Burns Night & Gay Gordon’s

It’s been literary ages since last time I wrote. As a new year’s resolution I promised myself I was going to write at least twice a month and here we are… last day of January and still no new posts around. However, I have good news… Today is the first new moon of the calendar year which means; Chinese New Year! Yay, I can give those New Year’s resolutions a second chance. :) By the way, 2014 is the year of the Horse.

2014 year of the horse[Kung hei fat choy!
Happy Chinese new year!]

On a more Scottish note… last Saturday, January 25th, was Burns night. It is an annual tribute to the work and life of Robert Burns, a very famous Scottish poet from the 18th century. The celebration is held on or near the Burns’ birthday. This year we didn’t do anything special but it generally involves dinner with haggis and if you are in a really fancy/traditional supper you should definitely have some piping involve.

Clément’s boss invited the entire team last year for supper and each of them read a fragment of the “Address To a Haggis”, probably the most tasty poem written by Burns. It is a very interesting description of how graceful and wonderful a haggis can be, from a very poetic point of view, of course. You can find the full text (and translation) here. Another famous poem (and song) from  Burns is the “auld Lang Syne” which you often sing at Hogmanay right after midnight but you can also hear it during farewell or ending celebrations.

As any proper Scottish celebration, during the weekend there were lots of Ceilidhs organized all over town. If you still don’t know what a Ceilidh is, please check out the brief description on my last post. As you might recall, I promised to write down the steps of some of the dances and I can’t think of a better excuse that Burns Night to start the series.

I think the Gay Gordon’s is probably one of the easiest. You dance it by couples making a big circle in the dancing area and facing anti-clockwise. The ladies will be on the outside of the circle.

Before you start dancing, the couple will be in the “allemande hold” that means the man will have his right arm extended behind the lady’s shoulder. The lady will have her right hand raised over the shoulder in order to hold the man’s right hand. Both left hands will be joined in front.

Step 1:
You start with the right foot and take 3 steps forward. On the 4th step you turn (without letting go the hands from the allemande hold). Now that you are facing the opposite direction take 4 steps backwards and stop.
Step 2:
From the stop repeat step1 ;)
Step 3:
Release the hold but join inside hands. Now the man will raise his right arm and take 4 steps forward (starting with the left foot) while the lady will turn under the raised arm. Technically, the lady turns 4 times but I get way to dizzy so I just turn 3 times (clockwise)
Step 4:
Change to “ballroom hold” and polka for 4 bars. Then the dance starts all over again.

In case you prefer an image over a thousand the words, here is a link to a video from STV when you will have a more visual demonstration. ENJOY!

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