by Linda Gertz
Spring is in the air, and as with most of you, I’m enjoying being able to get out and about. We have one more monthly party on Saturday, May 10, 2014. Marcy has come up with an idea for handling the monthly parties, which is to have people sign up to handle one month. Please see my article below for further information.
This will be my last President’s Message to you, as in June we will meet to have the change of officers. On Monday, May 12th we will have our Annual General Meeting. If anyone has anything they would like to have brought up at the meeting, please let me know. The schedule for Monday’s class will be: an hour of dancing, a quick meeting, then more dancing. All dances will be appropriate for all dancers. So hope to see you there. On to more dancing adventures together!
by Don Gertz
I was having trouble deciding on a topic for this month’s Teacher’s Corner, so Linda suggested that I go back through back issues of the Ghillie Gazette. I decided to reuse and article by Jane Lataille that was in the March/April 1997 issue and originally published in TACTalk.
Stamp Out Dance Injuries
by Jane Lataille, Windsor CT
You can dance more and ache less if you follow these suggestions:
Keep in Shape
The most common injury frequent dancers sustain is damage to the cartilage in the knee and hip joints. Ankles are also vulnerable. These joints take a pounding in Scottish dancing! Damage is less likely if the muscles around these joints are strong. Here are exercises you can do to strengthen them:
- Knees - Step up and down onto a platform 2-3 inches high until you feel the muscles start to tire. Alternate feet.
- Hips - Sideways leg lifts.
- Ankles - Sit on one chair and face another. With heels on the floor, push out with the feet against the inside of the legs of the second chair.
Besides exercises for these joints, you can improve your dance fitness with these measures:
- Muscle tone - Stretch muscles, especially calf and thigh muscles, before and after exercise, dancing, or any other activity.
- Cardio-vascular fitness - Jog, do aerobics, swim, or bike to keep heart and lungs active. Don’t smoke!
- General health - Get plenty of sleep, eat a balanced diet, and keep your weight near your ideal weight.
Don’t Skip Warm-Ups
Before every dance, do warm-ups. Start with brisk walking to get good blood circulation before trying to stretch.
Do slow and gentle stretches, and be sure to include arches, calves, and thighs. Tense and relax muscles, then stretch again. Work the tension out of your shoulders.
End warm-ups with some skip-change and pas-de-basque to get your feet and legs into the swing of it before dancing.
Good dancing habits go a long way toward preventing injuries. Make the following suggestions an automatic part of your dancing:
- Dance with relaxed muscles.
- Dance with good posture.
- Keep your centre of mass over your feet, especially when turning or circling.
- Use good handing.
- Don’t assume you’ll get good handing from others every time; be prepared to “dance on your own feet.”
- Always dance with “soft” arches and knees. Use your arches and leg muscles to land gently and absorb impact, especially for pas-de-basque.
- Turn out from the hip, not the knee.
- Be watchful. Develop “eyes in the back of your head.”
- Don’t dance if you know you are tired. Don’s note - It’s OK to dance walk.
- Never skip “step practice.” This is your chance to develop and maintain technique that will keep you dancing.
Happy Dancing! Don Gertz
May 10, 2014 Ball Program
by Richard Juzix
M. Corson, RSCDS Leaflet 14
|8×32J, 3C (4C set)|
R. Goldring, 15 Social Dances
|8×32R, 3C (4C set)|
Linda Mae Dennis, Princess Bride Collection
|8×32S, 3C (4C set)|
T. Glasspool, Ithaca NY, USA
|4×48J, Sq. Set|
Roy Goldring (1983), Leaflet 7
|8×32R, 3C (4C set)|
|8×32S, 2C (4C set)|
D. Haynes, Carnforth Collection 2
|8×32J, 3C (4C set)|
P. Kent, RSCDS Book 37
|8×32S, 3C (4C set)|
Holly Gibson, Princess Bride Collection
|8×32H, 3C (4C set)|
K. W. Smith, RSCDS Book 36
|8×32J, 3C (4C set)|
J. Cosh, 22 Sottish Country Dances
|4×32S, 4C set|
M. S. Brandon, 4 Scottish Country Dances, 1978
|8×32R, 3C (4C set)|
Saturday Dance Party Tea Information
by Linda Gertz
Some of you might be wondering what you would be getting into when you agree to do the tea, etc., for a Saturday Dance Party.
Here is what needs to be done:
Before the night of the party:
Check the cabinet to make sure there are enough supplies of: tea, sugar, plates, cups, forks, and napkins.
Note: For drinks we currently have regular tea, decaf tea, herbal teas, and instant coffee bags
On the night of the event:
- Bring milk for the tea.
- Move the little table that’s up front to the back to put the tea stuff on.
- Fill the urn that says “Hot Water” with water. You don’t need the tray in it that would normally hold the tea or coffee. Get out cords for the pot - don’t plug in until intermission.
- Put out teas, coffee, stir sticks, sugar, and cups on the little table.
- Put a tablecloth on the big table to be used for putting treats on.
- Set out napkins, plates and forks.
- Afterwards empty out the tea urn, put stuff back in the cabinet. If needed take the tablecloth and milk pitcher home to wash and return.
EXTRA THINGS YOU COULD DO:
- Bring a centerpiece for the table.
- Do tablecloths for all the tables used.
- Any other idea you might have (surprise us!)
Please feel free to email Marcy to sign up for one of the following Saturday Dance Parties:
October 11, 2014; November 14, 2014; December 12, 2014; January 10, 2015; February 14, 2015; April 11, 2015; May 9, 2015
Linda Gertz’s Easy Pineapple Pie:
- 1 16 oz sour cream
- 1 16 oz can crushed pineapple (don’t drain)
- 1 small pkg (4 serv size) Instant vanilla pudding
Mix all together - put in a graham cracker crust & refrigerate.
Note: They aren’t making 16 oz cans of pineapple now, so I used two 8 oz cans. It seems they might be putting more liquid in the cans than they used to (so probably less pineapple). So you might want to hold back on a little of the pineapple juice in the can. The last one I made was a bit runny using all of the juice.
Eunice MacKenzie’s Chocolate Walnut Triangles
Makes 12 Cookies
- 1/4 cup palm or coconut oil
- 1 cup (8 ounces) dairy-free dark chocolate chips
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup chopped toasted walnuts
- In a double-boiler, or with a metal mixing bowl placed over a pot of simmering water, melt the palm oil and chocolate, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and stir the vanilla, salt, and the walnuts.
- Pour the mixture into a parchment-lined 9-inch round cake pan or fudge molds. Transfer to the refrigerator to set, 1 hour.
- Once the chocolate is firm, remove from the pan and slice into wedges with a knife that has been dipped in hot water. If using fudge molds, simply remove the chocolate from the molds. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the freezer for 14 days.
Flying Apron’s Gluten-Free & Vegan Baking Book
Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!
by Eunice MacKenzie
As you know, almost two months ago, I had a very painful, debilitating shoulder affliction. You of the Portland Scottish Country Dancers were so compassionate and generous in your words and deeds. I know that I verbally thanked most of you, but I just wanted my thanks in writing.
Thank you all very much!
Gratefully, Eunice MacKenzie
Scottish Dance Technique
by Tom Halpenny
I wrote a newsletter item 18 months ago, “The Importance of Eye Contact in Manual of Scottish Country Dancing”. http://www.rscds-swws.org/news/201211/vol29-3.htm#EyeContact I was wondering where the “eye contact” social dancing skill came from, since it was not specifically mentioned in The Manual? I communicated with RSCDS and they thought the upcoming third edition could contain a sentence or paragraph about the subject.
I recently had an opportunity to read the third edition and I was curious to read what RSCDS has to say about eye contact. Before I give you the results, I would like to report what I learned about the Dance Technique topic. I have been attending Marge’s Dance Technique class since September, so I wanted to get straight in my brain the methods of Dance Technique that we need to think about while we are traveling the formations (figures) of a dance.
We can read the Dance Appearance and Etiquette methods in sections 3.2 and 3.3 of The Manual. I grouped the methods into logical categories:
- Dance etiquette, management of a set
- Anticipation, phrasing, covering
- Steps, footwork
- Bow and curtsey
- Spirit of the dance
The following equations define combinations of the methods:
Teamwork = anticipation + management of a set + covering
Technique = steps + footwork + handing + phrasing + covering
Following are definitions of the methods, with the help of The Manual.
Dance etiquette: Dancers wait until a dance is announced before forming sets. Join others at the end of the lines. Be aware of set boundaries. After the dance, thank other dancers and clear the floor.
Management of a set: Maintain appropriate set width and length and position to suit the movements of the dance.
Anticipation: Dancer observes all that is happening in the set and anticipates what is about to happen, maintaining continuous flow.
Phrasing: Dancer begins each formation on the first beat of the musical phrase and completes the formation on the end of the final beat of the phrase.
Covering: Dancer has an awareness of their own position in relation to the position of other dancers.
Steps, footwork: The method is described in chapter 5 of The Manual.
Handing: The method is described in the Introduction to chapter 6 of The Manual.
Deportment: Dancer has an upright carriage for good balance, easy and natural poise, and no excessive body movement.
Bow and curtsey: Dancer begins and ends a dance by honoring partner, performed rhythmically during a chord. Three parts: gather self up, move down, and back up, while looking at partner.
Spirit of the dance: The expression of the true spirit comes from the stimulus of the music and each individual’s response to the lively, elegant movements of the dance.
Now for the results of the RSCDS advice about eye contact. I observed that the subject continues to be omitted in the third edition. I thought about how eye contact fits with the methods, and I concluded that eye contact with our fellow dancers contributes to the spirit of the dance, as described in the following quote from The Manual.
“Mastering of the skills which have been described may lead to the correct performance of the dance without, however, expressing the true spirit of the Scottish country dance - “performing” rather than “dancing”. The expression of the true spirit cannot be taught. It comes from the stimulus of the music and each individual’s response to the lively, elegant movements of the dance. During an adjudication at a Scottish Country Dance Festival, Dr. Milligan exclaimed: “It is a pity that there are so many performers and so few dancers.” The difference between “performing” and “dancing” has to be appreciated in order to bring out several important characteristics of Scottish country dancing.”
Youth Weekend West 2014
by Darrick Wong
I recently had the pleasure of participating in the twelfth annual Youth Weekend West workshop, ceilidh, and ball at Western Washington University in Bellingham. This event was, of course, the latest iteration of the event that coincided with the Southwest Washington branch's Dinner Dance last May. It was organized by Rachel Leacock, a student at WWU. In addition to Western students, there were again many dancers who travelled from Seattle, Victoria, Vancouver B.C., Oregon, and California.
Friday night after dinner, we gathered in a sprawling gym on the Western campus for the opening ceilidh. It was a good thing that they reserved such a large space — apparently word had spread around campus and many college age kids had shown up to dance! Rosemary Read, the local Scottish Country Dance teacher at the university, directed the dancers through a number of large circle dances. Though many of the people at the ceilidh dance weren’t Scottish dancers, they got a small taste of what it is like. Jack Dorian of Richland danced a sailor’s hornpipe for one of the ceilidh acts.
On Saturday, we broke into three groups sorted by skill level, and headed off to classes. Katherine Shearman, Jim Maiolo, and Irene Paterson each taught one session for each of the groups. For those of us in the advanced class, Katherine taught a workshop on the various kinds of setting steps and flourishes that go with them; Irene taught a number of unusual strathspeys; and Jim helped us to work on smoothing out transitions between different kinds and directions of steps. According to Jennifer Seelye of the Bend, the intermediate class was taught a Star Trek themed dance, among other dances. The author regrets not spectating this dance. After lunch, there were two elective classes — one with called salsa dances, and the other was Israeli folk dancing. It is quite a hoot to see three men dance the “camel” in a line.
In the evening, we reconvened in a ballroom that had a beautiful overlook of Bellingham Bay. Callum MacKinnon and his band played some wonderful tunes for the dance program, and Sonata Yau of Victoria piped us in the grand march. There was a lively mix of the usual Scottish dances such as The Flowers of Edinburgh and The Reel of the Royal Scots, and a rare treat — just before the intermission, all the men formed one large set to dance the Reel of the 51st Division together. This was quite the dance to have witnessed, for the men were delighted to show off their various setting steps, high kicks, and other gleeful antics!
Sunday morning, the tired dancers gathered one last time for some more relaxed dances before it was time for us to bid each other adieu until next year. If you are interested in dancing with energetic young people, please watch http://youthweekendwest.com/ for the announcement of next year's event!