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  • Andrea Re

    Andrea Re March 14, 2006, 1:15 a.m. (Message 44693)

    Re: Teaching and guns

    Ron Mackey ha scritto:
    >> 2) SCD footwork is easy. No, let me say this better, SCD footwork is 
    >> VERY easy, especially compared to other forms of dancing like ballroom, 
    >> highland, salsa, etc. There are only 5 steps to be mastered and the most 
    >> difficult one (PdB in my opinion) doesn't take years of classical 
    >> training to learn. The proof of what I am saying is that /I/ can do it....
    > 	Andrea,
    > 		You are young, agile and have physical energy to 
    > spare.  I know, I have watched you dance.
    > 	What do you tell someone of 50+,say, who wants to dance?  
    > "Don't bother - you'll never master sufficient technique? You'll only 
    > slow us down?  You'll make us look shoddy?"
    > 	Instead of thinking of technique just thank the powers that 
    > you can do it to your own satisfaction.   Many of us would love to but 
    > no longer can oor even never could.   Will you deny us the floor?
    > 	The head, the hands and timing are FAR more important 
    > than feet!
    > 	They are a luxury for the, comparatively, few.
    Dear Ron,
    it's well past my bedtime, but I shall try to reply to your message.
    I am not saying that only Nureyev and Margot Fontaine should do SCD. SCD 
    is suited for everybody and everybody should be allowed to progress as 
    far as they wish to. However new dancers should be given enough info to 
    get by and then they can decide for themselves whether to progress or 
    not. Whatever they do, they will still be able to enjoy dancing IF 
    properly instructed. As somebody pointed out (Anselm, I think) a class 
    should allow a newcomer to understand in a reasonable short period of 
    time that all these (allegedly) incredibly difficult dances are made of 
    only 5 steps (which, I insist, are easy for any standard and especially 
    if compared to Cape Breton, Highland or ballroom, to mention but a few) 
    and 36 basic formations (number taken from the new manual). In my view, 
    a class (I am not talking about a "social club") for 
    beginners/intermediate must provide all this. OK, one has to put it in 
    such a way that it is fun, etc., etc., but that should not deter from 
    the final objective, which is to make sure that people can pick up a 
    dance in one minute as it is recapped. If people are unsure about their 
    footwork, their attention will be misplaced; if they are not able to 
    recognize 1/2 RL, again they will be late for the following 8 bars. 
    Besides, lowering one's expectations is not in general a good policy 
    (although it does spare you a lot of disappointments): if you aim high 
    people will adjust to a higher standard; if you aim low, especially at 
    the beginning, it is going to be difficult to reverse the trend. SCD101 
    is not something that has to be in everybody's curriculum, especially at 
    this high and energetic level that you, Ron, are talking about, but new 
    dancers have to know that there is a choice: if you want, and you can, 
    you are allowed to be energetic, work on your PdB and so on. If you are 
    not that into that stuff - in other words, if they have a life :-) - 
    then you can just enjoy dancing at a different level. One of my ex 
    pupils from my beginners' class of 2 years ago has managed to improve, 
    after a rather shaky start, to a level that allows him to go to dances. 
    He is not interested in improving, doing dems, etc., but he enjoys 
    dancing; instead of attending classes he goes to dances and now he is 
    attending a Siroc (spelling?) class, since he feels that in SCD he has 
    gone as far as he wants to (I have to stress that he goes SCdancing 
    almost every week end). So he didn't turn out the way I would have 
    wanted him (although he went a long way further than I would have ever 
    envisaged, especially at the start), but what the heck, he enjoys it, 
    pays his subscription, knows his steps (in some fashion or other) and 
    knows the difference between hands across and hands round. What else can 
    one ask for?
    If you go to a class where everything is sedate, you go through a few 
    dances, the teacher never bothers to tell you what you could do to 
    improve this or that, you don't get pointed out what key formations to 
    learn, he doesn't invite you to use your hands or count the bars (as you 
    yourself very rightly point out), then.... what is the point in going? 
    The teacher is there to stretch your abilities, to make you want to 
    improve; age is irrelevant. Branches need to expand, run both "social 
    clubs" and classes at various level. Alas, this is not the case, and has 
    not been the case for a long time now; the "social" (and I use the word 
    "social" disparagingly in this context) aspect of SCD is what seems to 
    count. The result? Ageing population and low standards.
    Gosh, it is weeeelllll past my bedtime now.
    Nighty, night,
    Andrea (fae Dundee)
    Ron, thank you for the "young, agile and with physical energy to spare" :-D

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