|Volume 34 #3||November/December 2017|
The Groundhog Day Scottish dance will be held Saturday, February 3, 2018 at Columbia Dance Center, 7:30pm, with music by the The Soohoo-Hui family. $10 admission.
For dance cribs and diagrams, visit: http://www.rscds-swws.org/2018-groundhogdaydance-cribs.pdf
For animated instructions, visit: http://www.rscds-swws.org/2018-groundhogdaydance-danciemaetions.htm
We can view the trailer of the Groundhog Day movie, in which TV weatherman Phil Connors relives Groundhog Day over and over and over.
The typical Scottish dance program has twelve dances. The Groundhog Day dance has six dances in the first half, and we repeat the same six dances in the second half. These are six of the best Scottish dances, that would be really fun to dance a second time.
Like the movie, the program is scripted for the second half to duplicate the first half pretty closely. The emcee welcomes everyone to the dance, introduces the musicians and briefers, etc. The second half repeats the same introduction, as if the first half had not happened. In the movie, each new cycle of Groundhog Day plays out slightly differently, as Phil Connors learns from earlier cycles. Dancers can similarly act out their own interpretation. They might repeat dances with the same partner they had the first time. They might dance more confidently the second time with knowledge gained from dancing the first time, which might result in improved "spirit of the dance". Dancers benefit more from having made the effort to learn each dance.
Save the date for the fun Groundhog Day dance. We know how it begins, but we are unsure when the dance will end!
|Volume 34 #5||March/April 2018|
The first ever Groundhog Day Scottish dance on February 3, 2018 entertained two-plus sets with energetic music by the Soohoo-Hui family. Here is a recap since the initial newsletter item.
The typical Scottish dance program has twelve dances. The Groundhog Day dance has six dances in the first half, and we repeat the same six dances in the second half. These are six of the best Scottish dances, that would be really fun to dance a second time. I had imagined the idea about three years ago, after some of us Scottish dance friends had viewed the Groundhog Day movie a few times, in which TV weatherman Phil Connors relives Groundhog Day over and over and over. Each repetition plays out slightly differently, as Connors learns from earlier cycles. The similarities and subtle differences of each repetition make for a humorous blend of wit, charm, and personal growth. Comparing the roles in the Groundhog Day dance with the movie, the dancers play the Phil Connors role, while the emcee, briefers, and musicians play the rest of the world.
The program was designed for the second half to repeat the first half as closely as possible. Each half began with the clock radio segment from the movie. The intermission played the Pennsylvania Polka from the movie.
The following emcee script was recited during the first half AND the second half.
First dance: Welcome everyone to the Groundhog Day Scottish dance! Groundhog Day is midway between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. Punxsutawney Phil will prognosticate when spring is coming. Let's get the dance started. I would like to introduce our first dance briefer, Liza Mae!
Second dance: I would like to introduce our excellent musicians! The Soohoo-Hui family. Band leader Cynthia, Lilyana, Elisabeth, Nathaniel. The Soohoo-Hui family!
Third dance: Punxsutawney Phil is here this evening to give us his prediction. (Rouse stuffed animal Phil; hoist to scan the room for shadows; Phil whispers to emcee.) This February 2nd at 7:20 and 30 seconds ... Punxsutawney Phil, the seer of seers... prognosticator of prognosticators... emerged reluctantly, but alertly... and stated in Groundhogese... "I definitely see a shadow." Sorry, folks. Six more weeks of winter.
Fourth dance: This is the 132nd Groundhog Day since the first one in 1887. Phil lives with his wife between Groundhog Days. Who knows her name? Phyllis.
Dance briefers Liza Halpenny and Linda Mae Dennis merged their personalities into alter ego "Liza Mae". Liza briefed the first half and Linda Mae briefed the second half by introducing modified dance names that we can read from the program poster.
The dance finished with a Branch favorite "Oslo Waltz"; the band specially prepared the music we like to sing along with. Cynthia Soohoo remarked that she appreciated the opportunity to collaborate with her family on the fun and challenging music project.
The format tests a theory that we can have just as much fun dancing a shorter program and repeating dances. A typical Scottish ceilidh depends on this principle. Dancers learn a small set of well-known dances and the dances are often repeated during the evening. Dancers become more confident as they practice the dances. Ceilidh dancers are less concerned about remembering the figures and are more focused on having fun, compared with a typical Scottish country dance program. We can extend the concept to Scottish dance classes. Classes I have attended spend a lot of time teaching a dance, followed by dancing the dance only once before moving on to teach a new dance. Dancers would learn a dance better with more practice, and become more confident, if the dance were repeated later in the class or during the following class.
Many thanks to folks for their efforts to put on the Groundhog Day dance. Musicians: Cynthia, Lilyana, Elisabeth, Nathaniel; Briefers: Linda Mae and Liza; Sound: Patrick Hogan; Door: Susan Shaw; Setup food table: Liza; Emcee: Tom; Decorations (movie quotes): Susan + John; and you dancers for coming!