Class Notes, 2/1/18, Jennifer Kelly



With a good attendance this evening we covered a lot of useful ground. Our technique work on reels of 4 really produced a marked improvement, which translated to most of the dances we attempted - except Rob Roy . Starting with Meeting & Greting we revived the version we had worked on for the Filoli performances, with the set changing axis during the first figure. I have sent that updated version to Deborah in case it is not on the website. Moving on to Thornes among the Thistles we worked on the opening circle into the cross and turn figure and did improve the timing of the last cross and turn to make entry to the allemande much more controlled and together. Now we need to work on moving into the allemande during bar 1 as the arms lift gracefully into place. Turning the ladies into the center on bar 8 is crucial to setting up the set & move figure in a safe manner. The men have an easier time as they approach each other during the change of place with the lady and can better plan the positioning for the set and move. The double cross over reels flow right out of the set and move figure and must be kept sharp and tight so that the ladies get a clean start on their figure and collisions with the men advancing on bar 51 can be avoided. In Morning Mist we worked on having the ladies use a sufficiently strong traveling strathspey step to get the opening circle round in 3 steps, so that the 4th step can be used to turn in unison to face partners. Setting to partners and turning sets up the allemande but the arms come over on bar 1. Again, the allemande has to reach its destination (halfway round the set) in 3 bars, as the 4th, is needed to turn the ladies to face their partners. This is better accomplished if the dancers start moving at the beginning of bar !, with energy, instead of waiting to get in gear once the arms are in position.Irn setting to corner and partner the turn from on to the other, should take place on the hop at the end of setting to partner. The advance retire figure moved well this evening and the Highland schottische looked fairly crisp, though we need to pay careful attention to the shift from the St,. George’s to the St. Andrew’s cross. The left hand turn at the end makes a smooth transition into the repeat. Fred did some work on polishing the highland steps we shall be using in the video shoot and John had a useful exercise to help unify the half turn and twirl in Ebb & Flo; both were helpfull Thank you gentlemen!. We danced Ebb & Flo a couple of times through and it is definitely looking less ragged. We finished the evening, as promised,with Rob Roy. Overall, much better. The outstanding problem areas are the  2 reels. The half reel of 3 begins with the first couple back at the top facing down and in, the third couple leading up the middle and almost to their place, facing up, and the second couple just coming into the sidelines after their fugal set & turn. They MUST go down because that is the next part of the fugue. In their case it is also part of the half reel. The reel begins with the first couple dancing down and in, the second couple dancing out and down and the third ciouple dancing up. As it is a half reel the first and third couples change places; both couples end facing down. The second couple dances a loop (half the figure 8 the full reel would form) and snds back insecond place, facing UP. Meanwhile the 4s have dance their part of the fugue, finishing facing up.So with1s facing 4s and 3s facing 2s. the set is ready for the reel of 4.The reel is Left shoulder on the Ladies side, right on the mens. This was the great downfall, because the sets were too long. In a complete reel of 4 each dancer must PASS another on every step. If this does not happen, by the emnd of the reel there are dancer out of place, who cause confusion and collisions at the start of the final figure, which permits of no falling behind. If everyone stays on phrase with the reel, it ends with 2s and 4 s facing up , 1s & 3s facing across, ready for the final figure. The original instructions say that the 2s & 4s should take hands when crossing down on bars 3 & 4 of the final figure, but we found, in the past, that this just tends to slow the couple down and make them late for the final cross over, so we decided to eliminate it. Thanks to everyone for keeping up a good attendance record and keeping well. My shoe bag was found by the front door, so I must have dropped it as we left. Thanks to Bridget for coming to my rescue!