Friday, 13 May 2011

The Ceilidh

Ceilidh in action
'Are ye dancin'?' goes the old joke. 'Naw, it's just the way I'm standin'.'

But people get ready for Friday night is the night of the legendary Carlton Ceilidh.  While at the start of the 1900s the word ceilidh was used to describe a social evening based on story telling, the term is now used exclusively for an evening of Scottish (mostly) country dancing.  But the ceilidh as an evening of story telling lives on in the Carlton bar after every match.

Scottish country dancing is a wonderful thing and high levels of fitness are required.  While all Carlton members will demonstrate that fitness, it may be that few of the company attending tonight's event will have had much net practice and some of the dances that will come up may be unfamiliar - here is Fantasy Bob's cricketers' guide to the most popular Scottish Country Dances.

Dashing White Sergeant - Batsmen should be aware that while most dances are danced by couples, for some reason this is a dance danced in threes - that is one of the batsmen has a runner.  Account needs to be taken of this at all stages of the dance if an unfortunate run out is not going to happen.  In particular, the dancer at square leg must remember to stay in his or her crease and not idly wander about while all the pas de basqueing is going on.

Gay Gordons - this dance is like facing very slow bowling - you go 8 forward, 8 back, then some twirling and a bit of hopping and with any luck you're back facing in the right direction to take next delivery and the sequence repeats, sometimes on to infinity.

Strip the Willow - this is a trick - it is not a dance at all but refers to the essential practice of cleaning your bat during the close season.  Fine sandpaper and linseed oil are required.

The Circassian Circle - this is the fielding formation conventionally used during the fielding power play in ODI matches.  Dancers must be within the circle.  They advance and retire and clap and then do a bit of turning about, presumably to retrieve the ball before taking up position for the next ball.  Dancers should remember that backing the throw is essential in this dance, if ladies are not going to go for overthrows.

Eightsome Reel - in its cricketing version this dance is more usually referred to as the XIsome reel.  There is lots and lots of going round in a circle and then stopping and going round in the opposite version. Scholars believe that this depicts the challenges of a side finding an away ground when they are relying only on SATNAV.

Reel of the 51st Division - this is a dance only for Test standard players since it has some difficult strokes beyond the forward prod and the heave over midwicket.  It is truly beautiful and its origins are remarkable - it was devised by soldiers of the Highland Division while they were prisoners of war during WW2.  This link gives the full story and more.  In its key feature, dancers join arms to form a Saltire across the set.  It is dancing as anti-Nazism and an expression of our will to freedom.  Just like Fantasy Bob's cover drive. 

The creation of Scottish country dances is a military tradition that seems to be continuing for FB read recently that Scottish soldiers stationed in Afghanistan had devised a dance which depicts helicopters which are an essential part of their daily experience.  Tunes of Glory indeed.

Every Ceilidh will close with Auld Lang Syne, another relatively modern tradition, but its rendition generally includes a pitch invasion based on that seen following India's victory in 1983 World Cup final at Lords

And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere !
and gie's a hand o’ thine !
And we’ll tak a right gude-willy waught,
for auld lang syne.

1 comment:

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