Poll: Highland / Highland - Theory

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re: If you could change anything with highland dance what would it be?
By CompactDiscomember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 1076, member since Fri Aug 29, 2008
On Sun Oct 12, 2008 08:14 PM
I would change the cost of the competitions!!! I have to EARN that money in practice minutes you know!!! lol Theres a competition in Calgary thats 10 bucks a dance!!!! ITS INSANE!!!!
re: If you could change anything with highland dance what would it be?
By weeabbey Comments: 21, member since Thu Nov 06, 2008
On Thu Nov 06, 2008 03:51 PM
I think that it would be nice to go to more places if the groups are large so that dancers can see where they are in the group. I am not sure that it would be good for a dancer's self esteem to find out that they were last in the group. Perhaps at festivals the teachers could get a list of where the dancers placed in the group!
re: If you could change anything with highland dance what would it be?
By ThirdAerial Comments: 68, member since Tue Jul 12, 2005
On Fri Nov 07, 2008 12:44 PM
Written critiques are given at medal exams and events like a BATD Festival. At competitions, judges simply do not have the time to "critique" each dancer or indicate why one placed over another.

As a judge, my job is simply to rank the dancers from top to bottom, not to provide instructional tips. That's what workshops (and your teacher) are for! Hope that doesn't come off too snarky... it is just how things are. Judging is subjective. You can put the same group of dancers in front of 10 different judges and see 10 different outcomes. That's why we use 3 for Championships.

Also, allowing dancers to see actual score sheets would not work either. As a scrutineer, I have seen judges use points methods as varied as the tartans on the dancers. One judge may give beginners points between 40 and 50 and another may use a range from 30 to 60 for the same group. So, your score might be a 41 or 52 or 63 and it means nothing except where that judge has you ranked against other dancers within his or her point system.

As for positive changes to the Highland world; (1) bring back "old" Highland steps (in progress), (2) more opportunities for choreography, (3) more public visibility/awareness (I'm so sick of the "So, you teach Riverdance?" comments!).
re: If you could change anything with highland dance what would it be?
By stori_lundi Comments: 188, member since Wed Aug 02, 2006
On Fri Nov 07, 2008 01:30 PM
As for positive changes to the Highland world; (1) bring back "old" Highland steps (in progress), (2) more opportunities for choreography,


(1) Personally, I think the "slap and clap" jig step needs to stay dead. :D

(2) I would *love* more choreography and to see some guidelines on it. While I don't want to have strict guidelines like "all choreographies must contain 2 fling turns, at least one pdb, and a high-cut", I do think there needs to be distinctions between different types of choreographies like mainly highland/national/jig/hornpipe or ones that bring in other styles like jazz, modern or hip-hop. (GOOD highland hip-hop or modern would be so cool!!) It would be nice if choreography judges were familiar with other forms of dance as well.
re: If you could change anything with highland dance what would it be?
By LeeAinsdancer Comments: 133, member since Fri Nov 07, 2008
On Tue Nov 11, 2008 09:07 PM
One thng I agree with is that the Intermediate level should have to get stamps of something. I believe the judging gets harder and because you do not have to get stamps you may never place in Intermediate and yet still have to move up after a year. This does not make sense to me.
The other thing is that there are a very good dancers in my daughters age group that win the trophy over and over again. It might be better for organizers to have Premier A and B seperate even if it means putting two age groups together and seperating the A's and the B's.
re: If you could change anything with highland dance what would it be?
By Blue_Bonnets Comments: 345, member since Mon Oct 15, 2007
On Wed Nov 12, 2008 09:45 PM
I'll state the points first, and elaborate after.

1. More categories.
2. Different dances allowed in each category.
3. More OPTIONS available at each competition.
4. Make sections smaller.

I would like to see some categories that have been abolished years and years ago be re-introduced. When my mother danced about thirty years ago, there were more categories: I THINK it was Primary (then called "Baby Class"), Beginners, Novice, Novice-Intermediate, Intermediate, Advanced-Intermediate, Premier (then called "Open"), and Championship (though that's not a different grading category). Apparently, dancers collected stamps all the way through to the end of Novice-Intermediate. The other two categories had time limits on them, as far as she can remember.
Also jusging by the two old programs from competitions that I excavated (one from 1977, the other from 1978), it looks like there were different dances that were allowed for the different categories, too. It seems that Johnny and Laddie were introduced in Novice-Intermediate, that Village Maid and Scotch Measure showed up in Intermediate, and that Jig and Sailors were only introduced in Advanced-Intermediate (though, admittedly, it is conceivable that it COULD be just the way things were scheduled at those particular competitions).
I've long wondered why Jig and Sailors, which are both rather complex dances, are somehow considered suitable for Intermediate, while Village Maid and Scotch Measure, which are considerably easier, are first available in Premier.

I've also wondered what it would be like if ALMOST ALL competitions offered ALMOST ALL the Nationals, and that dancers could pick a maximum of six dances per day. That would reduce the number of dancers per category, and would ensure that you're not ALWAYS dancing the same dances (though you could, if you so chose), and that you're not ALWAYS competing against the same dancers. (e.g. one dancer may select Blue Bonnets and Lilt, while the other selects Jig and Scotch Measure, while yet another selects Earl of Errol and Flora, and another may overlap, selecting perhaps Flora and Lilt). This can also simplify outfits: e.g. if your young Premier dancer has outgrown her National dress, you can hold off buying a new one for a while, by having her choose Jig, Sailors, Laddie, and Johnnie, without being penalised in the aggregate.

I also think that Beginners should ONLY dance Highland. I know I am going to be unpopular in this decision, because Flora and Lilt are relatively easy dances to learn, but I feel for parents in this: many of them have to purchase a Highland AND a National outfit all at once. Furthermore, I find (and polls on this very website confirm) that most dancers are bored of Flora and Lilt by Intermediate. My thought is that if those two dances are held off for another section, that the interest in these two dances will be held a bit longer.
Finally, I think that sections should be changed to keep eight dancers as the standard. There is very little reason a category HAS to contain more than that. For the most part, age separation works well. (Exceptions will be for championships, where, for example, there are 25 who are all over 18, or in Primary where there happen to be 15 who are all under 7, or in any other category where there may, for example, be 16 nine-year-olds). A section of eight dancers is really quite perfect, because if you're not placing, it means that you're in the bottom two (but you can't tell if you're last or not).
re: If you could change anything with highland dance what would it be?
By justdoit Comments: 1282, member since Tue Jul 20, 2004
On Wed Nov 12, 2008 11:23 PM
Edited by justdoit (100417) on 2008-11-12 23:25:14
Those are nice ideas Blue Bonnets but it would certainly increase the cost of competition to have so many sections and so many dances. As a practical matter too, not many competitions would have enough dancers to fill all those sections. I wish there were more competitors doing highland dance to make all that possible. I know the thread says you can change ANYTHING so enjoy the dream...and I hope the practical side of me doesn't drag you down! LOL :P
re: If you could change anything with highland dance what would it be?
By Blue_Bonnets Comments: 345, member since Mon Oct 15, 2007
On Wed Nov 12, 2008 11:48 PM
Oh, I forgot to say.....
MORE COMPETITIONS!!!
re: If you could change anything with highland dance what would it be?
By elaina16member has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 901, member since Mon Aug 14, 2006
On Thu Nov 13, 2008 07:26 AM
Blue_Bonnets - your point about having 8 dancers in a groups sounds good in theory, but I cannot see it working. My one daughter is eight and in beginners so these groups are usually between 8 to 15 dancers depending on the competition so no problem there. But when you look at the novice group for her age there are usually very few dancers and they usually get moved up to the novice 9 group, however this is usually again a fair size group usually 8 + dancers. It is very unfeasable to have a novice 8 group as there would probable be only 4 to 6 dancers in this group so these dancers must be bumped up to the novice 9 group.

Secondly your point about choosing the national dances you want at a competition would never work as we would be there forever. Secondly it would be very unfair on the pipers at competitions as well as the judges. Also there are some dances as you have even mentioned that dancers just cringe at doing which would mean these dances may have only 1 or 2 selecting them and making them not worth dancing.

Sorry to be a downer on your ideas as they are great but just some reasons they would never work.

What I would love to see in Canada is what they have over in the UK. I would love to see the overall highland and the overall national trophies instead of the overall and the runner-up.
re: If you could change anything with highland dance what would it be?
By puddelilly Comments: 586, member since Thu Sep 11, 2008
On Tue Dec 09, 2008 12:27 PM
I like the idea that ID comps have where you move up in each dance individually. That way you're not competing against really excellent dancers in a dance that you're not as great at. They also have a scoring system that helps dancers understand their strengths and weaknesses so that they can work on those specifically.
re: If you could change anything with highland dance what would it be?
By HighlandHottie05member has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 3003, member since Sat Jan 22, 2005
On Tue Dec 09, 2008 03:27 PM
Top 7 things I would change (no order)

1. Full results+comments
2. More choreography competitions
3. Prize money once youre 16+ no matter what!
4. More highland steps
5. Dancers to be treated equal to bagpipers at highland games (they get paid to go there and get all the parking and were stuck walking miles with all our dance stuff, and we pay to be there!!)
6. Laddie and Barracks in aboyne (its just a thing I have lol)
7. Pre-champs to be judged like normal championships (3 judges and points, and set steps etc.) (!!)
re: If you could change anything with highland dance what would it be?
By mom_2_3 Comments: 245, member since Tue Oct 28, 2008
On Tue Dec 09, 2008 03:29 PM
Stamps for Intermediate!!!!! I have been around for many many years and this is a familiar refrain! There are many dances to learn and let's face it, for the most part, the difference between a dancer who just started premier and a dancer who has been premier for at least a year is very different. Yes, I know that practice...practice...practice is the key to being a good premier, but the number of competitions also has to come into play. Another thing I would like to see is a return to the more "traditional" tartans. Yes, white background is MUCH easier to see especially in front of black curtains, but we sure don't see the variety of tartans any more. Everyone is blue and white, red and white, green and white, turquoise and white, etc.
re: If you could change anything with highland dance what would it be?
By booverly Comments: 1980, member since Fri Jul 02, 2004
On Wed Dec 10, 2008 01:24 PM
I've also wondered what it would be like if ALMOST ALL competitions offered ALMOST ALL the Nationals, and that dancers could pick a maximum of six dances per day. That would reduce the number of dancers per category, and would ensure that you're not ALWAYS dancing the same dances (though you could, if you so chose), and that you're not ALWAYS competing against the same dancers. (e.g. one dancer may select Blue Bonnets and Lilt, while the other selects Jig and Scotch Measure, while yet another selects Earl of Errol and Flora, and another may overlap, selecting perhaps Flora and Lilt).


This is a really good idea and would work very well if organized carefully. Hmmm. Like offering say 5 or 6 national/character dances of which a dancer may only pick 2 or 3. Each dance must have a total of 10 dancers entering in order to be actually competed in on the day of competition. If orchestrated carefully, while one group is dancing one dance the other group is changing. I don't see it adding more than an hour to a competition. A challenge but definitely doable.

Your post Blue_Bonnets was full of win. I like the idea of the Beginners only doing Highland. I'm astonished at the number of dancers who don't know the Reel when they first turn Premier.
re: If you could change anything with highland dance what would it be?
By highland_girl04 Comments: 30, member since Fri Jan 09, 2009
On Sat Jan 10, 2009 06:36 PM
I would like to choose what dances we want to do. Then have a vote of the ones people chose the most then dance those ones! It would be fun to choose what we wanted to do!!!!
re: If you could change anything with highland dance what would it be?
By Blue_Bonnets Comments: 345, member since Mon Oct 15, 2007
On Thu Jan 22, 2009 02:29 AM
Thanks, Booverly... yep, you've perhaps improved on my idea: list a FEW Nationals, and have each dancer pick a maximum of two (or three). It would be the same in terms of time: each dancer would still only be dancing six dances per day (four Highland, two National).

Those petitioning for stamps for Intermediate..... I can see why you would want them, but I had a WONDERFUL year in Intermediate, winning six trophies, and probably about 30 medals, over the course of approximately 25 competitions. For me, if it had been restricted to six stamps, I would've had a much less fun time in Intermediate. Being in for a year also gave me time to actually learn the dances: the six month/six stamp restriction on Beginner's wasn't the best option for me, as I ended up completing Beginner's without learning the Lilt!
Having said all that, it took me almost a year in Premier to start getting golds again. So there really IS a leap in abilities between Intermediate and Premier, hence the need for an additional category.
re: If you could change anything with highland dance what would it be?
By hapadancer127 Comments: 41, member since Tue Mar 24, 2009
On Sun Mar 29, 2009 03:29 PM
seeing comments that the judges made would be amazing and so helpful :)
re: If you could change anything with highland dance what would it be?
By celtic_kelpie Comments: 7, member since Sat May 09, 2009
On Tue Jun 30, 2009 04:00 PM
I would love to hear the judges comments for open competion but I think that highland dance is awesome and should not be changed
re: If you could change anything with highland dance what would it be?
By kellyadam Comments: 256, member since Fri Mar 16, 2007
On Wed Jul 01, 2009 02:41 AM
I'd love to see all organisations being able to compete together where all dancers are welcome rather than having to be registered to dance at certain comps, would be more fun for the kids, they'd make more friends! :)

I know, I'm living in a dream world :)
re: If you could change anything with highland dance what would it be?
By puddelilly Comments: 586, member since Thu Sep 11, 2008
On Wed Jul 01, 2009 01:26 PM
elaina16 wrote:


Secondly your point about choosing the national dances you want at a competition would never work as we would be there forever. Secondly it would be very unfair on the pipers at competitions as well as the judges. Also there are some dances as you have even mentioned that dancers just cringe at doing which would mean these dances may have only 1 or 2 selecting them and making them not worth dancing.

.

This could work if it was run similar to ID competitions. Dancers have the choice of which dance they want to do for their traditional set and their non traditional set, so theoretically you can have 4 dancers doing St. Pats, 4 doing blackbird, 4 doing king of the fairies etc. This would translate into Highland with dancers choosing something like Lilt, Flora, Earl, Blue Bonnets or Laddie as their "traditional dance". Any of those dances could be done, but they would be competing against each other.
There are good things about both ways of running a competition, but the one is definitely doable. Just need to think outside the box.
re: If you could change anything with highland dance what would it be?
By dundeedancermum Comments: 2, member since Wed Jul 01, 2009
On Fri Jul 03, 2009 03:33 AM
It would be great if the SOBHD and SOHDA could come together more for the sake of the dancers. More freedom of dance choice for SOBHD and more scope for competition for SOHDA. After all, the dancers just love to dance, thats what it is all about.
re: If you could change anything with highland dance what would it be?
By kellyadam Comments: 256, member since Fri Mar 16, 2007
On Sun Jul 05, 2009 04:26 PM
Yep definitely dundeedancermum! :)
re: If you could change anything with highland dance what would it be?
By stori_lundi Comments: 188, member since Wed Aug 02, 2006
On Sun Jul 05, 2009 04:35 PM
dundeedancermum wrote:

It would be great if the SOBHD and SOHDA could come together more for the sake of the dancers. More freedom of dance choice for SOBHD and more scope for competition for SOHDA. After all, the dancers just love to dance, thats what it is all about.


See now, that's just crazy talk. ;)
re: If you could change anything with highland dance what would it be?
By MissMerilees Comments: 28, member since Fri Oct 20, 2006
On Tue Jul 07, 2009 12:50 PM
I mostly wish that we could see all our scores so we can work on the things that we need to improve. I also wish there were more choreography competitions :)
re: If you could change anything with highland dance what would it be?
By HappyHighlandMUM Comments: 43, member since Mon Apr 20, 2009
On Wed Aug 12, 2009 01:42 PM
Here a couple of things I would like to see.

1. Two judges to judge the each dance group at all competitions not just the Nationals etc. As stated before by a judge each judge looks at different things and sees different things - if they combine their results together it maybe a different outcome then just one judges perspective.

As we have been at many competitions where our daughter places 1st and then we go to the next one and she doesn't place at all when it looks to us like she did the exact same thing as the previous competition that she received 1st in....this is extremely confusing to the dancer as they don't know what to improve on or change to help better themselves, and yes I know that the groups change from each competition but it can't be that drastic to go from first to not placing at all in any of the dances, most of these groups the same core girls always are at the same competitions. At least if there were two different perspectives this may help.

P.S I know this would cost more to have two judges but maybe it would be money well spent as it may help the dancers feel like they are being judge more fairly.

Also I realize that teachers and the yearly exams can give the dancer an idea on what to improve on but this is seriously irrelevant if we are being told that every judge will give different results.

As these are competitions and anyone who tells me they just going because for the fun of it I would have a hard time believing it as we all spend lots of money to travel and register for these games, yes I know that that is definitively a part of the games and an important part that they have fun but I would have a hard time believing that dancers are not joining competitions to either improve their standings and their skills or to win something.



"The definition of "com⋅pe⋅ti⋅tion taken from the dictionary states:

Use competition in a Sentence
┬ľnoun 1. the act of competing; rivalry for supremacy, a prize, etc.: The competition between the two teams was bitter.
2. a contest for some prize, honor, or advantage: Both girls entered the competition."


Also I find it interesting that the Primary groups are never invited to join into the picture that is taken at the end of the award ceremonies this is only for Beginners and up. It would be nice if the overall dancer for the primary groups were included. They pay money the same as everyone else to be part of the competition and it feels like they are excluded from this portion not a big deal but it would be nice.

P.S I am writing from Ontario so I don't know if it is different in other parts of the world.

These are just a few thoughts. I am not trying to insult anyone just saying it how I see it.
re: If you could change anything with highland dance what would it be?
By ReelFish Comments: 48, member since Mon Aug 17, 2009
On Mon Aug 24, 2009 11:38 AM
I would like the feedback to know where I can improve. People see different things. If your only feedback is your teacher, they may see things one way where someone who doesn't know you is looking at what you do differently.
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