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  • Andrew Smith

    Andrew Smith Oct. 13, 2001, 8:05 p.m. (Message 27874)

    Re: Pre-Booking

    Malcolm's PS brought back memories of about 45 years ago when the family was
    on holiday in a remoteish spot in the Western Highlands. Despite the
    remoteness there was Scottish Country Dancing, and a good live band, but I
    never worked out how partners were selected, as all the men were down the
    one side of the hall, and all the women were down the other. I was obviously
    not aware of eye contact then, and was amazed at how the sets formed up in a
    sort of shimmering movement, with no word spoken other than the MC
    announcing the dance. To someone then only recently introduced to a dance
    floor where people sat in mixed groups round the room and would even cross
    the floor to find a partner this was fascinating. Whether it still happens
    that way I have no idea. Incidentally, I find the current trend of women
    asking men to dance very refreshing.
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Malcolm Brown" <>
    To: <>
    Sent: Saturday, October 13, 2001 11:57 AM
    Subject: Re: Pre-Booking
    > Whilst at a dance anyone has the right to dance with whoever they like,
    > pre-booking does seem to me to cause more problems than it solves.
    > It does ensure that the keen dancers get to dance those dances that they
    > want to dance (they have already got their partners booked) - but it can
    > mean that the other people who do not pre-book but who would also like to
    > the dance get left on the sidelines because everyone else is paired off!
    > As a non-booker (I don't write things down at a dance because I lose the
    > piece of paper, and I cannot remember which dance I have pre-booked / who
    > have pre-booked it with - last Saturday I actually pre-booked the
    > dance because someone already had a partner for the next one, and I really
    > struggled to remember who I had made this arrangement with), I usually
    > around for someone who looks as if they would like to dance. People
    > together chatting on a on-to-one basis are assumed to have paired off for
    > the next dance, which can cause problems if they are left over from the
    > dance!
    > One of the things which appealed to me about Scottish dancing when I
    > was that the ladies one asked always accepted (in those days only a broken
    > leg or "sorry, I already have a partner" were the only acceptable
    > this was a definite improvement on the normal ballroom dance where the men
    > asked, the ladies looked you up and down, and then made a real choice
    > depending on whether or not they fancied you.  Nowadays at Scottish dances
    > few more excuses seem to be acceptable, such as exhaustion, but I'm not
    > happy with the "I don't know the dance" - if I didn't think I could get
    > through the dance I wouldn't have asked them! (Of course in this case I
    > assume that the rest of the set are competent - if they aren't then all
    > are off!)
    > Why can't we spend a bit more time at dances when we are standing as
    > supporting couples to look around, see who is sitting out, and then make
    > effort to ensure that they have a partner for the next dance, (by asking
    > them)?
    > Malcolm
    > PS
    > I have a vision of men lining up down one side of the room in single file,
    > with women on the other side. When the next dance is announced the bottom
    > man takes the bottom lady up to the top of the room and so on, so that it
    > only when they meet that they find out who their partner is! Providing
    > are slightly different numbers of men and women you should always get a
    > different partner - if there were more people present than could fit on
    > dance floor then those not dancing would be next in line for the next
    > dance - as well as ensuring different partners it would mean people
    > in different parts of the room; With multiple lines the first couple would
    > go to the top of one line / the next couple to the top of the next and so
    > on. If people wanted a rest they would just not join the line. I'm not too
    > clear whether we would a) let women join the men's line or b) let them
    > change sex during the evening if we did? I can see problems in making it
    > work, but I wonder if they are insurmountable.

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