Didn't they do well...
It is a shame that so many people were missing on Monday because it was one of the days I had allocated to 'just dance' rather than spending time practicing our steps or getting the hands just right... and didn't they do well. We introduced 'Waltz Country Dance', renewed our acquittance with 'The Dream Catcher', pranced through 'Postie's Jig' and still had time for 'De'il Amang the Tailors' and 'The Ring of Brodgar'. Well done to all concerned, and thanks too to our 'helpers', we literally couldn't do it without you. Tuesday was an equally successful night, lots of fun and lots, and lots of dances. We even managed two sets up for Mairi's Wedding - not the most successful dance of the night but eliciting a spontaneous round of applause from the ladies behind the bar! - and perfection only comes from practice, and giving everyone the chance to have a go now means we'll have more brilliant dancers on the floor at the ball. We actually had time available to complete the whole programme, but by mutual consent we skipped the final dance - exhaustion had finally set in! We have to say 'goodbye' now to some of our swallows but we will hopefully be saying 'hello' to others next week to keep the ball rolling!
Finally, FYI we are planning a 'Members Meeting' - hopefully for a Saturday in early April, as a purely social get together for dancers, chatters, beginners and Tuesday nighter's, and as an opportunity to catch up with those who can't necessarily make the dance sessions, but keep an interest in the Group and it's events.
Oh what a beautiful morning...
and the rest of the days haven't been bad either! Thank you to everyone who is taking the trouble to let me know when you can't make the dancing sessions - especially the Monday class. Apart from it being reassuring to know that you are still wanting to attend, but are just unable to at that moment, it also makes it easier for me to organise my 'lesson plans'. This week while our numbers were slightly lower I took the opportunity to introduce 'rights and lefts' and 'reels of four' while teaching the class the beautiful square set strathspey, 'The Dream Catcher'. It's not usually considered a beginner's dance so we took it slowly, but by the end of the session (despite a certain amount of brain ache) we danced it with ease. Well done to everyone involved. The pudding was proved the next day when class attendees helped make up a set for the Dream Catcher at the Tuesday social evening. This week it was lovely to have a brief visit from some of our 'swallows' - not that they had much time to talk because they danced all night and had little time to catch up with everybody, luckily they'll be back again next week, if people didn't manage to see them, before they fly back to blizzardly Britain.
Not much to say - cough, cough...
Last week's excellent dance sessions have been overshadowed slightly by the dreaded lurgy finally being confirmed in the household. Having said that, although I myself have a recurrent sore throat, and have been feeling desperately tired, I haven't tested +ve and P himself has improved enough to take charge of the washing up again - in a very well ventilated kitchen, and with surface sterilizer to hand. We've come off fairly lightly and though the timing could have been better - we were very sorry to have missed some special celebrations - it could also have been worse. I have cancelled this Monday's beginner's class, but since it's Green Monday I'm sure several people will be glad of that anyway. Hopefully by Tuesday evening we'll be raring to go again - and if not, I'm sure Jean and the ladies behind the bar will be happy to serve us a drink or two to drown our sorrows at missing a dance or two ;-)
Happy Valentine's dancing
Dance - Romance -Dance -Romance - no contest, definitely dance! Well for me and several others at least. Of course it might also have been influenced by my other half being away, but I know he'd feel the same if he was here, especially since on Valentine's Day dancing is definitely cheaper!
As expected our Tuesday night social session was a little thin on the ground, however we had more than enough turn up for 'a set and some over' including a new Tuesday attendee who, having danced as a child has rapidly advanced from the Monday class. We also had the benefit of other occasional attendees being present, so with such quality at our disposal we had a go at several much more energetic and mentally demanding dances than we've attempted in the last few weeks! Well done everyone, because it was a very steep learning curve and not everyone was as focused as they should have been - e.g. me! The dances may not have been exactly executed as written - but they were spirited attempts and who's to say our versions weren't just as good as the originals! (though I'm sure we'll eventually settle on the originals )
I'm looking forward to welcoming back many of our regulars next week but we've proved we can have just as much fun with smaller numbers, as we do with larger ones, which is always a good feeling.
A bit of a blether... or not
About this time last week I thought to myself, I must update the blethers - then decided to wait a day so that I could comment on the Tuesday class, as well as the Monday Beginners' session. Fatal!
So it's now 2 weeks since my last blethering update - of course I blame the weather. It's not really fair to complain of the cold when, after wrapping up warmly this afternoon, I got down to the Phoenix Club for the Monday afternoon class and promptly had to unwrap 3 layers - don't get too excited, I had 5 layers onto start with - but it was a nice comfortable temperature with just a T-shirt on - but then I return home and I'm back in the Arctic! Fair enough we're 2000 feet up, but such a drastic change of temperature is hard to get used to - hence brain freeze and a distinct tendency to hibernate until at least May. Just as well I have the dancing to warm me up.
Well done, as usual, to everyone who is soldiering on with the beginner's sessions - we are speeding along a bit - with the inevitable confused moments - but when we come to recap the stuff we did a couple of weeks ago people will start to appreciate how much they have learnt. And it's lots of fun too. The number of dancers on Tuesday's has dipped a bit, but it's lovely that people are dropping in to just say hi and have a chat even if they can't dance, so it's a great atmosphere. Tomorrow we may be a bit thin on the ground because it's Valentine's day - or we may not - it'll be a fun night either way !
Quality not quantity?...
There is always one class, at least, per year when many of our regulars all manage to be away at the same time. This week was that class. Ironically Pete and I had committed to arriving super early to make sure we were all set up before the hoards arrived, so thank goodness for the few who did turn up! Having said that, we had a really enjoyable night - there were enough people to do some excellent dances without exhausting ourselves completely, and with the fewer numbers we could use our time constructively. We took the opportunity to walk through a couple of the newer dances even more thoroughly than normal, as well as Mairi's Wedding, several times, as we get everyone more and more familiar with it's intricacies.
Sadly the Thursday Folk Night, that several of us arranged to attend, has had to be cancelled due to Covid issues (not involving us directly, thankfully) but no doubt the group will get together in some other activity. Roll on next week.
Well, what to say? ...
What a brilliant start! If everyone who turned up enjoyed this afternoon even half as much as I did, then we are onto a winner. Well done to everyone for working so hard and managing to look like you were enjoying yourself at least some of the time. It wasn't the largest class I've ever taught, but definitely the largest 'first time' beginner's class here in Paphos. Initial classes are always a little harder than subsequent ones - for both attendees and teachers, there's such a lot of basics to be established it's a challenge to keep things interesting without making it too complicated. I was lucky to have great helpers, Pete & Jo with the dancing and, most unexpected but incredibly valuable, Wendy and David with everything to do with the Phoenix club - from where to put the tables, to how to cash up the money.
Next week we'll be a little more settled in and I'll introduce 2 more steps - the slower ones - and then we'll be able to balance the sessions a bit more so people can catch their breath if they need too. If people have missed this session not to worry though, we'll recap everything we've done lots of times so people either catch up with what they've missed or consolidate what they've learnt. I'm already looking forward to next week!
Getting excited ...
We are going to have a super turn out on Monday for the start of the new classes; at least if everyone who has contacted me holds onto their determination to join us. I'm really excited to meet everyone and hopefully we'll start more people on a journey that might end in them dancing anywhere in the world. Unlikely though it might seem Scottish Country Dancing is flourishing in many countries. The obvious ones like Canada, Australia, New Zealand etc. that saw mass immigration from Scotland over the last few hundred years, but also less obvious ones like Japan. One of the real benefits of learning Scottish Country Dancing, from a social point of view, is that even as a 'single' you can go to virtually any class or social dance (particularly the RSCDS ones) - without necessarily knowing a single person there, and never sit out a single dance! A shared enthusiasm is exactly that - and you don't have to speak the same language, or invest in much more than a pair of shoes. I know from my own experience, going to classes and dances, even week-long workshops, entirely alone, that whether extrovert or super shy, you can have a fabulous time without ever worrying about being bored or lonely (or at risk) and there aren't many activities that can supply that!
Beginner's class - sorted!
Now Burns Night is over for another year I've had time to turn my attention back to dancing. The wonderful Phoenix Club have agreed to let us use their premises for yet more dancing. This time on Monday afternoon between 2 - 4 pm, so that we can continue with our Monday beginners classes. We'll start next week on 30th January. I hope we'll get a reasonable 'turn out' because this is always a fun afternoon, but hard work if we don't have many people - no-one gets the chance to sit down, especially me!
If you've been thinking of giving it a go but the Tuesday social night dancing is a bit too much of a 'jump' for you, then Monday will be perfect since this is a much smaller class which adapts to everyone's needs and goes at the pace that suits us all. The real benefit is however, that rather than relying on the 'good' dancers to pull you through a dance you have to learn how to do it yourself. It can be a real challenge to do a dance when everyone is a beginner, but that is when you get the most mental benefits - and sense of achievement when you master it! Even if it takes a while ;-) I'm looking forward to it already.
What a week!
A super Tuesday class (well done to everyone who managed Mairi's Wedding), a successful, but very tiring 'calling' commitment and one of the best Burn's Nights I can remember at the Elea.
Burn's Night is always a fun evening but this year was impressively good. As usual Irene's organization was superb - we had such a good turn out of helpers to decorate in the morning that we were tripping over ourselves, but it took a 1/3rd of the normal time to set up. Come the evening some of the Elea staff were new and perhaps not familiar with the ways of a Burns Night but they were well coached, attentive and efficient and, when necessary, quiet! Well done especially to all the speakers, every one of you surpassed yourselves with the quality of your presentation and speeches and the singing afterwards was the icing on the cake. The food was, mainly, as excellent as always but one dish was considered disappointing - but we do take notice of feedback and hopefully there won't be any repeat of the problem. What was unexceptional was the generosity of our sponsors, Blevins Franks and Frazer Terry Limited. Not only did guests enjoy welcome beverages of their choice, a prize draw, and whiskey supplied for the toasts but also Table Favours of Prosecco and 3 or 4 excellent bottles of wine per table! No wonder the evening went well :-) Well done to Sheena the winner of the draw and I look forward to seeing all the people who expressed an interest in the dancing either on Tuesday at the Social or on Monday next when I intend to restart the 'beginners' group. In the meantime I have uploaded all the pictures I took during the night and you can find them HERE or via the 'past events' tab. Enjoy reliving the night and I hope to see you soon.
Originated in Manchester, England: Worked almost 20 yrs in the Emirates: Lives in Cyprus, Teaches Scottish Country Dancing (RSCDS qualified 2015) -just the average life. Also loves Photography & Photoshop, Gardening, Music, Sewing, Design, Reading, Sudoku, God, my husband & my cats (not necessarily in that order). Hates - cooking, housework, TV, politicians, cruelty and greed of any kind.
All Images on this site are copyright Janine Scott unless otherwise stated.