Dancing Vikings

I have been a member of the Caernarfonshire and Anglesey Caledonian Society for several years now (probably about 7;  as mentioned in my recent post about this year’s Burns Night celebrations, I’ve been the chairman for about 3 years).   I gather that in the past, the society used to do quite a range of activities, all geared towards celebrating Scottish culture and bringing Scottish expats and other interested parties together.  In recent years, however, the main focus has been on Scottish Country Dancing.  In fact, apart from the Burns Night dinner, this is about our only regular activity (and it was the reason I joined in the first place).

We meet for dancing on Thursday evenings during the autumn, winter and spring (taking a long summer break, usually from May to mid-September) at Canolfan Penrallt in Bangor.  Our main aim, which we usually achieve, is to have lots of fun while dancing, rather than to do all the dances perfectly (although we do try and make them look reasonably nice).

As well as working through our regular repertoire of dances and trying out occasional new dances (or ones so old and long-forgotten that they are effectively new to us), we often have a slightly more complicated dance that we work hard at for several weeks in a row.  The one we’re doing at the moment is an interesting 4-couple longwise reel called The Viking Longship that is supposed to visually describe the shape of the eponymous vessel.  It’s one of those dances where the dancing couple (the first couple, as in most longwise-set dances) are doing one thing while the other couples (at least 2 of them) are doing something else for a large chunk of the dance.  In this case it involves the dancing couple nipping through rapidly vanishing gaps between the other dancers and it’s a great test of one’s phrasing abilities!

There appears to be a similarly-named but entirely unrelated dance called The Viking Ship, which we haven’t yet tried.

 

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