After all the excitement of the AGM the previous week I completely forgot to send Dan my update…and he was too polite to ask me where it was!! Anyway we have been focusing on the New Dancers’ Celebration programme over the last couple of weeks. You are all well prepared and remember that all the dances are going to be walked once through so go forth with confidence.
The Highland Reel R (A Round the Room Dance where the man was in a the middle of two women, trio facing trio)
Granville Market J
Mary Erskine R (Modified double triangles). Supporting couples set for the full eight bars and adjust their position in or just in front of the sidelines to ensure that the dancing couple are back to back in the middle of the set. We decided that we would do this again the following week to perfect the dance.
Lady Catherine Bruce’s Reel J
Mary Erskine R – This was danced much better this week.
The Shores of Solway – 3 couple knot and an easy corner movement (that I tried to complicate first off).
The Laird of Milton’s Daughter J ( Corner chain. The dancing couple need to resist the temptation to dance on bars 3 and 4 when they must be standing still in their corners place while they turn each other once round on 3 and 4. It is important to be standing on the corner position rather than lurking in from the side lines as it makes it very easy to turn the incorrect person)
The De’il Amang the Tailors R (set, right hands across 1/2 way and set and left hand…touch and away)
The Paisely Weavers S. 2nd couple start on the opposite side, curtsey on the 1st bow chord and cross the set on the 2nd chord. Grand chain and a ladies’ chain
The Old Man of Storr
Crom Allt (A similar turning movement to Mary Erskine).
Think about any dances you would like to do on our final night and add them to the Request List. It is a good idea to choose dances that we have done during the year so they are familiar to all.
What a fantastic evening we all had last night. Our ‘Wild West’ dance was very well attended, with some great dancing and even better ‘horse riding’ skills on display. It was certainly one of the highlights of the year!
Next Monday is our Annual General Meeting. There will be dancing before the AGM, then we will have supper afterwards.
What a wild time we had out West last night. It was fantastic to have 4 plus sets in the hall and to see everyone having fun.
Cowboys, cacti, Sheriffs and the girls from the saloon mixed freely and we bumped into some well known characters Billy the Kid and the Lone Ranger.
I was very impressed with the horse riding skills and it was great to see everyone entered into the spirit of things.
Thanks all for coming up with creative decorations, costumes and supper items.
On Monday we continued learning reels. Reels are the base formation which has the most variations so you never really finish learning reels.
We recapped our right shoulder reels of three on the side dancing New Year Jig and then moved on to mirror reels of three and danced The Auld Grey Cat using these.
For mirror reels of three the first couple dances in and down, the 2nd out and up and the 3rd in and up. Remember in the reels we have done so far the third couple are the ones who give way as they have been at the end of the reel not facing another person.
We then did a Strathspey, the Paisley Weavers. This is an unusual dance because it starts with two chords, one to bow and curtsey and one for the 2nd couple to cross to opposite sides. This dance gave us an opportunity to practice our Grand Chain, Ladies Chain and Half Rights and Lefts. It is important in all these chain formations that you take hands and pass with those hands at shoulder height and you keep the hand you are not using down by your side, otherwise someone else may take that spare hand by mistake!
Moving back into quick time we practiced our Pas de Basque and again looked at travelling using the jete. This time we added in quarter turns and then used that in the formation called a Pousette.) In quick time the Pousette is a square formation and the ditty goes: Away from the centre, quarter turn, up or down, a quarter turn, into the centre, half a turn, retire, retire” Remembering the ditty and the following two points will keep you going in the correct direction:
1. turn by pulling slightly on the right hand
2. Start by going out to the man’s side in top place and to the ladies side in 2nd place
You can see a fantastic video of the Pousette here:
We then danced the Flowers of Edinburgh using the Pousette and then Violynne using both the Pousette and mirror reels of three. Violynne was written by a local teacher Rod Downey for Lynne Scott the musical director of the NZ Branch of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society (RSCDS). Lynne plays the Violin.
The dance for the more experienced for the evening was The Irish Rover which is on Ngaio’s dance program.
It was a rather energetic evening on Monday. We danced some tricky numbers and the new dancers coped really well with them, as well as with our first introduction to reels for the year. In fact the reels were amazing for the first go! Just remember to keep them curvy so that you remember which direction you should going when you are curving around the ends.
So the dances that we did were:
Lonely Sunday – with a ladies chain New Year Jig – figure of 8 on the sideline followed by reel of three. (All couples are dancing in parallel throughout those movements) The Silver Grey – to use our strathspey setting steps which we practiced. (The video is from our annual dance a few years ago) The Provost Wynd – left shoulder reels of three Airyhall Delight – here simple formations put together to make quite a tricky dance Triple Happiness – for the more experienced dancers St Andrew’s Fair