Owen Barritt (hmmm_tea) wrote,
Owen Barritt
hmmm_tea

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Gogs

So, as it's the Gogs AGM today (which I'm not going to, because it's in Cambridge) and at Thrales practice we've been analysing figures very heavily (all the way down to the minutest detail) ready for DERT. I seem to have spent a lot of time thinking about what I see as making up Gogs style and ridiculously over-analysising something we all do for fun. I thought I record some of these ideas down here (shared some of them with the side, but have spared them some of the detail):

I think one of the major things that sets Gogs apart from the other sides that I've danced with is that the average age is quite young in comparison (the side being based around students). The students also means the side has a greater turnover of members. Yes, there are several people who stay in Cambridge and make for long standing members, but there are also a lot who come along dance with Gogs for a few years and then leave.

Having discussed this with other people outside the side I can see this as being one of Gogs biggest strengths. They have a core of strong dancers practicing regularly, who can give stunning performances and are also able to guide any new comers or anyone less sure of the dances to keep the quality of performances. This is then backed up by a number of us who have been part of that core in the past, but for certain reasons (generally graduating) have left Cambridge. The result is Gogs have access to a phenomenol number of dancers which they can pull back for dance outs as and when they need them. OK this situation takes some looking after as you have to keep the "absent friends" up to speed without alienating anyone who's in the core, but regular practice days aimed at the absent friends seem to help keep this up.

The style is based very much around precision which seems to impress people (contrasts very nicely with the Hunt who's style is far more based around unpredictability which by it's very nature involves a certain level of personal interpretation during the dance rather than having each step clearly defined as Gogs do), combine this with height matching in the sets (about which I've heard many comments on how effective it looks) and you can end up with very spectacular results. It would certainly be difficult to do, but I definitely feel as a performing side Gogs would benefit on working on this further and perhaps even to the point thinking about it when teaching the dances to knew people (ie teach positions based on how a particular new person fits in with the general heights of the rest of the side).

The side also seems to be made up of a small handful of really tall people and lots and lots of quite short people, which if you were going to take it to it's obvious conclusion would mean that the major of the sets should be based around the short people, only using the taller ones for dramatic effect (much as I hate to admit that being one of the taller ones who would be doing a lot less dancing if this were the case).

The real thing that Gogs lack though is any form of audience interaction. Some of the earlier dances have some through dancing on from the audience or running off screaming at them at the end, but a lot of our more recent ones seem to be very inward facing and ignore the audience entirely (I wonder if I even notice the audience half the time with some of our dances). That said I don't have any bright ideas how to get this into our dances. Maybe it's not really a problem. I would still, however, like to see some in there. Then again, I'm not the most active member of the side anymore and it's up to them what they want to do really and if they're happy as is then it seems to work at the moment.

At the end of the day, we do this for fun and that's got to be far more important then picking style apart like this though...
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