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Highland - Theory
Sword Dance - extension after high cuts?
By ScottishThistle Comments: 1, member since Thu May 16, 2013
On Thu May 16, 2013 01:10 PM

In the first step of the sword dance, following the high cuts in bar 4, does the right foot extend to 2nd aerial position low to begin the pas de basque? The textbook describes bar 5 "as for bar 1", which leads me to believe that there is an extension after the high cuts. However, I thought I read somewhere else that there is no extension.

9 Replies to Sword Dance - extension after high cuts?

re: Sword Dance - extension after high cuts?
By batd_teacherPremium member Comments: 2551, member since Mon Feb 23, 2004
On Thu May 16, 2013 04:18 PM
Hello 'Scottish Thistle'!

You are correct in your report that in the book it states 'Bar 5 As for bars 1 to 4,' (it actually states Bars 5 to 8: As for bars 1 to 4, starting at 2 and finishing at 3).

As the highcut is finished with the rf up in 3rd r a, the foot must be extended in order land for the pas de basque at 1a, as per the diagram for the sword dance (p. 34 in the 7th edition of the SOBHD board book). A full extension would take you beyond 1a, and require an extreme extension and hop to bring you to 1d for the 2nd pas de basque.

The way I instruct my dancers is to, yes, fully extend the working foot, but to be able to drop it down quickly during the extension, in order to land at 1a. So, in order to give a 'visual', if you were to fully extend, and jump over into 3rd, on a full extension, you would almost be at the 'corner a'. But, by dropping the working foot in air, you can cut the distance to land in 1a.

(So much easier to demonstrate than to type!) :)

I look forward to other teachers/judges' interpretation of my ramblings!
re: Sword Dance - extension after high cuts?
By KirstenLeeSmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 779, member since Sun Mar 13, 2005
On Wed Jun 05, 2013 09:13 AM
I had it drilled in my head from a young age to not extend the pas de bas after the last highcut- however going through the book now, there's no basis for this.

It also doesn't address even modifying the extension to prevent travelling too far.

I haven't seen any dancers extend after this pas de bas and have continued, without question, to teach it the way I was taught- maybe it's in the book somewhere, but if not, where did we get the idea to not extend?
re: Sword Dance - extension after high cuts?
By Bril Comments: 152, member since Thu Mar 07, 2013
On Wed Jun 05, 2013 09:17 AM
I asked my teacher this exact question right before I did my members exam. She said it was one of those instances where you have to use common sense interpreting the book (I am quoting her, not judging anyone else's conclusions) and that there is no extension. I have never danced it with an extension and I don't think it is correct to have one, even though the book doesn't explicitly mention it. Maybe it will be in a future version?
re: Sword Dance - extension after high cuts?
By KirstenLeeSmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 779, member since Sun Mar 13, 2005
On Fri Jun 07, 2013 07:19 AM
The Highland book has been edited and re-edited over the years to account for pretty much everything though- is it something that used to be there in an older version and was maybe taken out?
re: Sword Dance - extension after high cuts?
By highlandlassie Comments: 2895, member since Wed Feb 18, 2004
On Fri Jun 07, 2013 09:14 AM
Whenever this question has been asked at any championship lectures or similar that I have attended, the answer has always been to focus on completing the last highcut. As teachers we say things that aren't entirely true sometimes to get the true result - - such as telling kids to land sword p-d-bs together, when technically they should be almost but not at the same time. But aiming for together, young ones are more likely to hit the proper timing. My guess is, it is a similar reason that resulted in you thinking there was no extension. If you focused on the extension you would be much more likely to cheat on the last highcut. So while there is technically an extension, the last highcut being completed is more important. A fully completed highcut followed by a quick extension is probably the ideal in this case.
re: Sword Dance - extension after high cuts?
By KirstenLeeSmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 779, member since Sun Mar 13, 2005
On Fri Jun 07, 2013 09:49 AM
I just don't understand why nobody does this- not that it wouldn't be difficult to get a double and an extension, but there are steps and movements much more difficult. Also, some dancers do extension highcuts without getting the two beats, and then don't extend the pdb here?


Apologies for going on and on- it's just that so many things are debated and discussed and analyzed, this is something pretty big in a popular dance, I'd be curious to see if it's just something that's been passed down.
re: Sword Dance - extension after high cuts? (karma: 1)
By Rockstep Comments: 594, member since Fri Sep 02, 2005
On Fri Jun 07, 2013 10:36 AM
My way of thinking is that it is a matter of music and timing.

Think of how you start the 1st pdb of the dance...you extend on 8 then land on 1&.

Now to bar 4, you can't complete a high cut (4&) AND extend for the next pbd (extension would be on count 4) at the same time. You just can't. So you finish the high cut, then spring into the pdb for bar 5 with no extension.
re: Sword Dance - extension after high cuts?
By KirstenLeeSmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 779, member since Sun Mar 13, 2005
On Fri Jun 07, 2013 10:44 AM
That is completely true, and if one were to extend, the counting would have to change to 8& a 1&

Personally I think the music angle makes the most sense. I think the quick fix, then, that is missing from the book is noting 'repeat bars 1-4 omitting the extension on the first pdb in bar 1'.
re: Sword Dance - extension after high cuts?
By highlandlassie Comments: 2895, member since Wed Feb 18, 2004
On Fri Jun 07, 2013 11:15 AM
But if you think of the introduction, you shouldn't actually be extending on 8 - - you're rising on count 7,8 or count 8 for two of the intros, for example. So it's the same thing. I do think a big reason no one does it is that, although champ step lecturers don't come out and say don't extend, they just say, "Finish the highcut."

I agree that there isn't a lot of time for it, which is why it is the highcut that gets the focus and people aren't so concerned about the extension.

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