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Week 50 End of an era! Our last dance at Dampen after almost 25 years was a nostalgic one. Mairi's Wedding (see week 9), Best Set in the Hall (see week 42), Paddy Baa (Which has a distinctly sheepish virtual presence considering its a great idea, good dance and is not least... a John Drewry! On a Hopalot recommendation, we danced it to Keith and Muriel's Davy Nick Nack on Campbell's Birl), Seann Truibhas Willichan, James Gray and the last dance was was very appropriately, Old Nick's Lumber Room. So we have cleared out the cellar and waved goodbye to Dampen. All that is left is to drink a Christmas toast on Saturday and move to our new dance hall in Lillaker in the New Year.

holly1Season's greetings to one and all! holly2

Week 49 Thanks to the treasurer for sending me this list of the dances you did last Monday... Lady Susan Stuart's Reel with hello-goodbye setting,The Gardeners' Fantasia with a rondel, Petronella, The Cape Town Wedding with the tandem petronella,The Bees, (Hello there our old and new friends in Berlin, and thank you all for a splendid weekend!) and the last dance of the evening was Bratach Bana.

Week 48 A couple of new ones this week as we get stuck into the finer points of the poussette; Blue Bonnets and Rudha Dubh. In response to a question I got about push-me, pull yous (see week 45) I find the following definition in Wikipedia: "The pushmi-pullyu is a "gazelle-unicorn cross" which has two heads (one of each) at opposite ends of its body. When it tries to move, both heads try to go in opposite directions." Says it all really!

Week 47 A sure sign of winter being upon us is the planning of the annual Burns Supper in January. As usual, catering for everyone presents a certain amount of head scatching. Amazingly, there are still non-SCDers (and non-haggis eaters!) out there who come back year after year to join us for this event! This Monday we had a practice run-through of the three dances we have chosen this year to give us regulars something to get our teeth into... Shetland Shepherdess, Iona Cross (see week 42) and Cape Town Wedding. (Minicrib and Pillings are in the pipeline.) However, fear not, we are also planning lots of other dances too and on the night we will be doing walk-throughs and talk-throughs ceilidh-style so absolutely no dancing experience is required... great live music too.

A very special guest from Shetland has joined us on a couple of occasions recently and in his honour we also danced Black Mountain Reel and Shiftin' Bobbins. Good to be reminded, that there is a very good reason these dances stay so popular and are the backbone of dancing as it is done in Scotland. Recently, back in Scotland, when I had "gone up" when I should have been "going down" in Postie's Jig, I was on the receiving end of an amazed look and the comment; "If you can't do that, what on earth DO you dance in Oslo?" Read on, folks!

And a final word this week (given more space, I'm getting more expansive!) to our friend in Minnesota who also joined us for a short while yesterday evening courtesy of Skype... great to see you dancing and sharing my enthusiasm for Shiftin' Bobbins!

Week 46 Last week I did some behind the scenes work on the blog to make it easier to update. (Note the scrollbar on the right. Nearly a whole year's dancing now straight down.) In January, the blog will have been going for a year and in response to my whinge a week or two ago, there is definitely an interest in keeping it going. I'm wondering if any of the other regular dancers would like a shot at it? I'll continue with uploading it but it would be great if someone else could come with their angle on things, find the videos and send it to me as an email.

Last Monday was our social evening and apart for some time out to brush up our push-me, pull-you poussettes (Burns' Hornpipe and Flower of Edinburgh), we continued making inroads in the Hopalots' Berlin programme. Two new ones hopefully under our belt... John of Bon Accord and a cracker of a strathspey, Foxhill Court. No video of this latter unfortunately, but I did find we had been expertly lead through something aptly called Courage Reels.

Week 45 Let's see if we have better luck with videos this week... Beeswing, Miller of Sessnie, Flower of Glasgow, Dancing Years, Lord Elgin's Reel (Ah... that magic touch!) and The Dancers' Wedding.

Week 44 Short on the videos this week for Figure it out, Water of Fleet and Dancing Years which were all on the programme. Hands over the water to Minneapolis and to our dancing friend who has enlivened our group over the last few weeks... you're missed!

Week 43 Two new dances this week... Lamb Skinnet (no video of this but apparently there is a 5-couple version called Skamb Linnett!) and Miss Johnstone of Ardrossan. Still brushing up Noah's Ark and Jean Martin... and think we may finally be getting the measure of Bratach Bana (see below for videos). That last one really is a cracking dance! I was asked what the title meant and didn't know, but found this long thread on the Strathspey server. Now, just think if you could wave a white flag and have an elfen army come to the rescue...

Week 42 Our last two members' evenings... where we bring along dances we want to do ourselves... have been dominated by a visit some of us will be making in the near future to Berlin. From the ball programme we have practised Joie de Vivre, Red House, Best Set in the Hall, Sleepy Maggie, Equilibrium, Bratach Bana and Pelorus Jack. That last Youtube video with film from 1912 really is extraordinary. 100 years on though, he is remembered and immortalised in dance. No video unfortunately for Gang the Same Gate, but here is our very own Christine's dance with lots of setting and linking.

Today the 15th October 2012 is an historic day for us Scots. I wonder how that particular 'dance' will end? Which brings me neatly to our last dance this evening... here are New Scotland in Edinburgh dancing the Iona Cross.

Weeks 40 and 41 No luck with "Alice Requests" or "Reel On", but here is Noah's Ark and EH3 7AF. There are several video versions of the dance Jean Martin out there and I have chosen this demo one. The Wild Geese may be heading south at the moment, but for a "spring" in your step you can't beat Ron Wallace's Da Rain Dancin'.

After the break week 40, our demo group were brushing up their technique and when I check out the dances I find Ozsfi has been busy! Minister on the Loch (for another version see Week 19) and Arctic Circle.

Weeks 38 & 39 Friends, I'm temporarily struck dumb so sit back and enjoy this... and this from St Andrew's. For us Aberdonians, here is the intro to that demonstration by Jean Martin.

Week 37 Apropos encouragement, some of us Scots may want to sneak out a wee bit early tonight... the final of the US open tennis championship is on Eurosport at 22.00. "Scots, wha hae..."

Week 36 Here's that spirited rendering of Catch the Wind again for the demo team, otherwise I've drawn a complete blank on what we danced earlier in the evening. Can anybody help me? Also this way I might find out if anybody is actually reading these things. Please send me an email... encouragement is a great motivator!

Week 35 Welcome back after the summer new and old friends. Very unsuccessful finding videos of the dances we did this week though... Catch the Wind (see weeks 11 and 21), Thornhill Strathspey, Dancers' Wedding and Hope Little's Strathspey. However, our last dance Wind on the Heath is perhaps worth a word or two. (Me? Impartial... never!) Note the music on that video. Its pretty good, but its not the music we used which is The Magic of Merrill from a popular CD called "Dancing for Joy" by the Reel of Seven. This particular track seems to hit a spot for a lot of people and surprisingly I found it, in its entirety, with yet another dance on the Strathspey Server. No videos of the original dance however... I wonder why not?

I see Reel of Seven have a new CD out. If you click on the links from their website you get to audio sites where you get snippets from each track. Like what you hear? Track down the corresponding dance in the Strathspey server or Scottish country dance dictionary... and, hey presto, we will maybe get an old friend in a new guise or a brand new dance to try out at our next social. Remember though, that if the CD isn't already in the club box you have to bring along your own music...

Week 21 Our last dancing Monday before the summer break and we were delighted to welcome guests from Vancouver and Budapest. Our instructors had put together a good program and I get a chance to put a link to The Reel of the 51st Division. There are several pages of video versions of this dance out there, but this video gives me a chance to promote Celtic Days in Hude where the chairman and I danced in April. This was the last dance at lunchtime on the Sunday after, somebody calculated, 17 hours of dancing! All the workshop classes (musicians, dancers and teachers) were gathered. Great weekend and thoroughly recommended.

Now where was I? Oh yes, what else did we dance on that Monday? Catch the Wind and Minister on the Loch. Both already done... see weeks 11 and 19 and Scott Meikle. Now that really is the most extraordinary coincidence! Vancouver gitt!!! And I talked about the Vancouver Fiddle Orchestra with our guests. Are they dancing there, tro? Notice the wee lad in the video of the Reel of the 51st? I really enjoyed dancing Scott Meikle at my Intermediate workshop in Hude with him as my partner, which is why I had requested that dance for that evening. Two great videos of Scottish Country Dancing at its very best are a nice way to end our year's dancing so I think I'll stop there.

Hope to see as many as possible of you at Musikkfest Oslo and the Summer Party this coming Saturday.

God sommer alle sammen!

Week 20 Glad I missed these two dances this week as I always get them muddled up! But here are two good videos so absolutely no excuse for any of us next time... Milltimber Jig and Westminster Reel. We are promoting Arctic Circle at the moment so how about getting that video in before somebody else does?

Week 19.. already! Thanks to the chairman for weeks 11 and 12. Highlandman's Umbrella kicked us off this week and then we went over to the new demo dances. The Frisky (Youtube had some interesting suggestions for that one) , Minister on the Loch (Magnificent!), Arctic Circle, Morrison's Measure and De'il amang the Tailors (see below). We also were in a "Sheltered Cove" somewhere along the way and the whole evening was topped off with Pelorus Jack and the Irish Rover...hhhhmmm...

Week 12 Picking up where we left off last Monday with Shiftin' Bobbins, however, this is by a set in Moscow.

This week the instructors had chosen a couple of rarely danced dances. Neither "Open the Door to Three" nor "Fifty Years On" was to be found on the net. If you find a video of any of these dances please let the webmaster know. The next one is an old friend, though. Sands of Morar with two of our favourite musicians, James and Keith, providing the music (well, James playing while Keith is watching). Finally we finished the evening with one of the treasurer's favourites, but even for "Morrison's Measure" we drew a blank from the net.

Week 11 Welcome to the private sphere, dancing in socks and slippers! However, this version of Lady Catherine Bruce's Reel shows how it can be done in a small space. John of Bon Accord was a much needed repeat from week 8. Peggy's Strathspey was nowhere to be found on the net. (One purporting to be but I didn't recognise it and it didn't match Eric Finley's instructions.) Perhaps, if we practise some more we could put one out...

Catch the Wind is always fun and here they are actually trying to catch something. Finally there was Shiftin' Bobbins danced in a city close to the chairman's heart.

Week 10 Only managed to find one this week Culla Bay. Good Strathspey though so hope we can do this one again. Anyone else note the music in this video? I used our new cd index to see if we have anything of that ilk... and then the Strathspey server to try and track it down. Hhhhmmm... lots of accordian and SCD band recordings. Its not the Muriel Johnstone trio one. That Bentley, Ramshaw & Ramshaw is closest, but perhaps its live music on the video...

Week 9 Good to see a couple of familiar faces back this week and bravo the new callers! It was bring-your-own-dance night and we did Wild Geese (it's there after 3.25 mins), Marie's wedding... oh, that's a good one! I need a new paragraph for these...

And now we are fired up, let's go for Tailored for Christine, and The Highland Rambler (at 1.54 mins). Two nice strathspeys this week too and that German jig. No videos for any of these but here's the details of that recording for Alison Rose. I thought it was Dixon of Dock Green and who's that French guy anyway???

Week 8 The tournée is cracked. (The accent is even going the right way now!) That Argyll Strathspey did the trick. (No good video of a tournée yet though so do send me one if you find one.) John of Bon Accord was the star for me this week. That progressive reel of four looks great in a big hall with lots of dancers. Nice when the Music Does Tell You . And here's the crib for Blackwater Reel. (Perhaps that mention of a teapot will drive that course in Pillings forward!) We don't need a video of the De'il amang the Tailors do we???

Week 7 Good challenges this week... not least the dreaded tournèe! Starlight, Haste ye Back (see last week), Dunfermline Glen (not the dance unfortunately so I'll have to find another good video with the tournèe in it. Highly topical though at the moment!) and last but not least Old Nick's Lumber Room. Sorry, again no video, but this is just to show those who may be unfamiliar with the Strathspey Server that they have made it much more user-friendly recently and its now an even better source of cribs, music and all things Scottish Country Dance. I see they are also starting to link to videos too.

One last link I came over last week in Youtube. This excellent video has absolutely nothing to do with me and I wonder if we should link to it on the OSCDG demo page?

God vinterferie alle sammen! We are dancing as normal on Monday.

Week 6 Not so lucky finding videos this week and only found two, but one is a real treat! Guess who came up doing Haste Ye Back? (A truer word was never said! And do check out out those other HOPaLOT videos.) And for a dramatic change in tempo, here's the Silver Tassie (Is that Keith and Muriel, I hear in the background?)

Week 5 Looks like a blog may be a good idea, so here goes...

Firstly, many thanks to all who made it such a great Burns supper this year, especially the wonderful musicians James Gray and Sarah-Jane Summers .

One unexpected spin off from the Burns Supper was the head of steam that was still there on Monday evening. At our regular "bring your own dance", once-a-month social evening more people than usual came along. We walloped through Autumn in Appin (see below), Napier's Index, Muirland Willie, Trip to Bavaria, Bees of Maggieknockater and Polharrow Burn and with extra sets dancing into the break and after hours. Not bad on a cold dark night in January!

Now for some video links I've been sent. Here is another link to the Kandahar Reel... beautiful, no? And this one that shows that even expert dancers can make mistakes in this one.

Watching these YouTube videos reminds me of some words of Robert Burns... "That Man to Man, the world o'er, shall brothers be for a'that". Perhaps it was Scottish Dancing he was thinking about...

Week 4 Trying this out as a blog where we can put links to anything relevant to Scottish Country Dance, like that great video of the "real" Pelorus Jack. (Ok, that's a once off!) This space is really intended for links to YouTube dance videos we have chortled over or found instructive. In advance, thank you to all the participants in the videos I'll link to for making them publically available. They are a wonderful resource.

Let's start with that cracking Kandahar reel... hairy sporrans and all! As these are the guys who devised it, it ain't no wonder we battled with that one last year!

With the Burns Supper coming up you might enjoy, Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman's classic Eightsome Reel from the film "Indiscrete", and this more technically correct version from the battlements of Sterling castle in "Tunes of Glory". When there is Scottish dancing on film it always seems to be the Eightsome! I seem to remember a good one in "Four weddings and a Funeral", but I haven't managed to find that on the Internet. Perhaps, I should though give a version closer to the one we will be doing on Saturday night. See what I mean about instructive videos?

Apropos the Burns supper, try these as well... Royal Deeside Railway, Chequered Court and Grassmarket Reel.

That's a start. I'm thinking of trying to keep this page updated with some of the dances we are currently doing in class, but do please send me an email with any links to things you think others might find interesting. I wonder, for example, if anyone has filmed Autumn in Appin? There were no less than six versions out there, but I'll go with those young Ukranians! There really is a lot available these days and perhaps we should even think of adding our own. Arctic Circle anyone?

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