Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)

Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.

This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Oh my

Gangsta rap meets ceilidh to put purists in reel spin

FOR generations of Scots, the late, lamented Andy Stewart, along with the Alexander Brothers and television's White Heather Club, defined a worldwide image of Scottish country dance.

Many viewed ceilidh dancing as the worst of Hogmanay television come to life - simpering damsels in tartan sashes and well-scrubbed lads poncing through eightsome reels.
Not that there's anything wrong with that...
But over the past decade, ceilidh has become cool. And now it is to receive the ultimate make-over - all the way from the inner city ghettos of the United States.

Yesterday, Scotland's National Centre for Dance in Edinburgh unveiled plans for a "spectacular" new stage show, combining Scottish dance with "sexy street-cred hip hop" - gangsta rap.
It's what the world has been crying out for.
Dance Base, the company placing a new spin on ceilidh choreography for the show Off Kilter, believes it will forever change the world's impression of Scottish music and dance.

But purists expressed concern that fusing traditional dance with the violence-ridden culture of the US may be an "unhappy marriage".

And that, according to traditionalists, may not be a great idea, especially if a historic and cherished art form suffers.
Granted it will suck with hearty vigor, but calling the entire culture of the US "violence-ridden" is a bit much from people who play the bagpipes and eat haggis.
Daisy Mackenzie, who is an international adjudicator and examiner, and one of Britain's most respected teachers of dance, said: "I'm traditional; dancing is for everyone, but the joyous nature of our dance associated with an American culture rooted in violence, is not a natural cultural mix I would recommend."
Again with the violence--man, someone needs to knock some sense into these people!
But Morag Deyes, the artistic director of Dance Base, said the time was ripe to "update" Scotland's musical heritage.

"We felt traditions of Scottish culture have changed a lot in recent years," she added.
Word up, homey.
The production will premiere in Edinburgh in April before embarking on tours of Scotland and North America. Some of the show's cast of ten are expected to wear "sexy" mini-kilts.
Well, with the paragraph up top about poncing lads, one certainly hopes that the minikilt wearers will be of the female variety.
Ms Deyes added: "We think it's going to be sexy, funny and uplifting. There are lots of people doing things, which have moved Scotland away from its shortbread tin image."

But the shortbread image is not necessarily a bad thing, says Marjory Rowan, of the Scottish Board of Highland Dancing.

She said: "A pas de bas is a pas de bas and while I am not averse to experimentation, this may be a bit over the top. It is quite a culture clash."
Pass de bass? Are we having a fish fry, too?!
The show's producers are also planning to ask the BBC for permission to incorporate television footage of the legendary White Heather Club dancers.

That concerns Elspeth Gray, the secretary of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society, who said: "The mind does boggles a bit at this, and the inclusion of the White Heather Club sounds as if it could be mocking.
Yes, let's save our mockery for the violence-prone American culture, please.
"It does no harm when people try to make dance exciting. If people like it, it'll take off; if they don't, it won't. But I'd feel uncomfortable if there was an element of mickey-taking."
Oh good grief, now they're bringing the poor Irish people into this!
That also worries Billy Forsyth, the vice-chair of the Scottish Traditions of Dance Trust.

"If the White Heather Club was up there as an indication of 'how we danced 100 years ago' and this how we do it now, that would be an unreasonable integration.

"I promote traditionalism, but that's not to say dance should not evolve."
Janet Cook, the secretary of the Highland Dancing Teachers' Association, who is also a specialist in the ancient Hebridean tradition, added: "This may be an unfortunate fusion. Variation and choreography are fine, but the basic roots give dance its strength and identity."
Hey, a new ad campaign for Calgon laundry soap--"'Ancient Hebridean Tradition,' eh?"
Dance Base, however, is adamant that it can modernise without mockery or show a lack of respect.

The show, billed as "hip hop meets the eightsome reel", will feature a range of styles.

Martyn Bennett, one of the country's leading musical pioneers, who played the spectacular millennium show at Edinburgh Castle, is to provide some of the show's soundtrack.

Ms Deyes said: "It's the most ambitious show we have put together, and we hope to take it abroad to the likes of Tartan Day and big arts festivals around Europe.

"We're not going to be taking the mickey out of anything. We're using the traditional dances as the inspiration. It should be an absolute blast."
By all means, let us get jiggy wit it.

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