DVD Review – Second Nature

SecondNature

Second Nature is a new Sean Nos (or “single turn dancing”) DVD out by Edwina Guckian featuring a variety of Sean Nos steps from and narratives about country Leitrim, Ireland.

Funded on kickstarter and launched in January 2015, the project met its goals two months later and started shipping in September 2015. Continue reading

Opinion – Irish Music Session Dance Etiquette

20090728 Ireland - Dingle music reservation

You’re an Irish dancer and you’ve run across a music session in which the players have got some serious craic going on.  The music is making your feet move on their own and you can’t stand it anymore.  You’ve got to get up and dance.  You jump up, perhaps even pull some fellow dancers along and begin dancing.

But stop.  Before you head over to join the musicians, consider the following.

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What is DanceMinder for? Part I

At the core DanceMinder is a collection of dances.  That may not sound like much and it would be understandable if you were thinking that if you wanted a collection of dances, you could buy a book.  DanceMinder is actually much more than just a collection of dances.

DanceMinder was started because I (Michael) wanted a more dynamic way to display the dances and I wanted to be able to easily carry around all the dances I like without that being a small stack of reference cards like this:

or a large stack of books like well, imagine a large stack of books.

Over the course of several years we had built up a stack of laminated reference cards with just enough information that we could call or participate in a dance we didn’t know cold.  Unfortunately as the stack grew it took more time to flip through it, looking for a specific dance.  Alphabetizing helped but the sets seem to center around the letters ‘c’ and ‘s’ and on the dance floor it takes a while to page through them.  Especially when Michael doesn’t put them back in order after an event. 🙂

We only ever had one copy of the cards so on the occasions where we weren’t in the same set or one of us was calling and the other dancing, one person was just out of luck unless we had the time beforehand to print out another copy.

It’s also not that unusual to reach into your pocket and take out your notes only to have them scatter across the floor after they slip out of your hand.

I wanted to be able to share these notes more easily with friends and students, so I started coding up the database and presentation and DanceMinder was born.

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