It was worth it, it was brilliant - but also challenging, occasionally frustrating and very hot! The International Branch workshop weekend is officially over - although there are many dancers who are continuing here for a few more days holiday and hopefully many of them will be joining us tonight for our Tuesday night class which this week is to be held at the Avanti Hotel (see directions on the class program page); this is another generous contribution to the St Andrew Society Paphos from the IB. Fred DeMarse the IB chairman is going to lead the class and in addition we are going to have the wonderful experience of dancing to live music from the accordion of Andrew Lyon - those who missed the chance of joining in with the weekend will at least have a taste of the magic live music from a brilliant musician can bring to a dance. I truly hope we get a good number at the class if only so as many as possible can enjoy it. See you tonight - and bring some water! Janine x
Sheesh! It was hard work for me, heaven knows what if felt like for everyone else, 3 sets up for virtually every dance and you could hear the brain cells begging for mercy all round the room; however, everyone tackled and pretty well wrestled to the ground '3 couple rights & lefts' and pronounced ' Rose of the North' a lovely dance, which indeed it is; The Reel of the Royal Scots, was also grasped pretty well and enjoyed as I knew it would be and that poor old 'Swiss Lassie' was again attacked with mingled flair and fear but ultimately most people ended up in the right place with the right partner, and had fun doing it - even if they weren't quite sure how they got there: it can be fascinating to watch worried looks gradually relax into smiles as a dance goes on and it was very apparent with Swiss Lassie. I'm not sure I liked 'Adieu Mon Ami' much myself, but quite a few people said they'd enjoyed it - so when I've got time to properly introduce people to 'Hello-Goodbye' setting we'll give it a go again.
P.I.P. didn't fair quite so well, I thought it might be a challenge, everyone who even tried should be pleased with themselves, but the final surviving set should definitely pat themselves on the back, like many of the dances we find challenging, it's not difficult in itself - we'd nail it straight off as a Strathspey, but it's a non-stop dance at high speed with almost everyone moving at once - for many dancers these are the most exhilarating type of dances, requiring good team work, fast thinking, and precise timing to the music etc ... so I will do it again, but not for a while and not as part of such a challenging programme!
The IB weekend is only 10 days away so, although there are some of 'their' dances we haven't tackled yet, I think we have done enough to give most people a few they can dance if they go to the balls and some idea of ones they definitely shouldn't get talked into doing! Now we (or do I mean me? ;-) ) need to relax a little, next week the Tuesday programme is definitely less frantic, we'll still include useful dances for the weekend but no more brand new dances, and the only repeats from this week, ones that went well and people seemed to enjoy - in fact even I am a bit 'new-danced out' and I'm definitely looking forward to getting some old favourites back on the programme - one more week to go - I can't wait, but in the meantime .... some more stuff to note
This week was the first Tuesday night when I really felt spring had arrived. The windows were open all night and the temperature never dropped below pleasant. We more or less repeated the programme of 2 weeks ago and didn't we do well; in amongst the more modest triumphs dancers tackled Swiss Lassie and won - I humbly admit that I didn't expect people get through such a fast dance so well and it shows that if we raise the bar most of us can reach it - perhaps not with pointy toes, but certainly with big grins!
We are definitely on the countdown to the International Branch visit, next week's programme will again introduce a few more new challenges and I am conscious of how hard I am making people work but in the meantime we are discovering some great new dances to add to our repertoire and re-visiting many that we haven't danced for months, maybe even years. I am also being pushed into teaching / revising many formations that I haven't necessarily bothered people with in the recent past, it's always easier to stick to what we know - but we're getting to the point when we can take in a lot more than we used to. The fun everyone had at the Barn dance is partly because dancing at that level is now so easy we can really relax and enjoy it, but if we weren't challenged at the classes we wouldn't ever manage to get to that point. I've included a few of the pictures I took at the class this week, just because there were so many smiles! I hope to see everyone enjoying themselves as much again next week and in the meantime, Happy Easter to everyone - and if you eat too many Easter Eggs remember you can always work off the calories next Tuesday Jx
As usual we have to thank Irene for a brilliantly organised night, the Green Olive provided a super buffet and a super venue for our little alternative dance night. It was great to hold an event that appealed to non-dancers as well as the 'class'. Of course there were some hiccups - some out of our control, and some we are going to have to use as learning material, but hey ho, we all survived and had an excellent fun night. I attach a few pictures to this post to prove the point! Our next event is the Picnic in the Park at Elea, if it's half as much fun we'll be onto a winner.
As I've said before, it's especially nice to overhear approving comments from dancers who have just struggled through a new dance - this week's class included a fair few dances that were both new, and appeared to meet with approval, along with several which were new the previous week and were on their first repeat; Thank-you, I'm glad you liked them... but to be honest we have to thank the International Branch because the dances are from their dance programmes, I wouldn't have come across most of them otherwise.
It is incredible that it is already a month since P & I returned from the 'Winter School' in Pitlochry. It's been so busy since we returned we have only just managed to sort out the pictures (even though there weren't many) however it's not too late to include some of them here and hopefully give a taste of the event.
At a slightly different level don't forget that next week instead of our normal class we are holding a Barn Dance at the Green Olive restaurant in Paphos - the Green Olive is situated off the Tomb of the Kings road - from Coral Bay end, keep driving past Lidls, across the little roundabout and after passing O'Neil's Irish Bar take the next road left - The Green Olive is a few hundred meters on the left. From the Mall end... you'll have to keep going past Fat Mamma's up to the little roundabout, do a U-turn and come back to reach the road. There are still tickets available if anyone wants to join in with us.. use the links on the contact page to order them - everyone is welcome - more information can be seen via the Future Events page above
I've just got back from a committee meeting; I always go intending to keep my mouth shut (after all I'm not actually on the committee, I just have a standing invitation to attend as an 'expert adviser' ) but my resolve to keep quiet usually lasts about 30 seconds... my only consolation is that I'm not the only one. In my humble (not) opinion the function of a committee is to communicate, much more than to make decisions; in many ways the decisions should make themselves, if everyone knows their function - or is allocated a job, they do the job to the best of their ability and then report back; the decisions are made by considering what we are trying to achieve -giving our members a fun time with a Scottish twist; of course you can re-phrase that to sound much more highfalutin but that is basically it!
Over the next few months we have lots of chances to enjoy ourselves, good food, good company and lots of chances to dance for those who wish too... and all of it subsidised (or even free) for members. On the 'Future Events' tab above, check out lots of exciting stuff coming up; I am adding the menu to the Barn Dance information for those more interested in the food than dancing; we've already 51 tickets sold but there is room for more - BTW as a break from our currently challenging Tuesday classes, the barn dance programme will be easy-peasy stuff - perfect for bringing non-confident friends to; Re the International Branch's visit; I have added a downloadable 'class selection form' - if you haven't received an e-mail with the details of this event (which are different for local dancers) - let us know via the contact page; finally there is an update on our June event the 'picnic in the park' at the Elea; it's all very exciting! Before I finish; it was lovely to see an old friend at class this week, and also to welcome a lovely visitor; I found a notebook detailing classes in 2011 - the average numbers were 10 - 15 per class, so of course they were a lot less chaotic and it was far less challenging to teach and learn; last week we had 35 dancers, a not unusual number nowadays but despite the hubbub we are dancing a far more varied programme with great enthusiasm and laughter... and when people are not up and dancing the friendliness of the group is a pleasure to see. Well done, and thanks to everyone for the continuing positive feedback it's really great to have Jx
I learnt a long time ago that it's not necessary to provide too much variety at the Tuesday class; in fact most people are quite happy dancing familiar dances over and over again - so I am well aware how hard most people are working at the moment - many of the dances we are currently doing are unfamiliar and some are just plain confusing to the less experienced dancer.
I was going to apologise, because of course, the reason for all this hard work is the impending visit of the RSCDS International Branch, and not everyone is interested in being involved in that; but this week really proved how 'up for it' most of our dancers are, and although I know it slows things down I am also convinced of the importance of learning new things to maintaining our mental health - just doing stuff we know is great fun but we can so quickly loose the ability (if we had it in the first place) to concentrate and take in new information - it's also good for us all to go wrong every now and again - sorting ourselves out requires even more co-operation and team work than just going through the prescribed formations and ending at the bottom of the set, at the right time, with the right partner (i.e. the one you started with) - although that is pretty nice too!
I'd also like to say, because I know a new dance is a challenge, that it is extra nice for me to hear people coming of the floor saying what a lovely dance they've just done, if I know people enjoy them I can confidently include them on future programs, plus the more we widen our repertoire to include currently popular dances, the more we will gain from visiting dancers, and the easier it is for people here to enjoy dancing in the UK if they find a group local to themselves. See you next Tuesday Jx
I was welcomed back at the class by a beautifully laid out room courtesy of L & I, I was early but they were even earlier, however by the time we'd all caught up with news I was running late as usual. The programme hadn't changed much for several weeks so it was time to ring the changes; especially since the visit by the International Branch promises 2 big dance nights
Three 'new' dances from their programmes were introduced last week (though we have actually done two of them before I didn't expect anyone to remember them); Grassmarket Reel and Cramond Bridge both went very well, but the unusual reels in The Duchess Tree; combined with the large number of dancers made it a challenge, however it was coming together by the end and it's a very pretty dance so in a couple of weeks we'll have it safely under our belts. This week coming I have added a few more from the IB dance programmes, though most are dances we've done before we've not danced them recently; it's actually good to have a reason to bring them back on board. One completely new to us dance is 'Starter for Ten' - a beginner's 5 couple dance which is a bit of a rarity - in the past we wouldn't have been able to guarantee enough people to do this - but it's entirely possible we'll manage 3 sets - despite having to say a temporary farewell to some of our regular dancers - hopefully they all got home safely and we'll look forward to seeing them again soon.
See you soon Jx
We've been, and I'm back... P is still in the UK doing the 'granddad' bit, but I'm back to enforce order at the class - I've heard that it was great fun last week, which I'm glad of (I suppose) and it is only fair because we were having great fun in Scotland too. It has been suggested by members of my beginner's class that we get a group together to attend the R.S.C.D.S. Winter school next year... it is certainly a thought worth considering, I honestly think anyone in the class would enjoy it; both 'singles' and 'couples', but it is especially good for singles; As far as technical ability required, there is an 'intermediate class' that would be really easy for most people compared to our normal Tuesday night romp, and most of our more experienced dancers would cope happily with the Advanced level too ... however nearly 4 hours of compulsory classes every morning and 2 hours of dancing every night makes it a strenuous week and there is no sitting out during the morning sessions just because bits of you hurt! on the other hand you are staying at a spa hotel so you can spend the afternoon in the pool and the jacuzzi if necessary plus the food, facilities and atmosphere are great so it's worth any aches & pains you may get on the way. I've included a couple of pictures - the fabulous view from our window at the Atholl Palace Hotel and a shot from the ceilidh that was held on Sunday night. If you'd like more details please see me later. One additional surprise during the last days of my trip was to discover a Scottish Dancing group in Culcheth near my brother's new house - they were dancing some pretty advanced stuff but were extremely welcoming even of my 10 year old niece, who, of course, put us all to shame by the speed in which she picked things up; Not many people can claim to have danced Mongomerie's Rant as their first ever dance! I've great hopes of dancing with them again and also of seeing some of them over here in Cyprus now they know we exist - See you tomorrow I hope... Jx
I am late updating the Tuesday Dance Programme this week but the huge numbers at class calmed down briefly and seemed to take in the fact that this week's programme is the same as last week's programme so hopefully no-one has really been waiting for it. Next week is a DIY night with intrepid amateur leaders trying to keep control while P & I are dancing our socks of at Winter School in Pitlochry, Scotland. Typing this from the comfort of the hotel foyer, all leather sofa's, brocade curtains and oak panelling it is very hard to imagine myself back at last week's class; after a quite night on Valentine's day we had half the island descend on us (that's what it felt like). It was a great night with 3 or 4 sets up for most dances, some very promising newcomers joined us and hopefully managed to make sense of some of it, and there were excellent attempts at even the more complicated dances. Sugar Candie proved a challenge initially - I'd forgotten how long it was since we'd last danced it... and it didn't help that I initially confussing it with another dance - bad marks for teacher but this weeki J & A will be teaching it and they are experts so I know you will be fine.
Over here in Scotland we are having a brilliant but very busy time so I have to stop now and get on with it! More news later .... Jx
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