Anselm has got closest to what I would call "the next step". My feeling
is get them in by lowering the bar as far as possible, certainly below any
sense of having to master footwork first. Once they are in, they will
begin to look around and rather enjoy the superior footwork of those
around them. Then they will look down at their own hippo feet and feel
slightly embarrassed and want to improve themselves. In other words they
find out by looking at the example set them by those around them. I feel
the example should be set purely by demonstration, not by remonstration.
As the teacher, I try to drop hints through humour, point out examples of
good footwork by those around, indicate that I have got a long way to go
myself but that it is enjoyable to improve. And do the occasional
boringly easy dance so they have a chance to try to get their feet right.
But it is never stressed, always in the background. I am usually
reactive, only occasionally assertive. With the result, as I mentioned in
my first email, that our club has a reputation for "appalling" footwork
amongst the purists. It was even suggested that we had a cheek inviting
Marian Anderson out to play for such low standards of dancing. Sigh!!

Campbell

Teaching and guns

Message 44703 · Anselm Lingnau · 14 Mar 2006 15:28:11 · Top

campbell@tyler.co.za wrote:

> My feeling
> is get them in by lowering the bar as far as possible, certainly below any
> sense of having to master footwork first. Once they are in, they will
> begin to look around and rather enjoy the superior footwork of those
> around them. Then they will look down at their own hippo feet and feel
> slightly embarrassed and want to improve themselves.

It has been my experience that many of the, er, hippo-feet dancers, especially
those with some tenure, are pretty much immune to the example of other
dancers with gazelle feet. Why bother, we're having fun already! And don't
*we* look just as graceful as those others? After all, we've been dancing for
twenty years already! And yes, we do feel we ought to be on the demonstration
team, thank you very much.

On the other hand, many do want to »improve«. As a teacher, I tend to
concentrate on these rather than waste my breath and class time on those who
think they are God's gift to country dancing but in fact have come in
straight from the pond. They're apparently having fun so why torture them
with footwork that they weren't going to waste any effort on back when the
coelacanths thought trying to breathe air might be a cool idea for a change.

> As the teacher, I try to drop hints through humour, point out examples of
> good footwork by those around, indicate that I have got a long way to go
> myself but that it is enjoyable to improve. And do the occasional
> boringly easy dance so they have a chance to try to get their feet right.
> But it is never stressed, always in the background. I am usually
> reactive, only occasionally assertive. With the result, as I mentioned in
> my first email, that our club has a reputation for "appalling" footwork
> amongst the purists. It was even suggested that we had a cheek inviting
> Marian Anderson out to play for such low standards of dancing. Sigh!!

This sounds like you're doing the right thing, in the long run. If your group
prospers, and if Marian doesn't drop her box in shock, you must be doing
*something* right. Keep up the good work!

Anselm
--
Anselm Lingnau, Frankfurt, Germany ..................... anselm@strathspey.org
When the gods wish to punish us they answer our prayers.
-- Oscar Wilde, *An Ideal Husband*

Teaching and guns

Message 44704 · Jim Healy · 14 Mar 2006 17:20:51 · Top

Greetings!

Campbell writes:

>It was even suggested that we had a cheek inviting
>Marian Anderson out to play for such low standards of dancing. Sigh!!
Sight unseen I am sure that Marian will see nothing in South Africa that she
doesn't see every week of the year - especially in Scotland. On the basis of
my fairly extensive experience of dancing abroad, the overall standard wil
probably be 'better' than she usually has to look at from the stage. (The
measure of 'better' being a different question.)

Jim Healy
Perth and Monaco

Teaching and guns

Message 44708 · simon scott · 14 Mar 2006 19:23:05 · Top

campbell@tyler.co.za wrote:

> My feeling
> is get them in by lowering the bar as far as possible, certainly below
> any sense of having to master footwork first. Once they are in, they
> will begin to look around and rather enjoy the superior footwork of
> those around them. Then they will look down at their own hippo feet
> and feel slightly embarrassed and want to improve themselves.

I totally agree with getting new dancers moving, enthused, and actively
dancing without a "huge" or "laborious" technique session, initial.

HOWEVER, I do believe that some aspect of the elegant style of this
dancing, much of which comes from its precise footwork, should always be
a part of each class.

One if the reasons I believe this is that bad habits are very easily
formed. I know that it is more difficult to break bad habits than it is
to form good ones to begin with.

Simon
Vancouver

Teaching - no guns

Message 44713 · Ron Mackey · 15 Mar 2006 02:02:30 · Top

> I totally agree with getting new dancers moving, enthused, and actively
> dancing without a "huge" or "laborious" technique session, initial.
>
> HOWEVER, I do believe that some aspect of the elegant style of this
> dancing, much of which comes from its precise footwork, should always be
> a part of each class.
>
> One if the reasons I believe this is that bad habits are very easily
> formed. I know that it is more difficult to break bad habits than it is
> to form good ones to begin with.
>
> Simon
> Vancouver

Absolutely agree. The problem starts when the
sledgehammer is produced to crack the nut. A little patient, gentle,
subtle tapping is usually enough.

RSCDS on TV

Message 44706 · ninian-uk · 14 Mar 2006 17:49:47 · Top

A snippet of information, courtesy of The Scotsman newspaper...

"On 14 March 1952, the first television programme was broadcast in Scotland.
The programme featured the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society performing
the Duke of Edinburgh Reel." [I assume they mean Duke & Duchess of
Edinburgh.]

David
Berkeley, Gloucestershire, UK

RSCDS on TV

Message 44707 · Pia Walker · 14 Mar 2006 18:05:23 · Top

And as far as I know, according to a source in the BBC, most programmes with
SCD, such as the White Heather Club programmes (although not all of them)
has been thrown out.

Pia

-----Original Message-----
From: strathspey-bounces-pia=intamail.com@strathspey.org
[mailto:strathspey-bounces-pia=intamail.com@strathspey.org]On Behalf Of
ninian-uk
Sent: 14 March 2006 16:50
To: SCD news and discussion
Subject: RSCDS on TV

A snippet of information, courtesy of The Scotsman newspaper...

"On 14 March 1952, the first television programme was broadcast in Scotland.
The programme featured the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society performing
the Duke of Edinburgh Reel." [I assume they mean Duke & Duchess of
Edinburgh.]

David
Berkeley, Gloucestershire, UK

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Teaching and guns

Message 44715 · Ron Mackey · 15 Mar 2006 02:02:29 · Top

> This sounds like you're doing the right thing, in the long run. If your group
> prospers, and if Marian doesn't drop her box in shock, you must be doing
> *something* right. Keep up the good work!
>
> Anselm

One suspects that the smile will remain firmly in place and
she will just keep cooking with gas!!

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