Over the last week I've taught 3 very different classes, and all of them have been fun in their different ways. The 'Advanced' Sunday class brought our friend Pat over from the t'other side to join us - as always it was a great pleasure to see her and she very kindly brought me a gift from the RSCDS (Royal Scottish Country Dance Society) Summer School of Book 52 and the accompanying CD. Every year the RSCDS publish the instructions for a dozen or so dances, originally all of historic origin, more recently they include newly devised dances. This year after extensive (anonymous) testing by nearly 2000 dancers from over 90 branches and affiliated groups, spread over 6 continents (I am quoting from the forward here) they selected 12 dances from the 148 submitted. These are published in Book 52 - with music, arranged by Ian Muir - who just happens to be the musician playing at our St Andrew's Ball at the beginning of November! I can't wait to try some of them out... but it will have to wait until after the ball because becoming familiar with the programme we already have has to be the priority for now.
The Monday 'Beginners' Class was as well attended as the Advanced Class although a great deal hotter. The hoped for cooler weather has yet to arrive, but taking it easy we did manage a useful session, though step practice will definitely wait until the temperature drops. And then our brilliant Tuesday class followed them all, although several regulars were missing, the numbers were made up by returnees - and consequently the noise level noticeably raised a notch, but since the reason is entirely because people are delighted to see each other and mix so well I am not really complaining - I'll just bring out the megaphone next week ;-) - I know most people went home on a 'high' and that's the point of the evening, long may it continue. Jx
Welcome back is going to be the theme for the next few weeks, not only was it lovely to see our first lot of 'swallows' return to the class, but also several of our 'newbies' who only started in the last few weeks (it's always such a relief to know we haven't put them off ;-)) We also had a very welcome returnee who hasn't managed to dance with us much in the recent past, but we hope that is about to change.
This is the real start of our busiest season and most of the dances were with 3 sets up (there were over 30 in class) - everyone managed well even when we turned 2 of the sets to make maximum use of the space. We have to thank our visiting family for the amount of chairs set out, it helped to spread people out well and kept us all from wandering about too much looking for a place to change shoes and dump our bags - though it didn't stop people lurking in the middle of the dance floor once a dance was over - on the other hand it meant sets for the next dance were very quickly made up! A big thank-you to everyone who brought bottle tops for Chris to collect next week - you can always bring them to class and I will hang onto them until he's here or pass them on myself when he's not.
I have 2 more classes to go before the next Tuesday Class, this weekend it's the Sunday 'Advanced' class, if you know the basics and want the chance to learn a bit more, cover the formations in a bit more detail, tackle slightly more complex formations & dances or even improve your footwork this is the class for you - you don't have to consider yourself 'Advanced' you just need to want to 'Advance' !
Then this Monday the 'basics' class at the UKCA is restarting - anyone is very welcome to come to that - we cover similar dances to the Tuesday programme but at a much less frantic pace, teaching each section thoroughly so hopefully everyone can do a dance themselves rather than relying on a partner - it's a great compliment to Tuesday night, Tuesday is fun but can be a very difficult place to learn, Mondays are a great place to learn but when everyone is a beginner you never get the atmosphere and 'lift' that you get when people are flying through a dance they know. Talking of 'dances they know' well done to those who tackled Rose of the North (3 couple rights & lefts) and S-Locomotion (1/2 reel of 4 into 1/2 reel of 3) either for the first time or after a long break - both went really well, which is a relief because they are both on the ball programme (check out the programme via Events -> Future Events and scroll down until you see the PROGRAMME link next to the ball poster (or just click HERE)
Last week was a surprise because of the large numbers attending for an initial class - this week was surprising because we were back down to normal for this time of year. Despite the lower numbers we were yet again delighted to welcome another new couple to the class, and to the society - they came, they danced and they are definitely returning... brilliant. We were also delighted to be joined by Jess who showed supreme sense by preferring to join in the hurly burly of the class rather than sitting on her tod in the car - after all it's not the first time we've had canine company in class - and watching the amount of fuss everyone made of her I'm sure she'll be happy to visit us again.
We were back to our full quota of 10 dances for the evening and managed to fit them all in easily, despite repeating one dance to allow everyone a chance to try it. With one exception all the dances are on the ball programme so it was really good to see that even absolute beginners were able to get up and manage most of them.
We have a lot of 'swallows' returning to us over the next few weeks including Chris the 'bottle top man' so if you've been collecting your plastic bottle tops and stamps for him then bring them to the class in a couple of weeks and you can pass them on. See you next week I hope. Jx
For several years now we've been used to our initial dance classes of the season being rather quiet. This year I expected much the same, especially since we have restarted a week earlier than before and many of our class members are either hosting holidaying family members or still away on holiday themselves. It was a bit of a surprise to have enough people turning up for 3 sets - though unfortunately a few were on the 'injured' list and very wisely (but frustratingly for them) didn't dance.
A very warm welcome to 2 new dancers who joined us for the first time, they coped admirably and obviously enjoyed themselves so we look forward to seeing them again. It was also super to have many others back to the class who haven't been dancing with us for a while for one reason or another - I'm already looking forward to next week - see you then I hope. Jx
Hasn't the 'summer' gone quickly - I know I wont be the only one who feels that we only stopped the dance classes 5 minutes ago, however I know from bitter experience that once we try to dance our brains and bodies will be convinced that we've been away years. Be assured that not only is the first class's dance program a selection of some of our 'easiest' or most familiar dances but it's also a shorter program to allow for the inevitable 'catching up' requirements - I hope to see you there.
Originated in Manchester, England: Worked almost 20 yrs in the United Arab Emirates: Lives in Cyprus. Teaches Scottish Country Dancing (RSCDS qualified 2015) -just the average life! Also loves Photography & Photoshop, Gardening, Music, Sewing, Design, Reading, computers, God, my husband & my cat (not necessarily in that order). Hates - crowds, hypocrisy, 'Reality' TV, corrupt politicians, cruelty and greed of any kind.
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