Holly and Don’s Trip to Italy March 2020

Written by Holly Boyd

As some of you know, Don & I plus Joanne and Peter (and Joanne’s twin sister Ruth) had scheduled a dancing trip to Italy way back in October 2019.  This trip featured 6 nights of dancing, 15 dances per night, to a live band.  If you can do math, you will realize that is 90 dances – about 75 of them unknown to us!  We spent every class at TMR, from November to February, learning these dances.  When trip time came, Northern Italy was experiencing a virus outbreak but the rest of Italy (and our world) was fine and there were no restrictions to travelling so…….off we went.

When we arrived in Italy, everything was normal.  Our transportation to the hotel was a little scarier than expected but that was because of the long, dark tunnels through the mountains and the twisty, climbing roads up to Sorrento and the Amalfi coast.

The only thing we could say when we entered our hotel room was ‘WOW’.  The view from our balcony was awesome.  Who knew then that it was the closest we would get to Mt. Vesuvius.

The dancing was terrific.  50 people (about a third had cancelled), mostly good dancers; live music (accordion but still, really GOOD accordion); lots of splendid food and wine in a private, family-run hotel well away from any sickness or strife.  But it wasn’t long before the outside world changed.  

Our first hint was when the staff changed the tables from seating for 8 to seating for 4 – one of the first government rules we would experience.  This was actually nice since we then got to know our table mates and changed at every meal (Don & I got to use our name-remembering tricks from our memory course!).

Our next sign was the cancelled planned visit to Herculaneum that was booked for the day that Italy declared itself a red zone and closed ALL the museums and popular tourist destinations. 

Thus, we have become part of an elite group of people who have visited this region and NOT gone to Herculaneum, Pompeii, Vesuvius or the Isle of Capris (which also was closed off the day we were supposed to go there a few days later – our timing definitely wasn’t great).

We did visit Sorrento and walk part of the Amalfi coast. Plus, the area was chock full of gorgeous walks through olive orchards, old monasteries and quaint little towns – so we still managed to experience a lot of the charm of that part of Italy.  

Don and Holly resort to taking selfies on people’s rooftops during lockdown.

We were all supposed to stay until March 16th but, by Wednesday, it was obvious that things were getting serious and our group changed our departure date to March 13th (we were flying Lufthansa – can’t say enough good things about them).  On Thursday morning a large group – including the band – headed off by train to Milan to try to get home to Britain (their airlines just STOPPED and left them hanging).  That day we were informed that we were not even allowed to leave the grounds of the hotel anymore, so we took drastic action (well, the twins and I did) and went into the pool (unheated, the night temperatures were around 7°C, you get the idea).

Holly wears a shower cap, while actual twins confuse people in water (above), while camouflaging into fruit (below), and while dancing (above in the videos).

Throughout all this, the dancing went on.  Walk-through in the afternoon, dance in the evening. 

We even did some extra dancing in the afternoons when our plans were cancelled. 

Even on Thursday, the 20 of us who were left did the dance program using my iPad and Peter’s little computer speaker.  And enjoyed ourselves.

The hotel closed as the last of us left on Friday morning.  My heart breaks for the people of Italy who we met and were so helpful and kind.  I have written a dance called “A Reel for Renato” for the hotel owner who moved heaven and earth to make our stay enjoyable despite the restrictions and who helped the Brits get home. I also wrote a dance called ‘No Hands’, which is a 40-bar strathspey (sorry, Annie) where no one ever touches another – we’ll do it first when we start up again.

Though the trip feels like it happened months ago, we are just finishing our 2-week self -isolation (not that we have anywhere to go now that we are ‘clean’).  The world is an entirely different place now.  I don’t think anyone ever expected to experience times like these.

We miss our dance friends and the dancing.  Looking forward to the day when we can all get together, hug, dance, talk and laugh again.  In the meantime, stay well, stay home and practice your pas de basque.

Until we meet again, repeat our new mantra (stolen from Facebook):   If I can hit you with a hockey stick – and I WILL – then you are too close!

Holly

Dances for March 10, 2020

Hard to believe this was only 12 days ago… seems like a lifetime. With a couple of American/South African visitors, Kirsty reigned supreme!

LADY CATHERINE BRUCE’S REEL (J8x32) 2C (4C set) Book of Graded SCDs

1- 8 1s lead down the middle and back to top
9-16 1s+2s dance Allemande
17-24 1s dance full Fig of 8 round 2s
25-32 2s+1s circle 4H round and back

JAMIE’S JIG (J8x32) 3C (4C set) Harry Rhodes Snowdon Book 1

1- 8 1s+2s+3s set, cross RH and chase clockwise ½ way
9-16 1s+2s+3s set, cross LH and chase anticlockwise ½ way
17-24 1s lead down middle and back
25-32 1s+2s dance Poussette. 213

NAPIER’S INDEX (J8x40) 3C (4C set) Brian Charlton RSCDS Book 45

1- 8 1s Set&Cast 1 place, turn LH 1¼ times to end in Balance-in-Line position between 1st corners
9-16 1s+1st corners Balance-in-Line and turn corners RH (4 bars) to Balance-in-Line again with 1st corners
17-24 1s dance reel of 3 on sides (LSh to 2nd corner) and end diagonally between 2nd corners
25-32 1s+2nd corners Balance-in-Line and turn corners RH (4 bars), Balance-in-Line again with 2nd corners
33-40 1s dance reels of 3 across (LSh to 3rd corners) and cross RH to 2nd places. 213


THE WILD GEESE
 (J8x32) 3C (4C set) RSCDS Book 24

1- 8 1s+3s set advancing and Balance-in-Line (Man above Lady), turn partners RH and 1s cast to 3rd place while 3s lead up to 1st place
9-16 3s+1s set advancing and Balance-in-Line (Man above Lady), turn partners RH and 3s cast to 3rd place while 1s lead up to 1st place
17-24 1s lead down and back to 2nd place
25-32 2s+1s dance R&L. 213

Then Kirsty introduced….Strathspey travelling and setting steps. Under normal conditions I would complain about this, but what I wouldn’t give to do a Strathspey right about now. Don’t worry, I’ll go back to complaining about blahspeys in approximately 3-5 business days after the pandemic is over. Until we meet again.

Dances for March 3, 2020

Holly started off with the fun

POLKA DOT (R5x32)
5 person diamond set with 5th person in centre facing North

1- 8 RSh Reel with North and South
9-16 LSh Reel with West and East
17-24 Set and ½ turn RH with North, set and ½ turn RH with West
25-32 Set and ½ turn RH with South, set and ½ turn RH with East

Then Kirsty taught us how to do the Allemande. I guess it had to happen sometime. *insert annoyed face*

LADY CATHERINE BRUCE’S REEL (J8x32) 2C (4C set) Book of Graded SCDs

1- 8 1s lead down the middle and back to top
9-16 1s+2s dance Allemande
17-24 1s dance full Fig of 8 round 2s
25-32 2s+1s circle 4H round and back

THOMPSON’S JIG

Then, step practice, with pas de basque and then CORNERS!!!

MRS MACLEOD (Of Raasay) (R8x32) 3C (4C set) RSCDS Book 6

1- 8 1s+2s dance RH across and LH back
9-16 1s lead down the middle and up to face 1st corners
17-24 1s set to 1st corners and turn 2H, set and turn 2nd corners
25-32 1s dance reels of 3 on opposite sides giving LSh to 1st corners and cross to 2nd place own sides

THE DEIL AMANG THE TAILORS (R8x32) 3C (4C set) RSCDS Book 14

1- 8 1s+2s set and dance RH across ½ way, set and dance LH across ½ way back to place
9-16 1s lead down the middle and back to top
17-24 1s+2s dance Allemande
25-32 2s+1s+3s circle 6H round and back. 213

Dances for February 25, 2020

Due to the pancake supper at the church, we started off a bit later at 7:30, but boy did we get through dances!

Holly did

WELCOME TO THE DANCE (J32) Round The Room Elinor Vandegrift Let’s All Dance
Round the room dance, 2 facing 2

1- 8 All circle 4H round and back
9-16 All dance RH across and LH back
17-24 1M+2L also 1L+2M turn RH and turn LH
25-32 1s+2s Adv&Ret, 1s also 2s advance and pass RSh to meet the next couple

RAMONA’S DANCE RR 32J, to celebrate Ramona’s birthday!

Kirsty did skip change practice and pas de basque poussette review and then the oddly-named

HA! HA! THE WOOIN’ O’ IT (R8x32) 2C (4C set) MMM 1

1- 8 1L+2L advance towards partners and set, retire and set
9-16 1M+2M repeat bars 1- 8
17-24 1s lead down and back
25-32 1s+2s dance Poussette

Then Holly did

CORN RIGS (R8x32) 2C (4C set) RSCDS Book 4

1- 8 1s cast down own sides, turn inwards dance back to top
9-16 1s dance full Fig of 8 round 2s
17-24 1s lead down the middle and back
25-32 1s+2s dance Poussette

Kirsty did

FLOWERS OF EDINBURGH (R8x32) 3C (4C set) RSCDS Book 1

1- 8 1L followed by partner casts below 3s, 1L crosses and dances up behind Men as 1M dances up centre to 1st places on opposite side and 1s set
9-16 1M followed by partner repeat above Fig and set in own places
17-24 1s lead down the middle and back
25-32 1s+2s dance Poussette. 213

Then Holly did

Easy Does it 2/4L · J32

1-8 1W 2C Rsh reel 3 across.

9-16 1M 2C Lsh reel3 across.

1724 1C lead down the middle and up

25-32 1C 2C poussette.

Then Kirsty did

LINTON PLOUGHMAN (J8x32) 2C (4C set) RSCDS Book 5

1- 8 1s+2s circle 4H round and back
9-16 1s+2s dance RH across and LH across
17-24 1s lead down the middle and back to top
25-32 1s+2s dance Poussette. 2 1

And Holly finished off with

ON THE QUARTER DECK (R8x32) 2C (4C set) Iain Boyd Harbour City

1- 8 1s set and cross over RH, set and ¾ turn RH
9-16 1s dance RH across with 2M and LH across with 2L
17-24 1L followed by 1M dance down for 2 and 1M followed by1L dance up for 2, both cast on Ladies’ side and 1M crosses to 2nd place own side
25-32 2s+1s R&L

Dances for February 18, 2020

Holly started off the evening with

THREE’S THE CHARM (J3x32) 3 persons in a line Martha Morrison Veranth Let’s All Dance

1- 8 Centre person dances Fig of 8, begin by passing end person on right RSh
9-16 Reel of 3, centre person passes end person on right RSh
17-24 Centre person turns end person on right RH then turns person on left ½ LH
25-28 End persons change sides, person on right dancing in front of new centre person, and end person on left behind
29-32 End persons Adv&Ret (towards/away from centre place) while centre person Ret&Adv (up/down)

Then WELCOME TO ST. COLUMBA Circle Dance (R32) and

GIBSON’S GALLOP R 5×32 John Drewey, The Greenburn Book 2 Circle Dance.

Couples in a circle round the room, all facing counter clockwise. Each man has his partner on his right.

1-8 All join nearer hands with partner and dance forward; turn towards partner and dance to original places, and turn towards partner to face anticlockwise again.

9-16 All women dance RS round the man in front of her partner, then round her own partner LS to place.

1724 All men dance LS round the woman in front of his partner, then round his own partner RS to place.

25-28 All join BH with partners and dance 8 slip steps anticlockwise.29-30All slip back 4 steps.

31-32 All release hands and step backward for one step, clap and move on to the next person on the right to repeat the dance with a new partner.

Then Kirsty did a review of skip change and pas de basque and moving pas de basque, and then introduce the POUSSETTE

Holly did and repeated

JAMIE’S JIG (J8x32) 3C (4C set) Harry Rhodes Snowdon Book 1

1- 8 1s+2s+3s set, cross RH and chase clockwise ½ way
9-16 1s+2s+3s set, cross LH and chase anticlockwise ½ way
17-24 1s lead down middle and back
25-32 1s+2s dance Poussette. 213

What beautiful people!

And Kirsty finished off the night with

LINTON PLOUGHMAN (J8x32) 2C (4C set) RSCDS Book 5

1- 8 1s+2s circle 4H round and back
9-16 1s+2s dance RH across and LH across
17-24 1s lead down the middle and back to top
25-32 1s+2s dance Poussette. 2 1

Dances for February 11, 2020

Kirsty started us off with

A HIGHLAND WELCOME (R32) Round The Room Bill Forbes Craigievar Book 1
Round the room dance, 2 facing 2

1- 8 Both couples circle to left and back again
9-16 Both couples dance RH across and LH back to places
17-24 All turn opposite partner LH and face own partner, turn partner RH and end facing other couple
25-32 All Adv&Ret, all couples advance (couples facing clockwise round the room make arches) and pass to meet new couple

Then did a refresher on Rights and Lefts and Figures of 8

THE BRUDENELL JIG (J8x32) 2C (4C set) Brenda Burnell Leeds Anniv Book

1- 8 1s+2s circle 4H round and back
9-16 1s dance Fig of 8 round 2s
17-24 1s lead down for 2 bars, turn RH, lead up and cast to 2nd places
25-32 2s+1s dance R&L

and Pas de Basque step practice, before doing

ESPIE MCNABB (J8x32) 3C (4C set) MMM 1

1- 8 1s+2s+3s set, cross RH, set and cross back RH
9-16 1s lead down the middle and back to place
17-24 1s set, cast 1 place and turn RH (long turn)
25-32 2s+1s+3s circle 6H round and back

Then Dagmar did

Road to Aberdeen   2J40

 1-8    1st cpl dance full fig 8 around 2nd cpl
  9-16
  1st and 2nd cpls turn Right Hand, turn Left Hand 17-24    2nd cpl dance full fig 8 around 1st cpl

25-28    1’s, followed by 2’s, lead down the middle 

29-32    2’s, followed by 1’s, lead back up

33-40    Rights and Lefts

Then Reels of Three

and Finishing off with

THE AULD TABBY CAT (R8x32) 3C (4C set) Iain Boyd Let’s All Dance

1- 8 1s cross RH and cast 1 place (2s step up), 1s cross LH and cast up to original places (2s step down)
9-16 1s dance reflection reels of 3 on sides (in and down to start)
17-24 1s lead down the middle and back to place
25-32 1st cpl cross, cast, 1/2 fig 8 up around 2’s

Burns’ Social February 1, 2020

Hats off to the Valois class for a fun social with lots of crazy dancing, an impressive Ode to the Haggis, and scrumptious food. Thanks to May and Ramona for photos and videos of the event, which you are about to enjoy.

The Head Cheese of Valois himself, the Big B.
Ricardo doing what he does best – making sure nobody gets a free lunch

Janet takes a break for 4.5 seconds
The customary prayer to the SCD gods before onset of dancing
Jacques learns the concept of corners in 4.5 seconds
Catherine wonders if she should always rock a tie with her outfits, while Ramona ponders her next move


The Valois women smile for the camera while Ramona suddenly remembers she left her coffee maker on

Screenshot of the dancers at work; Don rocking his supermodel levitation pose
All 6 feet of Katie resting on her right big toe – what a trooper
Catherine whips her set into shape; in the background, Holly gets annoyed at me even though I am behaving in an exemplary manner…

Ok, maybe not that exemplary. Alison looks content, while Dagmar and Ruth are shocked by Don’s mini-kilt
So many things going on here. Katie and Don intently listen to hour 3 of Alistair explaining the intricacies of aerospace engineering and how it applies real-world irrigation systems, while Holly wonders if there’s any hard liquor in the kitchen and Jacques plans his exit
The power couple hard at work in the kitchen; Janet prepares for her upcoming “don’t you dare throw anything away, minions” speech
Nothing says a proper Scottish outfit like an iPhone 6.
Friends shaking hands, except in this case their own hands
Robin shows Tom chapter 1 of his 438-part memoir
Before the punch
After the punch – Not sure what was in it, but it was goooood.
Luckily, Robin recovered to wow us with his impressive Ode to the Haggis and surprisingly, also the theme song from Titanic.
The table that got to eat first smiles smugly as they rub it in.
May hangs down from the ceiling in order to take this aerial shot of the food table. Most impressive.
Food at last! Dagmar regrets she has such a small appetite.
Smiles after eating since we’re not bitter about having gone last. Like, at all.
Alison hangs out with “the other class”. She survived to tell the tale!

Enjoy too many videos of Adieu Mon Ami

Finally not a Strathspey

Dances from February 4th, 2020

Another busy night with great people and a questionable mic that may be on its last legs!

Kirsty started off with a warm-up

Roond the Hoose 2 Cpl 32 Bar RR -Newfoundland book Volume 2 

  • 1-8 1C & 2C dance 4 hands across and back
  • 9-12 1C (facing clockwise) dance between 2C, cast round opposite person and dance back to place
  • 13-16 1C turn RH once round
  • 17-24 2C (facing anticlockwise) repeat bars 9-16
  • 25-28 All set to partner, then to opposite person
  • 29-30 1C dance under arch made by 2C, all dance forward to face a new couple
  • 31-32 All set

A recap of Rights and Lefts in 2 couple sets


THE WANDERING DRUMMER
 (R3x32) 3C set Iain Boyd Happy to Meet

  • 1- 8 All circle 6H round and back 
  • 9-16 1s dance Fig of 8 on own sides (between 2s to start) 
  • 17-24 1s slip step down and back, cast to 3rd place 
  • 25-32 3s+1s dance R&L

Then step practice – slip step and skip change

Then Dagmar took over and did

Aberdeen Rant 2c J32

  • 1 – 4 1st man and 2nd lady cross right hand, 1st lady and 2nd man cross right hand
  • 5 – 8 repeat left hand
  • 9 – 16 Right Hands across, Left Hands across
  • 17 – 24 1st cpl lead down for 3bars, lead back up for 3 bars and cast to 2nd place
  • 25 – 32 Rights and Lefts

Kirsty did

THE HIGHLAND FAIR (J8x32) 2C (4C set) Book of Graded SCDs

  • 1- 8 1s cast, dance down behind own lines, turn outwards and dance back to place
  • 9-16 1s+2s turn partners RH back to place and then turn LH
  • 17-24 1s followed by 2s, lead down the middle and 2s lead back to the top
  • 25-32 2s+1s dance R&L

And Dagmar ended things with

FLOWERS OF DUNBEG (R5x32) 5C set Sue Porter and Primary 7, DUNBEG

  • 1- 8 1s+2s also 4s+5s dance RH across and LH back
  • 9-16 2s+3s+4s Adv&Ret and turn partners RH
  • 17-24 1s dance in front of 2s and behind 3s, in front of 4s and behind 5s to 5th place 2s+3s+4s+5s step up as 1s pass them
  • 25-32 All circle 10H round and back

Dances for January 28, 2020

Another busy night at the A+P! Holly did one of her classic made-up circle dances, and then Kirsty did

A HIGHLAND WELCOME (R32) Round The Room Bill Forbes Craigievar Book 1
Round the room dance, 2 facing 2

A HIGHLAND WELCOME (R32) Round The Room Bill Forbes Craigievar Book 1
Round the room dance, 2 facing 2

1- 8 Both couples circle to left and back again
9-16 Both couples dance RH across and LH back to places
17-24 All turn opposite partner LH and face own partner, turn partner RH and end facing other couple
25-32 All Adv&Ret, all couples advance (couples facing clockwise round the room make arches) and pass to meet new couple

THE UNICEF CIRCLE (R88) Sq.Set Roy Goldring Unicef (In a Square)

1- 8 1M+3M turn RH and chase clockwise ½ way round outside to opposite places
9-16 1L+3L turn LH and chase anticlockwise ½ way round outside to opposite places
17-32 2s+4s repeat bars 1- 16
33-40 1s+3s in prom hold Adv&Ret and promenade ½ way round and end facing 3s/1s
41-48 1s+3s dance RH across and LH back to end in original places
49-64 2s+4s repeat bars 33-48
65-72 All Men dance in front of partner, behind next Lady, in front of next Lady and behind next Lady back to places
73-80 All Ladies repeat dancing in front of partner to start
81-88 All circle 8H round and back

Holly’s mouthwatering STEAK AND FRIES   (R3X32) 3c set (Holly Boyd)

 1 8         All set, cross RH, set, cross RH

 9 16       All A&R – circle 6/8 hands left halfway

17 – 24      All A&R – circle 6/8 hands right halfway

25 – 32      1c set, cross between 2s, behind 3s, cross between 4s

                  (2s step up on 3&4, 3s step up on 5&6, 4s step up on 7&8)

then

Dagmar finished it off with

THE BARMKIN (R88) Sq.Set Roy Goldring 24 G and S Dances

1- 8 1s+3s turn partners RH and Men followed by Ladies chase clockwise ½ way round set
9-16 1s+3s dance RH across in centre and LH back to “new” places
17-32 2s+4s repeat bars 1-16
33-40 1s+3s turn partners LH and Ladies followed by Men chase anticlockwise ½ way round set
41-48 1s+3s dance R&L
49-64 2s+4s repeat bars 33-48
65-72 All dance into centre and return with corners, Ladies dance round corners passing in front to begin and back to place
73-80 All with corners dance into centre and return with partners, Men dance round partners passing in front to begin and back to place
81-88 All circle 8H round and back

Dances for January 21, 2020

Quite a crowd tonight!!!

Kirsty started us off with some warm-ups and then

JIG TO THE MUSIC (J3x32) 3C set Doris Young 2nd Book Graded SCDs

1- 8 All Adv&Ret, all dance DoSiDo
9-16 All turn RH, all turn LH
17-24 1s slip step down for 4 and back to top, 1s cast to bottom and 2s+3s step up
25-32 All circle 6H round and back

A REEL FOR JEANNIE (R4x32) 4C set Fife Council RSCDS Book 40

1- 8 All circle 8H round and back
9-16 1s slip step down the middle and back
17-24 1s followed by 2s, 3s and 4s cast to bottom, 1s make an arch as 2s, 3s and 4s dance under
25-32 2s+3s+4s+1s clap 8 times and turn partners RH once round

Holly then did

THE WELCOME REEL (R32) Round The Room Carol Porter Let’s All Dance
Round the room dance, 2 facing 2

1- 8 All circle 4H round and back
9-16 Ladies dance DoSiDo and turn RH
17-24 Men dance DoSiDo and turn RH
25-32 All turn partners LH into prom hold and Promenade (Men passing LSh) to meet next couple

Kirsty taught us Rights and Lefts and then

THE HIGHLAND FAIR (J8x32) 2C (4C set) Book of Graded SCDs

1- 8 1s cast, dance down behind own lines, turn outwards and dance back to place
9-16 1s+2s turn partners RH back to place and then turn LH
17-24 1s followed by 2s, lead down the middle and 2s lead back to the top
25-32 2s+1s dance R&L

And Holly finished us off with

THE WANDERING DRUMMER (R3x32) 3C set Iain Boyd Happy to Meet

1- 8 All circle 6H round and back
9-16 1s dance Fig of 8 on own sides (between 2s to start)
17-24 1s slip step down and back, cast to 3rd place
25-32 3s+1s dance R&L