It was great to have so many visitors on Monday. We marked St Patrick’s day by having a touch of green (thanks to those who did wear some), some lovely Irish warm up music and a couple of Irish Dances.
We danced Findlay’s Jig to warm up and recap our 3 couple Allemande, then danced two Irish dances:
The Wild Geese
The website “My Strathspey” says that “The Wild Geese” is a term used as a reference to Irish soldiers who fought in the service of various foreign kings. The legend is that when they died abroad, their souls were transformed into geese so that they could fly back to Ireland.
To dance The Wild Geese we practiced our Pas de Basque and learned how to advance and retire using the Jete in the step; and
City of Belfast
This is a more challenging dance so the more experienced dancers did this one. It has an Espagnole which we covered quickly. A scary name for a fairly easy formation. In the dance it is the 1st and 3rd couples who dance as follows:
Ladies lead across to the men’s side of the dance with right hands joined. 1st lady crosses 3rd lady over in front of her. The men dance across to ladies side of the dance passing around the ladies.
Repeat with men crossing and ladies dancing around the men.
3rd couple turn right hand once around as 1st couple turn left hand.
We then went on to learn the Grand Chain – Key points are that hands are held and released at shoulder height and the phrasing for the hands is “right for one, left for one, and right for 2…. bars. Left for 1, right for 1 and left for 2…. bars. This allows us to dance in an oval shape for 6 people using 8 bars of music.
We danced the Grand Chain in quick time in Hedwig’s Reel (the 2nd and 3rd grand chains in the video have good timing, not so much the first) and in strathspey timing in Lady Lucy Ramsay which also included a 1/2 rights and left.
We also looked at set and dance half right hands across and danced the ever popular De’il amang the Tailors using that.
It was a busy evening but all the new dancers are picking things up super quick which makes it a joy for the teacher!