From the reports I've received everyone managed to cope with my absence last week and this week further rallying around has produced a new selection of dances which are now on the Tuesday Dance programme page. The order may not be the same and there might be a few variations or additions but having a look at the videos should prepare most people for a good night of relatively simple dancing. Over here in wet and windy Manchester regions I am surviving on a rich diet of dance sessions and classes. It is very true that once you become a confident dancer you can confidently attend anything even if you are alone, because dancers are always welcomed. I attended a dance last Saturday and for the princely sum of £3 had a brilliant night - I danced all 20 of the programme dances + one of the extras, despite not knowing a sole before walking in - why more people don't take this type of dancing more seriously is inexplicable to me! Before anyone thinks - "well it's okay for her she knows all the dances" - I had no idea of the programme before I went and when I received a copy at the door I only knew 4 of them (interestingly two of them where The Luckenbooth Brooch and Butterscotch & Honey, dances on this week's Tuesday Class programme) so I had a steep learning curve but all the dances were recapped and walked through - ostensibly for me - but plenty of others were glad of it too. I've now learnt several dances that we MUST do once I'm home - Staircase in Styria, 5 couple reel, brilliant fun; Broadway, 3 couple Strathspey, slightly weird moves but brilliant music, Indian River Strathspey - another 3 couple Strathspey but in a trianglular set with a very pretty progression; and if we really want to go mad Torridon Lassies and Prince Charlie's Quickstep will sort the men from the boys. Earlier in the week I attended a smaller 'class' and collected Tattie Boggle ( an old dance but I've never danced it before), Never At Sea, a 6 couple recipe for chaos unless you love 'A trip to Bavaria' (but plenty of people do) and The Aviator, fabulous fun but I know I'll find it impossible to teach without a large gin! I'm missing everyone and the sunshine too but as you can see making good use of my time. (and my mum is doing well too) Jxx
It is almost impossible to believe that this time last week we had just said goodbye to Ian Robertson and were preparing for the first 'post ball' dance class. Ian's music contributing to a super night of dancing at the ball -the spontaneous shout of glee when everyone completed Christmas at the Heath was memorable and the fact that we got through every dance on the program quite an achievement. Some of the food was disappointing - most unlike our usual experience of the Kamares Club - but the night overall was a great success despite numbers being unexpectedly low; best wishes to everyone who, due to injury, illness or just plain bad luck had to miss such an excellent night.
Ironically I am also missing things as I am now sitting in the UK with a storm raging outside and the lights on despite it being only just 3:30 in the afternoon. Unfortunately I've had to head to the UK to give family a hand and leave everyone to dance on in the sunshine without me. I am however looking for dance groups nearby so hope to have a few new dances under my belt by the time I return. The Monday classes have had to be cancelled until January but Tuesday's are still carrying on with the sessions shared between our various experts mainly from the Committee with Pete and Lex handling the infrastructure! It will still be fun. It is difficult to find time to update the site but I will try and get a bit more done over the next few days and no doubt time will fly because I am so busy so I will see everyone soon. Jx
Well done to everyone who turned up last Tuesday and enjoyed what was almost certainly the most challenging dance programme of the year. There are always dances that are slightly more challenging than others on the Tuesday night programme, but they are usually balanced by easier or more well known ones. This week however, it was the last chance to practice the less familiar Ball dances and every single one of them would probably be classed, for one reason or another, as challenging by most of the class. It didn't surprise me that we didn't complete the programme but everyone seemed to have an excellent time and people got up and managed things that they possibly wouldn't have attempted if there'd been easier options available! However the dancing goes on Saturday there will be a lot of fun on the dance floor!
Next week we will be relaxing the reins slightly with the return of some old favourites, but the dances we've learnt for the ball will be kept in our repertoire. Ian Robertson who will be playing the music for the ball arrived on the island last night and most of the final arrangements are close to being completed - and if anyone is worried about the route to the Kamares Club -now that the main road from Tala is closed - there is a button to download instructions of the route vie Kioli , either from Paphos or Peyia/Polis direction, on the Future Events page under the Ball poster. See you there.
Numbers were back up to normal for the weeks before the ball - and the noise level demonstrated how well everyone in the class get on, which is brilliant, but definitely creates a challenge when teaching! However when a bit of 'ush was achieved everyone concentrated wonderfully and we managed a busy but successful class. Unusually, but usefully, we had two sets worth of people arrive even before the class was officially ready to go ... so, anticipating that we might not complete the programme we danced Mairi's Wedding early, with more time to teach than we would have at the end of the evening. A challenging dance for beginners but deserving of it's reputation as one of the most popular dances ever - and it's amazing what people can do when they give it a try.
The rest of the evening passed in something of a blur - with so many sets up at one time it was tough to give everyone equal attention - just as well many of the sets were capable of looking after themselves. It was super to welcome back potential dancers - and impressive that they look like returning for more of such organised chaos! A couple of the Strathspey's caused serious head scratching but this close to the ball the class programme is really concentrating on the more difficult dances, the people who struggled have to remember that there are plenty of easier dances on the ball programme too, we just don't need to practice those ones! On the whole the dances that were giving us the most problems at earlier sessions were danced well i.e. Goat Fell Gallop, and Christmas at the Heath and with one more week to go, quite a few people are coming to the Monday afternoon session at the UKCA as well as the Tuesday night class to get a bit of extra practice in, so we will all alright on the night! See you next week Jx
'Last week we were struggling for space so, anticipating even greater numbers, chairs were pushed back, and space optimised and... loads of people didn't come! :-) Well, actually quite a few people did come, as well as some who weren't there last week, several visitors and one intrepid gentleman who joined us for the first time - It's a tough time of year to be starting and he did really well and seemed to enjoy it. But it was definitely a night defined by those who didn't join us. Its unusual for numbers to be down so close to the ball. The strange weather may have been partly to blame because, literally out of the blue, the first real storms of the season hit during the day - they weren't very heavy in our area but by the sound of the thunder in the distance some people were being hit more severely than us. However at one level fewer numbers are a bonus because it is much easier to teach. The dances themselves went well, although we didn't get through the whole programme we did manage the most important ones and nobody was finding them too much of a struggle even when they were unfamiliar. Tickets for the ball are going very well and we are even welcoming back most of the non dancing guests from last year who enjoyed it enough to want to join us again. 2 more Tuesday classes to go, and unfortunately only one more Monday class (we have to cancel next week's) but let's not panic - don't forget the whole programme with video's (I've reinstated the Ring of Brodgar Video) can be found via EVENTS -> FUTURE EVENTS and scroll to the link, or HERE; and if you really can't make it for the Ball, there are still the Panto visit and the Xmas Ceilidh to go - Irene will be delighted if you can let her know if you are coming to them because having an early idea of numbers makes her planning very much easier. See you next week. Jx
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.
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.
All Images on this site are copyright Janine Scott unless otherwise stated.