Thank you everyone for the wonderful feedback on last Friday's June Jamboree - we are very very glad you enjoyed yourselves (and relieved!) The day dawned bright and fair and rather too early for those of us still tweaking last minute decorations and printing jobs until late the night before. By 10 a.m. we were down at the Elea prettying up the patio with bunting, lights, frilly flowers and the usual table decorations including programme fans. The sound system was plugged in and tested and the final 'order of the evening' discussed with the staff. Many thanks must go to Tony and Josephine and Sisera who were invaluable helpers despite not being able to attend the evening itself. Photo's of the preparations are included in the record of the evening you can find by clicking HERE. It was a lovely warm evening with only a light breeze, we were truly blessed by the weather because elsewhere on the island they were being pelted by thunder storms and both the days before, and after the winds were really strong. Although the plan was to do a couple of dances prior to the meal the food arrived promptly so we happily tucked in without indulging in exercise. The menu was cleverly chosen and the food delicious, so much so that I was surprised when people did get up to dance because I for one had eaten so much I was less than bouncy! The dancing did get going however and was obviously enjoyed enormously. Well done to everyone who had a try, or were dragged out of their comfort zone, to get on the dance floor.
Both dance classes are running this week - details are found elsewhere on the site. I hope to see you there.
It is inevitable that every year we enjoy welcoming people back to the island, and to the dancing, but then we have to say goodbye until they hopefully return again. In the past how long we continued dancing into the summer was entirely down to temperature, eventually open windows and fans were not enough. Now we have access to AC's the criteria for stopping has changed, it is entirely governed by how many dancers are available, and although the numbers are at critical - both for the Monday and Tuesday, the sessions are working well, and the people attending are keen to continue - so why not.
This week is the 3rd Tuesday of the month so there isn't a Tuesday dance class but Monday's class is running - and we are getting good numbers compared to previous years. It's the last session before the June Jamboree next Friday, so it's a good opportunity for people to have a go at a couple of the ceilidh dances that are on Friday's programme without the stress of thinking people are watching or being in an unfamiliar venue. The actual dance programme for Friday is still in production - there are so many great options - without being too ambitious about people's fitness and abilities ;-) - I will finalize it before Monday though so people can try a few of them - then they can encourage others to give them a try on the night! Saturday 17th is the cut off date for booking a ticket so don't miss it - give Irene a call, her contact details are HERE - and I hope to see you there. Jx
I haven't added to this Blether blog for 2 weeks. It is impossible, as always, to understand where that time has gone, but thank God that this busy time has been both enjoyable and productive, though obviously not productive from the blethering point of view. The last few dance classes have suffered, either from lack of numbers on Tuesdays, or from heat on Mondays ... but despite the challenges they've all been great fun and we're welcoming more people all the time. They are either new to dancing altogether, or returnees, so, despite many dancers returning back to the UK for the summer or having to miss their dancing 'fix' for other reasons we are managing to keep the sessions going and we are even considering continuing longer into the summer than usual - why not, as long at there are people willing to dance. Preparation is going on apace for the June Jamboree. Despite the current damp weather the forecast is for a warm evening, 26°C (78°F) fairly humid with a light NW breeze. If it does get chilly the Elea staff have been known to wrap people in blankets - that's service - but I don't think we'll be needing them this time. The menu is now available with the other information about the evening on the 'Future Events' page and the dance programme is undergoing it's final revision, I've analysed the previous programmes for the dances that were enjoyed the most, and also found one or two more that I think will fit the bill of either, familiar, or quick and easy to learn, and obviously enjoyable to do. Although there's still loads more preparation to do I'm really looking forward to it. If anyone wants to help the 'committee' with the decoration meet us at the Elea at 10 a.m. in the morning - otherwise don't forget to get, or at least book, your ticket from Irene Tel: 96 48 4500 before this Saturday (18th June), at the very latest, because that is the cut off date for letting the venue know our numbers. I hope to see you tonight, next week or there!
Tomorrow was here already, and I hadn't prepared a thing- this didn't used to happen, at least not often. I'm blaming the weather, there's definitely leaves on my tracks, even though it's the wrong time of year for them. Our last Tuesday class was relatively small; it meant that the dancers got a very good work out, whether they wanted it or not. Several of the dances could fit in the challenging category, either because they were completely new to the class, or quite difficult, or in one case, both. Well done to everyone who worked hard but achieved a lot. We did welcome some new faces, it was a challenging session for people new to this dance style so they didn't get much chance to dance themselves but they seemed to enjoy the evening despite this so hopefully they are 'keepers'! See you all tomorrow I hope.....
I have just reread my last blether. I'm always a little surprised when I read them because I don't remember from week to week what I've said, in fact it's quite a good diary of events, at least of my dancing life. Yet again I am a lot later than intended adding to this because so much is happening 'off stage', - so to speak - 'other life' is crowded at the moment, far too many 'events' and not enough time and energy! Anyway, dancing is an island of fun in this crazy world and the good news is that we've restarted the Monday 'Basic' class sessions. As normally happens more people expressed an interest than were able to come, at least for the first session, but small is genuinely beautiful in this case, so as long as we can get enough people to create a set and go through formations, it's worth doing.
With having our '3rd Tuesday' break the last Tuesday class seems a very long time ago. It was a strange evening since many people had to leave, for all sorts of reasons, half way through. It went from full on noise and busy-ness to calm and closeness in an instant - it actually felt like I'd taught two completely different classes, each needing a different level of engagement and style of teaching and volume - both of music and voice! It was slightly unsettling and when I realised it had gone 8 pm and we should finish it felt like I'd lost an hour, it certainly went quickly. This week will hopefully be more conventional, though the programme may be challenging for some, I hope there will be something for everyone and I'm looking forward to another great night.
I don't usually post this little blether/blog before updating the dance programme for our next Tuesday class, but this has been a challenging week and the mental effort involved in creating the program is a bit beyond me at the moment (it may surprise people that there is much effort involved in selecting a few dances but it makes a difference if I don't get it right). As many people know, just prior to last week's dance session our electricity connection box went up in smoke. For the last week we've been without any power supply to the house. At one level it's been quite fun... no electricity meant no vacuuming, clothes washing, ironing, cooking (we have a gas hob but no fridge or freezer meant most of the food was evacuated elsewhere), and going to bed early by lantern light. But it also meant no TV (hurray) or computers / internet (boo). It really highlighted how many on-line responsibilities I have - websites, flipbooks, monitoring e-mail accounts etc. and how much I use my computer. We could take our computers elsewhere to access power, but unfortunately we had no reliable internet connection - such a performance! Thankfully the wonderful electrician from our insurance company has done a brilliant and very speedy job getting us back on the grid - however now there is a massive catching up to do. Anyway...
Monday class, it looks like we may be able to restart - this is a 'back to basics' class - it includes some of the classic ceilidh dances (because we weren't all born Scottish) as well as step by step (literally) tuition, on all the fascinating aspects of SCD - how the formations fit together, 'proper' handing, timing and a little bit of step technique if people can handle it. It's always been a fun class and a good way to get more confident as a dancer since it is a lot less frantic than Tuesdays. It's hoped we'll restart on Monday 16th - I'll be sending out emails once I get confirmation.
The June Jamboree it's on June 24th- tickets will be forthcoming now I'm back at my desk with a printer handy! This is really lovely night - completely different from virtually anything else you are likely to experience on island. If you have visiting family or friends think about bringing them, it's a lovely atmospheric evening under the stars that can cater for any age - the youngest guest we've had was 4 years old, she loved it. More information is on the 'Future Events' page, and you may have received an email about it today too, do let Irene know if you are planning to come.
I'll get the programme for the next Tuesday class sorted out tomorrow and I hope to see you soon.
Re-reading my last blether I felt initially that all I needed to do was tell people to read that one again. All the comments about busy-ness, and time passing, not to mention never knowing how a class would go could have been written about this week's class too. As usual we had a completely different mix of people in the session, but this time we weren't joined by so many old friends, instead we welcomed (and welcomed back) some new ones. It was brilliant to be joined by even more intrepid newcomers. They did so well (even if they might not have thought so themselves) and hopefully they enjoyed themselves.
I'm very aware that the class is a very steep learning curve initially. There are so many levels of dancing ability and experience attending, literally from total beginners to demonstration level, it's definitely a challenge to keep everyone interested. Dances are mainly chosen for their 'fun factor' rather than classic style or ease of learning. On the other hand the class itself is very welcoming of newcomers and it's always easier to learn when most of the rest of the people in your set know what they are doing; it's a brilliant way to learn if you can stick the pace, however...
Eventually I hope we'll have enough people interested in 'going back to the basics' to resurrect a 'beginners' class. Monday afternoon 'basics' sessions, also at the UKCA, worked very well in the past as an additional resource (but it wouldn't have to be on Mondays if that wasn't convenient). I know many people prefer to have the moves and steps of a dance taught thoroughly before having to do the whole thing - in contrast to just walking a dance through and going for it -however much fun that might be for more experienced dancers! Let me know if you are interested and if we can get enough people to make up at least a set we'll organise the best time for a class and give it a go. In the meantime I hope I'll see you again next Tuesday.
This has been an ultra busy week and every time I've sat down intending to update this blog something has distracted me - but now I've finally found a moment to myself it's difficult to know where to start. Not only does the last class seem ages ago already, but I hadn't realised that I'd missed commenting on the previous session too. As I've said so many times before, it's impossible to predict how an evening will go. Two weeks ago I was expecting quite a respectable turn out, but though people arrived bright and early we only just managed to get a set together, which meant it was a long evening and very hard work for everyone. However enjoyable it is to dance, sometimes it's good to have the chance of a rest too! This week, instead of a reasonable number of early arrivals only one or two managed to make it early and I was anticipating another strenuous night, but as 6 pm approached people started streaming in. Like so many of our dance nights we had a very different mix of dancers from the recent weeks. It was wonderful to welcome people back to the class, who we haven't seen for years, as well as others who haven't been able to come regularly since we restarted. It was great fun and a super atmosphere. We managed 2 full sets easily. The piece de résistance was teaching and dancing the 5 couple 'Staircase to Syria'. Not only new to the new dancers, but to many of the more experienced ones too. Well done to all concerned.
Next week is our 'fallow' week - unless I advertise otherwise the next class will be on 26th April. It's frustrating to have to wait, but on the other hand time is passing so fast no doubt it'll be here before I know it!
After announcing that we were dancing again I was confronted with a selection of replies, of which the main theme was regret. For all sorts of understandable reasons regular attendees were postponing coming back to the class. I was therefore prepared for the evening to be a rather quiet one, expecting to struggle to make up even one set... but as so often is the case, I was wrong. Although in total our numbers were down on previous sessions, everyone who did come was keen to dance as much as possible, and we had no problems getting a set together, and at one point managed two... fair enough, in that case we only needed 5 people for each set, but with the limited number of experienced dancers available it was impressive that people were even willing to try - and even more impressive that they did so well. We welcomed yet another new dancer to the class, he experienced the equivalent of being picked up and dropped, with a loud splash, in the deep end, but he certainly didn't drown, in fact he showed an impressive grasp of the formations from the very start. Hopefully he enjoyed the class as much as everyone else. One of the high points of the evening was teaching and dancing 'Johnnie Walker'. As a 'medley' i.e. the first time through it's a Strathspey, and then it's repeated as a Jig, it's slightly unusual but it has always been a favourite of the class in the past. Most of last night's attendees hadn't done it before however, so it was impressive that they got through the whole thing, with minimal panic and with the usual lot of laughter at the end! Roll on next week. Jx
Just a quick reassurance that this week the dancing class is planned to go ahead. We've done our required tests and they are all, thankfully, clear. We've had no news of anyone else that might be linked to the class contracting, or being in contact with anyone who's contracted the dreaded lurgy so, fingers crossed, we hope to see everyone tomorrow night. I looking forward to it. x
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.
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