strathspey Archive: Hands up or down?

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Hands up or down?

Message 9427 · Ron Macnaughton · 25 Oct 1997 19:33:02 · Top

I've just finished a wonderful Ball which had Mairi's Wedding as the closing
dance. Giving warnings, my partner and I were virtuous, but others
following weren't. In the "Once and to the Bottom" repeat we were naughty;
the half reels were much nicer when we passed right shoulders. Has this
ever been discussed in this group?

Just kidding!

In my 8 months following this newsgroup, I haven't noticed many
discussions of hands as in who puts which hand up. I gather the middle
person in groups of three holds his/her hands up. I have asked about
circles and have been told there's no rule.

Is that true?

If not, why not a rule like left hand down and right hand up?

While hand confusion causes no major problems, it's an uncharacteristic
fumbling in an activity where there is a correct way to do most things,
even if sometimes dancers are naughty.

Ron Macnaughton
Bolton Ontario

Hands up or down?

Message 9429 · Isabel Watts · 25 Oct 1997 22:02:26 · Top

>From past experience of dancing in children's festivals and
children/adult demonsrtation teams in Toronto we followed
the rule that the person in the middle of a group of three put hands
up. When joining into a circle of 6 from the sides the above still
applied and those dancing at the end on the man's side of the
set put hands up and the ladies joined the circle with hands down. I
also tried to make a point of mentioning this when teaching. When
it came to dancing with a group or at a monthly dance I always
followed this rule and made sure that my hands were up a split second
before those that I was to join with so that they could take my lead
on which way their hand was to go, and in most cases this avoided any
fumbling.

Of course it is always up for discussion on how hands should go when
dealing with circles of 3,8,12 etc....but let's not get into that.

Hope this helps........

> Date: Sat, 25 Oct 1997 11:33:56 -0400 (EDT)
> To: strathspey@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.de
> From: Ron Macnaughton <macnr@interlog.com>
> Subject: Hands up or down?
> Reply-to: strathspey@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.de

> I've just finished a wonderful Ball which had Mairi's Wedding as the closing
> dance. Giving warnings, my partner and I were virtuous, but others
> following weren't. In the "Once and to the Bottom" repeat we were naughty;
> the half reels were much nicer when we passed right shoulders. Has this
> ever been discussed in this group?
>
> Just kidding!
>
> In my 8 months following this newsgroup, I haven't noticed many
> discussions of hands as in who puts which hand up. I gather the middle
> person in groups of three holds his/her hands up. I have asked about
> circles and have been told there's no rule.
>
> Is that true?
>
> If not, why not a rule like left hand down and right hand up?
>
> While hand confusion causes no major problems, it's an uncharacteristic
> fumbling in an activity where there is a correct way to do most things,
> even if sometimes dancers are naughty.
>
> Ron Macnaughton
> Bolton Ontario
>
> --
> Ron Macnaughton <macnr@interlog.com>
>
>
>

Hands up or down?

Message 9430 · Trans Vector Technologies, Inc · 26 Oct 1997 03:01:45 · Top

This is a subject about which there is usually heated ambivalence. Before
rambling on, I'll head straight for my own punch-line: it doesn't matter!

The problem with having a "rule" or "set of rules" about this one is that
there are too many different situations. I think the only "rule" that would
work without creating conflicts is the "right hand up, left hand down"
suggestion. By the way "hands up" = "palms facing up".

On the other hand, it is nice to develop automatic behaviors to avoid
fumbling hands and expending excessive mental energy on this aspect of the
dance.

Now having said that, I find I do have a set of automatic behaviors which
work most of the time, but those behaviors don't reduce themselved to a
simple set of "rules".

1. To a lady I will offer hands up.
2. To a gentleman I will offer right hand up, left hand down.
3. As the middle person in a 3-some, I will most often offer both hands up,
but I am not consistent here.
4. If I am offered a hand, I will take it as it is given--no need to be a
cause for fumbling.

The case of the middle person of 3 offering hands up is based on two ideas:
(1) that the middle person should control the 3-some (generally a good
presumption) and (2) that a hand with palm up is stronger and more capable
of controlling (perhaps only slightly true). I find I can easily control or
"take charge" of a 3-some, regardless of how our hands are joined.
Regardless of the kinematic veracity of presumption (2), I think there is a
strong cultural bias that helps us to believe it to be true.

On the other hand (so to speak), perhaps one "offers" a hand with palm up
and "accepts" with palm down. In this case it would be a question of who is
offering. Maybe it is from this that the gender bias in my own automatic
behaviors is derived.

Cheers, Oberdan Otto.

Trans Vector Technologies, Inc, 184 Estaban Drive, Camarillo, CA 93010-1611
Phone: (805)484-2775, FAX: (805)484-2718, EMail: ootto@tvt.com

Hands up or down?

Message 9431 · Simon Scott · 26 Oct 1997 06:33:24 · Top

> If not, why not a rule like left hand down and right hand up?
>
> While hand confusion causes no major problems, it's an uncharacteristic
> fumbling in an activity where there is a correct way to do most things,
> even if sometimes dancers are naughty.
>
> Ron Macnaughton
> Bolton Ontario
>
> --
> Ron Macnaughton <macnr@interlog.com>

I don't feel there is need for a set rule on these occasions. When entering
this type of formation there can be a number of variables together with
often little time, for most people, to know which rule to apply.

If I have a man on each side I always take with the right and give with the
left (right palm up and left palm down) However, I will always take a
ladies hand if one is on either side of me. Although this does not always
work smoothly, it is what I recommend when teaching.

A fumble is usually very brief and hopefully will prompt glance and a smile
with that person, so not all is lost.

Simon Scott
sscott@portal.ca

Hands up or down?

Message 9432 · Malcolm and Helen Brown · 26 Oct 1997 12:31:29 · Top

Perhaps its just a personal idiosynchrocy resulting from individual
circumstances, but I always try to have both hands with palms facing
in the same direction, (up). This is because the palms down person has
their hands slightly higher than the palms up person, so I allow the
taller people to come down to my level. (And I apply the same reasoning
in wheels - I feel an attack of irritation coming on whenever I
have to join in a wheel where the "hands joined at shoulder height"
would mean that "shoulders are being worn at ear height this year")

Malcolm (York)
--
_ _
|_|_ |_| Malcolm & Helen Brown - m.brown@netcomuk.co.uk (NETCOM Internet Dial-Up)
_ |_|_
|_| _|_| Connecting via NETCOM Internet Ltd
|_|

Hands up or down?

Message 9438 · RSCDSSD · 27 Oct 1997 17:46:32 · Top

>If not, why not a rule like left hand down and right hand up?<

With no criticism intended in response to the request; must we have "rules"
for every aspect of our dancing? Common sense, courtesy, and appropriateness
can suggest what you should do far better than any rule book. Miss Milligan
is criticized at times for over-regulating our dance form, but I suspect she
was far less rigid than those who attempt to interpret her methodology.

The best answer I can provide to Ron's inquiry about rules for giving of
hands is from "Won't You Join the Dance?" "The hands are given primarily as
a help to the other dancers. The rule as to when hands are given should,
then, be dictated by the feelings of the dancers. . . hands must be given
naturally, without fuss, or studied affectation."

I agree that fumbling is awkward, but usually it only takes a beat or two of
the bar for the dancers to decide what to do. If it doesn't interfere with
the execution of the dance (and it usually doesn't), it can provide a good
laugh between the two people involved.

Marjorie McLaughlin
RSCDS SD@aol.com

Hands up or down?

Message 9462 · Courtney Cartwright · 30 Oct 1997 03:52:32 · Top

I hope it's not too late to add to this discussion... I've been away on
business and am only now catching up on the more important things like
reading the items in this list.

I agree with every bit of advice given here -- Oberdan's, Simon's and Marjorie's
suggestions are all rules I generally try to promote. But I've also tried
to adhere to the notion that the offering of hands is an invitation to
dance, and as such, it seems most natural for those inviting to offer the
hands palm upwards. For instance, if first couple casts down one place,
second couple steps up and then the two couples are then to set, it seems to
me most natural for the dancing couple, i.e., first couple to invite second
couple to dance with them. So in this instance, first man would offer
second man his upturned palm, while second lady would be offered an upturned
palm by first lady.

If the dance is perhaps a more modern dance and the dancing couple is 2nd
or3rd couple, or both 1st and 4th couples, the dancing couples would be
inviting the others to dance, offering upturned palms.

But let's face it. Any form of dance, including Scottish Country Dance,
tends to be que sera, sera. I'd certainly not shrink from taking hands,
whether face up or down, and so, I suspect, is the case with all of us...

Courtney Cartwright
Tucson, Arizona USA
ccartwri@primenet.com

Hands up or down?

Message 9466 · Lillian Cunningham · 31 Oct 1997 07:36:02 · Top

Here's my handful on the matter of hands up or down. I've read with
interest all the comments about situations in which it is polite to offer
hands up or to accept with hands down. Of course we want to be polite.
I'm really curious about whether those of you who have all these
situational examples actually think out the situation as you give hands or
is it something you've codified into your trained instincts? Or are these
explanations arising after the fact to explain what just sort-of happens
on the dance floor? I hear the argument that palms up helps with leading,
but several of you have questioned whether that bit of received wisdom is
really true. I question that too.

This is a hot button subject with me. I agree with Ron Macnaughton, who
asked the original question, that it would be much simpler to be
consistent. I was taught, practically from the time I started dancing,
always to give right hand palm up and left hand palm down. We learned to
remember by checking whether you can read your watch if you wear a watch
on the left wrist.(I did understand that this was our group's policy, not
an SCD standard.) Thus, to me, giving hands that way seems neither polite
nor impolite, and not a restrictive rule either. It is just convenient,
smooth and easy. It truly means no fumbling when everyone uses the same
system for all occasions, including advancing in groups of three. I like
the gender equalizing factor of this system, too.

In recent years the left down/ right up system of taking hands has
not been taught in our group, so fumbling has become frequent. I think our
dancing has lost some ease as a result, and it bothers me. In fact it
annoys me. As other responders have mentioned, I don't refuse to take
hands offered in some other way, but I don't like to have to think about
it or to fumble or to have to change hand positions depending on the
gender of the person next to me or where I am in a group of three or which
position in the set I'm in. We have lots of more interesting things to
think about during a dance than which polite handing response takes
precedence over another this time. A consistent handing system seems as
logical to me as polite turns. In fact I take back what I said before. It
seems MORE polite to offer hands in a way that everyone understands and
expects and is immediately ready to respond to.
Have any other of you folks danced in a group where left-palm-down
and right-palm-down system was a comfortable norm? Or even the reverse
system? Does anyone share my preference?
It beats me why we don't all do it that way. I know from
experience that consistent handing for all situations is an easy habit to
acquire (lots easier than a three-beat pas de basque) and friendly to use
(like a bow and curtsey).

Thanks for the soapbox. I'll step off it now.

Lillian Cunningham
Honolulu, Hawaii
lillianc@hawaii.edu.

Hands up or down?

Message 9467 · Trans Vector Technologies, Inc · 31 Oct 1997 10:30:55 · Top

Lillian Cunningham writes:

>...
>This is a hot button subject with me. I agree with Ron Macnaughton, who
>asked the original question, that it would be much simpler to be
>consistent. I was taught, practically from the time I started dancing,
>always to give right hand palm up and left hand palm down...

Although this is not a hot button for me, I agree with Lillian that
consistency would be nice. At class last night I had the chance to observe
some of my automatic handing behaviors in action. I remember a particular
circle in which I offered right hand up/left down. I did not notice right
away that the person on my left was a lady, so my alternate automatic
behavior did not engage (offering hand up to a lady). It turns out that
that was a good thing because the lady offered me right hand up, so we
joined smoothly with no fumbling. That demonstrated the consistency of the
RHU/LHD solution that Lillian recommends.

There is one situation, however, where I personally dislike
RHU/LHD--turning one other person. The problem is that it makes me feel
slightly off-balance and I must compensate with more rigid arms than if I
used BHU or BHD. I feel that the couple is better balanced with BHU/BHD.

I think Simon suggested that fumbling is not necessarily a bad thing--it
can be an opportunity for amusement and unexpected social interaction.
Sometimes when preparing for a rare two-hand turn with another man, we will
both look at each other as if to say, "OK, who's up and who's down?". I
think it is unpredictabilities like these that keep SCD from becoming stale.

Cheers, Oberdan Otto.

Trans Vector Technologies, Inc, 184 Estaban Drive, Camarillo, CA 93010-1611
Phone: (805)484-2775, FAX: (805)484-2718, EMail: ootto@tvt.com

Hands up or down?

Message 9468 · M.J.Norman · 31 Oct 1997 13:26:58 · Top

One more opinion on the handing discussion. Warning - some rambling.

In my very first SCD class we were taught, as my teacher liked to put it,
"thumbs to the right" for taking hands, unless the dance or figure called
for something else (like a two-hand turn with the opp. gender). I wasn't
aware at the time that this was just my teacher's own rule of convenience,
it seemed so sensible, and I taught it to my beginners in turn. At a dance,
I will put my hand out first, if I can, to avoid fumbling, especially with
beginners, but I don't really mind either way. Especially as one of those
tall women who often dances as a man, I have enough trouble remembering
which gender I am, never mind the hands! As someone said earlier, the
fumbling makes you look at the person and smile - nothing wrong with that!
:)

To change the subject just slightly, the mental image of a man offering his
hand palm up to me still tends to make me shudder, ever since my younger
days of going to Victorian Balls and Irish ceilis in the LA area. There
was a rather odd guy who frequented these events. He wasn't much older
than we were, but he was completely bald and I never once heard him speak.
No one knew who he was. He didn't ever come in costume to the Victorian
events and he didn't really know any of the dances. He would stand at the
fringes, watching the younger women until he spotted one he liked. Then he
would walk up to her and with an exagerated movement and a little bow,
offer her his upturned palm. Once you'd danced with him one time, he was
very persistent in asking you again and again, which made things
uncomfortable. Girls who did dance with him said he barely spoke a word,
just smiled, which seemed very creepy to all of us.

Looking back on it, I think it most likely that he was just shy, but
something about him made us very uncomfortable. I know someone is going to
say we should have introduced ourselves and made him feel welcome, but to
us _at the time_ he seemed more like a stalker than someone we wanted to be
friendly with.

Has anyone else ever had that sort of experience, or problem, with slightly
unusual and/or socially awkward people attending their SCD classes? I've
always felt/said that SCD is for anyone, but what do you do with the
student who makes a large portion of the class uncomfortable? It doesn't
seem right to me to ask them not to come. I had the same kind of thing
happen again when I started teaching an SCD class in my late 20's, and some
of the women stopped attending because of it. As it wasn't a very big
class to begin with, this was unfortunate.

Anyway, I digress. Although it's easier to have rules for some things, I'd
go along with Oberdan on the handing thing.
> I think it is unpredictabilities like these that keep SCD from becoming stale.

You could always try competitive Irish figure dancing if you want each and
every move choreographed. There are enough rules in this world. Be
spontaneous, fling your cares to the wind and dance with wild abdomen - ah,
er - abandon! ;-). Weeee!!......

In a silly mood,
Monica Norman
Hampshire, UK
(formerly Calif.)

the socially challenged

Message 9470 · Peter Hastings · 31 Oct 1997 16:55:43 · Top

Hi Monica

Every group I've ever got to know (rather than just visited briefly) has at
least one. One group that I attend has specifically excluded a single
individual rather than have the group fold due to non-attendance by women
who don't need that sort of attention. I guess it comes down to an
acceptable infringement of individual privileges for the greater good of the
group as a whole - sad but necessary.

cheers

Peter Hastings
Royal Observatory
Edinburgh
(:

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

On Fri, 31 Oct 1997, M.J.Norman wrote:

> To change the subject just slightly, the mental image of a man offering his
> hand palm up to me still tends to make me shudder, ever since my younger
> days of going to Victorian Balls and Irish ceilis in the LA area. There
> was a rather odd guy who frequented these events. He wasn't much older
> than we were, but he was completely bald and I never once heard him speak.
> No one knew who he was. He didn't ever come in costume to the Victorian
> events and he didn't really know any of the dances. He would stand at the
> fringes, watching the younger women until he spotted one he liked. Then he
> would walk up to her and with an exagerated movement and a little bow,
> offer her his upturned palm. Once you'd danced with him one time, he was
> very persistent in asking you again and again, which made things
> uncomfortable. Girls who did dance with him said he barely spoke a word,
> just smiled, which seemed very creepy to all of us.
>
> Looking back on it, I think it most likely that he was just shy, but
> something about him made us very uncomfortable. I know someone is going to
> say we should have introduced ourselves and made him feel welcome, but to
> us _at the time_ he seemed more like a stalker than someone we wanted to be
> friendly with.
>
> Has anyone else ever had that sort of experience, or problem, with slightly
> unusual and/or socially awkward people attending their SCD classes? I've
> always felt/said that SCD is for anyone, but what do you do with the
> student who makes a large portion of the class uncomfortable? It doesn't
> seem right to me to ask them not to come. I had the same kind of thing
> happen again when I started teaching an SCD class in my late 20's, and some
> of the women stopped attending because of it. As it wasn't a very big
> class to begin with, this was unfortunate.

the socially challenged

Message 9475 · Colleen Putt · 31 Oct 1997 23:27:10 · Top

At 14:55 31/10/97 +0000, you wrote:
>
>Hi Monica
>
>Every group I've ever got to know (rather than just visited briefly) has at
>least one. One group that I attend has specifically excluded a single
>individual rather than have the group fold due to non-attendance by women
>who don't need that sort of attention. I guess it comes down to an
>acceptable infringement of individual privileges for the greater good of the
>group as a whole - sad but necessary.
I don't know about socially challenged (I mean, that could mean anything!
The more colourful characters among us make SCD all the more
interesting....), but I do know about a fledgling group that folded because
someone always brought along a mentally challenged person to the group. The
rest tried valiantly to cope with the problems caused by the situation,
but, eventually, stopped coming to class because of their own frustration.
Very sad.

Cheers,
Colleen
>
>cheers
>
>Peter Hastings
>Royal Observatory
>Edinburgh
>(:
>
>-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
>On Fri, 31 Oct 1997, M.J.Norman wrote:
>
>> To change the subject just slightly, the mental image of a man offering his
>> hand palm up to me still tends to make me shudder, ever since my younger
>> days of going to Victorian Balls and Irish ceilis in the LA area. There
>> was a rather odd guy who frequented these events. He wasn't much older
>> than we were, but he was completely bald and I never once heard him speak.
>> No one knew who he was. He didn't ever come in costume to the Victorian
>> events and he didn't really know any of the dances. He would stand at the
>> fringes, watching the younger women until he spotted one he liked. Then he
>> would walk up to her and with an exagerated movement and a little bow,
>> offer her his upturned palm. Once you'd danced with him one time, he was
>> very persistent in asking you again and again, which made things
>> uncomfortable. Girls who did dance with him said he barely spoke a word,
>> just smiled, which seemed very creepy to all of us.
>>
>> Looking back on it, I think it most likely that he was just shy, but
>> something about him made us very uncomfortable. I know someone is going to
>> say we should have introduced ourselves and made him feel welcome, but to
>> us _at the time_ he seemed more like a stalker than someone we wanted to be
>> friendly with.
>>
>> Has anyone else ever had that sort of experience, or problem, with slightly
>> unusual and/or socially awkward people attending their SCD classes? I've
>> always felt/said that SCD is for anyone, but what do you do with the
>> student who makes a large portion of the class uncomfortable? It doesn't
>> seem right to me to ask them not to come. I had the same kind of thing
>> happen again when I started teaching an SCD class in my late 20's, and some
>> of the women stopped attending because of it. As it wasn't a very big
>> class to begin with, this was unfortunate.
>
>--
>Peter Hastings <P.Hastings@roe.ac.uk>
>
>

the socially challenged

Message 9515 · ReeG · 4 Nov 1997 17:41:08 · Top

Greetings --

I would be interested in hearing from people/groups who have dealt with
socially challenged dancers and the problems that follow them. I'm
interested specifically in:

1. Was any attempt made to work with the challenged dancer to change the
offending behavior? If so, who did it and how was it approached? Was there
any change?

2. How was it determined that this dancer was the cause of others' not
coming to dancing?

3. If the dancer was excluded from the group, how was the decision made and
who made it?

4. Who delivered the bad news and how was it received?

5. Did you offer any sort of "redemption" -- if the dancer made some effort
to change the offending behavior (i.e., get anger counseling, improve
personal hygiene, etc.), would that person be allowed to rejoin the group?

Any other information or thoughts will be welcome.

Please reply privately to ReeG@aol.com. Everything will be kept strictly
confidential but feel free to change names and place; I would like to know
specific behavoir incidents, though. If there's interest from the group as a
whole, I'll post a summary of replies.

Thanks much.

Ree Grisham
ReeG@aol.com
Chicago, IL USA

the socially challenged

Message 9519 · Richard L. Walker · 4 Nov 1997 22:04:13 · Top

[Message removed at author's request. -AL]

the socially challenged

Message 9713 · Priscilla M. Burrage · 25 Nov 1997 17:07:00 · Top

On Tue, 4 Nov 1997 ReeG@aol.com wrote:

> I would be interested in hearing from people/groups who have dealt with
> socially challenged dancers and the problems that follow them. I'm
> interested specifically in:

May I suggest that each dance group have a 'Welcoming Committee'? This
committee need not be advertised or formal -- in fact, it works better if
it is not. The President or Chairman asks a few individuals to take a
newcomer under his or her wing and make sure that they feel comfortable
with the groups and that they are asked to dance. Thus, when problems
such as the one above occur, there is an informal mechanism to ensure that
the newcomer won't be repulsed by the evening because of one other
individual. I know from experience that this approach works.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Priscilla Burrage Vermont US
(pburrage@zoo.uvm.edu)

Hands up or down?

Message 9480 · Armin Busse · 1 Nov 1997 13:22:59 · Top

I've resisted tempation long enough, here's my two cents worth.
IMHO the dancer in the middle, in setting on the sides gives palms up
the outsides give palms down. This sometimes causes fumbling when I am
setting with my corners as gentlemen tend to default to palms down.
The convention when giving to hands to a gentleman (two hand turn,
pousette...) the ladies palms are down and the gentleman's palms are up.
But I often forget I'm not the lady, so again, an opportunity for
fumbling.
Joining up in a circle, is usually the worst for me. If there is
setting before the one in the middle had palms up. But gentleman on the
ends tend to default to the palms up.
I don't particularly care for the one palm up, one down theory, as it
lesses the control of the dancing couple, usually in the middle, when they
collect the other two into the next figure.
As a general rule of thumb ;-) I follow convention, but when I there
are two hands, both palms up and mine is on top, I simply turn it over.
Perhaps the fumbling of hands happens because there are just too many
possiblities (and opinions). But it isn't completely negative thing as it
does provide an opportunity to smile and make a bit of sport. All things
in moderation of course (especially moderation!)
cheers,
Coletta Busse,
Bielefeld Germany
## CrossPoint v3.02 ##

Hands up or down?

Message 9487 · D. Shaw · 2 Nov 1997 20:20:53 · Top

Yeah, Coletta. What she said. On every point.

Deborah
shawd@mindspring.com

Hands up or down?

Message 9503 · cnordj · 4 Nov 1997 00:47:29 · Top

Yes, Lillian, I agree on all points. Right palm up, left palm down is what I learned
in the Los Angeles Branch, and it is beautifully consistent for playing man or woman.
How else could the first couple do the final set between own-sex 2 and 3 in J. B.
Milne with any grace? Consistency is good. Simplicity is good. What I learned is
good (prefered), and this is it. Thanks for saying it so well.

Cheers, Carol Johnson

On Thu, 30 Oct 1997, Lillian Cunningham <lillianc@hawaii.edu> wrote:
>...
> I was taught, practically from the time I started dancing,
>always to give right hand palm up and left hand palm down. ...
> Thus, to me, giving hands that way seems neither polite
>nor impolite, and not a restrictive rule either. It is just convenient,
>smooth and easy. ...
> Have any other of you folks danced in a group where left-palm-down
>and right-palm-down system was a comfortable norm? Or even the reverse
>system? Does anyone share my preference?

Hands up or down?

Message 9504 · briscoe · 4 Nov 1997 01:18:20 · Top

I told myself to stay out of this discussion, but decided not to be a
slave to my will-power....

The middle person in a line of 3 is palms up in most places, and works
very well to maintain symmetry, avoid confusion, and help the line move
back and forth. I think even Los Angeles agrees!

Two people turning with two hands have no problem if the man is palms up,
woman palms down. What happens when two men turn (e.g., Adieu Mon Ami)?
One puts his palms down, that's what. Why should the hands change just
because you are facing up-and-down rather than across? It is not a big
deal. No guy wearing a kilt is going to get uppity about whether his palms
are up ("man") or down ("woman"). I usually just put my palms down because
99% of the time the other guy is running on autopilot; switching his
hands around just isn't on his radar screen. I don't know what two women
do, never having been either one, but I imagine the reverse of my man-man
solution would work fine. I wonder if the Los Angeles folks do this
"thumbs right" thing while in Poussette position; wouldn't that be
consistent?

My observation of watching people is they prefer to have both hands either
up or down. I think this is because it feels less fussy, and more
symmetrical, and makes two-hand turns more Scottish and less Balkan.

What about circles? Quick-time only seems to cause a brief uncertainty
when the hands join between the two lines, and it is very brief and of no
consequence to the peformacne or enjoyment of the dance. Strathspey is
more interesting because of the tendency for the palm-down hand to drag
along lower, and to push down. This is why we are often taught (or
teach!) to control your leading hand (keep it up, out, etc) and to let the
person behind you control your trailing hand. It is much easier to
control the joined hands if your palm is up (it is the way the muscles and
elbow work!), so a strathspey circle to the left is great if the left hand
of each person is up...but then you turn around and go the other way. No
solution, even in Los Angeles! (Their circles should go only to the
right...)

My point is: no absolute rule fits all situations, so the best plan is to
remember that it is more fun to dance than argue, and if a hand reaches
out, just take it.

As they say, IMHO. :-) - Mel Briscoe, Virginia USA

On Mon, 3 Nov 1997 cnordj@sprynet.com wrote:

> Yes, Lillian, I agree on all points. Right palm up, left palm down is what I learned
> in the Los Angeles Branch, and it is beautifully consistent for playing man or woman.
> How else could the first couple do the final set between own-sex 2 and 3 in J. B.
> Milne with any grace? Consistency is good. Simplicity is good. What I learned is
> good (prefered), and this is it. Thanks for saying it so well.
>
> Cheers, Carol Johnson
>
> On Thu, 30 Oct 1997, Lillian Cunningham <lillianc@hawaii.edu> wrote:
> >...
> > I was taught, practically from the time I started dancing,
> >always to give right hand palm up and left hand palm down. ...
> > Thus, to me, giving hands that way seems neither polite
> >nor impolite, and not a restrictive rule either. It is just convenient,
> >smooth and easy. ...
> > Have any other of you folks danced in a group where left-palm-down
> >and right-palm-down system was a comfortable norm? Or even the reverse
> >system? Does anyone share my preference?
>
> --
> cnordj@sprynet.com
>
>

Hands up or down?

Message 9507 · Gail Halverson · 4 Nov 1997 02:38:41 · Top

> I told myself to stay out of this discussion, but decided not to be a
> slave to my will-power....
>
> The middle person in a line of 3 is palms up in most places, and works
> very well to maintain symmetry, avoid confusion, and help the line move
> back and forth. I think even Los Angeles agrees!

> solution would work fine. I wonder if the Los Angeles folks do this
> "thumbs right" thing while in Poussette position; wouldn't that be
> consistent?

> of each person is up...but then you turn around and go the other way. No
> solution, even in Los Angeles! (Their circles should go only to the
> right...)

> As they say, IMHO. :-) - Mel Briscoe, Virginia USA

OK, Mel, now you've got me going, too. What's the idea picking on
Los Angeles? When I learned Scottish dancing (in Los Angeles, umpty-ump
years ago), what we were taught is:

right palm up, left palm down ==for circles==

(note the emphasis circles)

For lines of 3 advancing, center person determines. I can never
remember it that center person always has palms up or if they do
their "gender-specific" thing (i.e. men palms up, ladies palms down)
But that's another issue. I'm glad to accept the notion of the
center person leading and having palms up.

When it's a 2-hand turn between a man and a woman, the man always has
palms up, the woman down. As a woman who often dances as a man, this
is one of the things that helps me remember that I'm doing the man's
part. Being careful about that, I have less trouble remembering
for the rest of the dance.

Anyway, 'nuff said. Actually, there was probably enough said before
I put in my 2-cents worth.

Gail Halverson
(Los Angeles, if you couldn't tell)

Hands up or down?

Message 9509 · Trans Vector Technologies, Inc · 4 Nov 1997 03:57:51 · Top

Gail Halverson wrote:

>Actually, there was probably enough said before I put in my 2-cents worth.

Most certainly not! This topic in particular has been about personal
preferences. I think there is no need to close a topic as long as there is
somebody on the list who hasn't expressed their preference, even if it is
to say "me too" to something someone else has said (like Carol's "me too"
to Lillian). Right on, Shengzhang, I just saw your post pop-up! I think the
views expressed are fascinating, including some of the rationalizations
(logical reasoning for why one's own preference should be other people's
preferences).

Whether I do something one way or another alway goes through my own "Truth
Filter"--my body: does it feel comfortable and am I in control? You can be
sure that my early SCD learning experience has a lot to do with how my
Truth Filter behaves!

When I read Gail's notes on what she was taught regarding hands, it seemed
surprisingly similar to my "automatic" bahaviors I described in an earlier
post. I don't remember being taught those behaviors, but having seen Gail's
input I think I was taught them...and guess where? YEP, LA's the place.
Actually, I began SCD in the San Francisco Bay Area with John and Jennifer
Kelley (off and on for about 2 years while going to school), but it was in
LA where SCD became a passion. So who taught me the handing stuff that I
don't remember having been taught? Must have been the Kelleys and/or Elinor
McKenzie (now Van De Grift and in Seattle).

Is Mel far enough away not to have been contaminated by those handing
conspirators? Probably not, because what he describes sounds very
comfortable to me.

Cheers, Oberdan Otto.
Self-Appointed Handing Inspector, SCD Handing Police.

Trans Vector Technologies, Inc, 184 Estaban Drive, Camarillo, CA 93010-1611
Phone: (805)484-2775, FAX: (805)484-2718, EMail: ootto@tvt.com

Hands up or down?

Message 9512 · John McCain · 4 Nov 1997 05:36:11 · Top

I find it odd that no one has mentioned the way that I learned
(probably it would be more accurate to say the way I was
taught)...that the hand toward the top of the set is palm up,
and the hand toward the bottom is down. (Up is up, and down
is down)

John McCain, RCDD
Dallas, Texas, USA

Hands up or down?

Message 9547 · Courtney Cartwright · 7 Nov 1997 04:00:24 · Top

>Oberdan Otto wrote:
>
>Is Mel far enough away not to have been contaminated by those handing
>conspirators? Probably not, because what he describes sounds very
>comfortable to me.
>
I don't know about Mel, but the RH up, LH down rule has never filtered to
Tucson, and I don't believe it's made it to Phoenix, either. So I declare
Arizona a rule-free state as far as handing goes... ;-)

Courtney Cartwright
Tucson, Arizona USA
ccartwri@primenet.com

Hands up or down?

Message 9511 · Keith Grant · 4 Nov 1997 05:25:12 · Top

------------------------
From: Oberdan Otto <ootto@tvt.com>
Subject: Re: Hands up or down?

>
> Most certainly not! This topic in particular has been about personal
> preferences. I think there is no need to close a topic as long as there is
> somebody on the list who hasn't expressed their preference, even if it is
> to say "me too" to something someone else has said (like Carol's "me too"
> to Lillian).
>

I suspect that this is as close as one could wish to come to an open
invitation for fringe opinions, so I'll buzz in on this one like a large
green fly through a momentarily open door.

A lot has been said about protocols and situations and about habits and
consciously forgotten learnings. What is amazing to me is the process by
which we actually join hands -- amazing because it almost always completes
successfully -- has been dismissed under the perjorative of "fumbling". Yet
somewhow, and quickly too, we manage to negotiate to a successful hand
joining. The nonverbal questions of leading and following are initiated, set
to tempo, and concluded -- a subtle dance within the dance.

What an interesting opportunity to learn about the preferences and strengths
of conviction, and reaction time of the person I'm encountering. What
amazing fumbling when, even as a person trained to observe and react to body
movement and posture, I cannot consciously follow the dialog but must
content myself with the surprise of the movements and the conclusion. Never
knowing until it actually happens, which way my own hand will end up (or
down) in a particular exchange. Our hand-taking skills are nearly as old as
we each are individually. We have practiced them from the moment we first
pulled ourselves erect, lost our balance, and reached for a nearby hand to
break our fall. Perhaps the easiest way to take-hands is to become less
conscious and rely on our body reactions to do what they have learned so
well.

...Keith

<buzzing off through a hole in the screen of an open window>

+---------------------------------------+
I Keith Eric Grant I
I <keg@strathspey.llnl.gov> I
I---------------------------------------I
I Over the hills, but not too far away I
I from the San Francisco East Bay I
+---------------------------------------+

Hands up or down?

Message 9508 · Shengzhang Tang · 4 Nov 1997 02:53:33 · Top

On Mon, 3 Nov 1997, Mel and Ellie Briscoe wrote:
>...
> The middle person in a line of 3 is palms up in most places, and works
> very well to maintain symmetry, avoid confusion, and help the line move
> back and forth. I think even Los Angeles agrees!
> ...
I also tried to stay out of this discussion because I am probably one of
the few people who, "unfortunately," had not heard about the "right up
and left down" rule till this discussion. Fortunately, I have survived
without much problems except occasional quick hands fumbles, like other
people pointed out, resulting only some welcome smiles and without
interfering the dance. I do agree with Mel and found the middle person
hands up very useful. Besides keeping symmetry, I found it makes things
easier when people do advance and retire or down the middle and up in line
of three. The middle person is the one usually control the pace (i.e.
leads the line of three) and I found the hands up is much easier to lead.
But then, I would just quickly adjust my hands to keep dancing, if other
dancers in our set think differently.
Shengzhang Tang, NYC, NY, USA

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