F 1 D 0 - 2004 11 29 at 0510

The Netherfield Ball.

Why does a good caller make us feel so very good?

I would like to introduce Tom Roby of San Francisco.

I didn't read his Bio until preparing this dance
report tonight. It lists all of the things he's
done, and I'm sure he's done them.

But what makes us feel so happy, so confident,
when we get a good caller?

He knows his stuff. He has a light airy attitude
towards the teaching and the general deportment
of the dancers. He knows the music perfectly. And
he truly enjoys what he's doing.

The dance started at 530pm, with everyone making
a stop at the church's kitchen in the basement. This
is where we all had to put last minute touches on our
food contribution for the evening.

At some point we all found ourselves upstairs, with
many in some kind of costume. Tom called for the
dancers to take partners, and the evening began, just
like that!

I should have made notes. I can write to Karen or the
musicians, and get the program for the evening, I suppose!

The first dance was Cockleshells, a lively duple minor
dance, which was supposed to be a period dance from the
Jane Austen period. (Duple Minor: that means the dancers
are made of couples, but each of us forms a ring of four
people or two dancers, and most of the moves involve just
those people; only those in The Minor Set rather than everyone
in the whole line).

None of the dances were entirely befuddling. Oh, we danced
Mr Beveridge's Maggot (a maggot is a favourite helper, a do-it-all
guy; in dances a maggot is A Favourite). That dance had some
complicated timing, but was fine.

Tom let the dances run long enough to give everyone
a chance to be an Active couple. So often we don't
get to the top! He made sure everyone got a chance
to practice the dance with music, and to finally 
experience it at full speed.

For those of you who want some dance names, we danced
Grimstock, Scotch Morris, Yellow Stocking, and perhaps
five others. I'll amend this page with details when I
get that information.

All of these dances, with the exception of the final
dance, were very energetic dances. The closing dance
was a modern waltz.

I was very pleased with the program Tom chose tonight.

Our audience was special too! We had a few newcomers,
and enough experienced dancers to help them get through
it all smoothly. A number of dancers were regulars from
the Glenview Scottish Dancers, and some of the others who
joined us were Scottish dancers from Kingston, who came 
to Toronto for the St Andrew's Ball.

A lot of the steps and circles were done in the Scottish
Style: Slipping circles, rant steps, skip change steps,
Pas de Basque steps. Everything felt quite right.

Tom's teaching style was to cue the phrase, and sing
it gently. Sometimes the band was asked to play the
melody for us, but as a rule, it was just fine for
him to sing the tune as we danced. (that's because
if he sees us faulter, he'll adjust his tempo accordingly,
and then ask us to try it once again).

The band was our own Steve Fuller, Vicky Obedkoff, and
Cathy Campbell. Steve's a remarkable fiddler, with 
perfect intonaton and a natural sense of timing. Vicky
has been playing piano on and off with Steve for a long time,
and has learned how to stay with him as he cues changes.
Cathy is new to working with this couple, but is not new
to music. She's been involved in music since -- forever!
She played silver flute, recorder and clarinet.

These musicians aren't flamboyant, aren't egotistical.
They're calm, confident, experienced and professional.

The church (or hall) is often overlooked when it's done
a perfect job. The Russian Orthodox Hall is a wooden
floor, ideal for dancing. It is the home for our weekly
Tuesday night dance, and many other dances too. Nobody
complained about the hard floor, or anything like that.

Writing news that's only got good things to say is hard.

Our dance with Tom Roby was such a dance. If I'm ever
in the (San Francisco) Bay Area, I'll make sure I attend
these dances. 

Our Netherfield Ball was a great success. Thanks to 
Karen for local arrangements, and to Christine Robb 
for discovering Tom and making sure we didn't let 
this opportunity get lost. (You see, Tom was here in
Toronto on other business, and we just made sure we
could have him at our dance during this time)

That's all I know.