Friday, August 6, 2010

One Week Down...

One more to go!

It's hard to believe tomorrow is Saturday already. It seems like we just got here. Of course, Thursday was a very odd day, so I think most people feel like they've missed a day out of their lives.

On Wednesday night at least four of the 18 candidates and one of the organizers came down with food poisoning. My suite-mate, Kathy, was up most of the night in the bathroom, having a horrible time. That started around 10:30-11pm, and continued into the small hours. The bathroom door is pretty thin, so you can hear just about everything. Which meant all sorts of unpleasant noises. I got only 3-4 hours of sleep. Of course Kathy got even less, poor thing. By morning we found out more people were ill. The Prelim class was hit hardest, with 5 of their 11 candidates out sick. Only three of the seven Unit 5's were sick.

In fact, with so many Unit 2 candidates sick, they had to put off the Unit 2 exam for 24 hours. So instead of today, it's tomorrow. I hope Kathy does well. I think she's feeling fairly confident. It's the Personal Dancing exam, which to me was much less stressful than the teaching part. This takes away a day of their preparation for Unit 3, the teaching part, which is a shame, but I don't know what else TAC could do at this point.

So on Thursday, with only 4 people in our class, Irene's lesson was radically changed. Thank goodness we had stooges! Instead of her watching each of us teach a dance and writing up her comments, we agreed that she would stop us on the spot when she saw something that needed fixing. Since we'd already taught one dance and got written comments, this was an interesting change.

Poor Isobel got the first chance. I was next, so I tried to use all of the corrections I'd heard in Isobel's lesson. I still got stopped a few times, but it was a good improvement for me. Especially in how I mostly remembered to walk and talk the figure, rather than talking about it and then walking it. Much more efficient, and it gives dancers a better picture of what you want.

The other thing we did was get assigned a difficult figure to teach. I got The Spurtle. The others got the Spoke, the progressive reel of 4, and the tourbillon.

By the end of Thursday most of the sickies were up and walking around, even if they weren't very interested in food yet. On the way home from classes we stopped at the stores to get recovery food - yogurt, bananas, ginger ale, saltines, etc. BUT! By Thursday night two more people got it. Fortunately they both had less violent cases and they are up and about today, if not dancing.

The organizers reported our problems to the Board of Health and informed the three catering companies. Needless to say, most of us are being very careful about what we're eating. I've been sticking to un-peeled fruit and box cereal at breakfast. Until today we were having meals catered because there aren't enough of us to justify opening the University dining hall. There needs to be 40. Now that the TAC AGM weekend is starting, we'll go to the dining hall for meals.

Today, Friday, was better. Isobel was out, but everyone else was there, and we had enough stooges for two 3-cpl sets. The three who had not yet taught their second dance were able to do so. Then Irene had each of us choose a fairly easy dance that we remembered well, and we had to Brief it and they danced it. I did Flowers of Edinburgh. I didn't want to be sooo brief that all I said was "chase, set, chase, set, down, back, poussette. So I thought I'd put in a bit more detail, and ended up saying too much. *sigh*

Tonight I went out for Chinese with Hisako, Isobel and Pat, all of whom were sick and just couldn't face the TAC dinner. Not that it's bad food, it's all been very tasty. We just don't know where the food poisoning came from. But tomorrow we'll be in the dining hall, so hopefully there will be no more problems.

Tomorrow we're back to teaching another dance. So far I've done Euan's Jig, Donald Bane, and now it's Lady Susan Stewart. All carefully chosen by Irene for maximum tricky bits without being super advanced. Euan's Jig has a six-bar double figure of 8, of all things. Lady Susan has both set to corners and partner, and turn corners and partner. So you immediately think those are the hardest figures. And they are. Then I started looking at the first eight bars. Yikes! It's just a track figure, but you really have to cover some mileage!

So I'm first up tomorrow morning. Wish me luck!

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