campbell March 13, 2006, 8:39 a.m. (Message 44664)
RE: Where are the RSCDS???
Sue Petyt wrote: As an impartial observer at festivals I have noticed that adjudicators > tend to award higher marks for what I would call the 'entertaining' teams which are normally not RSCDS Branches. These usually wear matching > kilts/dresses, often have younger members and the teamwork is good, the footwork however is often sadly deficient. > The Branches tend to dance with more restraint, and much better footwork, > more prim perhaps, and the members of the team tend to be older. > Is there a lesson here? At the risk of making myself hugely unpopular, may I venture to suggest that the lesson to be learned here is that footwork needs to be downgraded to an optional extra in SCD, rather than a qualifying skill. I shall use my own experience to illustrate the point. I started dancing in the 70s and was taught footwork from the very first lesson. Now some 30 years later I have returned to SCD. I discovered to my dismay that most of the 6 clubs in Cape Town were small and shrinking and that new members were unusual. In my enthusiasm I invited some of my friends along but they didnt "stick". I realised that there was little to hold them as the barrier to proficiency was too high. Nearly all the dancers in the clubs were old and experienced and had little stomach for Cumberland Reel and similar easy dances. There was also the obligatory 20 minutes of step practice at the beginning of the evening, which seemed to serve no purpose as everyone had obviously reached their plateau of footwork performance by now and were not particularly interested in getting any better. So I started my own club two years ago, not without opposition, as I am not a certificated teacher. We now have 30 members, which makes us the biggest club in Cape Town. Our footwork is acknowledged by many of the other clubs as appalling (the word used), one member of another club feeling so strongly about this that she has stopped dancing. I freely admit that it is pretty ropey but Cape Town now has 30 people coming to parties and socials that would not otherwise have boosted the SCD numbers. The interesting thing is that some of them are beginning to take an interest in good footwork and want me to do step practice. But it has come late. In my beginners classes I always say to the newcomers "Dont worry about your feet, walk if necessary, the only thing is to get to the right place at the right time". Heresy I know, but some of the people stay and they enjoy themselves hugely. For those of you happily esconsed in big branches with many around you to keep up standards, this might all sound outrageous, but for those of us on the fringes who are battling to keep SCD alive in our areas, demoting footwork from compulsory SCD101 to optional SCD in third year is a way of keeping it healthy and supported. I shall now head for the hills to avoid the bullets. Campbell Cape Town