We were few in numbers but it was a super night... nothing to do with the missing folk I assure you :-) , but with just about enough people to manage 2 sets people were joining in when they may otherwise have sat out. Nice To See You was one dance that didn't really work properly with the limited number of dancers but the resulting effort was far more fun than the original dance - at least for me!! This was the first evening this year when we were warm enough to open doors and windows in addition to the fans, the hall now has a full fire evacuation plan but we would have had no problem last night ... ironically it also rained later which cooled things down again but at least we are now all enjoying fresher air after the recent dust clouds.
Last Sunday I held an 'advanced class' and very challenging it was too thanks to the request to cover "The Reel of the Puffins" - however it turned out to be a really fun class and everyone who attended wanted to practice what they had learnt, so we had a little 'demo' at the start of last night's session; it still wasn't quite the dance as written but everyone obviously got a high from the attempt and the improvement was visible. This week I've had three classes in a run, one after another, all of them different but all of them fun; as well as the Sunday session, on Monday the 'beginners' session at the UKCA was a very good afternoon. We welcomed 3 new dancers who all appeared to enjoy themselves, I have high hopes that they will eventually join us on Tuesdays too because they seemed to quickly grasp and enjoy the idea of the dance formations and that Scottish Country Dancing is more than just dancing with your partner - you are dancing with the whole group. I am already looking forward to next week . Jx
After so many weeks of colder, wetter, weather than normal we were finally dancing with the fans on, though we didn't quite get warm enough to resort to the air conditioners. Numbers are still fairly low for this time of the year, partly because so many people are unfortunately suffering from nasty bugs and various ailments but we were yet again lucky in welcoming a visitor who, with very limited dancing experience, managed to join in and enjoy some quite tricky dances. For the numbers and skill mix the program was again quite challenging so it was quite surprising that we managed to dance all the dances on the program. The brand new (to us) Strathspey 'Cashmere Shawl' was very much enjoyed and considered a 'keeper', other items on the program took a while to sort out and it was hard for me to tell if people enjoyed them or not... though I've been assured later that they did, however it is still difficult to decide whether to 'build on the experience' or 'write it off to experience'! ;-) I am also trying to decide on the programme for this year's St Andrew's Ball - despite it being so far off, time is going so quickly and the number of classes before the earlier date is limited - so if I don't have some idea of what we will be doing I waste the opportunity to get people as familiar as possible with the dances. Of course long before the Ball we will be holding the Picnic on the Patio at the Elea - on June 15th it is a full moon which will lend extra magic to an evening which is always magical. The dancing that night (for which I am also in the process of deciding the exact programme) will be suitable and fun for everyone from children to 'two left feet' granddad's who normally would refuse to dance, so we hope everyone will be bringing along their family and friends - more details are on the Future Events page. Bookings are now open - no money needed as yet. See you next week. Jx
As I've said before on these blethers, no class is the same 2 weeks running. This week I organised the programme with a clear expectation of slightly lower numbers but relatively good knowledge of the dances - and of course the class turned out to be nothing like that; we were delighted to welcome 3 new dancers to the class - one lady returning after many many years away, one returning, but for only her second visit and one an intrepid 'graduate' from the Monday class. We also welcomed back several visitors who have only just returned to these shores. None of these dancers were familiar with anything on the programme even if they had danced before, even more challenging, many of our regular dancers were away and of the experienced folk who were there - quite a few had suffered from the 'blip' in this website which stopped them accessing the dance programme before they came. A recipe for chaos one would think! (not that we are unfamiliar with chaos even on a normal night :-)).
But no.... I'm not saying there wasn't a few chaotic moments but although we had to take things slowly, for most of the night we had at least 2 sets up, our new dancers got plenty of time on the dance floor tackling the most amazing things for beginners to try and until we got to almost the end of the night we were largely successful in getting through every dance, or, at least really enjoying the process of trying - the final Strathspey became the only defeat but not surprisingly most people were pretty brain dead by then, including me! Overall it was a brilliant night with lots of fun sprinkled with a sense of achievement and everyone seemed to go home with a smile on their face, looking forward to next week - when I will plan a slightly less challenging programme ... or will I... heh, heh, heh - you'll just have to come to the class and see !! ;-)
It's been a full on week, hence the blethering delay (sorry that sounds a bit rude doesn't it!) but I mustn't miss the moment to record what an excellent night we had last week celebrating our 25th Society Set Up anniversary. We were very, very honoured to have Harry Fenwick with us, all of 92 years old and a founder of the society in which he is obviously still interested and delighted to find thriving; Harry was escorted onto the floor by Doris, our current chairman, but his presence was mainly thanks to David (and Janet) who have kept in contact, and, on the night, collected, escorted and generally looked after this wonderful man. Harry had prepared a little speech about the beginning of the society which David read out for him, before he cut the very impressive cake (supplied by Debby at the UKCA).
More than one of our older (or should I say, more 'long term') members commented afterwards on how lovely it was to see him and how memories flooded back with his speech and other items of memorabilia we had scattered around.
It was really great to have so many members and their guests attending, as always the food contributed was an amazing selection which couldn't have been better if we'd organised it and everyone - whether they joined in or not - seemed to thoroughly enjoy the dancing - the fact that the dances were not the 'normal' selection of Gay Gordon's and Strip the Willow was enthusiastically applauded by more than one of the dancers who confessed that they never normally enjoyed a 'ceilidh'!
Pictures from the night can be found HERE or via 'Past Events' on the links above. If anyone wants to contribute some please send them over to me (P.S. I know who doesn't normally like their pictures taken so I've made sure they aren't on the shots - or at least not recognisably - but if anyone else doesn't want to be on them let me know, I will happily take them down from the site) see you tomorrow I hope Jx
After several days of sunshiny weather the rain and hail were impressive over the weekend, then sunny days again but with a cold, cold wind. The freesia are blooming all over the place but must be very confused. So are we. It was useful to have the reason to get out and although numbers were down from last week it was good to see some folk back from the sick list; last week's visitors have now gone home but we still hosted another returning family member and we all enjoyed her company. The newer dances are coming on nicely and although we didn't have enough confident couples towards the end to dance Christmas at the Heath it gave us plenty of time to teach Anna Holden's Strathspey properly. It was challenging for some but lovely to dance so it was satisfying to get to the end and hear people saying that they too thought it a lovely dance. I am looking forward already to next week when a lot more 'swallows' will have returned to these shores and the class should be getting seriously busy again.
One more thing - an advanced date for the diary, we are having a 'Picnic on the Patio' at the Elea again on June 15th, more information to follow; and don't forget the Ceilidh on 9th April to celebrate our 25th birthday - apparently there will be cake!
This has been a weird and frantically busy week, things that have been 'pending' for ages are finally successfully completed but other things that have previously been just vague possibilities are now uncomfortably real and needing action, some family friends have been having a hard time, but for others the sun is shining and life has taken a turn for the better, up and down and then my computer dies ... hopefully there is some hope of resurrection but no luck so far... I am so used to everything being 'just there' on my PC that I feel completely disorientated without it and it's hard to focus on all the basic things I do with a computer, like updating this website, even though I don't need to use that particular computer at all.
On the dancing front, this week's Tuesday class was such a lot of fun - though perhaps not the most successful from a dancing point of view. We had the largest turn out of the year so far, including a lovely newcomer and returnee guests, but very few experienced dancers so it was perhaps not surprising that my little masterclass on diamond poussettes was enthusiastically enjoyed but not desperately successful - we didn't really have time to go into the details of it for everyone - but I love a challenge - and as long as the process of trying is fun in itself it hardly matters if it takes a few weeks to get there. We did manage to get Christmas at the Heath danced as the final dance - although we scrapped around a bit to get 7 couples so late in the session - but it's definitely been added to the list of 'dances we like' so the night ended on a positive high, and that it always the best way to go. Jx
We had almost the same dances on the programme as last week, but a very different selection of dancers to attempt them. The result was a great fun night... but not many of the dances were completed 'as written'!
Diamond Poussette's need revision methinks. :-) However there were lots of brave attempts and a great atmosphere throughout the evening.
It was lovely to have so many visitors to the session, they hopefully had a good time, they certainly seemed to be enjoying themselves - both on and off the dance floor.
In a few weeks it will be the 25th anniversary of the formation of the Society. We are going to celebrate it with a ceilidh - already there is plenty of interest from people who are hosting family and intend to bring them along for the fun... it will be a perfect night for them to join us with lots of easy dances and fun, however, in the meantime practice your diamond poussettes and I hope to see you next week.
It was good to know that everyone enjoyed the classes while I was away, but it was also good to be back and have such an enthusiastic welcome. The class numbers are still lower than normal for this time of the year, there are many people away and/or poorly so it was surprising we managed so many dances with 2 sets up. Everyone worked hard with yet more new dances on the programme but there was lots of laughter too and plenty of feelings of achievement when we revisited 'all round poussettes' aka 'diamond poussettes' for the first time for more than a year. All the new dances were pronounced winners and despite the additional walk-throughs and mini 'teach-ins' we managed to complete the whole programme. Well done everyone, I'm looking forward to next week already.
It's been a very successful trip home. The main event, Winter School, was another amazing experience culminating in the ball at Blair Atholl Castle; this was my fourth visit and it was even better than previous times, I learnt so much from the morning classes, the afternoon activities (though the Highland session almost crippled me) and the other dancers, more than I have ever done before … it has also resulted in the booking of a marvellous musician for our own St Andrew's Ball in November, and even interest from people thinking of visiting Cyprus, who are now trying to sync their visit to some of our events! All this has been enhanced by glorious weather - it's been hotter in February than in June in some places - lucky us.
Back 'home' (where I've heard it's been a tad damp) I hope everyone enjoyed the last class with Ginevra in the driving seat; ringing the changes for just a couple of weeks gives everyone a bit of break, and experiencing different styles of teaching can be a very useful experience however I'm back in harness next week so don't get too used to it :-) Most of the programme will be familiar but one or two dances will be a 'discovery' from Winter School - there were so many great dances (many of them very simple) and it will be a shame to not bring them to people's attention now that I have them in my repertoire. I hope to see you next week, it's been a great trip but I'm looking forward to getting home. 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