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strathspey@strathspey.org:28029

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  • Anselm Lingnau

    Anselm Lingnau Nov. 2, 2001, 12:08 p.m. (Message 28029)

    Re: Changing of hands.

    M Sheffield <xxxxxx.xxxxxxxxx@xxxxxxx.xx> writes:
    
    > If, by streamlining, you mean, getting rid of misinterpetation of old texts
    > or of ill-considered rules, then why not be modern?
    
    I'm all in favour of getting rid of `misinterpretations and
    ill-considered rules', but we need to take care not to throw the baby
    out with the bathwater. It doesn't really matter whether RHJ or LHJ is a
    `misinterpretation'; the fact is that we have been doing it for a while
    and at least in my opinion the inconvenience is not so great as to
    warrant changing all the books etc. I have already said that I don't
    mind people going for what they think is appropriate in such
    circumstances, especially where it may help and does not inconvenience
    other members of the dance.
    
    The `streamlining' comment was more meant to apply to the school of
    thought that disdains traditional dances because they don't `flow' as
    well as many modern dances. It may be that the `kinks' in many
    traditional dances are due to misinterpretations in modern times, but
    many of these dances are delightfully interesting even so and don't
    really need fixed -- and many of them may be all but undanceable and
    thus tend to fall prey to natural selection. It's not as if there was a
    general scarcity of good dances (new or old), but some of the older ones
    of the not-quite-so-convenient type are very interesting and, on the
    whole, popular, and rightfully so.
    
    > I would have said that, by doing things easily and spontaneously, we shall
    > have less need to concentrate on "doing the right thing" thus freeing our
    > brains for more interaction with the other dancers.
    
    True. But the idea of `doing things easily and spontaneously' breaks
    down with the first strathspey travelling step. I know we can argue the
    merits or desirability of good footwork until the cows come home, but my
    personal opinion is that this is a major taste-giving ingredient of the
    SCD soup, and even though it would certainly free the brains of dancers
    no end if teachers stopped nagging them about their strathspey steps I
    doubt that the result would still be as pleasing to everybody concerned.
    
    At the end of the day, SCD is not about `doing things easily and
    spontaneously'; if all we were after was to have a good sociable time
    with our friends we could go straight off to the bar. So it seems that
    we *want* to be challenged, at least to a certain degree, but exactly in
    what way is probably a matter of personal preference. Some of us may
    find the `Linton Ploughman' taxing on our brains and/or feet, while
    others will do `1314' cold, but neither of those are what a casual
    onlooker would consider `easy and spontaneous'. Doing things easily and
    spontaneously in SCD is something that comes with practice, and while
    there are dances that don't need a lot of practice that way it turns out
    that most of the popular repertoire consists of dances that have their
    special little somethings here and there. It appears to me that dancers
    don't mind a little inconvenience as long as it is taken in modest
    dosage.
    
    > Still puzzling over your ref to the nether reaches of RSCDS book 16, Anselm...
    
    That was about dances having kinks and special places requiring 
    attention. Book 16 contains a few dances that have more than a fair 
    share of those, including the one with the bird name (which, 
    perversely, I rather like every so often).
    
    Anselm
    -- 
    Anselm Lingnau .......................................... xxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxx.xxx
    We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it,
    and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove lid. She
    will never sit down on a hot stove lid again, and that is well; but also she
    will never sit down on a cold one anymore.                        -- Mark Twain
          

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