My mother has just flown home after a 7 weeks visit and (despite being more than 1/2 way to 90), she has attended every class I've held while she's been here. Not only the Tuesday sessions but all the others too. Last week was her final class for this visit, as well as time to say goodbye to several other friends as they head home for the summer like swallows in reverse; it should have been a slightly sad affair, but as usual it was so much fun there was no room for sadness, and it was great that everyone left on a 'high'. Everything has a balance so as well as people leaving we also had people returning; it is lovely to have them back with us. It was a night of achievement too, more than one person successfully tackled dances that a little while ago would have been too much of a challenge - very gratifying for everyone - without the tolerance and encouragement of more experienced dancers it is very hard for the less confident to get up and dance - but that is the only way people learn, and if they don't, we gradually run out of dancers. Hopefully that doesn't look like happening any time soon - See you next week Jx
Down in numbers but definitely maintaining quality we had a really good night last Tuesday with lots of laughter and some excellent dancing. We still managed 2 sets for virtually every dance and a new Strathspey to the class 'S-Locomotion' was voted a winner by those who attempted it.
A slightly different room layout was used to enhance the space available and although it was a surprise to people, who initially had to be discouraged from rearranging it back again, it gave the place a much airier feel and when necessary should allow room for another longwise set, in an area at least as large as the 'front of stage' area in the LPH (in fact it might be slightly bigger).
The only problem with the evening was the state of my voice, although at that point still in existence, it was impressively gravelly. Luckily for me, my throat was not feeling as bad as it sounded, but even I didn't want to hear it on the microphone so it was just as well numbers were down and the usual class background buzz was minimised, hopefully by next week normal service will be fully resumed because we could easily double our numbers in a single bound - I look forward to seeing everyone again, have a good week in the meantime Jx.
I’ve just realised that I’ve not had a proper blether this week – and last Tuesday’s brilliant class seems such a long time ago but should have a mention, however I’ve also just returned from an excellent Sunday class, we just managed a set and although I was not at my best the class itself did really well (My struggles were partly due to sleep deprivation – we live inconveniently close to the church and although it is lovely to hear the bells, the Easter ‘crackers’ went on into early morning managing to explode just as you nodded off). The Sunday class was based around dances with an 'Espangnole' formation and so we learnt ‘The Braes of Strathlene’, the wonderfully named jig -‘Breeks are loose and Buttons Awa’, and finally the challenging strathspey ‘Foxhill Court’ which also contains the aptly named ‘courage reels’ though in fact it was other portions of the dance that took a while to sort out, however, once sorted we danced though it with no problems so given my level of confusion at times the class should be complimented.
Going back to last Tuesday, we welcomed many friends back to the class and our numbers finally topped 30 despite holidays and sickness still keeping other regulars away. 4 sets were up dancing at one point which is the maximum we normally managed at the LPH - although I still miss the elbow room there was no real problem fitting that number of sets in. A new dance was introduced 'the Bramble Bush' and it went well, others that hadn't been danced for a while such as Kangaroo Paw made people think but ended up with a positive score. See you next week.
This has been an amazing week with music, meals and parties with friends and now Easter is upon us with more celebrations. I confess that it has left me with little time or energy for blethering so this is just a short message to those of you who I know are recovering from one ailment or another (or simply suffering from the dreadful dust we've had in the atmosphere for most of this week) - get well soon, we all miss you; A welcome back to those of you who have just arrived back on the island I look forward to seeing you soon: And a thanks to our wonderful friends whose generous hospitality has partly contributed to my present dopey condition. Best to stop now and sleep!
See you next week.
Strangely enough although our numbers were up at this weeks class, the number of available dancers hadn't increased. Several people were either not dancing at all, or taking it easy for one reason or another - or - on occasion, just enjoying the company so much they didn't realise sets were being made up. The people who did dance however tackled everything with their usual gusto. It was lovely to have a few of our regulars back with us, and this is also the moment to say 'get well soon' to some other of our regulars who are suffering at the moment, we hope you are all fit and healthy and back with us before too long.
'Sally's Fancy' was a new strathspey on the programme, very simple to dance, but it did noticeably challenge people's technique. We will repeat it for a few weeks now because, in contrast with our more challenging dances, (such as Rose of the North with it's 3 couple rights & lefts - which, by the way, everyone did very well ) there is time to think about steps, timing and perhaps even your partner! This week we learnt the geography, but we need to make some effort towards dancing 'nicely' too so we will work on this over the next few weeks - even though, (oh horror) there is no convenient YouTube video to guide us... but then if we can dance it well enough there's no reason why we can't film ourselves and plug that particular gap for our own benefit as well as others.
Finally, please keep checking the future events page over the next few weeks because our committee is hard at work putting a future programme together, both of dancing and non-dancing events. Some dates are fixed already, others are still tentative but will be available soon so it's worth keeping an eye out, especially if you can't get to the classes.
And chaos reigned! Sometimes I stand back and watch the game attempts of the class to get through a dance that needs far more teaching than time allows. I wonder at my own ambitions as well as the amazing tenacity of some of our dancers who keep going, and smiling, against all the odds... the dance collapses around them, bodies fly around in all directions and lone, lost and bemused newcomers stand momentarily paralysed in the middle of a set as the lucky onlookers collapse in relieved hilarity on the sidelines and then, somehow, we get there ... by almost a miracle everyone finishes in the right place, with the right partner at the right time! And they'll all get up to give it a go again next time... because that moment of achievement, whether it's linked to a successful attempt or just to everyone suffering together and surviving :-) is part of what makes the class work. I do realise that I challenge a lot of the class with the dances I teach, but I truly believe in the mental benefits of this form of dancing, the need to concentrate to learn new formations or new variations of familiar ones means it stays mentally beneficial for not just the newcomers. Having said that, I also realise that there is a limit to the number of challenges most people can cope with in one evening, so don't worry, there will always be many more familiar or 'easier' dances on our programmes than tricky ones. And if it really gets too confusing don't forget the Monday afternoon beginners and improvers class at the UKCA is taken at a much less challenging pace, but is still great fun.
We-ell.... it's been far too long since I've blethered - in writing I mean - though there are plenty of people out there who know I've done my share of verbal blethering over the last few weeks! The problem - there has been just so much to say, and not enough time to sit down and type it.
P and I had a wonderful trip to Winter School, the Royal Scottish Dance Society's annual week of classes and dancing based at the lovely Atholl Palace Hotel in Pitlochry, which culminates in a ball at the incredibly atmospheric Blair Castle. While we were there we met up with dancing friends from all over the world, enjoyed the music of first class musicians and attended classes given by expert teachers. It's my 4th year of attending and it's a truly memorable experience. We were very lucky with the weather which held off until the actual day we left, we boarded the plane in a blizzard, but apart from a very long wait while they thoroughly de-iced the plane (which we were more than happy to put up with ;-) ) we had a very smooth trip home.
Meanwhile, back at base, the class was lead by excellent volunteers. They turned out to be very small classes due to many people also being away (or more unfortunately, poorly) but this meant that everyone who did attend got a really good chance to learn and dance in a far less chaotic atmosphere than our normal hurly-burly!
This week the Tuesday class numbers were back up in the 20's and as well as a brand new couple, we saw many of our newer dancers back, as well as the welcome return of an old friend. Inevitably with so many new people we had a hilarious night as people gamely attempted dances that were completely new to them, but even thinking about it brings a smile to my face since we all had such a lot of fun... and given the degree of challenge involved people really did well. See you next week. Jx
"Get well soon" - that's to all the unfortunates who weren't with us due to the demon doctors, and other assorted health reasons. "Hope you're having a great time" - that's to all you others who are off enjoying a quick and well deserved break. "Looking forward to seeing you soon" - that's to everyone else who have yet to join us on this 'sunny' isle (the ' ' marks are because it's currently pouring down, but we know that, in Cyprus, sunshine is usually just around the corner). We were a compact group last Tuesday, with the lowest number of dancers since we've been at the new venue, but still we were delighted to welcome 2 new dancers into our midst and managed to get 3 sets up for 'Wind on Loch Fyne', as well as getting through most of the programme with very little trouble.
Over the next couple of weeks the dance programmes are going to be much less challenging, however there wont be a 'beginner's session'. The evening will start at 6 pm and everyone is welcome as usual.
The observant of you will have realised that we now have https:// at the start of our website address indicating that we are a 'secure' site and our 'Moufflon' is now seen on the website tab. There are a few other subtle updates around including a link to the contact page from the 'footer' area of every page. Although it's not new, the counter on the contact page will also give you an idea of how many people visit the site every week - nearly always over 300, and at the moment nearly 2000 pages are looked at every week. For such a marginal interest in such a small place I always find these numbers amazing! Jx
If I'd written last week's blethers, this week, it would have been as apt as then. We welcomed both more returnees and some great dancing newcomers to the class and it was lovely to see that last week's challenging moments hadn't put anyone off because, wow, they were all up for it again! Everyone enjoyed the simpler dances and we made a good enough go at 'Gang the Same Gate' for people to walk of the floor saying "that's a beautiful dance", which indeed it is, despite being unusually challenging for a Tuesday night Strathspey. The other tricky dances on the programme were bravely attempted and created enough hilarity to be enjoyed at a very different level... but people got the idea of the formations and we won't have too much trouble perfecting things next week, if, of course, we get the same people in the same place... which is a tad unlikely, but it'll still be fun.
The AGM is now under our belt for 2018 (quite literally when you consider Debbie's superb carvery that we were treated to by the Society) and congratulations are due to the returning Committee. They are great team so it's a real benefit that they are all willing to keep going in these difficult times. Talking of difficult times, there were none as far as the meeting was concerned; the discussions were open and constructive - even when it was difficult to reach a conclusion due to situations outside our control and the room retired to feast in a friendly manner which epitomised the society well. Long may we continue in that vein. Jx
Wow! It's a while since we've had such a full night, with so many new people as well as very welcome returnees. All the new comers were dropped in at the deep end with a vengeance - they seemed to come bobbing back up with a smile on their faces, but if they found the evening a challenge then hopefully it will reassure them to know that most of the class felt the same! It wasn't the easiest of programmes. If new people can manage such complex stuff they aren't going to have any problems with anything more we can hit them with. The rest of the class also surpassed themselves because it is always an extra challenge having to think for more than one. The dance we walked through at the end, but didn't get time to dance, was 'Gang the Same Gate', it'll be on the programme again next week, so get studying, and don't forget to just watch one person at a time if you are trying to learn the dance from YouTube.
It seems incredible that it's only 10 days since our O;/'';/ (sorry that was the cat trying to help me type) own brilliant Burns Night especially since, at Pat's invitation, Pete and I travelled over to Kyrenia last weekend to attend the Caledonian Society's Burns' Supper - a completely different affair but a great laugh, several people we met there were very interested in attending some of our future events so it was worth going on many levels.
Now we are full steam ahead to the AGM this weekend, there is lots to discuss and decide, but hopefully it wont take long because there's a great Debbie Dinner at the end of it, free to members and still only €12 to anyone else, so don't miss it. 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