Saturday, February 25, 2012

Lesson Plan for February 27 - Beginner Class

New figures: Double Triangles, Balance-in-Line, Corners

Dances from the Ann Arbor Ball: Davy Nick Nack

THE WILD GEESE (J8x32) 3C (4C set) RSCDS Bk 24
1- 8       1s+3s set advancing & Balance-in-Line, turn partners RH &
             1s cast to 3rd place while 3s lead up to 1st place
9-16      3s+1s dance in & Balance-in-Line, turn partners RH &
             3s cast to 3rd place while 1s lead up to 1st place
17-24    1s lead down & back to 2nd place
25-32    2s+1s dance R&L

DAVY NICK NACK (R8x32) 3C (4C set) 
R M Campbell Glasgow Assembly & Other SDs
1- 8        1s+2s+3s cross RH, set, cross back RH & set
9-16       1s turn RH 1.1/2 times, cast 1 place &
               turn LH once to face 1st corners
17-24     1s change places RH with corners & set,
              change places with corner person RH &
              turn partner LH to face 2nd corners
25-32     1s change places RH with corners & set,
              change places with corner person RH &
              cross LH with partner to places

THE MARQUIS OF LORNE (S8x32) 3C (4C set) MMM 2
1- 8        1s followed by 2s lead down the middle,
              2s followed by 1s lead up to end 2s in 1st place
9-16       2s+1s+3s circle 6H round & back
17-24     2s+1s+3s dance Grand Chain
25-32     1s set twice, lead down between 3s divide &
              cast back to 2nd place own sides

ST ANDREW'S FLAG (R8x32) 3C (4C Set) S Gradon St Columban Bk
1- 8        1s+2s dance 4H round & back
9-16       1s cast below 3s & dance up into double triangle pstns
17-24     1s dance Double Triangles ending 2nd place own side
25-32     2s+1s dance R&L

Dance Information:

The flag of Scotland, otherwise known as the Saltire, features the cross of St. Andrew, patron saint of Scotland.  Tradition holds that St. Andrew, who was an apostle and the brother of St. Peter, was crucified on an X-shaped cross, which is why that has become his symbol.  How did he become patron saint of Scotland?  Relics of St. Andrew were brought to Scotland in the mid 8th century.  At that time, the Picts and Scots were at war with the Angles. The legend states that the king, Óengus II, was heavily outnumbered. While praying on the eve of battle, Óengus vowed that if granted victory he would appoint Saint Andrew as the Patron Saint of Scotland. On the morning of battle, white clouds formed an X shape in the sky, just like the cross on which St. Andrew was crucified. Óengus and his combined force, emboldened by this apparent divine intervention, took to the field, and despite inferior numbers, were victorious. Óengus honoured his pre-battle pledge and appointed Saint Andrew as the Patron Saint of Scotland. The cloud white saltire set against a celestial blue background is said to have been adopted as the design of the flag of Scotland on the basis of this legend.

REEL OF THE ROYAL SCOTS (R8x32) 3C (4C set) R Goldring SCD Leaflets
1- 8         1s 1/2 turn 2s on sides (1M RH & 1L LH) to face out,
               2s+1s+3s set, 1s 1/2 turn 3s on sides (1M LH & 1L RH)
               end 3s facing out & 2s+3s+1s set
9-16        1s followed by 3s dance up between 2s, cast down 1 place,
               dance in & 1s cast up to 2nd place 3s end in 3rd place
17-24      1s turn 1st corners RH, pass partner RSh turn 2nd corners RH
               & cross passing partner RSh to 2nd place own sides
25-32      2s+1s+3s circle 6H round & back

YouTube video of Reel of the Royal Scots.


We also danced two ceilidh dances: The Brittania Two Step and The Canadian Barn Dance.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Great video from the NHS and the RSCDS

Here's a great introductory video from the NHS and the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society. It's a good reference for reviewing steps, but be careful - the video is a little off, and the music and dancers aren't synced up.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Lesson Plan for February 20 - Beginner Class

New step taught: strathspey setting
New figures: promenade, back to back

NEW CALEDONIA JIG (J4x32) 4C set R Goldring G & S Dances 2
1- 8 1s+2s+3s advance for 2 steps & retire,
turn partners RH ending in centre for promenade
9-16 1s+2s+3s dance Promenade
17-24 1s dance down the middle to bottom, up between 4s, & cast down to 4th place
25-32 All circle 8H round & back

Dance Information:

Caledonia is the Latin name given by the Romans to the land in today's Scotland, north of their province of Britannia, beyond the frontier of their empire. The etymology of the name is probably from a Brythonic source, related to the name that the Britons used to refer to their northern neighbors. Today, it is used as a romantic name to refer to Scotland as a whole. In reference to this, there are three places called New Caledonia. I do not know which of these Roy Goldring had in mind when he wrote the dance, but here are the possibilities:

New Caledonia is an archipelago that is a special collectivity of France located in the Pacific Ocean, east of Australia and north of New Zealand. The earliest traces of human presence in New Caledonia date back to the Lapita period. The Lapita were highly skilled navigators and agriculturists with influence over a large area of the Pacific. Europeans first sighted New Caledonia on September 4, 1774, during the second voyage of Captain James Cook. He named the territory New Caledonia, as the north-east of the island reminded him of Scotland. The west coast of Grande Terre was approached by Jean-François de Galaup, comte de Lapérouse in 1788, shortly before his disappearance, and the Loyalty Islands were first visited in 1796. From then until 1840, only a few sporadic contacts with the archipelago were recorded. Contacts became more frequent after 1840, because of the interest in sandalwood from New Caledonia.

New Caledonia was also the name given to a district of the Hudson's Bay Company that comprised the territory largely coterminous with the present-day province of British Columbia, Canada. Though not a British colony, New Caledonia was part of the British claim to North America. For all intents and purposes, New Caledonia came into being with the establishment of the first British fur trading posts west of the Rocky Mountains by Simon Fraser and his crew, during their explorations of 1805-08. The origin of the name is generally attributed to Simon Fraser and his companions, to whom the hills and woodlands were reminiscent of the Scottish Highlands.

Additionally, the Darien scheme was an unsuccessful attempt by the Kingdom of Scotland to become a world trading nation by establishing a colony called 'New Caledonia' on the Isthmus of Panama in the late 1690s. From the outset, the undertaking was beset by spoiled provisions, English and Spanish politics that prevented trade, devastating epidemics of disease and increasing shortage of food; it was finally abandoned after a siege by Spanish forces in April, 1700. As the Darien company was backed by about a quarter of the money circulating in Scotland, its failure left the nobles and landowners – who had suffered a run of bad harvests – almost completely ruined and was an important factor in weakening their resistance to the Act of Union (finally consummated in 1707). Although the scheme failed, it has been seen as marking the beginning of the country's transformation into a modern nation oriented toward business.

MR WATSON'S FAVOURITE (R8x32) 2C (4C set) Bk of Graded SCDs
1- 8 1s+2s Promenade
9-16 1s lead down the middle & up to top
17-24 1s+2s dance Allemande
25-32 2s+1s circle 4H round & back

LADY GLASGOW (S8x32) 3C (4C set) MMM 1
1- 8 1s+2s+3s set, cross RH, set & cross RH into pstn for Promenade
9-16 1s+2s+3s Promenade
17-24 1s set, cast to 2nd place & dance BtoB
25-32 2s+1s+3s circle 6H round & back

Dance Information:

Lady Glasgow is a folk song about certain women of Glasgow who were definitely not ladies.

EUAN'S JIG (J8x32) 2C (4C set) RSCDS Bk 28
1- 8 1M+2L set & turn RH, 1s set & cast to 2nd place
9-16 1L+2M repeat above Fig
17-24 1s & 2s dance BtoB, 1M+2M & 1L+2L dance BtoB on sides
25-32 1s+2s dance double fig of 8 (1s down between 2s)
1s dancing down to 2nd place & 2s up to top to end

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Lesson Plan for February 13 - Beginner Class

New step taught: pas de basque
New figures: setting, grand chain

LADY CATHERINE BRUCE'S REEL (J8x32) 2C (4C set) Bk of Graded SCDs
1- 8       1s lead down the middle & back to top
9-16      1s+2s dance Allemande
17-24    1s dance full fig of 8 round 2s
25-32    2s+1s circle 4H round & back

Dance Information:

Clacmannan Tower,
(image courtesy of Clackmannanshire Council)
Now ruined castle, Clackmannan Tower crowns the summit of King’s Seat Hill, an important strategic site overlooking the Forth valley and all the land around. The land on which it stands was a Bruce property, having been granted to Robert Bruce, an illegitimate grandson of King Robert the Bruce, in the 14th century. King Robert himself lived at Clackmannan Tower in 1316, 1317 (probably in 1318) and visited this favorite hunting seat frequently from 1323. It's last occupant, Lady Catherine Bruce, widow of Jacobite Henry Bruce, retained King Robert's great double-handed sword and at parties she sometimes used this to "knight" favored guests. In 1787, she "knighted" Robert Burns.

Additional information found at Clackmannan Tower website, Clackmannanshire Council website, and Jimpson's History of Clackmannon.

Image from Diane Gilbert Manson.

Lady Catherine Bruce's Reel on You Tube, danced by Baton Rouge Scottish Country Dancers.

1- 8      1s+2s set twice & turn RH
9-16     1s followed by 2s lead down & 2s followed by 1s lead back to top,
             2s cast to original places
17-24   1s+2s dance RH across & LH back, 1s casting to 2nd places
25-32   2s+1s dance R&L

LADY LUCY RAMSAY (S8x32) 3C (4C set) MMM 2
1- 8      1s+2s+3s circle 6H round & back
9-16     1s+2s+3s dance Grand Chain
17-24   1s lead down the middle & back to places
25-32   1s+2s dance 1/2 R&L & turn 2H 1.1/2 times to places

Lady Lucy Ramsay on You Tube, danced by the Highland Mist Scottish Country Dancers

ESPIE MCNABB (J8x32) 3C (4C set) MMM 1
1- 8      1s+2s+3s set, cross RH, set & cross back RH
9-16     1s lead down the middle & back to place
17-24   1s set, cast 1 place & turn RH (long turn)
25-32   2s+1s+3s circle 6H round & back

Eppie McNab, by Robert Burns, 1791

1- 8      1s+2s set & dance RH across 1/2 way,
             set & dance LH across 1/2 way back to place
9-16     1s lead down the middle & back to top
17-24   1s+2s dance Allemande
25-32   2s+1s+3s circle 6H round & back

Dance Information:

Devil among the tailors pub game,
photo and description thanks to Wikipedia.

Devil among the tailors is a pub game which is a form of table skittles (bowling). The wooden ball (about the size of a golf ball) hangs from a string or chain attached to the top of a vertical wooden post rising from one corner of a box containing 9 small skittles (pins) arranged in a 3 x 3 square. The aim of the game is to knock down the skittles by swinging the ball in an arc round the post, rather than aiming directly at the skittles.

The game can be seen in a pub setting in the Beatles movie 'A Hard Day's Night' at the 1 hour 4 minute mark. Ringo goes AWOL from a gig and ends up annoying people playing various pub games.

It is also the name of a game in which each player spins a spinning top with a string, to knock down skittles, earning points for doing so. This game is quite a large table game, around 1M x 1.5M. This may be the form in Scotland commonly referred to as De'il Among the Tailors.

On 15 August 1805 a play called The Tailors: A Tragedy for Warm Weather, starring William Dowton, was presented at the theatre, then known as The Little Theatre in the Hay. The London tailors took exception to this satire on their craft, and thousands rioted, both inside and outside the theatre. The special constables were helpless against the overwhelming odds, so a troop of Life Guards was called. Sixteen prisoners were taken and the rest dispersed. The Life Guards did their job so effectively that it was likened to a skittle ball ploughing through the skittles. Thereafter, the game of Table Skittles (or Bar Skittles) was often referred to as‘Devil Amongst the Tailors’ (or Devil Among the Tailors).[citation needed]

In the picturesque name, the 'devil' refers to the ball and the 'tailors' are the skittles.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Lesson Plan for February 6 - Beginner Class

Steps taught: skip change of step, slip step, strathspey traveling step.

Figures taught: circle, figure of eight, hands across, rights & lefts, allemande.

Next week, we'll be adding new steps and figures.

THE MERRY REAPERS (J8x24) 3C (4C set) Bk of Graded SCDs
1- 8         1s cast below 3s, lead up & cast to 2nd places
9-16        2s+1s+3s circle 6H round & back
17-24      2s+1s+3s turn RH & LH

BUCKSHAW REEL (R8x32) 2C (4C set) J Thompson Rose & Thistle Bk
1- 8         1s crossing down dance full figs of 8 round 2s
9-16        2s crossing up dance full figs of 8 round 1s
17-24      1s lead down the middle & back to 2nd place
25-32      2s+1s dance R&L

LADY AUCKLAND'S REEL (S8x32) 2C (4C set) W Campbell RSCDS Bk 18
1- 8         1L+2L dance between partners & cast into centre,
               turn 2H & 1s+2s turn partners 2H
9-16        1M+2M repeat above Fig
17-24      1s lead down & back to top
25-32      1s+2s dance Allemande

THE HONEYMOON (R8x32) 3C (4C set) Bk of Graded SCDs
1- 8         1s cast to bottom, turning outwards dance back to places
9-16        1s+2s dance RH across & LH back
17-24      1s cross RH, cast 1 place, cross LH & cast down round 3s &
                lead up to 2nd place own sides
25-32      2s+1s+3s circle 6H round & back


WILD GEESE (J8x32) 3C (4C set) RSCDS 24
1- 8         1s+3s dance in & balance in line, turn partners RH &
               1s cast to 3rd place while 3s lead up to 1st place
9-16        3s+1s dance in & balance in line, turn partners RH &
               3s cast to 3rd place while 1s lead up to 1st place
17-24      1s lead down & back to 2nd place
25-32      2s+1s dance R&L

Dance information:

"Wild Geese" was a nickname for Jacobites, who supported and fought for the reestablishment of the Catholic Stewart dynasty. When 14,000 Jacobite soldiers who had fought for deposed king James the II & VII in the Williamite War and an additional 10,000 civilians left Ireland for the continent following the Treaty of Limerick on October 3, 1691, the exodus was known as the "Flight of the Wild Geese".

GAY GORDONS (16 bar March) Round the Room dance
1 - 4        All in Allemande hold march forward 4 steps,
               swivel about to face opposite direction &
               march backwards (same direction around room) 4 steps
5-8          Repeat
9 - 12      Men set advancing as Ladies turn under Man's right arm,
13-16      All take ballroom hold and polka round the room,
               finishing facing ready to begin again.