This is the second time this year that I've felt terrifically stupid when suddenly figuring out something that I had all the sources for right in front of me and somehow just...missed. The other moment is also in the process of being written up, and may or may not get posted tonight, but here's the description of the insight I had yesterday afternoon while teaching early nineteenth century Scottish steps to one of my New York students.
The post is going to be rather technical for anyone who isn't already immersed in Regency-era dance steps, but here's the basic logic chain I somehow failed to traverse for a decade or more:
1. There is a step-component that "resets" the feet so that you can start on either one.
2. There is a figure in a quadrille that requires this reset.
3. There is only one Scottish step that incorporates that step-component.
So obviously, I should use that particular Scottish step to do the reset, right?
And yet, somehow, I did not connect the dots. For years. Until my student casually pointed out the "reset" effect of that Scottish step and my mind flashed to the one major problem that I've always had with my reconstruction of The Royal Scotch Quadrilles. Why I made the connection yesterday instead of, oh, any time in the past decade or more, I have no idea, but I now finally have a solution that I'm happy with. And since I've taught that quadrille all over the place, I figured I should just get it out there as fast as possible. It's so elegant and makes me so happy that I almost don't mind explaining that I'd managed to miss the obvious for so long.
But wow, do I feel stupid!