F 1 D 0 - 2004 03 18 at 0400 The Irish Rover. This is like nightly nonsense, or bedtime bogossity, or midnight minutia. I came home around 11ish from SCD tonight. It was a good dance, but it underscored the difference between new and experienced dancers. The Scots celebrated St Patrick's Day by having extra treats during the break. Cherry Cheesecake and Green Sprinkle Shortbread. The usual pink punch (a mixture of concentrated cranberry and ginger ale) was replaced by a lovely lime-aid I didn't try. I saved all of my sugars for the the cheesecake. The dance was rather usual in its program. Fast dance, slow dance, fast dance, slow dance. The before break portion was taught by Moira, a lovely young teacher of SCD. She's permitted to teach because she's nearly graduated from the Royal program, and this is like an apprentice assignment. If you missed the humour, I'll expound. She's a very very good teacher! And I'm glad they've not kept her away from leading dances just because she's not yet fully certified. The after-break portion was taught by Danelda, a very experienced teacher, who concentrates on a lot more form than I really like when we're in the set together. But perhaps my laissez-faire attitude to the steps we're supposed to use keeps setting her off. All of the SCD leaders are remarkable, in that they are never seen with notes as they lead their dances. The Irish part of tonight's dance was the final one, "Irish Rovers". This dance *really* moves. I'll try to remember it, and describe it in a way that makes sense to you. Music: fast march! 64 steps, like most of the other dances we tend to do. For three couples, proper (that is, men in left line, women on their right, facing the front, but then all relax and face their partner across the set). Defn "Couple One": The couple closest to the music or the top of the set, and I'll abbreviate that to Cu1. Defn "Cast": Perhaps a glance at your partner, as You Move Away From Them to the suggested place. 1. Cu1 leads down past two couples, and casts up into the centre place between Cu2 and Cu3 (so Cu2 will step up to make a spot for them). (8 steps) Defn "Star": participants take a specific hand to connect, and walk once around. Scots have deprecated "Star" and instead call it "Hands Across". 2. Man 1 makes a right hand star with Cu3 while Woman 1 makes the RH star with Cu2. (8 steps) Defn "First Corner": If we place the active couple (Cu1) between Cu2 and Cu3, and face them so Man 1 faces the ladies, and Woman 2 faces the gents, the person on their Right is the First Corner (W3 or M2 depending on who you are!). In the same way, Defn "Second Corner": are the people on our Left (W2 or M3). Defn "Reel": starting with a certain shoulder, pass people by weaving one shoulder, other shoulder, looping on the end, coming back to where you start. Other dances call these "Hey" sometimes. Defn "half a Reel": as above, but halfway. This leaves the active couple in the centre near to where they started, and the others across the set. 3. Half a Reel with your first corners. Start with right shoulder. Cu1 pass your partner with R sh. (8) 4. Half a reel with your second corners. Cu1 catch your partner with your left hand so M1 is below, W1 is above. (8) 5. M1 reels with Cu3 (starting with left shoulder and W3); W1 reels with Cu2 (L sh and M2). (8) 6. (finish the reel) (8) Defn "Rights and Lefts": Look at your partner, take right hands, pull by, look at your neighbour, take left hands, pull by, partner, right hands, neighbour left hands. Defn "Diagonal Rights and Lefts": (I'm not qualified to describe this) Active couple defines the direction, and the others who participate support them. Active lady always looks diagonally UP the set, Active man always looks diagonally DOWN the set with their right hand. In the three dancing couples, Cu1 will be in the middle. The Right Diagonals will take right hands to trade places, and the ones who moved together will take left hands. This puts Cu1 back in the middle, but crossed over, and leaves the others mixed up. So now the Left Diagonals will take trade by right, dancing people by left, and look!, the couples are arranged, all proper, with the Cu2 at the top, Cu1 in the middle, Cu3 below, next to Cu1. 7. Diagonal Rights and Lefts. (8) 8. (finish diagonal Rights and Lefts) (8) Active couple dances again right away, arranged with old Cu3 becoming Cu2, and the resting Cu4 now awake and dancing as Cu3. When Cu1 finishes the second time, they get to rest, as scottish 3-couple dances are usually arranged as 4-couple sets, permitting the actives twice through as actives, twice as resting couples on the ends, and four more times as Cu2 and Cu3. I think you are probably more confused than you were before I tried to convey this dance. I guess I'm hoping to show it's very very busy. If you want someone else's take on this, visit http://www.geocities.com/Colosseum/Midfield/3705/IrishRover.htm At SCD in all of the time I've attended, we rarely have people with trouble. Oh, now and then people mess up, such as ME!! I'll go left instead of right, or I'll insist the lady be on my right when she should (for some particular dance) be on my left. When this happens, those who watch over us will have pity, and let us all try it again, usually just once each "and to the bottom." This time? Lots of sets broke down. I've been taking the experience of our dancers for granted. The people who joined with us have been taking lessons for some time, and weren't entirely new. Still, they had trouble. I got a ride home with Margritte Agnew. I've known her for - a long time. When I was in Grade 7 and 8, she taught French at R J Lang Junior High School. So when I came to the dance, I was surprised how she recognized me instantly. We talked on the way home, and I'm thinking this dance would have been less confusing had it been danced at half the speed. Our local ECD dance has the luxury of live musicians who stop when things get mixed up, and will accelerate and decelerate as needed. I love my Cell Phone. I got a text message from my room mate Jeff, who didn't feel like going shopping at 11pm, but was sad there was no morning pastries remaining in stock. Long live 24 hour shopping. I went to the Dominion at Church and Yonge Streets. It's a huge beautiful new store. It doesn't seem to have many customers. I came home, and was introduced to our new DVD player. It has 5 speakers, bright sound, and pleasant user interface, and plays lots of different kinds of disks. We were worried that it wouldn't accept our complicated systems at home: we have input from the computer, input from a PVR (like a VCR but it uses a hard drive. You tell it what shows you want recorded, and it handles it for you). It seems to play my dance music MP3 collection disks. I use the computer to make a 10-hour disk with everything, and just have to remember what folder, and what track. Yes, you've heard me say we use live music, but it's not always possible. Sometimes we get no volunteers, or they're late with family responsibility. Or last night at ECD, I used it to refresh myself with the melody while the band was talking about it. What else happened tonight? I made a turkey soup out of inexpensive turkey parts. The poached turkey was lovely with garlic, dark soy and lime. I also sliced up two blade roasts I got recently. Sawed them into 1½ inch slices and froze them. And all the while, I was listening intermittently to the movie Cats and Dogs. I'm not sure whether I like the movie or not. It keeps tripping my "not" button. I dislike it when commercials or movies show smart people, usually men, as forgetful or clumsy with the feelings of others, such as their wives or children. Yes, I appreciate that this is just a children's film spoofing a James Bond story. No matter; if it keeps reminding me it's strange or off, I cannot relax and accept the story freely. I'm trying to like it, honest. And here I am, sharing a slice of my day with you, dear reader. That's all I know. View from my home, looking north along Yonge Street.