Skip change of step (was Cross over two couples, etc.)
Chris1Ronald Jan. 27, 2005, 11:34 p.m. (Message 40436)
Rosemary Coupe writes: "One can't really think in terms of two steps to the bar, as it's thought that dancers used walking or running steps then. (It's interesting that David Young's 1740 MS instructs them to "run" a reel of three.)" That's interesting. Does this mean that skip change was 'invented' more recently? Does any one have an idea of when or how it came into vogue? Chris Ronald (New York) PS I'm finding this thread fascinating. Thank you, Rosemary, Pat, Richard and others for sharing your knowledge on the history of our dance form.
Rosemary Coupe Jan. 28, 2005, 1:13 a.m. (Message 40438, in reply to message 40436)
Pat's right, as always, about the prototype of the skip-change, which was the chasse associated with the early 19th-century quadrilles. The MS "Contre-Danses a Paris 1818" (which probably reflects the technique then current in Scotland) gives a detailed description of the chasse step which sounds very like the skip change. I also agree that the fancy technique was probably taught by dancing masters who wanted to promote dancing as a road to gentility and social prestige, but it wasn't necessarily used on the barn floor by men in "tackety boots." However, the Fletts talked to people in many parts of Scotland during their research for "Traditional Dancing in Scotland." Drawing on the memory of their informants which would go back to c.1870, they describe two quick-time travelling steps: the chasse and the "hop-one-and-two" which had a hop where the chasse had a lilt. Interesting about the jete-assemble at the end of a phrase. This seems to have been part of quadrille technique, and gives a very nice finish to a phrase (Ron Wallace teaches it in the Caledonian Quadrilles). I don't know whether it was used for country dancing or not. Rosemary
Pia Walker Jan. 28, 2005, 10:34 a.m. (Message 40447, in reply to message 40438)
Could it be that these steps were used by different gender? Having recently had to wear a tightly fitted corset and lots of heavy skirts and underskirts - I found out the reason to various 'courtesies' - and I also found that my way of moving changed - there was no way I could move with a bounce/hop/skip - you had to 'glide' . I also found out that the reason men are supposed to open and close doors for you is, that if you wear a corset and lots of skirts, you cannot reach the door handle and you cannot turn around to close the door behind you - bending down to pick up something from the floor - forget it - have a man do it and going into a swoon - easy. Pia
Richard Goss Jan. 28, 2005, 3:14 p.m. (Message 40457, in reply to message 40438)
Interesting point when you consider that the Society version of dances that say "chasse" sometimes uses slip step as is found in the "sashay" in American square dances, but not consistently so. OT: for kids classes, I used to introduce the skip change of step from the slip step. I would have the kids slip step round in a circle and then say face out, face in etc. I would start with 8 facing in and 8 out, cut it down to 4, then 2, at which point they were doing a skip change of step without me ever having to explicitly mention the hop. From there it is a simple step to keep the rhythm of the steps going without having them turn to face in or out, simply foreward. [RSCDS styling came last].
Ron Mackey Jan. 29, 2005, 1:22 a.m. (Message 40469, in reply to message 40438)
> Interesting about the jete-assemble at the end of a phrase. This seems to > have been part of quadrille technique, and gives a very nice finish to a > phrase (Ron Wallace teaches it in the Caledonian Quadrilles). I don't know > whether it was used for country dancing or not. > > Rosemary Could it be that teachers who insist on eight skip changes in eight bars would have been incorrect in those days> And did they do what most people do today i.e. seven skip changes and a step- together?? :))
Richard Goss Jan. 28, 2005, 3:01 p.m. (Message 40455, in reply to message 40436)
To add to the mix, one must remember that ... pasa doble two step schottishce strathspey skip change of step polka rant etc., are all really the same step in that in 4 units of music there three steps and a hop on the last beat or on the up beat of two beats to the bar. One must remember that there is no evidence of ther being a specific difference between the version of this step used for dances we call Strathshspeys, jigs, or reels as they are all three steps and a pause (done however). If one looks at the different traditions that have survived, outside of the EFDSS and RSCDS, one will see some very strathspeys (say as we should do Glasgow Highlanders, or very slow duple dances, as in "Gentle Shepherd" as recorded by the RSCDS on a 78rpm disc. Our, the RSCDS, distinction between the two steps, is purely an RSCDS convention with no historic record prior to Miss M. As far as the difficulty of doing 12/8 as a strathspey in one bar, it is easy depending on the speed, since many strathspeys, escpcially as edited by Skinner have a series of triplets in 4/4 time, which is the same as 12/8. For the same reason, a jig at 6/8, time is the same speed as two triplets in 2/4, time or 16th notes at 12/8. Some of my oldest Scottish music and Irish music, some of which have an implication of dancing in their titles, have no bars indicated at all, only phrases. While not too difficult to site read on my string or wind instruments, it drives me crazy on the piano, because the bar lines help me visually align the notes for the right and left hand. It is hard to sight read when scanning left to right one meets the melody line first, and then the first note of the base line under the second melody note, because of no alignment. I can cope with 8 notes in the G clef, and 4 in the F, but try no bar lines with 32 in the treble and 16 in the bass.