For the first time this season our numbers topped 30 and the noise level increased accordingly! We welcomed back many more people, it was great to see them (though we still miss the people who haven't returned to us yet) and we had no difficulty getting multiple sets onto the floor, but it was virtually impossible, in the melee, to get around everyone and welcome them properly - so I was very glad that people came up to say hello at the end. The dancing itself went incredibly well especially considering the lack of space and the number of people who were learning dances new to them - the level of concentration was palpable, but had results, and those wonderful moments when people get to the end of a dance successfully and spontaneously laugh & cheer happened over and over again. It was great. One thing that I find impressive is the way people can now rotate their sets, to optimise the space, and not loose their way- it shows that people are correctly orientated to their set and not to directions in the room. When we get to the ball this will be a very valuable skill because obviously all the physical 'landmarks' that you might have got into the habit of using in the class wont be there. There are 3 more weeks to go, and we are practising the dances from the programme both on Mondays and Tuesdays so if you want to optimise your practice opportunities you can give both of them a go. If there is enough interest I am happy to run a couple of morning dances too to add to the experience of latecomers or beginners - but that will wait until we are a bit closer. See you soon. Jx.
If I'm absolutely honest... (and I usually am) I found last week's class quite hard work. It was one of those nights when I wasn't quite firing on all cylinders and technology wasn't on my side either, I can usually cope with one or the other but both together was challenging, still, these things happen and P assures me that everyone enjoyed themselves despite the occasional moments of uncertainty.
It was great to welcome more friends back from their summer back home, and we had yet another new member joining the society which is very encouraging, but it was the first time many dancers had really attempted some of the newer dances on the programme and it was a bit of a shock to the system! We have 4 weeks until the ball however, and both the Monday and Tuesday classes to learn the dances so we'll have cracked them all by then - given that most of our new dancers still managed most of the programme I don't really have too many worries - we have to start somewhere and with 4 sets up at one time then it's bound to be chaotic! The Tattoo Night is this Saturday at the UKCA, (always a good night) then next week the ball tickets will be available. We already have many names down for tickets, but we are hoping to increase the numbers from last year; many of the people with names down for tickets aren't intending to dance but for both dancers and non-dancers as it is a very entertaining night and excellent value even for guests, so if you know of anyone who you think might enjoy it why don't you ask them to come along?
I seem to have missed a blether opportunity last week so this week I'm musing on more than one dancing session. As usual the make up of the class has changed from week to week, but both weeks we have been delighted to welcome both returnees and brand new members to the society. We have also welcomed some excellent new dancers to the class, who hopefully will join us again as they seem to have enjoyed themselves and eventually might increase the membership even more. This is the season when we usually have a dramatic increase in numbers at class anyway as old friends who haven't been able to join us for a while return to the island or make the effort to brush up their dance knowledge in the run up to the Ball - which this year is again being held at the beginning of November but to get 3 sets up already is very encouraging. We are eagerly looking forward to welcoming everyone back - lets just hope we can all fit in - though will be a very nice problem to have!
It was a little strange, but very nice, to be returning to the PCFi hall after stealing ourselves to restarting at a 'new' (non-air conditioned) venue. The hall itself looks very smart, fully repainted and with new easy chairs in place.
It was great to welcome new dancers to the class as well as old friends, but very sad that so many regular dancers weren't well enough to dance on the night, hopefully they will be active again soon though, sadly I know that isn't the case with some. It's a tribute to the society that so many people came just to 'touch base' and support us on the first night even though they couldn't join in.
So with a limited number of actual dancers - and a high proportion of new dancers - we tackled the program. I hope everyone enjoyed themselves as much as I did... they certainly seemed to; having only one set most of the time gave me chance to take a little more time with teaching and people managed dances that would normally be well beyond them. Until the St Andrew's Ball both Monday and Tuesday classes will consist almost entirely of dances that are on the ball dance program so it was a valuable session for the new dancers who are already keen to join us for the ball. I know we will have plenty of 'returnees' over the next few weeks a,I'm really looking forward to welcoming them all back - with such a great fun start the season is looking up. For those that are interested I plan to start the Monday (beginners) sessions at the UKCA - although they are aimed at beginners anyone who would like to join in is very welcome - see you soon. Jx
I make no claim to second sight, because having lived here for a while it didn't come as a surprise to me when I was contacted by the nice man from the PCFi who told me that their Hall is suddenly available again. After a little bit of satisfactory negotiating we are very happy to be able to restart our dancing season there, and we hope that we can continue there for at least another season, and if we are lucky, much longer - though the same rule applies that nothing is ever certain.
Nothing is ever totally simple either, there always has to be a slight hiccup and P & I are responsible for it this time because due to truly 'unforeseen circumstances' we have to delay the restarting date by a week. The delay is a tiny bit annoying because, with the earlier date for the St Andrew's Ball, every chance to practice the dances is valuable, however we know that not many people are back on the island - or are free of visitors - that early anyway so it isn't too much of a loss.
Please note - the St Andrew's Ball dance programme, with videos (if they exist), is now available via a link on the Future Events page or HERE. The dance programme consists of mainly super easy dances but many of them are new to the class (I hope it will keep it interesting for both brand new and experienced dancers!). If so many new dances is a bit scary and you can't make it to many of the classes the videos can be a very useful way of learning them. but remember, there is a technique to using a video for learning a dance. Never watch all the dancers. Choose one dancer only (usually you start with 1st man or 1st woman as appropriate) and watch only them - try to 'get inside their head' and imagine you are actually doing the dance while you watch it. Give a 'name' to what they are doing - if you look at the top of the video page there is a link to the dance instructions, even if you find these hard to read they can be useful for giving you the words to describe the formations. For Example - "Cross over giving Right hand, cast down 1 place, dance 1/2 figure of 8 around the couple above you" may seem inexplicable, but in conjunction with the video it starts to make sense and saying it while you are watching gives the brain a 'double handle' on the information.
Have a lovely summer, wherever you are and I hope to see you in September if not before.
because next season we will be dancing at a different venue... unless of course the new building owner wants us back again! We'll let you know by e-mail, or keep an eye on this website. Anyway our last dance night was great fun, we had lots of our new dancers and visitor too so although there was only enough people for 2 sets and often there was only 1 set going there was plenty of energy and enthusiasm as we tackled the likes of Gyspy Thread, The Bridge of Athlone and Virginia Reel. The food as always was plentiful and varied though the extreme heat outside led to a few culinary surprises we were all nice and cool in the air conditioning and a good time was had by all. We are restarting on 3rd September at a venue yet to be announced but in the meantime I will be working on the tickets for the Tattoo night in October and the dance programme for the St Andrew's ball in November - see details (where available) for future events via Events tab above.
12 attendees last week, so this week the program was perhaps a little more challenging than it might have otherwise been because when numbers drop it's a great time introduce more 'interesting' dances, fewer numbers means you can teach more easily and it keeps it interesting... and then this week, there's 19 of us including some brand new absolute beginners as well as many more of our newer dancers! I should know by now that this will always happen, however everyone did really well with 2 sets up for virtually every dance and the Monday class excelled themselves by getting up to dance Mairi's wedding, which we had covered the day before - and keeping it going all the way through even when the inevitable blank moments hit.
Next week is our last class so I hope everyone is planning to come along and enjoy some easy peasy dances and lots of food. Entrance is free as long as you bring a plate of food... family and guests also welcome. Restart date is 3rd September, no doubt is will descend very quickly. We wont be restarting in the same venue but we'll inform people where that will be in the next week or so.
I'm not sure what happened but I appear to have missed a week, very strange because there has been lots to report but it's probably because there has also been lots to do. The Picnic on the Patio was a great success, despite discouraging weather forecasts the temperature was perfect with a slight breeze and no suspicion of rain and certainly none of the thunder storms that were threatened over the weekend. The patio was 'arranged' in a slightly different way from the last time we used it and it worked really well, keeping all the tables to one side of the 'dance floor' meant no-one was too isolated if they found themselves sitting out a dance, but everyone still had a good view. Pictures of the event can be found under EVENTS -> PAST EVENTS -> then click on the relevant poster or click HERE . One of the lovely things about the night was that many people joined us who we haven't seen for a long time - even years in some cases - others, who are new members, experienced the fun and real magic of this particular evening for the first time - many still haven't stopped saying how lovely it was - and it reminds those of us who have done it all before of how lucky we are to be part of it. The most special thing for me though is creating moments such as when our little 4 year old guest was dancing 'Borrowdale Exchange' in the same set as a lady 80 years older than her, - both of them loving every minute, laughing and galloping around with their partners ... how many other activities can claim to be so much fun and so inclusive of all ages and abilities! And the moon really did shine over it all!
After the 'Picnic' there was the inevitable cleaning and repacking of all our decorations, editing of the pictures and various changes to the website to be done which is presumably why the weekly blethering didn't happen. Since then we've had 2 excellent Monday 'beginners' classes and 2 Tuesday sessions however with the usual gradually diminishing numbers we get at this time of year, (despite the very welcome inclusion of family and guests) - partly because of the heat (though ironically the AC's kept us cooler than we are at home) this week the Tuesday session only saw 12 dancers who really did have to work very hard :-) however it was a really good night of dancing so they have to be congratulated. We've got 2 more weeks to go, don't forget that on 9th July we are running the class as an American Supper and ceilidh - it is always a good night and the more the merrier. The 9th will also, probably, be the last class we hold at our current venue since the the PCFi have been told that the buildings' condition requires them to leave... everyone will be informed soon of the venue for next seasons 'Tuesday Class' - although we are still open to more suggestions if anyone knows of somewhere that is easily accessible / locatable (preferably on a bus route for visitors) and with similar facilities to those we currently enjoy.
Right that should more than make up for missing last week. Hopefully I will see you next week or the week after before we 'break up' and if not, enjoy your summer. BTW click on Future Events to see the dates for the restart of dancing in September, the Tattoo Night in October and St Andrew Society Ball in November and put them in your diaries.
And that was just me... and as usual, the numbers were practically the same... but many of the people were different - so what's new! It was lovely to see some of our rarer visitors dropping in to pick up tickets for the Picnic on the Patio - and staying to dance - I'm not sure if they regretted it though because they definitely plunged in at the deep end for some of the dances. It was brilliant fun however and amazing that we had 2 sets up for most of the more challenging dances, not everything worked but everyone tried and doing the tricky ones can suddenly make the, only slightly, easier ones seem simple. I finally had the chance to dance Ramadan-ce myself - albeit as a man, but I was chuffed to manage it practically unscathed - though my brain cells were definitely addled earlier in the evening and the condition was catching as quite a few people went through the dreaded 'blank moments' during the evening.
Now we are all steam ahead for the Elea event on Saturday. For those who are interested, the dance programme for Saturday is now available on the FUTURE EVENTS page with links to YouTube videos available when you click on the dance name. I am looking forward to a lovely evening, but since it is still getting chilly in the evenings make sure you bring a wrap or jacket - see you there if you are coming - and if not because you are heading home, have a safe trip and we look forward to seeing you after the summer Jx
It felt an odd sort of night... the weather continues very warm but completely overcast giving a prolonged 'storm on the horizon' feeling and a definite feeling of gloom -the previous week the lights only went on at half time, this week the lights were needed immediately, but so were the A.C's. For the first time ever poor Pete is suffering from severe 'hayfever' most likely due to the Olive tree pollen rather than grasses (so he is hoping it wont drag on too long),; It is making him feel very miserable however he did manage to drag himself around a few dances and the fact that he thought them all excellent was therefore an even better tribute than it would normally have been.
It was a very challenging programme, even compared to the previous week, because a number of dances had been requested as practice sessions - but time to do them had run out. As often happens here, although numbers were approximately the same only half the class had been at last weeks session when we learnt some of the dances with a bit more time allocated, so the fact that even the very tricky Ramadan-ce and the equally challenging Quarries Jig were attempted with enthusiasm and were mainly successful was really satisfying; Our first attempt at The Saltire Society Reel even though it was at the end of the night was also very successful our more experienced dancers finding it 'different' but still within their scope and pronounced it a 'keeper' - apologies went out to the new dancers who didn't get their usual quota of dances it will be back to whatever 'normal' is next week - hopefully they'll be back too!
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