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 

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 

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 

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 

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

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

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

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 1 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.