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  • SMiskoe

    SMiskoe Oct. 20, 2001, 6:43 p.m. (Message 27943)

    Ceilidh Dancing

    A few months ago we had some discussion about attracting new dancers and 
    keeping dancers.  I would like to recount my recent experience and hope it 
    sheds some light on the difficulty of attracting/keeping dancers.
    I have just finished teaching a 5 week community education course of 
    "Scottish Ceilidh Dancing".  About a dozen folks signed up and I usually had 
    8 or 10 at each session.  Two dancers had had SCD experience, one had done 
    International.  I alternated the menu between easy set dances and couple 
    dances; ieFlying Scotsman, Gay Gordans, Cumberland Reel, Eva 3-step, Strip 
    the Willow, St Barnard's Waltz, Foula Reel, Canadian Barn Dance, Dashing 
    White Sergeant.  Each week I reviewed at least a third of the previously 
    taught dances.
    The dancers were enthusiastic, by the end of the 5th week they were listening 
    to the tunes, dancing to the music, and most had mastered a 2-step.  At least 
    half wore sneakers although I mentioned several times that smooth soled shoes 
    might be easier for dancing.  The 2 that had had SCD experience said they had 
    been put off by the drill and found the many figures confusing.  One said, "I 
    should have brought my husband here, he would enjoy This."  They all want to 
    sign up for another session in the spring (I will have to enlarge my 
    repertoire.)  I don't think any of them would enjoy the technical aspect of 
    SCD, they just were not good enough with their feet.  Fortunately I had a 
    wonderful musician who could play at any tempo and sometimes added 3 measures 
    at the end of the round to allow folk to catch up.
    I think that what I am saying is that SCD is very technically demanding and 
    not a lot of people will make the transition from the easy ceilidh dances to 
    the SCD.  Also, the number of SCDances has grown enormously so one cannot 
    expect to get a lot of repetition in classes.
    Just an interesting comparision of dancing.
    Sylvia Miskoe, Concord, NH USA

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