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strathspey@strathspey.org:27701

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  • Norah Link

    Norah Link Oct. 3, 2001, 6:56 p.m. (Message 27701)

    RE: Square dancing. Was: Contra dancing

    > If I had a penny for each person I had to individually 
    > persuade at the 
    > club I dance in that a crib was not an instrument of torture, 
    > but was in 
    > fact "succinct and easy to understand", I'd have more than 20 
    > pence... 
    > Some of them still don't think that.  Most of them are 
    > educated people. 
    >   Most of them are young (under 30).
    > 
    
    I think there are two issues here:  one is learning how to interpret the
    written instructions, the other is learning to read other people's
    short-hand.
    
    As far as learning to read the written instructions, what it takes is
    practice.  In classes that were geared more towards beginners, I have
    occasionally given dancers "homework" of taking home a copy of a dance (a
    fairly simple dance), learning it on their own, and being prepared to dance
    it the next week.  That way they have to look at the page, read the name of
    the figure, think to themselves what that ends up looking like on the dance
    floor, where it fits in the total context of the dance, etc.  A whole bunch
    of skills get practiced.  If the dance is relatively simple (note:  give
    them a good chance to succeed), then it also provides an opportunity to talk
    about the different ways that dance instructions are written and how to get
    from the printed page to the dance floor.
    
    As for the short-hand used in some ball programs:  there seem to be several
    used, with no very clear standard.  Makes it a bit difficult to teach.  But
    if someone were to bring me one they couldn't work out, I would be happy to
    help them with it (note this key phrase:  without a standard, some of these
    cribs are as puzzling to teachers not from the area as to anyone else) and
    use the opportunity to expose the class to it. 
    
    regards,
    
    Norah Link (Montreal, QC, Canada)
          

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