strathspey Archive: Sore Ankles and Calves (was RE: 8x32 strathspeys (was New Recording Requests))

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Sore Ankles and Calves (was RE: 8x32 strathspeys (was New Recording Requests))

Message 60698 · Lee Fuell · 9 Apr 2011 13:52:49 · Top

Pia wrote:

-----Original Message-----
>From: Pia <pia@intamail.com>
>Sent: Apr 9, 2011 5:47 AM
>To: strathspey@strathspey.org
>Subject: RE: 8x32 strathspeys (was New Recording Requests)

>
>One thought struck me, perhaps the sore ankles and calves are not so much
>the fault of the music as the dance floors we have to contend with - many of
>them are not sprung (most of them?) and therefore killers to the legs. And
>yes you feel it more, if you have to work your muscles in a more pronounced
>manner. It may also be that people are not preparing well enough to dance,
>so muscles are strained from the beginning - then people get hot and stand
>in cold draughty door ways to cool down before going in to dance again and
>putting even more strain on muscles.

All true - and add to that the fact that "by the book" Scottish country dancing technique is bio-mechanically unsound. For stylistic reasons, we force our feet, calves, knees, hips, etc. to do things in ways they are not designed/evolved (pick your preference) to do. Our legs are built for walking with parallel feet; dancing with good turnout puts a lot of stress on the joints they aren't constructed to take. You can develop the musculature to adapt to turnout, but the bones, tendons and ligaments are what they are.

Our feet are designed for heel-to-toe walking, yet we dance with our heels off the floor. This inordinately stresses the arch of the foot, and requires constant contraction of the calf muscles to hold the heels up - that's why calves get sore and calf stretches are essential for SCDers. Also why warmups are so important, and why it bothers me that the RSCDS teacher certification process is so inadequate in teaching warmup skills.

Hard floors certainly contribute to sore ankles and calves (and other lower body parts), and perhaps music does as well but I'm not sold on that. But the fundamental reason for lower extremity pain in SCDers is the very nature of SCD technique itself - it's unnatural. So next time you're going dancing tell your friends you're off to engage in unnatural physical activity and watch the looks on their faces.

>Another thought - at dances, why are you looking at people's feet, and
>assessing? Should you not be looking at faces and interact with a smile,
>not matter how the dancer dances? Should we not just be glad that people
>are turning up to dance!!!!

Here, here!

Lee

Beavercreek, OH, USA

Sore Ankles and Calves (was RE: 8x32 strathspeys (was New Recording Requests))

Message 60700 · Pia Walker · 9 Apr 2011 13:58:04 · Top

Although getting into the third position does mean an ability to shift weight and directions quicker.

Pia

-----Original Message-----
From: Lee Fuell [mailto:fuell@mindspring.com]
Sent: 09 April 2011 12:53
To: strathspey@strathspey.org
Subject: Sore Ankles and Calves (was RE: 8x32 strathspeys (was New Recording Requests))

Pia wrote:

-----Original Message-----
>From: Pia <pia@intamail.com>
>Sent: Apr 9, 2011 5:47 AM
>To: strathspey@strathspey.org
>Subject: RE: 8x32 strathspeys (was New Recording Requests)

>
>One thought struck me, perhaps the sore ankles and calves are not so
>much the fault of the music as the dance floors we have to contend with
>- many of them are not sprung (most of them?) and therefore killers to
>the legs. And yes you feel it more, if you have to work your muscles
>in a more pronounced manner. It may also be that people are not
>preparing well enough to dance, so muscles are strained from the
>beginning - then people get hot and stand in cold draughty door ways to
>cool down before going in to dance again and putting even more strain on muscles.

All true - and add to that the fact that "by the book" Scottish country dancing technique is bio-mechanically unsound. For stylistic reasons, we force our feet, calves, knees, hips, etc. to do things in ways they are not designed/evolved (pick your preference) to do. Our legs are built for walking with parallel feet; dancing with good turnout puts a lot of stress on the joints they aren't constructed to take. You can develop the musculature to adapt to turnout, but the bones, tendons and ligaments are what they are.

Our feet are designed for heel-to-toe walking, yet we dance with our heels off the floor. This inordinately stresses the arch of the foot, and requires constant contraction of the calf muscles to hold the heels up - that's why calves get sore and calf stretches are essential for SCDers. Also why warmups are so important, and why it bothers me that the RSCDS teacher certification process is so inadequate in teaching warmup skills.

Hard floors certainly contribute to sore ankles and calves (and other lower body parts), and perhaps music does as well but I'm not sold on that. But the fundamental reason for lower extremity pain in SCDers is the very nature of SCD technique itself - it's unnatural. So next time you're going dancing tell your friends you're off to engage in unnatural physical activity and watch the looks on their faces.

>Another thought - at dances, why are you looking at people's feet, and
>assessing? Should you not be looking at faces and interact with a
>smile, not matter how the dancer dances? Should we not just be glad
>that people are turning up to dance!!!!

Here, here!

Lee

Beavercreek, OH, USA

Sore Ankles and Calves (was RE: 8x32 strathspeys (was New Recording Requests))

Message 60703 · Bruce Herbold · 9 Apr 2011 18:34:25 · Top

and those of us who are always laughed at for walking like a duck are
delighted to find a milieu where our unnaturalness gives us an
advantage.

But following your logic about heel and toe walking, Lee, does that
mean that running is an unnatural activity? or that skip change is
more like running than walking?

Bruce Herbold
San Francisco

On Sat, Apr 9, 2011 at 4:52 AM, Lee Fuell <fuell@mindspring.com> wrote:
> Pia wrote:
>
> -----Original Message-----
>>From: Pia <pia@intamail.com>
>>Sent: Apr 9, 2011 5:47 AM
>>To: strathspey@strathspey.org
>>Subject: RE: 8x32 strathspeys (was New Recording Requests)
>
>>
>>One thought struck me, perhaps the sore ankles and calves are not so much
>>the fault of the music as the dance floors we have to contend with - many of
>>them are not sprung (most of them?) and therefore killers to the legs.  And
>>yes you feel it more, if you have to work your muscles in a more pronounced
>>manner.  It may also be that people are not preparing well enough to dance,
>>so muscles are strained from the beginning - then people get hot and stand
>>in cold draughty door ways to cool down before going in to dance again and
>>putting even more strain on muscles.
>
> All true - and add to that the fact that "by the book" Scottish country dancing technique is bio-mechanically unsound.  For stylistic reasons, we force our feet, calves, knees, hips, etc. to do things in ways they are not designed/evolved (pick your preference) to do.  Our legs are built for walking with parallel feet; dancing with good turnout puts a lot of stress on the joints they aren't constructed to take.  You can develop the musculature to adapt to turnout, but the bones, tendons and ligaments are what they are.
>
> Our feet are designed for heel-to-toe walking, yet we dance with our heels off the floor.  This inordinately stresses the arch of the foot, and requires constant contraction of the calf muscles to hold the heels up - that's why calves get sore and calf stretches are essential for SCDers.  Also why warmups are so important, and why it bothers me that the RSCDS teacher certification process is so inadequate in teaching warmup skills.
>
> Hard floors certainly contribute to sore ankles and calves (and other lower body parts), and perhaps music does as well but I'm not sold on that.  But the fundamental reason for lower extremity pain in SCDers is the very nature of SCD technique itself - it's unnatural.  So next time you're going dancing tell your friends you're off to engage in unnatural physical activity and watch the looks on their faces.
>
>>Another thought - at dances, why are you looking at people's feet, and
>>assessing?  Should you not be looking at faces and interact with a smile,
>>not matter how the dancer dances?  Should we not just be glad that people
>>are turning up to dance!!!!
>
> Here, here!
>
> Lee
>
> Beavercreek, OH, USA
>

--
Bruce Herbold

Sore Ankles and Calves (was RE: 8x32 strathspeys (was New Recording Requests))

Message 60705 · Lee Fuell · 9 Apr 2011 20:39:53 · Top

I walk more like a pigeon, so my unnaturalness is a distinct disadvantage!

Re running, depends on the kind of running and the stride. Sprinting where the runner is up on the balls of the feet only happens for short distances; one is not likely to do that more or less continuously for three hours like we do at balls. Distance runners tend to land on the outside of the foot (and some are heel strikers) then roll the foot through with the heel coming up only for the push-off at the end of the step (my physical therapist told me that roll-through is why running can actually be good for plantar fasciitis (SCD is most definitely not)). If a distance runner is running continually on the balls of his/her feet, he/she is using poor technique. As such, skip change really isn't like either, but it's closer to sprinting than distance running.

Lee

Beavercreek, OH, USA

-----Original Message-----
>From: Bruce Herbold <bherbold@gmail.com>
>Sent: Apr 9, 2011 12:34 PM
>To: strathspey@strathspey.org
>Subject: Re: Sore Ankles and Calves (was RE: 8x32 strathspeys (was New Recording Requests))
>
>and those of us who are always laughed at for walking like a duck are
>delighted to find a milieu where our unnaturalness gives us an
>advantage.
>
>But following your logic about heel and toe walking, Lee, does that
>mean that running is an unnatural activity? or that skip change is
>more like running than walking?
>
>Bruce Herbold
>San Francisco
>

Sore Ankles and Calves (was RE: 8x32 strathspeys (was New Recording Requests))

Message 60710 · Norman Dahl · 11 Apr 2011 03:36:04 · Top

On 9 April 2011 21:52, Lee Fuell <fuell@mindspring.com> wrote:

> ...snip...
>
> ...and add to that the fact that "by the book" Scottish country dancing
> technique is bio-mechanically unsound. For stylistic reasons, we force our
> feet, calves, knees, hips, etc. to do things in ways they are not
> designed/evolved (pick your preference) to do. Our legs are built for
> walking with parallel feet; dancing with good turnout puts a lot of stress
> on the joints they aren't constructed to take. You can develop the
> musculature to adapt to turnout, but the bones, tendons and ligaments are
> what they are.
>
> Our feet are designed for heel-to-toe walking, yet we dance with our heels
> off the floor. This inordinately stresses the arch of the foot, and
> requires constant contraction of the calf muscles to hold the heels up ...
>

...snip...

>
> Lee
>
> Beavercreek, OH, USA
>

I am a (pretty much) former dancer, who finds any form of technique, let
alone good technique, increasingly difficult by reason of age and health. I
have tried walking, but this removes all the zest in a dance and is
unsatisfactory for both the 'dancer' and the rest of the set.

Therefore, I wonder if it might be possible to devise some set of steps and
movements that -are- bio-mechanically sound, and yet maintain the style and
spirit of SCD. Without the unnatural muscle and joint stresses of today's
SCD, the four minutes to dance a reel or jig, or the eight minutes for a
strathspey, would be much less of a physical challenge. This might be a way
of prolonging a person's dancing life. More controversially, it might also
be a way to ease the learning curve for new dancers, and hence help to
preserve SCD for the future.

I have often wondered how much the more balletic aspects of SCD really have
to do with social dancing; surely the essence of it is the moving
interaction with the other dancers and the music?

Best regards,

-norman-

Norman Dahl, Brisbane

Sore Ankles and Calves (was RE: 8x32 strathspeys (was New Recording Requests))

Message 60715 · campbell · 11 Apr 2011 12:41:42 · Top

Norman Dahl wrote:
>
I am a (pretty much) former dancer, who finds any form of technique, let
alone good technique, increasingly difficult by reason of age and health. I
have tried walking, but this removes all the zest in a dance and is
unsatisfactory for both the 'dancer' and the rest of the set.

Therefore, I wonder if it might be possible to devise some set of steps and
movements that -are- bio-mechanically sound, and yet maintain the style and
spirit of SCD. Without the unnatural muscle and joint stresses of today's
SCD, the four minutes to dance a reel or jig, or the eight minutes for a
strathspey, would be much less of a physical challenge. This might be a way
of prolonging a person's dancing life. More controversially, it might also
be a way to ease the learning curve for new dancers, and hence help to
preserve SCD for the future.

I have often wondered how much the more balletic aspects of SCD really have
to do with social dancing; surely the essence of it is the moving
interaction with the other dancers and the music?
>

Well, I was waiting for a flurry of responses to this bit of heresy, but so
far, none. So let me weigh in, to some extent on Norman's side. If the age
range of SCD is greying and we are beginning to agree that the 40+ age
grouping is where the majority of newer members are going to come from, why
indeed dont we allow a parallel set of steps to co-exist next to the formal
RSCDS ones, which, while beautiful to watch, are very difficult to
superimpose on a body mechanism which is no longer flexible at age 40. Let
the young recruits aspire to the balletic aspects of SCD, especially if they
come from the highland dancing fraternity, or through a university club, but
for the person who has finally thrown off the shackles of parenthood and is
looking for a social outlet, a simple set of travelling and setting steps
would be far more friendly to meet than a strict requirement for third
position and turning out the leg at the hip. so without doing away with the
current reuqirements, my vote would go to a parallel set for the second
graders.

Campbell Tyler
Cape Town

__________ Information from ESET NOD32 Antivirus, version of virus signature
database 6032 (20110411) __________

The message was checked by ESET NOD32 Antivirus.

http://www.eset.com

Sore Ankles and Calves (was RE: 8x32 strathspeys (was New Recording Requests))

Message 60722 · Bruce Herbold · 11 Apr 2011 16:08:44 · Top

may I direct your attention to the wonderful world of English Country
Dance, the majority of which exactly matches this desire? And done to
glorious tunes as well? Just listen to a CD of the band Bare
Necessities and you will be transported; and with an SCD background
most of the dances are readily accessible.

But I do also love SCD and its balletic, sometimes, strenuous
qualities and I have not yet given up hope that it will appeal to
people like I was when I was in my 20s. However, I fear that having
multiple fundamental styles on the same dance floor will not yield
very satisfying results for anyone.

Bruce Herbold
San Francisco

On Mon, Apr 11, 2011 at 3:41 AM, Campbell Personal <campbell@tyler.co.za> wrote:
> Norman Dahl wrote:
>>
> I am a (pretty much) former dancer, who finds any form of technique, let
> alone good technique, increasingly difficult by reason of age and health. I
> have tried walking, but this removes all the zest in a dance and is
> unsatisfactory for both the 'dancer' and the rest of the set.
>
> Therefore, I wonder if it might be possible to devise some set of steps and
> movements that -are- bio-mechanically sound, and yet maintain the style and
> spirit of SCD. Without the unnatural muscle and joint stresses of today's
> SCD, the four minutes to dance a reel or jig, or the eight minutes for a
> strathspey, would be much less of a physical challenge. This might be a way
> of prolonging a person's dancing life. More controversially, it might also
> be a way to ease the learning curve for new dancers, and hence help to
> preserve SCD for the future.
>
> I have often wondered how much the more balletic aspects of SCD really have
> to do with social dancing; surely the essence of it is the moving
> interaction with the other dancers and the music?
>>
>
>
> Well, I was waiting for a flurry of responses to this bit of heresy, but so
> far, none.  So let me weigh in, to some extent on Norman's side.  If the age
> range of SCD is greying and we are beginning to agree that the 40+ age
> grouping is where the majority of newer members are going to come from, why
> indeed dont we allow a parallel set of steps to co-exist next to the formal
> RSCDS ones, which, while beautiful to watch, are very difficult to
> superimpose on a body mechanism which is no longer flexible at age 40.  Let
> the young recruits aspire to the balletic aspects of SCD, especially if they
> come from the highland dancing fraternity, or through a university club, but
> for the person who has finally thrown off the shackles of parenthood and is
> looking for a social outlet, a simple set of travelling and setting steps
> would be far more friendly to meet than a strict requirement for third
> position and turning out the leg at the hip.  so without doing away with the
> current reuqirements, my vote would go to a parallel set for the second
> graders.
>
> Campbell Tyler
> Cape Town
>
>
> __________ Information from ESET NOD32 Antivirus, version of virus signature
> database 6032 (20110411) __________
>
> The message was checked by ESET NOD32 Antivirus.
>
> http://www.eset.com
>
>
>

--
Bruce Herbold

Sore Ankles and Calves (was RE: 8x32 strathspeys (was New Recording Requests))

Message 60726 · Martin Campoveja · 11 Apr 2011 19:10:08 · Top

> a simple set of travelling and setting steps

> ... (rather than) ...turning out the leg at the hip.
>

Other than in setting steps, I ha

Sore Ankles and Calves (was RE: 8x32 strathspeys (was New Recording Requests))

Message 60727 · Martin Campoveja · 11 Apr 2011 19:19:02 · Top

(Sorry! Start again)

> a simple set of travelling and setting steps
>
>> ... (rather than) ...turning out the leg at the hip.
>>
>
> Other than in setting steps, I have never understood the insitence on this
> aspect of posture.
>
Not only is it unnatural, I do not think bow-legged dancing can look all
that attractive. When setting from side to side, yes, point the toes and
knees in the direction of the movement, but when traveling forward? Charlie
Chaplin, anyone remember?

Has there at some time been confusion between turning out the knees on one
hand, and, on the other, turning out the foot so that you'll land on the
outer edge of the foot rather than the overworked big toe and ball?
Pointing the foot in this manner, does indeed turn the knees out somewhat,
but with the leg fully extended forward, the gait will not be Chaplinesque.
I feel emphasis should be on the positioning of the feet rather than other
parts of the lower limbs. Should be easier for the arthritic, too.
Martin

Sore Ankles and Calves (was RE: 8x32 strathspeys (was New Recording Requests))

Message 60729 · Pia Walker · 11 Apr 2011 20:46:12 · Top

A lot of Scottish dancing is 'functional' where you can go on for hours and
hours. Ergonomically RSCDS style are not something that really should be
done for hours on end - as someone said we are not made to walk/run/hop on
our toes. If you take a full length ballet, dancers are not on their toes
as much as we think they are - there are stances - postures - etc, to 'rest'
the dancers who are much more trained than we are, from an early age, and
with better warm up techniques.

With regard to hips - It's a while ago since I did my ballet training, but
here goes - I think it has to do with the whole posture of the body - if you
stand in first position, bum in, tummy in, shoulders down, chin(s) up, knees
straight, ALL toes touching the ground - your pelvis will open out. And if
you keep up that stance, when rotating your leg in any direction, your
pelvis will have to open out and if you start young, your soft bones will
adjust to that - can give you other problems later on, but that's another
story, I suggest the bow leggedness will disappear with a straighten knee
:>).

Not much difference between SCD and Ballet here, but - we keep dancing to a
much later age, than any ballet dancer - start at later age these days, we
dance on floors that are not specially adapted to balletic workouts, and we
do not take really good care of our bodies in general.

I hear some saying: But we have always done so, so why shouldn't we do it
now correct - except now-a-days we are more sedentary in our lives - we sit
more, doing less daily routine exercise like walking to and from places etc,
there are fewer places with sprung floors, instead we dance on floors laid
over concrete bases, which makes our joints impact on something that doesn't
give.

Motorcyclist were made to wear helmets, because it became to dangerous to
drive faster cycles in more traffic than before, perhaps we need to rethink
what standards are worth upholding and find some new ones that can if not
save lives, then same the poor old joints.

Pia
Stir, Stir, Stir, Stir.

-----Original Message-----
From: Martin Sheffield [mailto:francoscot@gmail.com]
Sent: 11 April 2011 18:19
To: strathspey@strathspey.org
Subject: Re: Sore Ankles and Calves (was RE: 8x32 strathspeys (was New
Recording Requests))

(Sorry! Start again)

> a simple set of travelling and setting steps
>
>> ... (rather than) ...turning out the leg at the hip.
>>
>
> Other than in setting steps, I have never understood the insitence on
> this aspect of posture.
>
Not only is it unnatural, I do not think bow-legged dancing can look all
that attractive. When setting from side to side, yes, point the toes and
knees in the direction of the movement, but when traveling forward? Charlie
Chaplin, anyone remember?

Has there at some time been confusion between turning out the knees on one
hand, and, on the other, turning out the foot so that you'll land on the
outer edge of the foot rather than the overworked big toe and ball?
Pointing the foot in this manner, does indeed turn the knees out somewhat,
but with the leg fully extended forward, the gait will not be Chaplinesque.
I feel emphasis should be on the positioning of the feet rather than other
parts of the lower limbs. Should be easier for the arthritic, too.
Martin

Sore Ankles and Calves and a relaxation of Society standards

Message 60718 · Iain Boyd · 11 Apr 2011 15:39:26 · Top

Greetings all,

Despite the fact that the 'balletic' style of modern Scottish country dancing
does not fit with the natural structure of our bodies and is difficult for the
new more mature dancers to attain, I can not agree with the relaxation of the
Society's current standards and the introduction of a simpler style of step -
just so that we can attract more dancing members and make it easier for them.

Those taking up our dance form should be encouraged to work towards the
Society's standards.

Many will not achieve that standard and will perform a more relaxed and simpler
style of step by default.

That is what is happening already!

There is no need to define and teach simpler steps!

Regards,

Iain Boyd

Postal Address -

P O Box 11-404
Wellington 6142
New Zealand

________________________________
From: Norman Dahl <norman.dahl@gmail.com>
To: strathspey@strathspey.org
Sent: Mon, 11 April, 2011 1:36:04 PM
Subject: Re: Sore Ankles and Calves (was RE: 8x32 strathspeys (was New Recording
Requests))

On 9 April 2011 21:52, Lee Fuell <fuell@mindspring.com> wrote:

> ...snip...
>
> ...and add to that the fact that "by the book" Scottish country dancing
> technique is bio-mechanically unsound. For stylistic reasons, we force our
> feet, calves, knees, hips, etc. to do things in ways they are not
> designed/evolved (pick your preference) to do. Our legs are built for
> walking with parallel feet; dancing with good turnout puts a lot of stress
> on the joints they aren't constructed to take. You can develop the
> musculature to adapt to turnout, but the bones, tendons and ligaments are
> what they are.
>
> Our feet are designed for heel-to-toe walking, yet we dance with our heels
> off the floor. This inordinately stresses the arch of the foot, and
> requires constant contraction of the calf muscles to hold the heels up ...
>

...snip...

>
> Lee
>
> Beavercreek, OH, USA
>

I am a (pretty much) former dancer, who finds any form of technique, let
alone good technique, increasingly difficult by reason of age and health. I
have tried walking, but this removes all the zest in a dance and is
unsatisfactory for both the 'dancer' and the rest of the set.

Therefore, I wonder if it might be possible to devise some set of steps and
movements that -are- bio-mechanically sound, and yet maintain the style and
spirit of SCD. Without the unnatural muscle and joint stresses of today's
SCD, the four minutes to dance a reel or jig, or the eight minutes for a
strathspey, would be much less of a physical challenge. This might be a way
of prolonging a person's dancing life. More controversially, it might also
be a way to ease the learning curve for new dancers, and hence help to
preserve SCD for the future.

I have often wondered how much the more balletic aspects of SCD really have
to do with social dancing; surely the essence of it is the moving
interaction with the other dancers and the music?

Best regards,

-norman-

Norman Dahl, Brisbane

Sore Ankles and Calves and a relaxation of Society standards

Message 60720 · Lee Fuell · 11 Apr 2011 16:07:28 · Top

As the guy who made the issue of the unnaturalness of RSCDS technique, I should probably respond to both Iain and Norman. I agree with both, but I'm a bit closer to Iain on this. I teach to the standard, and ask my dancers to strive to achieve as close to the standard as they are physically able. However, I have a number of dancers I teach regularly who either through age, injury or anatomy have physical limitations that prevent them from dancing up to standard. I consider it part of my "job" as a teacher to help them find ways to adapt to their own limitations but stay in rhythm with the music and enjoy SCD.

I don't think devising and teaching a specific alternate step would work, because abilities and limitations of dancers are individual and vary considerably. What works for Norman, for example, might not work for the guy in our group with fused ankles from past trauma. It's more important, IMO, that teachers assess what people are able to do and help them dance within their individual limitations as close to standard as is possible and comfortable for them. For example, I've shown dancers how to "soften" the pas de basque and make it much more low-impact than if danced normally, yet keep their upper body moving in time with the music and in time with the other dancers. Ultimately, though, no one knows one's capabilities and limitations better than oneself, so the individual bears some (if not most) of the responsibility to make those adjustments.

I'm pretty sympathetic to this issue because due to birth defects in both feet I have less than normal range of motion in both ankles and bilateral tarsal coalition (two tarsals that should be separate are fused) in both arches. SCD can be more painful for me than for dancers with normal anatomy, and it's tougher to get decent turnout and point. Like everyone else, I just try to do the best I can with what I've got and enjoy the dancing.

Happy dancing,

Lee

Beavercreek, Ohio, USA

-----Original Message-----
>From: Iain Boyd <iain_boyd_scd@yahoo.co.nz>
>Sent: Apr 11, 2011 9:39 AM
>To: strathspey@strathspey.org
>Subject: Re: Sore Ankles and Calves and a relaxation of Society standards
>
...snip...
>
>Those taking up our dance form should be encouraged to work towards the
>Society's standards.
>
>
>Many will not achieve that standard and will perform a more relaxed and simpler
>style of step by default.
>
>That is what is happening already!
>
>There is no need to define and teach simpler steps!
>
>Regards,
>
> Iain Boyd
>
>
>Postal Address -
>
>P O Box 11-404
>Wellington 6142
>New Zealand
>
>
>
>
>________________________________
>From: Norman Dahl <norman.dahl@gmail.com>
>To: strathspey@strathspey.org
>Sent: Mon, 11 April, 2011 1:36:04 PM
>Subject: Re: Sore Ankles and Calves (was RE: 8x32 strathspeys (was New Recording
>Requests))
>

...snip...
>
>Therefore, I wonder if it might be possible to devise some set of steps and
>movements that -are- bio-mechanically sound, and yet maintain the style and
>spirit of SCD.
>Best regards,
>
>-norman-
>
>Norman Dahl, Brisbane

Sore Ankles and Calves and a relaxation of Society standards

Message 60724 · Noel Chavez · 11 Apr 2011 17:41:00 · Top

Thanks for your comments, Lee. I would add that a good workshop for
teachers could cover some of the topics of how to help dancers adjust their
dancing when age or anatomy prevent dancing with greater attention to the
RSCDS standard way. Noel Chavez, Chicago Branch
At 09:07 AM 4/11/2011, you wrote:
>As the guy who made the issue of the unnaturalness of RSCDS technique, I
>should probably respond to both Iain and Norman. I agree with both, but
>I'm a bit closer to Iain on this. I teach to the standard, and ask my
>dancers to strive to achieve as close to the standard as they are
>physically able. However, I have a number of dancers I teach regularly
>who either through age, injury or anatomy have physical limitations that
>prevent them from dancing up to standard. I consider it part of my "job"
>as a teacher to help them find ways to adapt to their own limitations but
>stay in rhythm with the music and enjoy SCD.
>
>I don't think devising and teaching a specific alternate step would work,
>because abilities and limitations of dancers are individual and vary
>considerably. What works for Norman, for example, might not work for the
>guy in our group with fused ankles from past trauma. It's more important,
>IMO, that teachers assess what people are able to do and help them dance
>within their individual limitations as close to standard as is possible
>and comfortable for them. For example, I've shown dancers how to "soften"
>the pas de basque and make it much more low-impact than if danced
>normally, yet keep their upper body moving in time with the music and in
>time with the other dancers. Ultimately, though, no one knows one's
>capabilities and limitations better than oneself, so the individual bears
>some (if not most) of the responsibility to make those adjustments.
>
>I'm pretty sympathetic to this issue because due to birth defects in both
>feet I have less than normal range of motion in both ankles and bilateral
>tarsal coalition (two tarsals that should be separate are fused) in both
>arches. SCD can be more painful for me than for dancers with normal
>anatomy, and it's tougher to get decent turnout and point. Like everyone
>else, I just try to do the best I can with what I've got and enjoy the
>dancing.
>
>Happy dancing,
>
>Lee
>
>Beavercreek, Ohio, USA
>
>
>-----Original Message-----
> >From: Iain Boyd <iain_boyd_scd@yahoo.co.nz>
> >Sent: Apr 11, 2011 9:39 AM
> >To: strathspey@strathspey.org
> >Subject: Re: Sore Ankles and Calves and a relaxation of Society standards
> >
>...snip...
> >
> >Those taking up our dance form should be encouraged to work towards the
> >Society's standards.
> >
> >
> >Many will not achieve that standard and will perform a more relaxed and
> simpler
> >style of step by default.
> >
> >That is what is happening already!
> >
> >There is no need to define and teach simpler steps!
> >
> >Regards,
> >
> > Iain Boyd
> >
> >
> >Postal Address -
> >
> >P O Box 11-404
> >Wellington 6142
> >New Zealand
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >________________________________
> >From: Norman Dahl <norman.dahl@gmail.com>
> >To: strathspey@strathspey.org
> >Sent: Mon, 11 April, 2011 1:36:04 PM
> >Subject: Re: Sore Ankles and Calves (was RE: 8x32 strathspeys (was New
> Recording
> >Requests))
> >
>
>...snip...
> >
> >Therefore, I wonder if it might be possible to devise some set of steps and
> >movements that -are- bio-mechanically sound, and yet maintain the style and
> >spirit of SCD.
> >Best regards,
> >
> >-norman-
> >
> >Norman Dahl, Brisbane

Sore Ankles and Calves and a relaxation of Society standards

Message 60734 · Andrew Smith · 13 Apr 2011 08:41:19 · Top

For what it's worth, I agree wholeheartedly with Ian.

Andrew Smith,
Bristol, UK.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Iain Boyd" <iain_boyd_scd@yahoo.co.nz>
To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
Sent: Monday, April 11, 2011 2:39 PM
Subject: Re: Sore Ankles and Calves and a relaxation of Society standards

Greetings all,

Despite the fact that the 'balletic' style of modern Scottish country
dancing
does not fit with the natural structure of our bodies and is difficult for
the
new more mature dancers to attain, I can not agree with the relaxation of
the
Society's current standards and the introduction of a simpler style of
step -
just so that we can attract more dancing members and make it easier for
them.

Those taking up our dance form should be encouraged to work towards the
Society's standards.

Many will not achieve that standard and will perform a more relaxed and
simpler
style of step by default.

That is what is happening already!

There is no need to define and teach simpler steps!

Regards,

Iain Boyd

Postal Address -

P O Box 11-404
Wellington 6142
New Zealand

________________________________
From: Norman Dahl <norman.dahl@gmail.com>
To: strathspey@strathspey.org
Sent: Mon, 11 April, 2011 1:36:04 PM
Subject: Re: Sore Ankles and Calves (was RE: 8x32 strathspeys (was New
Recording
Requests))

On 9 April 2011 21:52, Lee Fuell <fuell@mindspring.com> wrote:

> ...snip...
>
> ...and add to that the fact that "by the book" Scottish country dancing
> technique is bio-mechanically unsound. For stylistic reasons, we force
> our
> feet, calves, knees, hips, etc. to do things in ways they are not
> designed/evolved (pick your preference) to do. Our legs are built for
> walking with parallel feet; dancing with good turnout puts a lot of stress
> on the joints they aren't constructed to take. You can develop the
> musculature to adapt to turnout, but the bones, tendons and ligaments are
> what they are.
>
> Our feet are designed for heel-to-toe walking, yet we dance with our heels
> off the floor. This inordinately stresses the arch of the foot, and
> requires constant contraction of the calf muscles to hold the heels up ...
>

...snip...

>
> Lee
>
> Beavercreek, OH, USA
>

I am a (pretty much) former dancer, who finds any form of technique, let
alone good technique, increasingly difficult by reason of age and health. I
have tried walking, but this removes all the zest in a dance and is
unsatisfactory for both the 'dancer' and the rest of the set.

Therefore, I wonder if it might be possible to devise some set of steps and
movements that -are- bio-mechanically sound, and yet maintain the style and
spirit of SCD. Without the unnatural muscle and joint stresses of today's
SCD, the four minutes to dance a reel or jig, or the eight minutes for a
strathspey, would be much less of a physical challenge. This might be a way
of prolonging a person's dancing life. More controversially, it might also
be a way to ease the learning curve for new dancers, and hence help to
preserve SCD for the future.

I have often wondered how much the more balletic aspects of SCD really have
to do with social dancing; surely the essence of it is the moving
interaction with the other dancers and the music?

Best regards,

-norman-

Norman Dahl, Brisbane

Sore Ankles and Calves and a relaxation of Society standards

Message 60735 · Mady Newfield · 13 Apr 2011 17:02:09 · Top

Hello list,

I feel moved to agree with Ian here. While I'm not a certified teacher, I
observe a dancing at all levels of competence, and I also call English
country dance.
Part of what distinguishes SCD from other related forms like ECD or contra
is that balletic styling. That, and the music, are what make the dance form
intriguing, and the very fact that there *is* that challenge gives some
newcomers reason to stay and work on it. It's not crucial to dance with
that styling, but it makes the dances *feel* that much better, and makes it
more fun. But I've also danced with memorable dancers who were fine partners
even if their balletic technique was lacking because they handled the rest
of their bodies well, and knew the social skills to go with that. What we
need is a combination of kindly technique teaching and encouragement,
combined with the realization that there are those who simply will not be
able to achieve perfect technique, but can be good dancers anyway, if we
teach them the proper handing, arming and eye contact (which are good
lessons for other related kinds of social dance as well).

Cheers,
Mady Newfield
St. Charles, IL

On Mon, Apr 11, 2011 at 8:39 AM, Iain Boyd <iain_boyd_scd@yahoo.co.nz>wrote:

> Greetings all,
>
> Despite the fact that the 'balletic' style of modern Scottish country
> dancing
> does not fit with the natural structure of our bodies and is difficult for
> the
> new more mature dancers to attain, I can not agree with the relaxation of
> the
> Society's current standards and the introduction of a simpler style of step
> -
> just so that we can attract more dancing members and make it easier for
> them.
>
> Those taking up our dance form should be encouraged to work towards the
> Society's standards.
>
>
> Many will not achieve that standard and will perform a more relaxed and
> simpler
> style of step by default.
>
> That is what is happening already!
>
> There is no need to define and teach simpler steps!
>
> Regards,
>
> Iain Boyd
>
>
>

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