Good to see you all and to be back teaching.
The programme was based around reels of 3 and petronella turns, both of which Ann had been working on with you. Up until now, the reels of 3 have been on the side but we started looking at reels of 3 across the dance – both right shouldered and left shouldered. The theory is the same but the orientation is different.
We also had a few dances with hands across for 3 rather than the 4. Supporting couples take shake hand hold and dancing person rest their hand (lightly) on top.
We also talked about having a briefing only dance for the more experienced dancers. I will tell you what this is at club next week and include details in next week’s newsletter.
Dances we did were: Good Hearted Glasgow J
Warm up dance with hands across for 3
The Brownie of Blednoch R
Right shoulder reels of 3 on the side
Petronella turn and right shoulder reels of 3 on the side. Slight variation with the lady going down and the man up. These are for 6 bars for all and the last 2 bars for the dancing couple to cross over. No curls at the end of the reels for those who might have got there a little early.
The Dancing Bees R
In tandem for the dancing couple right shoulder reels with the 2s and left shoulder reels of 3 with the 3s. Both reels across the dance. There was also a petronella turn as well. This is on our dance programme
On Monday after perfecting our marching warm up, and the simple dance Allemande to Go, we continued to look at reels of three. I am very impressed with how well you are all picking these up.
There are basically only two kinds of reels of three:
right shoulder reels of three (when the facing people pass each other right shoulder and the third person moves to the right) or
left shoulder reels of three (when the facing people pass left shoulder and the third person moves to the left).
When basic reels are combined you get:
parallel reels (when men and ladies both do a right shoulder reel, for example), where you are moving in parallel with your partner (this is as in New Year Jig which we repeated from last week.
mirror reels (typically left shoulder on the ladies’ side and right shoulder on the mens’ side), where you will find you are mirroring your partner’s moves (as in Light on the Water, the strathspey we danced)
We practiced our strathspey travelling step, aiming for a smooth pull through from one step to another. If you watch this video you can see that while there is a slight hop as the foot is pulled through to start the next step but both feet stay very close to the floor throughout.
We also practiced travelling in pas de basque and focused on the fact that the back foot is brought through to close in third position in front each time.
We used pas de basque travelling to do petronella turns, remember for these you move to the right diagonally and pull back your right shoulder to turn to place. We danced Tappie Toorie, a 24 bar Reel. Tappie Toorie is old scots for anything which rises to a peak or pinnacle such as a turret, a top-knot of hair, a tassel or pompom on a cap.
It was great to see almost 3 full sets at club last night. We started off with another marching warm up. This needs a little perfecting (by the teacher) but hopefully added a little interest.
We then started the night with a dance to recap our ladies chain. The dance was Lonely Sunday devised by Gaye Collin. If you watch the video you will note how, in the ladies chain, the turns on the side are covered.
I then introduced reels of three. We looked at right shoulder reels of three (when the facing people pass each other right shoulder and the third person moves to the right). It is important to curve as in a figure of 8, and for the person in third place to give way to the person from 1st place who passes through the middle first. Here is a demonstration of right shoulder reels of 3 (in strathspey time).
We danced New Year Jig to practice the reels. This is devised by Maureen Robson. Notice how the reels are in parallel and covered.
After that, to relax our brains a little we danced the strathspey Seann Truibhas Willichan – this means William’s Old Trousers. It definitely sounds more interesting in the Gaelic! This video is dated 5 May 2020 and looks like a lock down entertainment.
I then moved up a gear in difficulty and the more experienced dancers looked at two dances from the Ngaio 50th programme. These were the Reverend John Macfarlane, devised by another Wellington dancer, Gary Morris (now retired to the Wairarapa), to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the founding in Wellington (Petone) of New Zealand’s first Scot’s Church, later know as St Andrews, and
Ngaio Gold devised by Melva Waite, current tutor at Ngaio. It wasn’t intentionally a night for Wellington devisors, but the above programme does demonstrate that we have some very clever devisers in the region. I hope you enjoyed the dances.
We will continue looking at reels next week recapping right shoulder reels and introducing mirror reels, which you could swat up on at https://youtu.be/OuWzbkrnyvE.
In mirror reels the men are dancing right shoulder reels and the ladies left shoulder reels, but it is easier to think of the 1st and 3rd couples dancing in and the 2nd couple out and up. People find mirror reels easier as you can help your partner more.
There was a good turn out on Monday given it was a public holiday (7+ couples). We didn’t learn any new formations but put the ones we do know to good use trying out some different dances.
We first warmed up to a selection of Sousa military marches. We then danced:
Turkey Trot (J)
This has a variation of hands across. 1st couple from 2nd place dancing 3 hands across. 1st woman up with 2nd couple and man down with 3rd. 1st couple then swapping ends to dance left hands across at the other end. (1st woman with 3s and 1st man with 2s.) This formation is colloquially known as tea-pots – but the spare arm should definitely not be in the teapot handle position!
Will Star (J)T
To practice our ladies chains (this dance was devised by Rod Downey who teaches at Johnsonville club). Will was a Scottish solo accordionist who, at the age of two, attempted to play his first tune “Poor Old Joe” on a melodeon belonging to his father. His family recognised the musical potential in young William and encouraged him to continue playing the melodeon. Later he progressed from the melodeon to the chromatic button accordion which he played for the remainder of his life.