Why are the arms down in Irish dancing?

28 09 2013

We loved Ireland. After Morocco – which wasn’t our fave experience, we arrived at the Aer Lingus plane to hear laughter, joking, all in this charming accent like twittering sparrows, and felt a huge sense of relief!
Dublin was great – Sally (Danny’s sister) and Brendan gave us a fantastic intro to Dublin by inviting us to the Bernard Shaw Pub on the first night…..and we just went from there. The ‘Craic’ (the chat, the jokes, the puns, the stories) were fantastic, we laughed and laughed…..Phil felt right at home! An invite for a 30th the next Saturday decied the shape of our stay.

Sunday we experienced Hurling – no not throwing up – its the national game and really quite fast and furious – cool!

We had nearly 2 weeks in total in Ireland, 4 nights at first, then we hired a car and went West to Galway, Connemara, Cararroe….stayed at a wee bed and breakfast place 2 nights at Cararroe (pronounced Carrrrroy), then headed back to Dublin – with a night at Longford –  back to Dublin for Des’s 30th birthday where he was going to have a ‘spelling workshop’!! They love words – the Oirish – and it was a fascinating workshop then a great party!

We stayed another 5 nights in Dublin and had time to explore the city really well.

Went to a museum/collection by the engineer Alfred Chester Beatty where we viewed hundreds of ancient manuscripts and learnt how they were created – fantastic. And the floor with all the religions stuff was amazing – much food for thought there….Christian, Hinduism, Muslim, Jewish, Japanese Shintu, Chinese Buddhism, Tibetan, etc all their worship material – beautiful, and so beautifully representing their particular religious ( and political) aesthetic.

Went to the Irish Dance Museum – and I had to ask – why did Irish dance develop with arms down by the sides?

to the Irish Museum - which was really tiny but I found out about the arms!!

to the Irish Museum – which was really tiny but I found out about the arms!!

The answer – from the horses mouth – the dude at the Museum who was also an Irish dancer ………apparently it all stemmed from the Catholic Church not allowing the sexes to intermingle!!! Surprise, surprise!!
So they would go to dance halls to dance but the girls would be on one side, the boys on the other, and no touching, so arms kept tightly down by the sides!
another thing – yes they did take the doors down and lay them on the dirt floor because they wanted to make sound with their feet, and the doors were small spaces so it made sense to keep the arms in and down there also!!
So there you go!!

And – we got tattoos! Phil had been talking about getting one all through this trip and I’d been thinking about getting a second one on my 60th ( 3 years ago) but never got around to it soooo – here we  were and we liked their aesthetic – so we found a tattoo place and had matching ones done one afternoon. Phil got the artwork and some words meaning ‘Home and Family’ (Baile agus Can Clann) but I just got the artwork PHOTO – ouch that was enough!!!

Dublin is a great town. Hope to go back some time.



28 09 2013

Thur 19th Sept – – Phil and I went to our old stamping ground of Earls Court, Glocester Rd, Queensgate Terrace – where we first met in March 1970. It was amazing to revisit these places!

Fri 20th – we went to visit Rambert studios to watch rehearsal. Mark Baldwin is an old friend (we danced together in Limbs 1977 – 80) and he has been Director of Rambert for 10 years. I was chuffed because he introduced me as his first Cunningham Technique teacher, which is a good way to put me in perspective for the Rambert dancers!

Fridays are good because they are recapping on the whole weeks work – runthru’s of the works for the new triple bill. Comedy of Change (Mark’s piece) was cool and Barack Marshall ( a New York based Israeli and Yemeni choreographer) has created a new work The Casterways which is highly theatrical and very witty.

Fri nite – went to Old Street Station to meet with Benny Ord (dancer in Wayne MacGregors Random dance co) and Shanelle, (In Flagrante dancer) to have a Vietnamese meal – crowded, fun.

In London at a cool vietnamese restaurant

In London at a cool vietnamese restaurant

Sat 21st – went on the London Eye – wow…..

London Eye in background

London Eye in background

then met Gill Davis at her ballet studio – Anna Pavlova’s old mansion Ivy House!! We know Gill because her husband Producer Teg Davis – saw our show in Edinburgh – he loved it – and we have set up a potentially great connection now! Gill greeted us warmly and they kindly remained open at Ivy House so I could look around!!! Than we went to lunch and through the conversation we talked about the older dancer dancing…..the upshot being I offered to teach Gill my Witch Bitch solo!

Sat nite we went to all the way to Canongate Station to have a drink and a laugh with Maria (IF dancer) Danny and Tom (Sauce). Travelling back on the crowded late nite tube at 12:30am was a trip!!

Sun am met with Mark at the NEW Rambert studios – that he has been hugely active in raising the money and deciding the design – what a fantastic achievement!!

Here we are outside the new Rambert studios on South Bank, London

Here we are outside the new Rambert studios on South Bank, London

Then we went back to see Gill and I taught her Witch Bitch – she’s going to be great at it as she has absolutely the right skill set!

at her studio after i taught her Witch Bitch

at her studio after i taught her Witch Bitch

Sunday night Phil and I went to see a cabaret performer Miss Hope –  at the Crazy Coq cabaret venue in Piccadilly, to check it out as a possible venue for IF – the performer was a bit like a mild version Buffy and Bimbo actually, the venue was elegant but too small (no stage) so that was good to clarify.

Monday 23rd – we did an organised tour of the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden. OMG – I used to dance there as an extra when I was at the Royal Ballet School…….brought back memories from that time in 1970!.  Simon ( the dapper very professional tour guide) took us around – he was great. We were taken into the auditorium where they were rehearsing the lighting for the new production of Don Q, then we went backstage and through a viewing window were able to watch the soloists class for the dancers of the Royal Ballet – sweating it out  – they were up to class adage! Beautiful dancers!!

Mon afternoon we went to the Portrait Gallery – saw Bob Dylan’s drawings, a sculpture / self portrait of Marc Quinn

‘Every five years, the British artist makes a mold of his face, which he gradually fills with 10 pints of blood drawn from his veins. The finished sculptures are kept at freezing temperatures to stop them from liquefying.

“Self” (2006), the fourth and most recent, has just been acquired by the National Portrait Gallery in London — with cash from the Art Fund charity and other donors — for 300,000 pounds ($500,000). It’s on display at the gallery, in a Perspex box filled with silica and chilled to minus 18 degrees Celsius.’

Mon evening went to St Pancras Station to meet with friends Katie and Pearce – massive cast iron frame atrium –  refurbished – fantastic! Had pink champagne at the longest bar in the world as we watched the Paris train come in!

St Pancras Station

So much of London has been refurbished and rehabilitated since we were there in the early ’70’s – its a beautiful really liveable city now. Many no vehicles areas – come on Auckland – you can do it……….and love the transport system of course!

Sadly we leave now to head back to NZ – but really looking forward to seeing my family and friends, doing my Honouring, dancing my solo, all good!!

End of an amazing month

28 08 2013

The last few shows happened without a hitch – whew!
What a marathon……..but an experience we will never forget and have lots of to think about in terms of the show.

Edinburgh is such a great town – finally got to lots of shows and saw the castle!

The last performance I was actually very sentimental and felt very sad……but hey we’re doing a tour in November to the South Island so In Flagrante will live again!

Phil and I are now on a road trip down the East coast – Northumberland – its absolutely beautiful – then to Norwich and Marrakech on Friday!!

Five more shows

22 08 2013

Getting all sentimental now about ending our season at Ed Fringe! At this stage planning to come back again next year!
Having such lovely response from people – see this on our timeline after last nights show…..


Jake Dougal posted on In Flagrante’s timeline
“I have to be honest. I had never seen a show of this genre before, until tonight. And this will not be my last. I guarantee that.

I was absolutely astounded. The number of acts, each with their own individual theme, is striking and captivating. There is humour in all the right places; the shapes and forms created are utterly stunning; I felt hugely entertained throughout and even a little uneasy during one act, although I’m quite sure that was it’s purpose. All of the physical prowess is perfectly complimented by the exceptionally classy electro-swing soundtrack.

All involved have created a show of captivation, beauty and playfulness.

But most importantly, the cast were clearly having a fantastic time. Any show in which the cast radiate such indulgence and passion is a five star show in my books. (Not that my books are particularly important or anything…)

Will highly recommend to all!

(Also, for those considering going to see the show, don’t worry, you’ll only fall in love six times.)”

Last week of shows

20 08 2013
Dancers heading to class

Dancers heading to class

We are heading to the end of this marathon of performances now – its been amazing.
Tonight we will also perform at Cafe Baile – a tango event, and Saturday we may perform at Spank…..he he
Doing class this afternoon to get focussed after a day off yesterday!

12:30 midday Sat 17th August in Edinburgh

17 08 2013

We are getting such great responses from people for our show – its very heartening, very confidence building!

Audiences are building – today we are going to try and entice more people by bringing the Marching Girls into Grassmarket. All the couples siting outside having a beer or walking/promenading along – they are our audience. We’ve worked out a travelling sequence and plan to go up and down. We realised the outdoor stage on Royal mile was  not really right – the audiences were too many families or men with large cameras (almost wearing raincoats!)

We are now settled into a routine of a quiet warmup at about 9:45 behind the stage (while the Pajama Men perform) doing the show at 10:30pm, going out for a drink at one of the festival bars around 11:45 afterwards, getting to bed about 2am – getting up at about 10am……

Going down to the cafe below us for a coffee and wifi……

A review made in heaven!!

15 08 2013


I mentioned the dancers performed a magic show last Sunday and this reviewer was there!!!
We are rapt!!
Lat night was a really good performance – great audience – more of them and very appreciative.
Had a great meeting with Frodo yesterday also – he had some excellent suggestions re cabaret to see and ways to promote our show.
Phil and I saw Anthropoetry last night. A couple of young men doing poetry cabaret – essentially poems to music…..like rap but with far more complex use of words and concepts – great stuff!

We have another street event today….but have applied to do some spots at various cabaret venues – so hopefully that will happen.