We’re ready to roll!
We’ve practised the dances, the band has rehearsed the music, volunteers are lined up to help from both Johnsonville and Capital City Clubs, and Jeanette and Rod are poised to guide us through a great night’s dancing.
REMEMBER to bring 2 plates of finger food (at least one savoury) so we’ll have a spectacular supper to rejuvenate us half way through the night!!
Here are some helpful hints to make a great night even better
Come early to welcome our guests
That will also give you time to take your plates of finger food to the kitchen, get your shoes on, chat to fellow club members, warm up, and find a partner for the first dance. Plus, you’ll find it easier to get a park!
Register at the door – and make sure to get your name tag for the night
Entry for Johnsonville Club members is FREE, but we need to know who attends for our financial records.
Club members will get a sticky name label at the door, with an optional sticker for new dancers. The sticker will help experienced dancers buddy up with newer dancers, especially for less straightforward dances.
Most dances will be walked – for the top couple in each set
If you’d like to walk the dance, ask if you can be top couple in your set. You can then choose to stay at the top when the dance starts, or go to the bottom of the set where you can learn more by watching.
Not everyone can be “top couple”, but you can still benefit from listening, and watching the top couple closely so you can visualise what you will do when you get to top place.
Crib sheets – these give you a brief summary of the dance instructions
You can use it ahead of time to remind yourself how the dances go.
You can also go to https://my.strathspey.org/dd/index/ to search for instructions and videos of dances you’re not quite sure of.
Dance floor conventions – so everyone’s on the same page
To make the evening flow smoothly, we:
- take our place in the set at the bottom of the lines that have already formed
- make straight lines by lining up with the very top couple
- rely on the couple at the very top of the line to count off the sets, making sure we know what number we are in the set
- are quiet when MCs are briefing the dances, so everyone can hear the briefing
- applaud musicians Aileen, Don and Hilary at the end of each dance – they’ll be working hard for our dancing and listening pleasure
- leave our crib sheets at home so we can socialise with our fellow dancers.
How do you get there on the night?
Our dance is on at Ngaio Town Hall. Many of us will drive, and will be happy to give other club members a ride. If you need a ride, email Kristin and she can try to arrange a ride for you. If you need a ride home, talk to Kristin at the dance itself.
Parking is available in a variety of places:
- in the small parking lot next to the hall
- in a small parking lot across the road
- on the street in front of the hall and Ngaio Library
- further up the road at Ngaio station – go under the bridge and round the corner
Always a vexed question – what to wear?
Men who have kilts will wear them, otherwise trousers and a shirt. Some women will wear tartan sashes or tartan skirts, otherwise smart casual with skirts and frocks being standard rather than trousers.
Wear something that will feel good to dance in, and that you won’t get too hot in. Layers are always good.
This is attached to this week’s club newsletter. You can check your time slot there. Thanks to everyone who’s volunteered to help on the day, and especially to volunteer co-ordinator Elizabeth Ngan who’s put in a lot of work drawing up the roster.
FINALLY – come along, have a good time and don’t worry if you make a mistake. They happen to us all!
Any questions, feel free to email Kristin
We’ve already danced half the programme!
Rod taught four of the dances last week at Club, and six or seven this week. That’s more than half the programme already done at least once!
We look forward to welcoming all to our dance on 24 August.
From Rod Downey, Tutor: It’s for everyone
I’m also making sure we’re familiar with formations in the dances like the espagnole and the all round poussette.
There are a few dances on the programme that are more challenging.
Dances marked with ** are generally unsuitable for new dancers – it’s better to watch.
Dances marked with * indicate you need to find a “clever” partner if you’re not too sure about the dance.
You don’t have to know all the dances
The more familiar you are with the dances, the more relaxed you will feel on the night, and the easier it will be to follow any leads your partner or your set may give.
If there’s a particular dance you’d like to know more about, search for it at https://my.strathspey.org/dd/index/
Most dances have instructions and videos. To see dances done well, look out for videos that are Good or Demonstration Quality.
The image is of us dancing Midsummer Common at our Annual Dance in 2018. Watch a Demonstration Quality video of Midsummer Common here
We will walk many of the dances on the night
The more dancing you do, the better you’ll get at dancing “from a briefing”. Our new dancers are already recognising the names of formations well enough to dance more straightforward dances from a briefing – it’s a great skill, which comes over time.
To make the programme enjoyable for everyone, more difficult dances will be walked for the top couple on the night. If you’re not that couple, you will still get to see the dance walked as you listen to the instructions.
In the image, Rod is dancing City of Belfast. This is one of the more difficult dances we will walk on the night. It was on our July Tartan Night programme and we’ve practiced its espagnole formation many a time at Club.
Organising the dance with Capital City Club at Ngaio Town Hall
Ngaio Town Hall is an excellent venue. Be part of the team decorating the hall, or helping with supper. The more the merrier, and with the bonus of getting to know your fellow dancers better as we prepare for the big night.
We’ll be calling for Annual Dance volunteers soon. Sign up for the time that suits you.
From Kristin Downey, President: It’s a team effort – we all support each other
Everyone makes mistakes, no matter how long they’ve been dancing. The sign of an experienced dancer is knowing how to recover from their mistakes. I have made mistakes at every dance I’ve been to lately (apologies to my partners). We rely on each other as backstops in those moments where we’ve suddenly lost the plot.
If you do make a mistake, there’ll be someone in your set who’ll be happy to help you out. As Rod says, it’s a team sport, and that’s where the team spirit kicks in. If everyone who’d ever made a mistake left the dance floor, there’d be no-one left dancing!
It’s meant to be fun – and it is!
Just keep on smiling. As American poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox wrote, “Laugh and the world laughs with you“.
If you have any queries about our Annual Dance, please email me
Our Premiere Event: Be part of the fun
Aileen Logie, Don McKay and (club member) Hilary Ferral will provide the music to get our toes tapping.
Click here to add the date to your calendar Add to Calendar
Over the next month or so, Rod will teach all the dances at club so we are familiar with them. On the night, our experienced dancers will support new dancers attending their first Saturday night dance, to make sure everyone has a good time.
Ngaio Town Hall is an excellent venue, and for the second year running we have the pleasure of organising the dance in combination with Capital City Club.
Be part of the team decorating the hall, or helping with supper. The more the merrier, and with the bonus of getting to know your fellow dancers better as we prepare for the big night. We’ll call for helpers closer to the time.