Scottish Country Dancer Magazine, issue 34, Spring 2022

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No 34 April 2022

RSCDS EVENTS Dancing Achievement Awards (DAA) Would you like to improve your technique and knowledge of Scottish Country Dancing? The Dancing Achievement Award (DAA) at Summer School is for you! Go to and book before 30th April 2022 to secure your place on the course.



9 APRIL (on or around this date)


The Youth Services Committee is calling for all RSCDS branches to hold local Spring Fling events around the world in 2022 as a real celebration of dance! Branches can offer day schools, workshops or evening dances. For more information and to find out how to apply for an award to support the financial cost of organising a local Spring Fling event, please visit our website.

Got a question? Information on all events can be found at

All classes and courses are subject to demand.

For any queries contact the RSCDS Events Manager Moira Thomson,

Online booking is now open. For further information visit our website.

Teaching Certificate Are you ready to teach Scottish Country Dance? Get started on your Teaching Certificate at the 2022 Summer School in St Andrews . Go to to find out more about our courses and book your place at


• Attend as a resident or non-resident for any one or two of the three weeks • Morning classes at all levels and optional afternoon classes • Junior Summer School in week 2 • Social Dancing each evening • Units 2 & 3 will be held in weeks1 & 2 • Unit 5 will be held in weeks 2 & 3 • Class Musicians' Course in week 2 • Ensemble Musicians' Course in week1 • DAA will be offered each week and will run subject to demand


Friday night - Informal dance Saturday afternoon - AGM Saturday night - Formal ball Classes on Saturday and Sunday Final details will be added to our website as soon as they are confirmed.

WINTER SCHOOL 2023 19 - 24 FEBRUARY THE ATHOLL PALACE HOTEL, PITLOCHRY CO-ORDINATOR: TBC These dates are provisional. Final details will be added to our website as soon as they are confirmed.

Editorial Wherever we dance, no matter our age, ability, or nationality, we all enjoy the shared sense of unity when joining hands together in a circle. The giving of hands is such an important gesture in country dancing: it is a reaching out to help others move through the dance in the most sociable way possible and creates the feeling in all of us of being in this activity together. So many friendships have been made while dancing, often lasting long beyond the final chord of the evening, and remarkably, the RSCDS ring of friendship now encircles the globe.

Contents RSCDS Events


News from Coates Crescent


Chairman and Convenors’ Reports


The Dolphin Hey


A View from the Floor


In this issue, Atsuko Clement relates how Scottish country dancing has become popular in Japan, and Yang Zhao from China describes her passion for folk dancing in Scotland. In the ‘Dancing around the World’ section, we can share in the enthusiasm of the many dancers who are again able to hold hands after months of social isolation.

In My Opinion


Scottish Country Dancing in Japan


A Fascination with Folk Dance


Units or CTI?


Looking back into Scottish history, Tim Macdonald shares his interest in how Scottish musicians played in the 18th century. In researching more recent times, David Millstone and Allison Thompson illustrate that country dancing is not just an historic tradition, but a living one, as they trace the increasing popularity of the relatively recently invented dance formation ‘the dolphin reel’.

Tim MacDonald: fiddler and dancer


Young Dancers’ News


Dancing Around the World


Letters to the Editor




Sadly Missed


Dancers’ Diary


Mobile SCD Cribs


Teachers of dancing would do well to take note of Geoffrey Sellings’ opinion that in many Scottish country dance classes the teacher talks too much, and comparatively little time is spent practising dancing to the music. Teachers may find the reviews in this issue very useful in planning their classes but do keep in mind the encouragement to say less and have your dancers dancing more! Now, here is a challenge for you: Rhiannon Ridgewell of Carlisle and Border Branch has come up with a novel funding approach to support her branch. She is going grey to be green, pledging to stop colouring her hair to reduce the harmful chemicals going into our rivers via our sewage works. She says, “I will donate my £22 savings to the Branch each time I would have coloured my hair until it is grey all over”.

The next issue of Scottish Country Dancer will be published in October 2022. Please refer to Notes for Contributors on the website. Send materials for inclusion to the editor: no later than 31 July. Please send enquiries about advertising to Cécile Hascoët: Editor Fiona Grant

Other readers share some interesting and thought-provoking observations in the letters page; and many of us will be sad to read of friends who now dance only in our memories. And finally, Ian Brockbank’s diary gives us the opportunity to plan a busy year of dancing ahead so that we can all keep fit and persuade our friends in our local areas and around the world to share our enthusiasm to join the dance.

Editorial Team Caroline Brockbank, Helen McGinley, Jimmie Hill, Jane McIntosh

Fiona Grant, Bristol, UK

Printer HMCA SERVICES. Beech Hall Annexe, Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, HG5 0EA

Publisher The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society 12 Coates Crescent, Edinburgh, EH3 7AF Website

Telephone 0131 225 3854


Graphic Designer Its All Good The Haughs, Cromdale, Grantown on Spey, PH26 3PQ t: 01479 870 435

Cover: Bluebell Scottish Country Dance Band, Tokyo


News from Coates Crescent Board and Committee membership for 2021-22

Branch Anniversaries in 2022 Congratulations to the following branches who celebrate significant anniversaries this year: Clackmannanshire Stirling Falkirk Dunfermline Kirkcaldy St Andrews Lockerbie Belfast Dumfries Peterhead East Lothian Helensburgh & District Richmond Sydney Winchester

95 95 90 85 85 85 80 75 75 75 70 70 70 70 70

Roxburgh, Selkirk & Peebles Toronto Bristol Leeds Herefordshire New Zealand Burlington (Ontario) Berks/Hants/Surrey Border Leicester New Haven Queensland Pretoria Sutton Coldfield Chicago Tokai

65 65 60 60 55 55 50 45 45 45 45 40 40 35 25

RSCDS Subscriptions Branch Delegates approved the Management Board motion at the 2021 AGM that for the year from 1st July 2022, the basic full annual subscription be increased to £25 per annum, with other membership subscriptions based pro-rata on this amount.

Category Adult single (25+)

Sub fee

HQ Members



Following the elections at the 2021 AGM, and subsequent appointments to fill some vacancies, the current membership list for the Management Board and committees is:

Management Board l l l l l l l

Lorna Ogilvie (Chairman) William Williamson (Chairman-Elect) Lizzy Conder (Treasurer) Deb Lees (Convenor, E&T) Angela Young (Convenor, MS) Philippa McKee (Convenor, YS) Trevor Clarke, Neil Copland, David Macdonald, Helen McGinley, Jane Meikle, Joan Nesbitt, Andrew Nolan, Simon Wales (Members)

Education & Training Committee l l l

Deb Lees (Convenor) Janet Johnston (Schools Director) Ellie Briscoe, Deirdre MacCuish-Bark, Oluf Olufsen, Anne Robertson, Rachel Shankland, Patricia Houghton, Margo Priestley, Lorna Valentine (Members)

Membership Services Committee Angela Young (Convenor) Luke Brady (Music Director) l Maureen Daniels, Ainslie Dunnett, Julie Grainger, Paul McKnight, Keith Rose, Andrew Smith (Members) l l

Youth Services Committee Phillippa McKee (Convenor) Malin Altenmüller, Abigail Brown, Linda Williamson, Sarah Oswald (Members) You can find out more about the Management Board and Committee members online at: l l

Adult joint (both 25+ and same branch and address)



Youth (12-17)



Young adult (18-24)



RSCDS Affiliated Group Rates 2022-23 In line with the Management Board motion for the 2021 AGM, the affiliated group fees have increased as follows this year:

Affiliation fee


Youth affiliation fee


University Group

No Charge

We were delighted to welcome five new affiliated groups to the RSCDS in 2021: l Kirkliston Scottish Country Dance Club l Montrose Scottish Country Dance Club l St Michael’s Scottish Country Dance Club l Lucy Clark Scottish Country Dancing Club l Tayside Scottish Country Dance Club We wish them all the best for 2022.


Vacancies and appointments in 2022 The Management Board and Committee vacancies due to be filled at the AGM this November are as follows: Management Board: Chairman Elect + 3 (for 3 years) and 1 (for 1 year) l Education & Training: 3 (for 3 years) + 1 (for 2 years) l Membership Services: 2 (for 3 years) l Youth Services: 2 (for 3 years) + 1 (for 2 years) + 1 (for 1 year) Nomination forms are available on the website: In addition to completing the form, members must submit a profile outlining the skills and attributes they have to offer. Guidelines on the reverse of the form give an indication of what should be included, but those considering standing for election are strongly advised to read the role descriptions for Board and Committee members. Please contact if you have any questions. Nomination forms, profiles, and photos should be sent to Coates Crescent by Saturday 10 September 2022.

Deadline for AGM Motions Motions from Branches to the AGM in November should be sent to Coates Crescent by Saturday 13 August 2022.

Scroll of Honour 2020

Lyndsay Walker, RSCDS Marketing Officer I

Congratulations to those who received Scrolls of Honour at the 2021 AGM from President Jean Martin (from left to right): Fiona Miller (Medicine Hat), Angela Young (Aberdeen), Jean Martin (President), Marilyn Watson (Bournemouth), Ruby Wilkinson (East Lothian). Photo Maria Falconer.

Congratulations to Hugh Ferguson (Bristol) whose scroll was presented locally by Chair Elect William Williamson. Photo: Bruce Ferguson.

Dance Scottish Together We have received some lovely feedback about our new regular Dance Scottish Together digital newsletter which was launched towards the end of 2021. RSCDS Marketing Officer, Lyndsay, is always keen to hear about good news and best practice stories from members, branches and groups around the world. Contact Lyndsay.Walker@ to share your good news stories for future issues.

I joined the RSCDS as Marketing Officer in August 2021 when the possibility of the world opening up again seemed within grasp. As I write this, we are in yet another position of uncertainty and staff mainly continue to work from home. It is a huge testament to the team at 12 Coates Crescent that I was made to feel welcome and included.

Whilst I do not come from a Scottish country dancing background, I have worked in the arts and heritage sector since graduating from the University of Chester in 2007. I am passionate about the arts and am keen to develop my understanding of Scottish country dancing as I move forward in my role. I was fortunate to have a month’s handover with Ewan Watt, the Interim Marketing Director, and was able to ask questions, of which there were many, and get to grips with the new marketing strategy for the RSCDS which Ewan developed in collaboration with various Board and Committee members, volunteers, and staff. In addition, I spent time learning about the membership structure of the Society and how branches and groups operate, discovering all the different activities and events that the Society offers as well as understanding how my role fits in with my colleagues. In the latter quarter of 2021, my two main projects were Ready. Set. Dance Scottish! an initiative to encourage those new to dancing to get involved and find out more, and Dance Scottish Together, the new monthly e-newsletter.

Ready. Set. Dance Scottish! aims to help branches and groups recruit new members by advising on best practice when it comes to using local press and media, social media and other digital resources and printed methods. Disruptions to dancing due to the pandemic have meant a delay in plans and we are perhaps not where we would have liked to be at present, but initial analysis on social media posts displays high engagement across different target groups. There are also future media stories planned which aim to increase awareness of Scottish country dancing, focussing on the fun, fitness and friendship elements, with an emphasis on health and wellbeing. I was tasked with putting together the new e-newsletter Dance Scottish Together to share monthly updates with good news stories from branches and affiliated groups, together with focussed blog posts and updates on events and news from 12 Coates Crescent. At the time of writing, there have been three editions, each with an increasing number of stories from branches and groups which aim to complement the wide range of articles in the Scottish Country Dancer magazine. Dance Scottish Together is sent out to over 10,000 subscribers and aims to start conversations with individuals, branches and groups that can be continued either in the magazine or in branches and groups. When I look towards the next six to twelve months, and as we head towards the centenary celebrations, my goal is to increase the visibility and public awareness of the RSCDS. Part of my role is to support the Youth Services Committee, so I would also like to help them engage further with the next generation of young dancers and musicians. It was great to meet so many members at the Autumn Gathering last November and to be able to put faces to names. I hope to continue this and aim to get along to branches local to me to introduce myself and find out how best I can help. If anyone wants to say hello, please do drop me an email and if you have any stories from your branch or group, please do get in touch, I’d love to hear them.


From the Chairman

Membership Services Lorna Ogilvie

Angela Young

When writing my previous magazine report in the autumn, I was optimistic about a return to the dance floor here in Scotland. Thankfully, this allowed the November Autumn Gathering to take place in Perth, and what a great weekend it was, short-lived as such freedom to dance then proved. In many ways it felt different from past weekends, particularly for delegates during the less interactive AGM, due to covid rules. However, this was much enlivened by Bill Cant’s informative and highly entertaining final report which lifted spirits enormously. I should like to record the Society’s deep debt of gratitude to Bill for his six years as Treasurer and highly professional management of our finances, including what must have been the most challenging two years any RSCDS Treasurer has had to deal with. The RSCDS is about ‘fun and friendship’ and both were very much in evidence as dancers were rarely off the dance floor, lifted by fantastic live music. Slightly shorter programmes, designed to help Covid-compromised fitness, were totally ignored by dancers as encores were requested, and both evenings ran over time. Truly a highlight of the last six months.

This year Membership Services has a full complement of members, who are already working on preparations for Centenary content and a small number of projects for 2022. Last year’s work culminated in publications to mark the 250th anniversary of the birth of one of Scotland’s most renowned novelists with Sir Walter Scott A Celebration through Scottish Music and Dance: The Heart of Mid-Lothian. The CDs arrived at 12 Coates Crescent in early January, meaning that both book and CD are now available for purchase through the RSCDS Shop. Also published in November was the Combined Volume of RSCDS Books 39 to 44 and as the committee work together with our treasurer, Lizzy, and office staff to balance stock levels with customer demand, further copies of this popular series have been put on order. Thanks to Peter Knapman for his leadership across the last three years, especially leading to differing styles of RSCDS publications including 30 Popular Dances – Volume 2 which we hope you are enjoying with the gradual return to dancing.

Everyone has an important role in attracting new members Board and Committee meetings have continued to be held virtually, as was the Away Day at the end of January. This has not prevented a great deal of hard work from all volunteers and our highly valued office staff, managed by Clare. Board highlights are designed to keep members up to date with ongoing work. The Away Day focussed on Centenary planning and the RSCDS organisational structure. Increased digital communication, particularly over the last two years, has changed the way we work and allowed a review of our decisionmaking processes, as well as how the Staff, Committees and the Board could work more effectively together, with clearer lines of delegation, responsibility and accountability. My thanks go to volunteers everywhere in branches and affiliated groups, and also those I work with on a daily basis. Everyone has an important role, especially in attracting new members and organising events, at the end of two difficult years for both our dancers and musicians. We have welcomed three new Convenors to the Board and I know that members will have been sorry to learn of Anne Taylor’s resignation as E&T Convenor on health grounds. Anne has led E&T with much skill over the last two and a half years, for which we thank her. We wish her well in the coming months. I end on an optimistic note. Following a very successful Winter School, we make a welcome return to St Andrews for Summer School and hear news that dancing is gradually resuming in most countries. As we approach the launch of our Centenary year, I am hopeful that restrictions will be long gone, allowing us to celebrate in style.


The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee a celebratory leaflet of dances 2022 marks another significant celebration with the Platinum Jubilee of our Society patron, Queen Elizabeth. In November, the Management Board approved a commemorative leaflet which will be the only new product undertaken by Membership Services this year. Additionally, the committee will be working on existing projects including the Formation Index which has been approved for delivery as an online document. By the time this magazine reaches you, we will have reached the closing date for submissions for the next new publication – Book 53 in 2023. We want to make sure this involves as many of the membership in the process as possible. Therefore, this volume will be created from branch submissions, which will be tried and tested by branches, and ready for publication, together with a new recording, in the summer of our Centenary year. We’re also delighted that the Management Board approved a commemorative “coffee-table” volume to celebrate the centenary through dance stories, facts and photographs from around the globe. This is planned for publication in Spring 2024 to enable the inclusion of material from worldwide centenary celebrations. We’ll be reaching out to branches and members as plans progress. But our first task as a committee is to create a core programme of ten dances chosen from the ten decades of the Society’s repertoire. The aim is to have this available online in Spring/ Summer 2022, enabling branches to create centenary dance programmes and events incorporating those choices. We also hope that dancers will be able to join together for a special Decades dancing event across 24 hours around the globe. Ideas are also under discussion with Music Director, Luke, as we think of how to support this and the other projects with musical content. With new and returning members to the committee, I’m looking forward to working both with them and the office team as together we look forward to creating exciting content for those special celebrations in 2023.

Education and Training Deb Lees Many of you will know that I have recently taken on the role of convenor of the E&T committee following Anne Taylor’s resignation due to ill health. I know that you will all wish Anne well with her treatment and recovery. The last few weeks have definitely kept me busy with learning more about the many work areas covered by the committee and the staff at Coates Crescent. Scottish dancing has started back again in various parts of the world, much to the delight of dancers and musicians alike. We were able to hold Winter School in Pitlochry and planning for Summer School is well underway. And we can once again plan for Unit exams around the world, some of which have been postponed several times. The new Core Training for Instructors (CTI) course is also now open for applications and I am delighted to report that we now have a number of trainee instructors enrolled and starting work with their trainers. We now have over forty CTI trainers worldwide. Do get in touch if you are interested in the CTI, either as a prospective instructor or to train as a CTI trainer.

Using technology to facilitate communication One thing that we have learned over the past two years is how to make better use of technology to facilitate communication and to work in more efficient and effective ways. The CTI is a good example, with use of video throughout the course. We are now looking at an online version of Unit 1 which will streamline the process for staff and examiners and reduce the amount of paper and postage involved. Good for the budget and for the planet! Members of the Committee have been working hard to complete the development of the Inspiring Country Dancers resource, with the Introduction and Level 1 – Foundation already available on the website The resource aims to expand on the Manual and provide supplementary information of use especially to new teachers and instructors/teachers in training. It includes topics such as setting up a class, working with a musician, preparing lessons, and much more. Level 2 – The Guide is nearing completion and goes into more depth on the topics covered in Level 1. It also includes tables with hints on teaching points for steps and formations. Level 3 – The Toolbox will be a growing resource which will include documents on a range of topics, including further expansions on the topics in the other levels and documents developed as support materials for the CTI. This section of the resource should be of use to all teachers and instructors and hopefully a way to share some of the wealth of knowledge and ideas from teachers across the world.

Youth Services Philippa McKee Since I took on the Convenor’s role in November, the committee has been working hard to finalise the approach to Spring Fling 2022. We are glad that we are seeing some uptake of the available grants to support events under the Spring Fling banner in 2022. We are also beginning to focus on Spring Fling 2023 and are working with a number of people to create a really special opportunity to celebrate Spring Fling in the centenary year – we will keep you posted on progress.

Grants are available to support Spring Fling events We welcomed Linda Williamson to our committee in November and co-opted Sarah Oswald in January. We are currently working out our short- and medium-term priorities and how we can best serve our young members. We still have vacancies on the committee and would be very grateful to hear from anyone who is willing to join us, either by being co-opted, or in standing for election in November of this year. You do not need to be within the Youth age group, provided you are willing to contribute to our activities supporting the involvement of young dancers, teachers, and musicians. I have been very grateful to the existing committee for their efforts on the Virtual Dance Display project, the Virtual Festival, discussions around Spring Fling and creative ways to engage with young members for the centenary year. We were really encouraged by the excellent response from members to the Virtual Display and Virtual Festival with enthusiastic and creative contributions. Going forward, we will be working with Janet Johnston (Schools Director) to support Junior Summer School this year. We are also working with Coates Crescent staff to improve our online presence on various social media platforms, and we would welcome ideas from members about emerging trends and how to reach a wider audience. To contact the committee please use the YSC inbox ysc@rscds. org and for further information please visit the young dancer pages on the website young-dancers.

Winter School Ceilidh Band 2022. Photo Gordon Porter


The Dolphin Hey: The Evolution and Transmission of a Dance Figure David Millstone, from New Hampshire, calls English country dances, contras and squares. He coordinates the Square Dance History Project, an online digital library ( Allison Thompson, from Pennsylvania, is a dance historian and English country dance caller and musician. Her most recent work is Dances from Jane Austen’s Assembly Rooms. ( In this article, they describe how a now well-known figure was introduced and became popular in country dancing. Over the centuries, the related forms of country dance Scottish, English, contras, and squares - have been enriched by the accretion of new steps, formations, and figures, gradually adding in movements that dancers of previous generations would not recognize. Historically, these additions were usually made by the invisible hand of Anonymous and it can be difficult to track the provenance of a figure. However, the swelling of new choreographies since the 1970s with their newly-invented figures has made this kind of investigation easier, and the proliferation both of publishing dances and engaging in social interactions on the internet has made it easier still. One recent addition to the repertoire, the dolphin hey or dolphin reel, has a well-documented provenance that begins in the Shetland Islands with stops in England, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and the United States. Documenting the evolution and transmission of this figure has been a similarly international effort, with discussions on the Strathspey discussion list and on the English country dance discussion list, and further developed through email exchanges with choreographers and callers. There are several variations of the dolphin hey, but the form that is best known in English country dance circles in the United States is a hey (reel of three) for four dancers, with one couple dancing as a unit, one behind the other. As the paired couple reaches the outer end, the trailing dancer turns the corner closely to take the lead and the original leading dancer becomes the follower. Imagine a pas de deux of silvery dolphins cutting through blue waters, the one in the rear leaping playfully ahead of the first, only to be overtaken again.

It is important to note that there is not one ‘correct’ dolphin hey/ reel: there are many variations and approaches. It can be danced along the diagonal(s), across the set, up and down the set, around all four corners in a cloverleaf, as a morris hey, within a square set, and other variations. It can involve four dancers (the minimum) or more. It can be initiated with the active couple (the dolphins) cutting through the middle of the other dancers or starting from the top. It can involve a change of lead at both ends or at only one. It is a creative and entertaining figure! The reel in which two or more of those people dancing move as a unit seems to have originated in the islands of Orkney and Shetland. The English dance historian and choreographer Pat Shuldham-Shaw (1917-1977) researched in Shetland in the late 1940s, collecting songs, fiddle tunes, and dances. He wrote:

The set forms up as for a longways country dance with the middle couple ‘improper.’ The reel is then started by the first woman casting down and the second woman casting up each followed by her partner. The third couple join in, the woman followed by her partner casting up. The figure-of-eight track is continued, each man closely following his partner and each couple acting as one unit, until everyone is back in their original place. For their authoritative work, Traditional Dancing in Scotland, J. F. Flett and T. M. Flett interviewed several hundred elderly traditional dancers in the 1950s. They describe this reel as being danced as early as the 1880s (the edge of then-living memory), though it had dropped out of favor on various islands in the early part of the last century, shortly after World War I. They reached a similar conclusion that until about 1900, the principal dances in Shetland were the Reels. The Fletts did not give a name to this figure, nor, apparently, did the traditional dancers: it was just the proper way a reel was danced in their part of the world.

A gadderie of folk dancing the Unst version of the Shetland Reel in Uyesound.

Risso’s Dolphin (same species as Pelorus Jack)


Scottish and English country dance choreographies developed on parallel tracks after World War II. In 1977, John Drewry put the Shetland reel figure into his Scottish country dance, The St. Nicholas Boat. That same year, Pat Shaw incorporated the same figure into his English country dance, The American Husband or

Her Man, and he later used it in his dance Buzzards Bay. In these dances, the three active couples dance a reel of three as units of two, the women in the lead. While Drewry did not name the figure, Shaw termed it a Shetland reel. In 1981, Drewry published a new dance, Ferla Mor, in which he modified the reel by having only the leading couple dance as a unit: thus, the 1s, having moved below the 2s, begin a half reel of three with first corners (i.e., 2M and 3W) and then second corners (3M and 2W), 1M man following behind his partner, with no change of lead.

Falcons turn to Dolphins The next milestone in the evolution of the figure is pinned to another Scottish country dance, The Flight of the Falcon, written by Barry Priddey (UK) in 1992. Scottish dance teacher Chris Ronald notes that, in this dance, Priddey ‘further developed the Ferla Mor pattern by having 1st couple change lead at each corner.’ Priddey prefaced his description of The Flight of the Falcon thus: ‘[t]he merlin flies close to the heather following every twist and turn of its quarry’s flight.’ It was clearly the ‘following every turn’ image that inspired his innovation of the change of lead. Priddey did not name his figure. The next year, in 1993, he published two Scottish country dances that took the concept of a paired reel even further: The Capercaillie and Land of the Heather Hills. Both dances incorporate half diagonal reels of four that involve six dancers, four in pairs and two dancing independently. From England, the Falcon dance was introduced in New Zealand by Iain Simmonds, a Wellington teacher. Rod Downey, another mathematician there, used the figure for diagonal reels in his dance The Silkie. Barry Skelton started creating his own dances using the figure, which he termed a tandem reel for three. On October 28, 1993, he wrote Dancing Dolphins. Two days later he devised Pelorus Jack, named after a famous dolphin, that lived in Admiralty Bay, New Zealand. The dance makes a significant change from The Flight of the Falcon. The earlier dance has two complete diagonal reels, but Pelorus Jack includes four half reels of three on the diagonal with a change of lead on every corner. Skelton published The Dolphin Book in 1994. The 11 dances in the book include the reel of three with the 1st couple dancing as a unit and changing the lead on the ends. With its 2000 republication in Book 41, Pelorus Jack became the best known of the Dolphin Book dances in Scottish country dance groups.

American choreographer to utilize the dolphin hey figure. This dance was shared at various events and gradually it became part of the repertoire, inspiring other devisers to introduce the figure into their own dances in various ways.

The Dolphins return to England A vital transmission link for the dolphin figure in England was Ron Coxall, an English caller and choreographer. The preface to his 2005 dance booklet, Walls, notes: ‘I first met dolphin reels and Barry Skelton’s book The Dolphin Book when in Australia in February 1996 and wondered why Scottish country dancers should have them all to themselves. I have changed them slightly to conform to English country dance style.’ Coxall returned to England in 1996 and led a well-received session of dolphin dances at the Eastbourne Festival. Skelton gave permission for Coxall to publish his adaptations. With Coxall’s presentation at the Eastbourne festival and the publication of Walls, the dolphins took flight, as it were.

Pelorus Jack: half diagonal reel

What’s in a name

The Dolphins reach North America

For two decades, unresolved nomenclature troubled dance devisers and dancers (and dance editors!): there were too many names for this figure and its relatives, starting with the use of the term ‘tandem reel.’ In Dancing Dolphins, Skelton has very specific wording: ‘First couple in tandem, dance a right shoulder reel of three with second and third lady.’ However, the detailed instructions for that dance have that active couple standing side by side, as if they were twins in a perambulator, to begin the reels and they are asked to remain parallel to the set throughout the reels. Of the remaining Dolphin Book dances, some have the active couple starting side by side with each other and some start with one dancer behind the other, though no other dance directions specify remaining parallel to the set. Skelton uses ‘tandem’ to refer to all these possibilities, a source of some consternation where precise definition of terms plays a strong role. Various alternative wordings have been offered: falcon reels, shadow reels, swap-over reels, overtaking reels, and even double switchback tandem reels, which is far too wordy for common usage.

By 1994 several popular dance devisers were experimenting with different types of these changing-lead reels. With the appearance in 2000 of Pelorus Jack in an official RSCDS publication, the tandem figure became more widely known in Scottish country dance groups. The figure migrated to the English dance repertoire after English and Scottish dance leader Bruce Hamilton was taught Dancing Dolphins by Elma See in Ottawa in 1995. He found it easy to teach to English dancers without having to anglicize it very much, but said it was a shame that the ECD community hadn’t picked up on the dolphin reel figure. Mary Devlin took his comment as a challenge, and produced Halsway Manners, the first English country dance composed by an

There is widespread agreement now that the ‘tandem reel’ designation is properly applied to dances such as the Shetland Reel or other dances where one dancer stays in front the entire time through the figure; this conforms to the widespread understanding of the word tandem as in tandem bicycle. However, Skelton’s Pelorus Jack was published by the RSCDS using the phrase tandem reel, and many lamented that choice of words. New Zealand teacher Iain Boyd put it bluntly: ‘On this occasion the RSCDS got it wrong. We have to live with it, but, we do not have to agree with them’ The official RSCDS term now for the figure is ‘alternating tandem reel’ though ‘dolphin reel’ is also commonly used. English country

Chris Ronald confirmed the direct link from Priddey to Skelton: ‘I met Barry Skelton in New Zealand, and he agreed that Barry Priddey was the originator of reels of three where 1st couple dance in tandem and change lead at each end of the reel.’ Chris also notes that ‘up to the time Pelorus Jack was published, in The Dolphin Book, no [Scottish dance] deviser had given a name to the concept whereby a dancer follows his partner in a reel of three. Barry Skelton chose the term ‘tandem’ to describe these reels, and the RSCDS used this terminology when publishing Pelorus Jack in Book 41 in 2000.’ While Skelton may have used the word ‘tandem’ in his printed directions, he has confirmed that his local dancers in 1994 already referred informally to the figure as the dolphin reel.


dance groups use either ‘dolphin hey’ (USA) or ‘dolphin reel’ (England), and that wording has also carried into the contra worlds in those two communities. Many callers simply use the term that will be familiar to most of the dancers at a particular event.

Summary As the dolphin reel figure has gained in popularity it has begun to lose its back stories: both to the connection with specific Scottish dances and choreographers, and with the question of why the figure is associated with dolphins and with which dolphins in particular. As more dancers and choreographers encounter the dolphin reel, it is certain that more dances will be devised with this intriguing and popular figure. The value of tracing the evolution and dissemination of the dolphin reel lies in providing proof that, as we enter the second hundred years of what is called ‘the folk revival,’ the worlds of English, Scottish and American country dance remain vibrant, innovative, and open to fruitful cross-pollination. Note: Readers interested in a more detailed discussion of the historic twists and turns of the dolphin hey will enjoy a longer version of this article, complete with directions for twenty dances, which first appeared in the June 2019 issue of Country Dance + Song Online, the scholarly journal of the Country Dance and Song Society (





1962 to 2022

60th ANNIVERSARY BALL Saturday 19 November 2022 The Riley-Smith Hall, Tadcaster LS24 9AB Wine reception 7.00pm Carriages 11.15pm Dancing to the Ian Muir Scottish Dance Band Ticket info:

Shetland Reel:

Formal dress preferred An RSCDS video of Pelorus Jack:

A View from the Floor can pick your feet up it is so enjoyable to have you with me on a Thursday, and occasionally for other events (also called ‘Dances’ I believe), obviously moving with grace and pleasure without just shuffling around. I am, and have been, very appreciative of the amount of consideration you show for me. I have heard your teachers on numerous occasions ask you to look up and even to look at your partner, but very many of you, at all skill levels, seem still to be very concerned for my health, and barely take your eyes off me, often throughout a dance. I am very sorry that there have been problems arising from my recent makeover, and hope that there has been some resolution. You will, I hope, understand that, like many of the residents here, my appearance and well-being is entirely in the hands of my carers. It is quite hurtful when I hear, “The floor was not feeling so good this evening” or “There are very slippery patches in that corner”. I do very much appreciate your consideration for my health. (The large mops with which you now treat me at the end of the evening are a really pleasurable experience.) If you


When what I believe is called ‘Honouring your partner’ takes place at the beginning and end of a dance, I even notice that some of you actually look at me, instead of at your partner, which I find quite flattering. I am not sensitive enough to be sure what a partner feels about that, however. I have heard teachers, especially visiting teachers at what I believe you call ‘Day Schools’, often say, “You do not need to look at the floor - it is not going to go away or disappear.” I would like to reassure you that to the best of my knowledge and belief, neither option is open to me.

From my lowly viewpoint, I can honestly say that while I appreciate your concerns, I am more than happy to provide as good a service as I can, as unobtrusively as possible. In fact, may I take the liberty of saying I am forming the opinion that keeping your head up improves your posture and results in a much more comfortable relationship between us? Furthermore, I am not attention seeking, but can observe at first hand the benefits of looking at your partner. It is obvious to me that both of you can benefit from the interaction, and it certainly takes some pressure off me if you provide mutual support and engagement. I have noticed that a more experienced dancer can often provide reassurance to a less experienced dancer if there is mutual eye contact. I have also noticed that it is not unknown for the roles to be reversed on occasion. To have heard the comment, “I have danced all evening, but no-one has danced with me.” leaves me hoping that it has not been due to any shortcoming on my part. I do hope to continue to give satisfaction to the best of my ability, and that you will be happy to continue to keep me company and enjoy your dancing.

Andrew Smith, Bristol Branch

In My Opinion Geoffrey Selling started Scottish country dancing because he loved the music and all things Scottish, and very quickly became a teacher. He not only teaches Scottish dance classes and workshops but has been involved in training teachers for 46 years and has been an RSCDS Examiner for 25 years. Here he suggests how we might attract more dancers by rethinking how we teach. If Scottish country dancing is so much fun, the music so exciting and our community so full of engaging people, why are we not inundated with new dancers, especially from the greater social dance communities? It’s a complex question. Fifty years ago, many Scottish groups had multiple classes and frequent special events. Now, many groups are smaller and some struggle just to get a set for class. I believe that one over-riding problem is ironically that which is supposed to be our great strength: teaching! Let me describe an event I attended. It was a combination English/Scottish country dance day school, attended by both groups of dancers. The morning focused on Scottish and the afternoon on English. Both workshops were taught by respected teachers who were well-prepared with interesting and fun material. There were excellent musicians. Each teacher had two and a half hours, with an interval. The attendees were experienced dancers from both communities. In the Scottish portion of the day, we learned four challenging dances. The teacher explained each formation in detail, while the class stood and listened. If something didn’t take, the teacher re-explained it clearly, while the class stood. If that didn’t work, the teacher demonstrated the movement. Each

element of each dance was carefully presented while we stood and listened. Occasionally, we danced eight or 16 bars. Eventually, all the preparations were complete, and we formed sets. The teacher recapped the dance, while the class stood and listened. When the chord sounded, the dancing began. This approach was repeated all morning. It was typical of many Scottish workshops I’ve attended: lots of talking and analysis, lots of standing around and surprisingly little dancing. The Scottish dancers did not fare much better than the English dancers on some of the difficult Scottish dances. Disappointingly, very little music was used. In the afternoon, the English dance teacher took over and taught us 11 mostly advanced dances. What a contrast to the four Scottish dances! From the moment the class started, we were moving. Music was used at every available moment. Familiar bits were danced right off and harder parts were demonstrated and then the class tried them while dancing up to tempo. When whole dances were being danced, the teacher called the formations until the class was secure. The teacher seemed more like a dance facilitator, keeping us moving, but adding teaching points as needed. Despite learning 11 dances with many unusual formations, the afternoon felt like a social event.

The contrast between the classes was striking. I noticed how restless the English dancers became during the didactic Scottish class. Surprisingly, the Scottish dancers seemed to accept all the explaining as a given. They were so used to standing around and listening that the lesson was not off-putting. However, it was obvious when the dancing started that many of the points had not been learned. But the Scottish dancers seemed to accept the lengthy explanations as ‘our way.’ At the dinner, I sat with some English dancers who gave me a friendly earful. One woman told me that she “loved the dancing, but I just can’t stand for long periods like that. My back hurts.” Another more bluntly said, “That’s why I don’t go Scottish dancing. I’m not willing to be lectured at.” A third remarked that for her, “Scottish dancing involves long periods of standing and then a few panicked moments of frenetic movement.” Given that one of the dances had required 40 minutes of teaching but only took two minutes to dance, I understood how she felt. I am not suggesting that every Scottish dance teacher teaches in this wordy way, but it is very common! I know that tutors emphasize demonstrating, not explaining. I know they encourage candidates to keeping the class moving, by isolating and practicing elements. But even teachers who as candidates kept their lessons moving, often revert to this didactic approach. Some teachers seem to believe that learning a dance from words is the preferred pedagogy and that walking a movement should only be necessary when the class is hopelessly confused. But if we’d started with the demo or walk-through, I believe much time would have been saved. More dancing would


If they haven’t learned it after all the teaching, a detailed recap will not help.

have happened. Some dancers learn from words, but most need to see the movements or walk them. Our teaching needs to meet all kinds of learners’ styles and help them towards better dancing, and always with an eye to enjoyment. I’ve frequently attended classes where teachers present too many points about each step or formation, focusing on foot positions and fine points when some students haven’t yet mastered a basic movement. If we select points that the dancers can actually improve

on, they’ll spend more time dancing. At one time, I taught a class of seniors. When I asked them to bend at the beginning of their strathspey, I saw it was not going to happen. Instead, I concentrated on not dragging their feet and the step improved markedly. We all felt successful. I would also love us to banish the detailed recap for a dance that a class has been practicing for 30-40 minutes. We should just remind them of the first eight bars and then let them dance.

I’m not quite sure why our teacher training has so frequently produced teachers who explain, instead of having their classes walk and dance. Our training and examination processes emphasize an active approach to learning. It could be that candidates who are eager to show they’ve learned the points about a step or formation are trying to include them every time, even years after their exams have faded from memory. Some years ago, I examined a candidate who taught a real lesson, actually improving the students’ dancing. My fellow examiner ironically remarked, “She fell into the trap of really teaching, instead of naming the points.” We passed her with flying colors! She had really taught! A teacher friend, Bruce Hamilton, is well known for saying: “Don’t talk it if you can walk it. Don’t walk it if you can dance it.” If we showed more and talked less, if we made fewer points and kept everyone moving, if there was more music and dancing in our classes, might we not attract some of those English folk and vintage dancers? Scottish country dancing is as enjoyable a genre as any. Those social dancers ought to be knocking our doors down.

Registration now open!

2022 TAC Summer School

Mount Royal University, Calgary, Canada

July 24-31, 2022 20222022 Welcoming, supportive classes For dancers of all levels

Basic | Intermediate | Advanced Daily classes | evening social dances | formal ball and banquet evening after parties | ceilidh | silent auction


Raphaëlle Orgeret (France) Robert McOwen (USA) Jeanne Moody (USA) Barbara Johnston (Canada)


Judi Nicolson, Fred Collins, Ian Muir, Kathy Fraser Collins, not pictured: Terry Traub, Mary Ross

To register, please go to:

Sponsored by Scottish Country Dance Teachers’ Association (Canada)


The Tokyo class of 1975: Bill Clement’s first trip to Japan

Scottish Dancing in Japan One cold winter morning, Atsuko Clement and Fiona Grant chatted over Zoom about the popularity of Scottish country dancing in Japan. In this article, we share a little of our conversation.

Folk Dancing becomes popular in Japan An American education officer in the US army, Winfield P. Niblo, who was stationed in Nagasaki after World War Two, was the Chief Education Officer of the Nagasaki Military Government from September 1946 to October 1948. Niblo was a high school teacher before the war and had been both a football coach and a teacher and caller of square dancing. Calling upon his personal enthusiasm for square dancing, he decided that American folk dance could encourage co-education and democracy in Japan. It was quite by chance, however, that Niblo’s square-dancing skills were put to practical use in Japan. He wrote: ‘One evening, shortly after I arrived in Nagasaki, I was invited to a dinner party at the home of Kaneko Sensei, the Chief Physical Education Officer of the Education Section of Kencho. Also in attendance was a group of physical education teachers from the city schools. Following dinner, the teachers performed a number of beautiful Japanese dances. When they were finished, I asked if they would like to learn some American folk dances. They said they would like this very much, so I arranged them in two lines with couples facing one another and taught them the oldest American dance, The Virginia Reel. They enjoyed it very much and asked to learn more dances. So I taught them several simple square dances. They learned the dances unbelievably fast. Thus, the American Square Dance was introduced to Japan. In a small sense, a little bit of history was made on that autumn evening of 1946 in Nagasaki.’ Square dancing caught on rapidly with the residents of Nagasaki, spreading initially through the instruction of PE teachers, who themselves underwent folk dance training. The teachers in turn taught groups of adults and children. From Nagasaki City it spread to the outer islands and other prefectures in Kyushu. Fujimoto Tojiro, Chief of the Nagasaki Prefectural Education Division, made funds available to send teaching teams of four couples each to neighbouring prefectures to demonstrate and teach folk dancing. Niblo’s secretary, Oishi Toshiko, years later recalled the introduction of square dancing in Nagasaki. ‘At first most people had some reluctance as Japanese men and women were unaccustomed to dancing together. The whole idea was alien to us. However, after one or two sessions we became enthusiastic square dancers. The music was exciting, and dancing became fun. There was little other recreation available at the time. The number of dancers increased rapidly. Square dancing broke the barrier between the military and civilians, the Americans and the Japanese.

Traditional Japanese folk dancing has everyone facing in the same direction, and individuals dance with no contact with others, so this new form of dancing hand in hand was very attractive to youngsters. By the summer of 1947 it was estimated that there were between 30,000 to 50,000 active dancers in Nagasaki Prefecture alone. It was, therefore, time to spread it to the rest of Japan with the assistance of the Ministry of Education. Niblo explained Winfield P. Niblo square dancing how this was done: ‘[The Ministry of Education], in cooperation with the National University of Physical Education under the direction of President Kurimoto, a national athletic hero, and the National Recreation Association under Yanagita Sensei arranged to conduct a National Folk Dance Training Course at the National Gymnasium in Tokyo. Each of the forty-seven prefectures was invited to send a team of four couples to receive one week of training in the Square Dance and a number of other Western style folk dances. The master plan provided for the forty-seven teams to return to their home prefectures following training, and proceed to teach and promote the dances through the schools and through community recreation programs, youth programs, etc.’ While this approach may have helped popularize folk dancing throughout Japan, the dancing boom in the country occurred because of the involvement of two very important people at the Folk-Dance Training Course: Prince Mikasa, the emperor’s younger brother, and his wife Princess Yuriko. The Prince had apparently participated in a square dance earlier in Sapporo and felt it was a worthwhile activity. Prince Mikasa confided in Niblo that the reason why he insisted that Yuriko accompany him to square dances was so that he would be setting a good example for Japanese husbands to include their wives in social functions. Niblo personally witnessed several ‘Welcome Square Dance Parties’ for the Prince as he and the Princess travelled around Japan. ‘At the close of each one, the participants would form a large circle around the gymnasium or playground and Prince Mikasa and Princess Yuriko would go completely around the circle to greet and shake hands with everyone present. It was a great honour to have such a personal contact with a member of the Emperor’s Family.’


With the help of the Prince and Princess, the success of square dancing across Japan was assured. So many folk-dance groups were established all over Japan that the National Folk Dance Federation of Japan was formed in 1956. Some of these groups learned Scottish and English country dances, as well as Polish, Hungarian, Russian and other European dances, and folk dancing was taught in all schools. Atsuko remembers that every Friday at the lunch break, her whole school danced together.

Scottish Country Dancing Mr Alexander Barrie, a member of the Scottish Country Dance Society, who was stationed in Hiroshima with the British army, taught dancing to military officers. He was invited by Mr Yutaka Harada to teach Scottish country dancing to an enthusiastic group in Fukuoka on Kyushu Island in the west of Japan. Barrie gave Mr Harada a copy of Won’t You Join the Dance? In the east of Japan, Mr Hiroyuki Ikema was a gym teacher who taught folk dancing. While studying in America, he danced with New York Branch, and on his way home via Scotland in 1963, he visited Coates Crescent, and met Miss Milligan who encouraged him to form a branch in Japan. Mr Ikema brought Scottish country dance to the Tokyo area, where he taught classes as one of the YWCA activities. Mr Kiyohiko Miyakawa led a separate folk dance group, where he started teaching Scottish country dance. He then taught throughout the Tokyo area when Mr Ikema was unavailable.

Miss Milligan and Mr Harada, Hawaii, 1977

Visiting St Andrews At some time in the 1950s or 60s, two Japanese men, Mr Nakayama and Mr Shimada, attended the summer school in St Andrews, and Bill Clement was asked by Miss Milligan to take them around. They spoke no English but sang ‘Coming Through the Rye’ while being driven around in Bill’s car!

Greeting Bill Clement with the dance Bonnie Anne at Fukuoka airport, 1975

In 1975, when the Queen visited Japan for the first time, Mr Ikema and Mr Harada thought it would be a good idea to organize a Scottish country dance workshop. They contacted Miss Milligan, and she asked Bill Clement to go and teach Scottish country dancing. He also went to assist Dr Masami Yamane, who had just formed the Tokyo Bagpiping Society. Bill had come prepared to teach simple dances, but on his arrival Mr Harada’s team danced Bonnie Anne at Fukuoka Airport to welcome him, and he had to scrap everything he had prepared and revise his class plans to include more advanced dances, and Highland dances too. Most of the dancers in the wider Tokyo area attended folk dance classes, but many of them were not very familiar with Scottish country dancing. All the folk-dance groups were invited to the Scottish country dance workshop, where over 100 dancers were taught easier dances. Mr Miyakawa’s group in Tokyo was more advanced, as they had been practising Scottish country dance before Bill arrived. The following year, Mary and David Brandon, who lived in Hawaii at the time, were invited by Mr Ikema and Mr Harada to teach Scottish country dance workshops in Tokyo. Both Bill Clement and Mary Brandon then suggested to Miss Milligan that Mr Ikema and Mr Harada should take the Society’s teaching exam. They were invited to Hawaii in 1977 along with Marchan Okada when Miss Milligan visited on her last examination tour. The two men did their teaching exams, being awarded the full certificate, although they had applied only to do the preliminary course, while Marchan Okada was awarded her preliminary certificate.


Bill Clement and Mr Shimada in St Andrews

When Atsuko started work in 1975, she attended a dance class with Mr Yutaka Shimizu in Yokohama. She set off to the St Andrews summer school in 1979 all on her own, only able to speak a very little English. She arrived in Edinburgh, not knowing where St Andrews was, as her guidebook only gave Scotland half a page. Mr Harada had told her to take a taxi, but the hotel receptionist sent her to Waverley station where she apprehensively took the Dundee train, hoping she would know when to get off at Leuchars. Luckily, she met a woman with a broad Scots accent on the railway platform who took her by taxi to the summer school registration desk, and she spent a wonderful fortnight guided and helped by Yvonne Tredgett who, being a schoolteacher, spoke slow and careful English which Atsuko could understand. On the first evening, on the way to the dining hall, Hope Little said: “You are coming to my class, aren’t you?” Atsuko wondered who it was, and what class it was. Yvonne took her to Mrs Little’s intermediate ladies’ step class the next day and they learned The Scottish Lilt. By the end of the week, Hope insisted Atsuko join the Advanced step class for the second week, to learn Flora MacDonald’s Fancy. It was Atsuko’s first demonstration in the Younger Hall!

Atsuko Mikami, Bill Clement, Yvonne Tredgett, St Andrews, 1979

On her return to Japan, she went to any and all SCD workshops she could, including the university Scottish country dance classes taught by Mr Harada. She decided to come again to St Andrews in 1981 to study SCD in depth. It was suggested that she take the preliminary test while there and was told she should read Won’t You Join the Dance? three times. She wrote a Japanese translation of the text in the book margins! Because of her lack of English, she applied to do two fortnights, expecting to sit the test at the end of four weeks. However soon after the beginning of the second week at summer school, Miss Gibson told her that she should take the exam on the Friday, the end of the first fortnight. She only had three days to prepare, and she had to choose between study and watching the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana Spencer on TV, so of course she watched the wedding. Atsuko passed her preliminary test, while Marchan Okada completed her full certificate that week. Atsuko remained in Edinburgh, attending all the classes she could: children’s, adult and demonstration classes each week, day schools and weekend schools too, for the next four and a half years. She kept detailed notes of every class and sent them to her friends in Japan who were interested in Scottish country dance. She was not allowed a work permit, so lived very frugally, with loans from her parents. Then in 1986, she married Bill Clement, and they made regular trips back to Japan over the following years. In 1984, the RSCDS was asked to send a team to the British Trade Fair to be held at a large department store, Takashimaya. The team of dancers from Edinburgh Branch was led by Bill Clement, and many dancers came to watch the display and chat to Bill and the team. On one occasion, Bill taught a class of around 1200 folk dancers Scottish country dancing, accompanying them by playing his bagpipes. Remarkably, he could shout instructions at the same time as playing the tunes! That same year, the Tokyo Branch was formed, and later another two branches, Tokai in 2000, and Saitama in 2001. There are now around 450 Japanese members of the RSCDS, and in addition to branch classes, many other dance groups have specialized in Scottish country dancing, while other folk-dance groups now include Scottish country dance in their repertoire. Japanese dancers began to travel to St Andrews to attend the summer school in the years after Bill’s visit. Junko Matsuhashi was one of the first and attended every two years. She gained her full certificate in 1982 and taught at Urawa SCD Group until her death and was one of the founding members of Tokyo and Saitama Branches. In 1993, Atsuko helped to organize a trip around Scotland for a tour group of Japanese dancers led by Mr Miyakawa. They visited several places associated with popular dance names such as Maggieknockater, Monymusk, Neidpath Castle and Drumelzier. They stopped off in St Andrews, and attended a special one-off class taught by one of the summer school teachers, danced in Younger Hall, and met John Drewry, Lesley Martin and other

teachers there. In the following years, Atsuko arranged tours of Scotland for many enthusiastic Japanese dancers who then travelled to attend the St Andrews summer school, and several sat the teaching exams while there. On returning to Japan, they shared their experiences with their own dance groups, and started additional Scottish country dance clubs. As Mr Miyakawa did not speak English, worked full-time and could not take time off to travel to Scotland to do the teaching exam, Bill helped to establish the three-year cycle of holding exams in Japan starting in 1997, which helped produce many teachers. There are now over 100 teachers in Japan, 70 of which are members of Tokyo Branch, and most of whom teach regularly. Since then, many overseas teachers have been invited to Japan to teach workshops, and to tutor candidates for the teaching exams. The RSCDS Scroll of Honour was awarded to Mr Ikema in 2004, and Marchan Okada Naitoh in 2007.

Japanese Musicians Join the Band Japanese musicians also became interested in playing Scottish Music. Hiroko Kokai joined a local SCD group and began playing to accompany the dancers. She was the class pianist at the Tokyo Branch weekend School in 1993, and later travelled to St Andrews to join the musicians’ course. On other occasions, musicians were needed when visiting teachers came to teach classes or play for exam courses, and they too became interested in playing. When Atsuko Getting ready to play for Tokyo dancers organised an event to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Bill’s first visit to Japan, Keith Smith was invited to teach a musicians’ workshop. Now there are a good number of Japanese playing for Scottish country dances. This is what they say attracts them to Scottish music: ‘It is so exciting to see people dancing Scottish country dance with lively music, and the music will make them dance! I can feel if the dancers keep the rhythm with their feet especially if it is a strathspey. Scottish slow airs made a big impression on me when I heard them for the first time. It’s a joy to see everyone dancing with our music, and to dance myself.’ It is interesting to reflect on what attracts our Japanese dancing friends to Scottish country dance, when Scottish culture at first sight might seem so different from Japanese. The attraction of Scottish country dance and music seems universal: dancers enjoy the dance patterns and formations, the varied and melodic tunes, the teamwork involved, the satisfaction of dancing well with others, the opportunity to dress up, being part of a worldwide dance tradition, and most of all, the opportunity to socialise and make new friends while dancing.

Mr Ohmori’s fiddlers play for the Osaka dancers


A Fascination with Folk Dance near her home when I was about six years old, but I never saw anyone else in my family dance. Chinese national folk dance is now considered a performance art, which is stage-managed and choreographed for highly skilled professionals rather than something that ordinary people enjoy at social functions. While in Beijing, I was involved in a project on Tibetan dance, where a contrast was made between ordinary young Tibetans, who commonly participate in traditional Tibetan dance for their own enjoyment, and the presentation of folk/social dance at most dance academies and at many theatrical events in Beijing, where it is staged by professionals as a choreographed performance. Ordinary people are the audience, not the participants.

Yang Zhao is a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh who is particularly interested in dance education and researching people’s participation in social dancing in different cultures. Originally from Weihai, China, she has been dancing since the age of four, and studied dance in Ji’nan, the capital of Shandong Province, then at the Beijing Dance Academy and Beijing Normal University. In this article she describes what fascinates her about social dance. In the second semester of my undergraduate studies, our class were fortunate enough to learn a traditional Wa dance from a teacher named Aikun who is of ethnic Wa origin. His dancing is completely different from what we had been learning for stage performance. The dances he taught had social, ceremonial and even religious functions and we sang as we danced. It made me realise that Chinese folk dances that have existed over many years are beginning to disappear because fewer people from the younger generation are interested in ‘old-fashioned’ folk dances. It was then that I decided to major in Chinese Language and Literature and to study folklore: the history and development of expressive culture. During the first year of my BA dance course in Beijing, I decided to study dance education abroad. In 2015, I came to the University of Edinburgh to study Dance Science and Education. When I went to my first ceilidh in Edinburgh my memories of why I started dancing re-appeared, and I wrote my dissertation titled ‘Participation in Scottish Ceilidh Dance’. In China, folk dances are often learnt by watching or attending dances and/or related events, especially in minority ethnic areas where people speak their own language instead of the national official language, Mandarin. Folk dance is also popular in urban China, and Chinese square dancing is especially popular among retired middle-aged women, who dance in town squares for exercise and social enjoyment. My grandma sometimes went to square dancing and/or exercises similar to Tai chi on a square


Yang attending an event in Lyon, France, as part of her research into Scottish country dancing

What surprised me when I first went Scottish country dancing is that, although it is possible to put on a performance or compete in festivals, most Scottish country dancers are not dance professionals, but ordinary people who enjoy social dancing at weddings, balls and evening classes. In European folk dance groups, it is not important to be a professionally qualified dancer to teach dance well. This is very different from Asian countries, including China. It would be thought very strange indeed if we were to dance at a wedding in my home town. Reflecting on this, my ambition after graduation is to work in dance education in China, promoting social folk dancing. Preserving our traditional Chinese dance heritage and persuading more people to participate in the shared pleasure of social dance will, I believe, increase cross-cultural understanding. Readers may be interested to see Chinese folk dance for themselves: Wa Dance: Tibetan dance: Uyghur dance: around 4’ 00 Chinese National Dance: ZHAO Yang Dance Video (Tibetan Folk Dance)

Units or CTI? Which to choose? Which way to go? Aspiring dance teachers might be wondering which RSCDS teacher training course to follow. In this article, Deirdre McCuish Bark of Toronto Branch has looked at both, summarising what she identifies as the difference between the Teaching Certificate Units and the new Core Training for Instructors. The Units make up a formal Teaching Certificate in five parts: Units 2,3 and 5 are technique centered courses culminating in formal exams. The candidate classes are taught by an experienced tutor. Unit 4 is a mentored Record of Teaching Practice.




l l

CTI is for those who would like to improve their teaching technique, without following a structured course with final exam. CTI avoids the considerable expense and demands on time of undertaking the Units Remote learning enables CTI to be undertaken anywhere in the world Learning to teach in a familiar setting can be less daunting. Unit candidates benefit from discussion with, observation of and learning from other candidates; CTI trainees miss out on this but are encouraged to attend and learn from classes taught by others.

Your Choice?

CTI is a new way to expand your SCD horizons. It is an alternative system of training, resulting in becoming an instructor of Scottish country dance using an apprenticeship model, learning on the job with a qualified trainer. The trainer decides when the trainee instructor has reached an agreed standard. The Units prepare you to teach all levels of dancing ability and expertise. Those who choose the Unit system, learn in person by attending a series of classes with other candidates or in a two-week residential course. There is opportunity to discuss and learn from others on the course. If you aim to teach dancers at an advanced level, or aspire to be a tutor, medal assessor, or eventually an examiner, this is the best choice for you. CTI focuses on general and social classes, where participants are of mixed ages and experience. As a CTI trainee, you teach in your own class, guided by your trainer, and learn as you go along. In CTI, videos are used in training as well as in a final submission, illustrating what the trainee has learned. An advantage for those living in outlying areas is that all training can be done remotely via video. In the Units, there are specified standards of dancing, and the candidates are judged against these. In CTI the aims for both the social and the general classes are tailored to the individual trainee and class and measured against a set of core competencies. The trainee instructor does not sit an exam, but the final video is moderated to ensure that the trainer is assessing the competencies in a consistent way. Both systems show how to teach using lesson plans as well as how to analyse a dance. The candidate in Unit 2 undergoes a dance exam to assess their dance technique. The CTI trainee is not personally tested as to their own dance ability, but they do need to have good knowledge of the steps and formations and be able to show correct rhythm. CTI focuses on fun and a flexible approach to learning how to teach. Finances are a concern to many. There is a fee payable to the RSCDS for both courses. For CTI, this is a single one-off fee, and the course should be less expensive, as it is assumed that the trainee instructor’s class will cover the cost of hall hire. For the teaching certificate course, there is a fee payable for each unit and candidates are likely to pay towards the costs of the tutor and hall hire for the course. Branches or RSCDS scholarships may assist candidates with cost, but if the course is residential, then there are these costs to add.

Which to Choose: l

Units suit those who want to hone dance and teaching skills to a high level, while CTI may appeal to those deterred by the Units’ challenging physical requirements

WHITE ROSE FESTIVAL ... of2022. Scottish Country Dancing Gin tasting at Winter School Photo Gordon Porter The 66th annual


... of Scottish Country Dancing

Saturday 9th July 2022, 1.30pm, Gateways School, Harewood, Leeds LS17 9LE


Massed General Dancing Demonstration Groups Highland & Ladies’ Step Dancing Children’s Groups Evening Dance Music throughout by Susan MacFadyen & her Scottish Dance Band We welcome full teams of 8-10, but can make arrangements for smaller groups or individuals

Full details from the website


Tim Macdonald: Fiddler and Dancer Tim Macdonald, a musician who also dances, is a past Chairman of the Chicago Branch. He is a regular performer, scholar, composer, and teacher of early Scottish fiddle music. He has competed at the Glenfiddich Fiddle Championship and plays for Scottish country dancing. He is currently in Edinburgh for a year, studying for an MScR in the School of Scottish Studies of Edinburgh University. Tim gave a talk at Winter School in Pitlochry in February Before telling us about your music, what is your connection to Bonnie Prince Charlie? I am the five-times great grandson of Flora MacDonald from South Uist, who helped Charles Edward Stuart evade Government troops after the defeat at Culloden in 1746. She married Allan MacDonald, moved to North Carolina, then to Nova Scotia, before returning to Skye. My four-times great-grandfather was their son John. He was a Lieutenant Colonel in the army and is buried in Exeter Cathedral. His son James was my three-times great-grandfather. He was also in the army, died young in India, but not before fathering Augustus who was born in India but moved to New Zealand where my great-grandfather, Major Reginald Macdonald OBE was born. He also served in India, where he fell in love with a married Englishwoman, and they moved to the US. He was keen on genealogy and convinced the Lord Lyon that he was the rightful chieftain of the Macdonalds of Kingsburgh and Castle Camus. His first child was my grandfather, Somerled Donald St Maur Macdonald, a Pittsburgh chemical engineer, whose second son is my father John, the 17th and current chieftain of Kingsburgh, thus making me a direct descendant of Flora MacDonald!

When did you start playing the fiddle? I have lived equal thirds of my life in Honduras, Pittsburgh, and Chicago. I started playing the classical violin when I was four. When my family moved to Pittsburgh, we started going to Highland Games – in the US many of the Games have fiddle competitions. On hearing everyone play I realised that they played the violin and seemed to be having fun. I too played the violin, but I wasn’t having fun! So surely there must be a solution! My mother miraculously found an excellent teacher on the other side of town – Colyn Fischer. Colyn had studied with Ian Powrie and Alasdair Hardie and would go on to win the American National Championships in Scottish Fiddling several times. So, every two weeks we would drive a great distance so that I could get a lesson from him and learn the alchemy of turning simple tunes into complex and enjoyable music. I remember an early comment from him, “Vivaldi would be proud! That’s not a good thing.” Colyn also taught at a summer camp – The Jink and Diddle School of Scottish Fiddling in North Carolina – and eventually I was pronounced old enough and a good enough player to attend. A full week of non-stop fiddling away from home – Heaven! An important part of ‘Jink’ pedagogy was the idea that you couldn’t really understand how to play dance music unless you understood the dancing, so every day there was a 90-minute country dance class and at the end of the week a 12-dance beginner’s ball with the largest dance band you’ll ever see: several dozen fiddlers of all levels! Through the very patient efforts of camp co-founder and RSCDS teacher, Moira Turner of Richmond, I muddled through skip change and right shoulder reels for a few years and slowly realised that, despite my teenage protestations, it really was fun and deserved my proper attention.


James Murray, grandson of Flora MacDonald, great-great-greatgrandfather of Tim Macdonald.

How did you get involved with the RSCDS? I had moved to the Chicago area to study for a degree in computer science. In my first term I gave a talk about playing Scottish fiddle music. My lecturer stopped the class to ask if I knew about the Chicago Branch of the RSCDS – which I didn’t. He then invited me to dinner and to the weekly dance class afterwards. At the Silk and Thistle class, as it’s called, I both refined my dancing in all the countless ways I couldn’t at the annual beginner-level camp classes, and also cut my teeth leading The Silk and Thistle Players for a few dances each night. Later on, I got even more involved, joining the demonstration team, serving a term as chairman, and starting to do teacher training before everything was cut short by the pandemic.

What other influences did you have? As a fiddler I had been becoming more and more interested in how our music had developed. Through the tunes and dances I’d get little snippets of the history from various teachers, but they weren’t always clear or consistent with each other. And sometimes I’d want to play a tune in a way that sounded good to me, but I’d be told it wasn’t ‘traditional’ and to play it this other way instead. Increasingly, I started reading academic material on Scottish music history. Scottish Fiddle Music of the 18th Century by the late

David Johnson is still essential reading for anyone interested in traditional fiddle music. I began to correspond with real experts, who generously spent time sharing information with this young fiddling computer scientist – in particular, Dr John Purser on Skye, and Dr David McGuinness of Glasgow University. I was also very kindly offered lessons from one of the world’s great concert violinists, Rachel Barton Pine, who, between trips all over the globe to play concertos with various orchestras, would make time to give me lessons – often at short notice and at strange hours! She fixed many technical problems I’d been struggling with on the instrument, but she was also very helpful as a real expert in performing historical music, pushing me to use 18th-century sources to play more evocative music today. It was through this historical connection that I found a sound-world I still live in.

Where have you performed? Together with cello player Jeremy Ward, I started playing concert tours around the US. We made two trips to Scotland together where we played at Blair Castle for the Glenfiddich Fiddle Competition, taught workshops at the Plockton Music School, Scotland’s National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music, and made many wonderful musical friends. We have also played for many dances, doing local events with the Chicago Branch, first to figure out how to make an 18th-century sound work for modern dancers and eventually playing for balls throughout the Midwest and East Coast and for Pinewoods dance camp.

So your band is just two people? Yes, it is just myself and Jeremy. I think the size of a band can make you play like a cornered animal! In a large band the cello’s job would be to give some shape to the harmony and the fiddler would deliver the melody, leaving plenty of space for the rest of the band to play. However, with just the two of us, we both work overtime to fill in

the chords and rhythm normally provided by a piano or accordion by playing two or three strings at once, wildly ornamenting the melody, and treating the cello as much like a percussion instrument as anything else. Rather than think of the fiddle and cello lines as melody and harmony, we think of them as melody and countermelody, with harmony a shared job between them.

What is unique about your music? I had thought that I’d go through a historical phase and then get back to normal life once I’d gotten to the bottom of it, but instead I’ve discovered a musical style that encourages endless creativity, where the acts of composition and performance are so intertwined that each new performance of the same tune should feel like a new re-composition of it. Several friends have told me they won’t learn tunes from me by ear anymore because I play them differently each time! And the tune variety has been much more than I bargained for: apart from the expected strathspeys, hornpipes, jigs, and reels, 18th-century Scottish fiddlers played Spanish fandangos and Italian sonatas and Highland airs and wonderfully cheesy show music for the theatre and equestrian circus (opened in Edinburgh in 1790) and tunes considered ‘antient’ that defy modern categorisation. After eight years playing hundreds of tunes out of dozens of books together, we’re still finding exciting new music that’s centuries old!

Why have you come to study in Edinburgh? While exploring the history of the music, I’ve always been constrained by needing to earn a living – at various points by playing music, doing software engineering, or both. I thought it would be helpful to have some dedicated time to do the academic side properly, so I was delighted to be invited to apply for Edinburgh University’s new master’s degree in Traditional Arts Performance, which, depending on how you look at it, is for research-based performance or performance-based research. The pandemic has delayed the launch of the programme, but I decided to come to Edinburgh anyway and get a conventional research degree (MScR in Scottish Ethnology).

What is the subject of your research? My research focuses on the performance practice of violinists/ fiddlers in Edinburgh at the end of the 18th century. Most scholarship so far has focused on who the musicians were and what, in general terms, they did, but my interest is on how they did it. How does one play with a 1790s Edinburgh accent, so to speak? Dance manuals and other accounts describing social dancing 150 years before the foundation of the Scottish Country Dance Society illustrate some key differences: faster strathspeys, much longer dances (sometimes two hours for one country dance!), and only one tune used for the whole dance. There is also some rather abstruse writing on aesthetics by Scottish Enlightenment greats such as Adam Smith and Francis Hutcheson that I’m working on applying to concert music. It’s a very satisfying puzzle to take various descriptions of performances, sheet music, and historical instruments, and figure out how to make it all work together. I think there’s a temptation to trivialise players like the Gows and Mackintosh as charmingly quaint but perhaps not very sophisticated, but the more time I spend with the historical sources the more I admire them as educated, highly capable people working at the height of their professional powers to deliver captivating music to the dancers and concert-goers of Edinburgh. I look forward to learning more!

Tim Macdonald playing his fiddle at Winter School 2022 in Pitlochry (photo Gordon Porter)

Tim has produced a CD of his music with Jeremy Ward – The Wilds – available from Spotify or buy a downloadable copy at


Celebrating Ceilidh Dancing: RSCDS Virtual Festival 2021 Ceilidhs are a great way to get a lot of people involved in traditional Scottish dancing. They are happy and energetic and a bit wild and – most importantly – very good fun. Everyone can join in with the dances, they are easy to learn, and equally enjoyable whether you’re a beginner or a more experienced dancer, young or old, Scottish, or international. Aberdeen Spring Fling in April 2021 offered a workshop on writing ceilidh dances, resulting in a very productive afternoon and eight new dance creations. Inspired by this workshop and to celebrate ceilidh even more, the most recent edition of the Virtual Festival was entitled “Ceilidh, dancing and beyond”, specifically asking groups to share their favourite night of ceilidh dancing, including one of the new dances in their displays. And the submissions did not disappoint! All of them were creative, carefully choreographed, and danced with joy. It’s a real treat to watch them! (The videos can be found on the Society’s YouTube channel.)

Thank you to all the dancers who joined this Virtual Festival, and made it into a fantastic and happy celebration of ceilidh dancing!

Strip the Willow at the Bath 10 to 100 Family Ball The 70th Bath 10 to 100 Family Ball It has been two whole years since we last reeled, so it was very special indeed, and particularly wonderful to see so many youngsters enjoying learning the dances! The event was the 70th Bath 10 to 100 Family Ball, held on Saturday 8 January 2022. It was a wonderful evening in Corsham Town Hall, beautifully organised by Charles Freeman, and we were dancing to the George Buchanan band. The photo is of a spirited Strip the Willow!

Malin Altenmüller, Youth Services Committee

Caroline Maggs, Bath

Best Team effort awarded to Lyon ceilidh dancers Our winners represent all aspects of ceilidh dancing. Our overall winner, and winner of the People’s Choice Award, are the Rosedale dancers from Toronto, who show how ceilidh dances blend excellently with other types of Scottish dancing. Lyon’s submissions highlighted the joy of dancing with a group of friends, a well-deserved Best Team Effort award. And a successful ceilidh dance doesn’t keep you on your chair, but makes you want to get up and dance. Congratulations to the Belfast dancers winning the Most-Likely-ToJoin-In-With award.

How the Urawa SCD Group started and Saitama Branch was formed Masanori Satoh (Chairman of Urawa SCD Group) introduce it to many more people. On 18th January 1977, she formed the first SCD group in Saitama, and gained the teaching certificate at the Summer School in Scotland in August 1990. By 2001, the number of Tokyo Branch members was increasing so much that Junko and Hitomi suggested forming the Saitama Branch. At the Tokyo Branch AGM, a committee of all the Saitama groups was formed and agreed to proceed, and the application for branch status was accepted by the RSCDS in 2001. The formation party was attended by 126 dancers.


The National Folk Dance Federation of Japan was formed in 1956, and its membership is now around 100,000 dancers who meet regularly to enjoy dancing at their local community halls. Most dancers start off at folk dance classes. When they learn Scottish dances there, such as the Reel of the 51st Division, then decide that they would like to further their skills and join a Scottish country dance group.

When you start SCD, you become curious to know more about its history and background. You start to dream of dancing with other dancers from around the world and wish to attend Summer School in St Andrews. However, it is a long flight and the older one gets, the harder the journey becomes, particularly if you have elderly parents or children to look after. But for those of us who have experienced the summer school, we are contributing to the development of SCD in Japan, not only by dancing but by introducing its charm and letting other people know about our experience in Scotland.

Hitomi, my wife, is an instructor for the Federation, and a member of Tokyo SCD Tanoshimu Group. One day in 1975, we heard the sound of bagpipes coming from our neighbour Mrs Junko Matsuhashi’s house. It was Mr Bill Clement who had been invited to Junko’s house party on the occasion of his teaching tour to Japan. After then, Hitomi wanted to do more Scottish country dancing and

Urawa SCD Group is an affiliated group of the RSCDS and introduces SCD to folk dancers. SCD has wonderful music and dance, where you can make new friends among fellow dancers, and keep on dancing for many years. This year, 2022, the Urawa SCD Group celebrates its 45th anniversary and we hope to continue expanding the SCD family and its charm for many more years.

Dancing around the World All branches and affiliated groups are invited to send in their news (less than 200 words and photos over 500kB please) to Caroline Brockbank We particularly like to read news from branches who have not featured recently, and those whose events are out of the ordinary!

Ayr Branch

A photo from our Branch Dance in the Walker Hall in November 2021 - our first Branch dance since January 2020. Super music from Sandy Nixon, Stuart Thomson and Gordon Young; a fantastic afternoon!

Wilma Brown, Ayr

Bristol Branch

Saturday and Sunday. Our teachers were Patrick Chamoin, Gábor Turi and Beatrix Wepner, with Silke Grosholz (piano), Matthias Rank (violin), and Thomas Naefe (recorder). We did not know until the last minute if it would be possible to hold the event. At times, the organisers felt it impossible, especially when people from the UK cancelled, but we were determined to go on with a ‘real’ dance event after such a long break. We usually have twice or three times as many foreign dancers as locals, but this year we had twice as many locals. We enjoyed a sunny picnic on Gellért hill, and dinner in the nearby garden restaurant in the oldest building of the Taban area. Check out YouTube to see pictures from our fun weekend. The BSTK dance regularly. In the autumn we had several Scottish ‘táncház’ (ceilidhs) with music from the Dagda Band. We celebrated Burns Night with a performance at the 25th Burns Supper in Budapest, the Scottish Brunch performance the next day, and the recording for the Moscow Branch Robert Burns Flash Mob Online.

Agnes Borbely, Budapest

Canterbury Region NZ

We were promised a surprise celebration at the start of our dancing year in September, following an interminable time away from the dancefloor. After intense speculation, it was revealed that Hugh Ferguson, our local musician and band leader, was to be awarded the RSCDS Scroll of Honour. Hugh has been the musical mainstay of Scottish country dancing in our area since he moved here in the late 1970s from Manchester, and before then, Bellshill in Glasgow. He has also played worldwide, for dance classes, balls, summer schools and at festivals in Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand. His band, Dalriada, has played many times for the Royal Family at Sandringham, Windsor Castle and Bagshot Park. A gifted composer of tunes, and musical arrangements, he has produced recordings and published The Langford Collection of Tunes for Scottish Dance. He was a regular workshop leader for SCD music weekends at Halsway Manor National Centre for Folk Arts. RSCDS Chair Elect William Williamson presented the scroll to Hugh, and took us through a very enjoyable class, dancing to the music of Ian Robertson. It was indeed an evening to remember.

Ruth Davies, Bristol

Budapest Scottish Dance Club Our weekend and ball in Budapest in September was fantastic: a welcome dance on Friday, a ball on Saturday and workshops on

2021 was a year we were more than ready to kiss goodbye, and the Canterbury Region’s Hogmanay did it with style, with many friends from across the region and further afield enjoying a fun, inclusive, gentle dance programme. After the disappointment of a postponed and then cancelled Summer School in Christchurch, and more disruptions to weekly classes, it was lovely to spend an evening dancing with friends. We had the undeniable musical talents of a group of friends who were dubbed ‘The One Night Stand Band’ for the evening. You cannot beat live music to really lift the atmosphere and encourage spirited dancing! After supper and more dances, we joined together (including the band) for the traditional sing-along as we counted down to midnight. Fun was had as we ‘redded the hoose’, and tradition received an update as our First Foot was a rather gorgeous, dark-haired woman, bearing the traditional gifts and sure to have brought good luck into the


hall! After more dances, including the traditional New Zealand favourite The Eightsome Reel, we all made our way home, thankful to have seen the New Year in with good friends, good music, good whisky and good times! Wellington Region also put on a Hogmanay Night, enjoyed by all.

Sue Lindsay, New Zealand

Carlisle and Border Branch

Our group is spread between Ames and Des Moines, Iowa, in the middle of the US. Normally, we run a weekly class in Ames and in Des Moines, with occasional social events. We stopped dancing altogether in March 2020 and I led Zoom dances from June 2020. Starting in June 2021, we danced outside in both locations, with no extra social events and no new beginner classes. We are forty miles apart, so some dancers trek to the other location, which can be daunting in winter. Our group is small, and we require everyone to be vaccinated, and to mask while dancing inside. In summer, we met in parks, with occasional live music. Outside, we could dance unmasked. We haven’t danced since the beginning of December, partially due to the holidays but mainly because of Omicron. We normally have a Day School/Burns Ball at the end of January, but this year (as last year) we had a Zoom event with singing, music and poetry. Since it is via Zoom, friends in other states can join in. The photo shows our Friday night December Social in Ames. We have danced in this room nearly every Friday night (until 2020) since 1989. Let’s hope for all of us to get back to dancing soon!

Linda Lieberman, Iowa

Cheshire Branch Carlisle Racecourse had swinging kilts and colourful ball gowns instead of prancing horses on Saturday 20 November, when Carlisle and Border Branch held a special Ball to celebrate its 70th Anniversary! The venue was alive with the music of David Oswald’s Band from Stirling, and the hundred guests enjoyed an excellent dinner and programme. The celebratory cake was made by Sue Casson of Whitehaven, and it was cut by Club President and longstanding member Gill Thompson of Carlisle. There were jigs, reels and strathspeys aplenty danced throughout the evening and a demonstration of a new dance Rivers of Carlisle. It was devised by John Foster who sadly died last year before it was completed, but his daughter and Chairperson of the club, Jane Atkins of Brampton, put in the finishing touches and it was a highlight of the evening, symbolising the rivers Caldew, Eden and Petteril. A presentation was made by Sue Porter to Quinn Inglis of Wigton – the Branch is sponsoring Quinn through her teacher’s examinations. Carlisle and Border Branch is back in action after Covid, with classes on Monday afternoons and Wednesday evenings.

Gail Inglis, Carlisle

Central Iowa Branch

This January thanks to the hard work of our Committee, Webmaster and Membership Secretary (who is an absolute whizz on social media), and despite all our worries about the Omicron variant, we have managed to attract 14 new beginners to the Cheshire Branch. We advertised on various websites and Facebook pages, as well as our own, and created a link to the community hall where we dance. Offering two blocks of six weeks at the knockdown price of £15 per block, we have been inundated with newcomers. A few have danced many years ago and are returning to develop long-forgotten skills, while many are completely new to Scottish dancing. Their ages range from mid-thirties to mid-sixties, and it is obvious that all of them are very enthusiastic and enjoy the classes since they have stayed five or six weeks so far. They are being ably taught by two of the Branch teachers with the most experience at this level. Our social events are being tailored to encourage and support them, including our forthcoming end of term social, which is being developed into a ‘Nice and Very Easy’ evening, to include all the dances taught during the 12-week course.

C Anne MacDonald, Cheshire

Epping Club’s End of Year Event – ‘Bangers, Beer and Bubbles’ We are located in the northwest of Sydney, and you will have read about our ‘Mini Fitness Sessions’ in December’s Dance Scottish Together newsletter. On resumption in October, our class continued with the emphasis on fitness routines and exercises to strengthen and flex muscles, and build up our cardio fitness, and then to walk or gently dance through the programme for the Sydney Branch social in December. However, the main theme of this report is our ‘Bangers, Beer and


of the Branch until twenty years ago, but at least eight current members of the Branch remembered dancing with her at Annie Parker’s classes, and at many of the local dances held in and around Ayrshire. Although now not able to dance, Margaret Bryce enjoyed renewing acquaintances with long-lost friends, and watching a set dance a selection of well-known dances as she celebrated her birthday with family and friends at the Fenwick Hotel. A week later, Branch members were joined by dancers from most of the surrounding branches in the West of Scotland at a special dance to celebrate the 85th Anniversary of Kilmarnock and District Branch. Before the dance started, Branch Chairperson Dorothy McCrum cut a celebratory birthday cake. Thereafter, some fifty dancers enjoyed a varied and full programme of popular dances to superb music provided by Ian Muir and his Scottish Dance Band.

Anna Underhill, Andrina Brennan and Trish Nicholls limbering up Bubbles’ end of year picnic. The committee decided to have an outdoor event rather than our usual dinner at a restaurant, due to covid concerns. Furthermore, the get-together was free for our members and their families. Andrina Brennan and Trish Nicholls organised Highland Games, getting everyone in teams for the ‘stick and mask race’, ‘toss the hand sanitiser’, ‘throwing the caber’ (a garden stake!) and a version of musical chairs, but instead of chairs you had to walk around a picnic table to grab the ever-fewer sanitiser bottles when the music stopped! Prizes of chocolate Santas were given to winners. Some non-dancing husbands kindly ‘volunteered’ to cook the bangers for our sausage sandwich lunch. Everyone had a happy time celebrating the end to a very strange year of dancing, with beer, bubbles and bangers certainly helping.

David Pinkerton, Kilmarnock

London Branch’s 90th Anniversary Ball a year late!

Andrina Brennan, Sydney

Gothenburg Branch 45th Anniversary Celebration. The Branch celebrated its 45th Anniversary with a dinner dance event on Saturday 24 November 2021. Some of the 24 guests were present and past members from the formation of the Branch 45 years ago. Several related their memories of the Branch’s history since its formation.

2020 was to have been a year of celebration for London Branch: a series of dances to mark our founding in 1930, the first outside Scotland.

All the dances were chosen by present and past Branch dance teachers, who included the devisers of some of them; one, Gothenburg’s Welcome, is published by the RSCDS.

Our first event, a tea dance in March 2020 at the London Scottish Regimental Headquarters, was a great success. Dancers of all ages enjoyed the music of Ian Robertson and his band, and a celebration tea, including a 90th birthday cake. Covid, however, intervened and plans for a summer dance and autumn ball were put on hold. Restrictions made the July dance impossible. Hopes were pinned on the 2021 Grand Autumn Ball.

The present and past members and their guests who attended the event enjoyed a lively, social and energetic evening - the first after some 18 months of Covid restrictions.

Kilmarnock and District Branch Double Celebration

On 16 October, Allum Hall in Elstree was filled with music from Craigellachie and the buzz of dancers, reunited in dance after far too long. It was perfect, from the first note of George Ferrier’s piping until we headed home. The hall was decorated with archive photographs. The greatest joy was in greeting old friends and rediscovering the exhilaration of the dance, steered by MCs Jim Cook, Lindsey Rousseau and Rita Marlow. We welcomed past Chairman Andrew Kellett and Chairman Elect William Williamson, who read a message of congratulations from Chairman Lorna Ogilvie before proposing a toast to London Branch. The evening included a new dance, London Nine-O, devised by Lizzy Conder, and the presentation of a Branch Award to Stephen Webb. Margaret Catchick was presented with flowers in thanks for her work in coordinating the celebrations. A year late, but an anniversary ball to remember!

Joanne Lawrence, London

Los Angeles Branch Members of Kilmarnock and District Branch participated in two celebratory events in December 2021. The Branch received an initial enquiry asking if we could supply some dancers for a surprise at a local lady’s 100th birthday celebrations. Further information about the lady revealed that not only had she been a member

As I write, Los Angeles and Orange County Branches are preparing for our delayed Burns Ball which will be held on 19 February. Here we still wear masks indoors, even while dancing. Everyone who attends classes or events must be vaccinated. The Torrance class continued over Zoom throughout the pandemic. Each class consisted of five teachers, each teaching one dance for each online


class, and people participated from throughout the LA area. In May, the class resumed in person, but several people and teachers continued dancing from home – a true hybrid class that continues today. In addition, our demonstration team also started classes in May in person, and another class reconvened in September. We have taken some time off to allow the Omicron surge to subside, but we are dancing again as I write this. We were very happy to be able to hold our St Andrews Ball as usual in November with four sets of dancers, and appetizers and desserts in lieu of a full dinner. Music was provided by Susan Worland and Lyle Ramshaw. What a pleasure it was to dance together again!

Roberta Gotfried, Los Angeles

Méaudre Reel

big Steampunk Festival. The photograph that appeared in the Newark Advertiser on 2 Sep 2021 was captioned: ‘In addition to the Steampunk Festival, members of Newark’s Scottish Country Dance Society danced in the town centre as part of the Dance in a Day Festival, which was happening alongside the event.’ Newark’s return to dancing in the Summer began by following the summer tradition of Garden Dances. Classes then started in September in a new hall with more space and better ventilation than the previous one. We celebrated 50 years since the society began and a great night was had by all, dancing to music by Chris and Julie Dewhurst.

John Aitken, Newark

Seattle Branch

We are so pleased to dance normally again here in the French Alps! The first children’s and teenagers’ class was amazing; they were so eager. Five dances taught in an hour; not at all an average! During the spring lockdown, to keep links with our teenagers, we organised a weekly SCD creation workshop, dancing on paper. We published our first book: Dancing in Vercors. Dancing them now for real is pure joy. For each dance, the girls explained the context of its creation, which often led to funny debates. For Thoughts of Romance, their first strathspey, it started with a talk about romanticism and SCD. ‘It is so romantic to dance a two-hand turn with a handsome partner, looking him in the eyes! Do you remember in Newcastle I danced with M….?’ ‘For me, my best partner was in St Andrews, it was a dream dancing a strathspey with A...’ But other girls said that it can also be a nightmare when dancing with a poor dancer! The two-hand turn may last too long! So, it is now very funny to teach the two-hand turn; everyone hopes to be the dreamy partner, not the poor dancer.

Sophie Marchand

Newark Scottish Country Dance Society Scottish Country Dance meets Steampunk! Scottish country dance groups in Newark, Waltham and Grantham U3A have been making the most of opportunities to advertise their classes. On Bank Holiday Sunday we were invited to dance at a ‘Newark Creates’ event in Newark, Notts. When we arrived, we found that it coincided with a


Over the past two years the Seattle Branch has kept Scottish country dancing alive … virtually! During 2020-2021, Harry Khamis and Linda Silber offered three 8-week Scottish country dance class series on Zoom starting at the very basic level and moving up through advanced formations. There was an average of 24 “Zoom-in screens” during this period. Following these three 8-week series, 8 monthly Zoom dances were presented during 2021-2022. Those who Zoomed in came from all over the U.S., as well as from Canada, Mexico, Sweden, and Hungary. Now that dance classes are slowly returning to in-person dancing our Zoom classes and dances have ended. Many attendees expressed appreciation for the opportunity to keep current and active with Scottish country dancing without having to leave their home.

Harry Khamis, Seattle Branch RSCDS

Toronto Association As the pandemic drifts along, we focus on keeping everyone connected to the spirit of Scottish country dancing. While virtual classes are not what we really want, they’re a valuable morale booster. Hooking up with other dancers every week goes a long way to helping folk cope with isolation. Thanks to our teachers for their time and support. In November 2021, we held an in-person dance. Thirty dancers showed up, undaunted by covid protocols. After such a long absence it was a joy to meet again but we realised how hard it is to maintain social distancing once the dance has ended! December saw us involved in the Virtual Festival. Our entry The Rosedale Romp was filmed by our Vice Chair, Paul Barber, assisted by Leo Roytman; choreographers were Moira Korus and Halyna Sydorenko. Despite having to mask up while dancing, the result was impressive. 2021 ended with our virtual Christmas dance on 11 December, hosted by Keith and Deidre MacCuish Bark. Sociability was high on the agenda with frequent breakout rooms for chatting. Sixty-four dancers zoomed in; most from Toronto but also from

Hamilton, Kitchener, St. Catharines, Montreal, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton, New York State, Boston and New Zealand. Many are also regulars at our weekly virtual classes – we’re a community from far and near. We’re hopeful 2022 will be a better dancing year; fingers are very firmly crossed!

Sheena Gilks, Toronto

Townsville, North Queensland

Thank you very much to everyone who organised and ran the evening: setting up the hall, organising supper, doing dishes, presenting the midnight tableau, and to the dancers who were part of such a lively and fun evening. Also thank you to Gaye and Damon Collin, and local dancers who gave us an opportunity for a practice earlier in the week: much appreciated and helpful.

Jan and Bruce Austin, Carterton SCDC

Windsor Ontario Branch

In Townsville, North Queensland, Australia, the last six months have been good to us. We had our first ever dance in the park on nearby Magnetic Island for St Andrew’s Day. About a dozen dancers from Townsville and a few locals joined in on the grass at Alma Bay. Back in August we had our annual Ghillies and Gowns Social and for the first time in many years we had live music, from accordionist Iain Mckenzie. For many of our members it was the first time they had danced to live music and they loved it. There was such a buzz on the dance floor.

Margaret Silke, Townsville

Wellington Scottish Country Dance Hogmanay Celebrations, 2021-2022

In January 2022, Windsor Ontario Branch celebrated the 90th birthday of one of their founders, June Dey. June has been dancing in Windsor since 1966, when she joined The White Cockade, a group of dancers who formed in the city a year earlier. In 1980, she and her late husband John qualified as RSCDS teachers, enabling the White Cockade to apply to become a Branch. Windsor was granted Branch status in December 1981. Over many years of teaching, June also taught and mentored several dancers who have since become RSCDS teachers themselves. Although she retired from teaching in 2018, June has remained a vital part of the Windsor Branch. As an ‘in-person’ celebration was not possible, members of the Branch saluted June with a ‘drive-by’ birthday parade and arranged for a piper to play outside her home. June, who was delighted to receive wellwishes from her many dancer friends, is pictured here with her gift from the Branch, a framed birthday greeting certificate from Ontario’s Lieutenant-Governor. Miriam Wright, Windsor

Waikato Bay of Plenty Region, NZ

Dancing, music, celebration, friendship, fun, tradition, and singing were all part of the Hogmanay celebration in Lower Hutt. Damon Collin was MC for an enjoyable evening. Aileen Logie and her band contributed greatly to the party atmosphere as they filled the hall with music. The programme was colour-coded to reflect the Traffic Light theme operating in NZ because of Covid. The front of the stage was swathed in tartan, and balloons around the hall were green, orange and red. As newer dancers it was a treat to watch several advanced dances, a double Culla Bay, The Aviator and The Flower of Glasgow. Debbie Roxburgh was presented with her Life Membership Badge of the Branch, in recognition of her contribution over many years. The Wellington Region launched a book of new dances to celebrate their 60th Anniversary. The Amateur Epidemiologist, from this book, was on the programme, with the deviser taking part.

Hogmanay is celebrated every year in The Waikato Bay of Plenty region. This year it was a real treat - one of the few events not shut down. Chris Wilson had the energy to get the event started, and his wife Liz and his club Cambridge rallied. So once again on a hot night in Cambridge dancers put on glad rags, dug out their shoes and gathered. We were joined by dancers from Auckland, and by Nico, one of our youth members home from studies. The program was lively; after such a long break I was grateful for the walkthroughs. A few new experiences - Colleen Gunn, our regional secretary, revealed herself as a competent pianist for the sing-along prior to midnight. After the songs, the Reaper and Sweeper did their circuit, the chimes rang, and we sang Auld Lang Syne. Toasts of whisky, sherry and orange drink were circulated, and shortbread was enjoyed. No kisses and cuddles; I missed that, but the tall dark handsome first foot arrived bearing the traditional gifts, and a mask for safety. The new year dancing commenced and there was energy for The Eightsome Reel. Happy New Year from the Waikato Bay of Plenty region! Sue Lindsay, Waikato, NZ


Letters to the Editor Any opinions expressed in the letters below are personal to the writers and do not reflect the views of the RSCDS or the Management Board.

Dear Editor Memories of Miss Milligan’s trip to Hawaii I understand that there is to be an article in the magazine on how Scottish country dancing came to be popular in Japan, and I would like to share my memories of Miss Milligan’s trip to Hawaii in 1977, for I was there with two Japanese men as the candidates. Mr. Hiroyuki Ikema, Mr. Yutaka Harada and I were the very first candidates from Japan. After the Examination, Miss Milligan told us: “The test was for the preliminary certificate, but I’ll give the Teacher’s Full Certificate to Mr. Ikema and Mr. Harada because they have worked hard enough to teach Scottish country dance in Japan.” Then she hugged me very closely and told me, “My dear daughter! You are young enough, so come to St. Andrews to do and pass the Full Certificate Exam. I don’t fear for the future of Scottish country dancing activity in Japan now because of you. Please work for me, Marchan!” It was just one year before she passed away. Marchan Okada Naitoh, Tokai Branch

Dear Editor The Heart of Midlothian I would like to encourage everyone in the Society to explore its new book: A Celebration of Sir Walter Scott through Scottish Music and Dance. It is a fascinating collection of music, history and dance instruction, the likes of which we have not seen before in our 99year existence. When you add an accompanying CD with some beautifully played music on fiddle, piano, and cello, the excitement is complete! Many congratulations to everyone involved: the Membership Services Committee, office staff and musicians. I hope we will have more in this style in the future! Earlier dance books may have brought in an income but…. It was interesting to read some of the comments and interpretations about dancing, for example, that 200 years ago nearer hands were taken. I still believe it feels and looks better to take nearer hands today! John Carswell, Linlithgow

Dear Editor The Poor Second Couple I have recently been to dances where the sets have collapsed, and always in the same place, and this is because the MC has not understood the situation enough to give appropriate instructions. If we consider a ‘normal’ dance of three couples in a 4-couple set, where first couple go through supported by their corners and then repeat from second place, three couples are involved every time. Everyone has two turns as dancing couple, and four turns as supporting couples, so everyone is involved in six repeats. Sometimes, however, there is a 5th couple to be fitted in as there aren’t enough to make up another set. That’s OK if the music is played 10 times, but if the music is only to be played 8 times the balance of the set is changed, and the people who lose out are the original second couple! You don’t need a degree in hard sums from Oxbridge to realise why. If 4s go to the bottom after their one turn, the second couple are in action four times while everyone else is in action five times – poor second couple. Unfortunately, some MCs have not thought through the situation. They tell the 4th couple to go into second place after their turn! This is an advantage to 4s who then have six turns. 1s, 3s & 5s each have five turns, but the poor second couple only have three turns. 4th couple dance twice as much as 2nd couple! It is obviously fairer to all if 4s have their one turn as dancing couple and then go to the bottom of the set. So next time the MC suggests that 4th couple have their turn and then go into second place, we should all object - with a loud voice. John Marshall, Cheltenham Branch


Dear Editor RSCDS appointments At the 2020 AGM I was pleased to see that you had been elected to the Management Board (MB). I myself was both a member of the MB and Editor of Scottish Country Dancer at the same time, and I know from experience that it makes communication between the Executive and the Editorial Team much more efficient. Along with all the branches who voted for you in 2020, I was surprised this January to read on the Society website that you had been removed from the MB shortly after the 2021 AGM, invoking Clause 16.1 (a) of the RSCDS Rules and Procedures (RP), which states that ‘An RSCDS member may not hold more than one elected or appointed post in the Society.’ Many will remember that when the Rules were written the intention behind Clause 16.1 (a) was twofold: firstly, to involve as many Society members as possible in its running; and secondly, and relevant to this current issue, to ensure that there were no conflicts of interest. In practice, this has meant that a member of the MB could not also be Music Director or Schools Director. A few years ago, a member of the MB was appointed Schools Director and he immediately stepped down from the Board. Perhaps the Society’s solicitor was not aware of the intention behind what, with hindsight, is a badly-worded rule. There is no conflict of interest in being both Editor and on the MB, quite the reverse. Clause 10.2 (e) of our Rules states that it is for the Management Board ‘to interpret this document in a manner consistent with its general intent’. The ‘general intent’ has been clear for the past 20 years. It is now obvious that the section on Eligibility for Election in the RP requires prompt re-drafting. If the rule as it stands is taken literally, are examiners and adjudicators, school deputes, Winter School Coordinators, and appointees to our over 20 Working Groups and Panels all barred from standing for the MB? If they are, then who is left with the relevant experience to serve on the Board? This is a serious and urgent matter for the whole Society. Potential nominees and Branches require clarification about who may or may not stand for election to the Management Board this autumn. This clarification is needed before nominations are called for. I encourage the Management Board to formalise the original intention behind the relevant clause. Jimmie Hill, Dunfermline Branch [The Management Board replied to the Editor as follows: Jimmie Hill raises some important issues in his letter regarding Management Board appointments, but we disagree with his interpretation of the situation. Nevertheless, we have committed to strengthening the clarity in the Rules & Procedures about this exact issue. We are confident that the current wording will not conflict with this year’s Board election procedure. We recognise that you holding both a Management Board appointment and elected post at the same time was an unfortunate operational oversight, and that you were entirely blameless in this matter. We apologise that this situation was allowed to happen, and will ensure that any proposed changes will prevent a recurrence of such a situation in the future.]

Dear Editor Popular Dances I write to you as the author of the ‘Most Frequent Dances Found in SCD’ lists stored on the Resources for Dancers section of the Learn part of the RSCDS website. I have been keeping these lists up to date since 2008 but my work took a hard knock over Covid time, as my sources of programmes dried up with the lack of dancing taking place worldwide. As dancing begins again, at various paces and places around the world, some still not up and running, I need to establish a new base of sources for programmes, particularly from Japan, New Zealand, Australia and parts of Europe. Some faithful contributors have started up again and I am sure others will do so as they begin to dance again, but I would ask anyone reading this letter who creates programmes for their club or branch, or who receives programmes as a club or branch member, to add me to your distribution list and send the programme to me. My email address is I have not produced lists for either 2020 or 2021 as there were just too few programmes received. For those of you using the List feature on Anselm Lingnau’s database, you can just send me the link to it, mentioning your club name and the date of the event and I can pick up the rest from there. I look forward to receiving your support. Campbell Tyler, Cape Town Branch

Reviews Does your branch or club have a new book which you would like reviewed? If you teach a class and are interested in reviewing books from a teaching point of view, please be in touch:

Around the world in 13 Scottish Country Dances Marcela Galve and Maria Solange Grimoldi

Around the World in 13 Scottish Country Dances is a publication aimed at primary school children published by the BASC Dancers in Buenos Aires. It includes 13 dances with music and some background on an animal that lives in that area of the world, with either a short story to introduce the character or a fact file. Additionally, there are 13 games and activities relating to each dance to reinforce the things learnt about the animals. After each dance description there are ‘Find out’ questions where the children (and adults!) can find out a bit more about each animal. The dances vary in difficulty with many of them allowing the dancer to develop their footwork but also other elements of good technique such as covering, teamwork, handing and eye contact. Each dance has a tune to accompany it, which relates to the part of the world that the dance is about. This leads to some of the tunes being well known to some of us and other tunes being more unusual but still fitting the dance. The first dance is Cornie, the Unicorn, Joins the Dance which is a four couple 32 bar jig. There is a simple cast to the bottom as the form of progression, with four bar turns with right hand and left hand also in the dance. This allows for practice of phrasing and covering to name just a couple of the technique elements that can be introduced and worked on to give a great presentation of the dance. The first strathspey in the book is called Meet Mrs Kiwi. This is for three couples in a four couple longwise set and so the introduction of doing a dance with the top three couples and then again with the bottom three couples is introduced at a tempo where things are a little less frantic. It does include a progressive promenade to bring the first couple to second place, but the other formations in the dance are more straightforward. Sakura Invites You to Tokyo is the only square set in the 13 dances. It is built up of simple formations with either the first and third couples dancing followed by the second and fourth couples, or the girls dancing and then the boys. This allows dancers to learn the valuable idea of watching what other dancers are doing if they have that moment of forgetting what they are supposed to be doing. Dart the Dragon introduces moving pas de basque in both a variation on balance in line and a poussette. It is nice to see the poussette being used as the progression in the dance as it is often overlooked by devisers, myself included, as newer (are they really improved?) formations are used. The last dance in the book, Ethan from Australia, is the trickiest. It has some good step transitions and I think will be a good dance to use for eye contact and awareness of the other dancers in the set. All the dances are well written with different things to concentrate on in each dance. I can see children and adult beginners enjoying each of the dances as they master the different formations and technique. For those teaching new dancers, whether they are children or adults, I would recommend buying a copy of this book. It allows for great fun while learning, together with finding out a little more about the world we all live in. Alasdair Brown, Glasgow Branch Available from the RSCDS Leeds Branch shop: http://rscdsleeds. uk/index.php?id_product=1274&controller=product

Further Ado Scottish Country Dances by Hedge and Hughes This book is a combined music and dance project by Lydia Hedge from Nova Scotia, who has written the dances, and Maurice Gilbert (Gillie) Hughes of Belfast, who has composed the tunes. It was a delight listening to the music while imagining each dance being enjoyed on the dance floor. With clear and concise instructions for each dance it was an easy and pleasurable task. The book comprises instructions for two reels, two jigs and five strathspeys each with its own tune. Gilbert’s music has been impeccably matched to the dance compositions – there is also a bonus tune for a waltz. He has also suggested accompanying tunes, and for the dancers, Keith Rose has provided dance diagrams. As I get older, and learning new dances becomes more of a challenge, it is always a relief when dance instructions are in short sentences rather than lengthy paragraphs. Further Ado’s dance instructions are perfect for me! The title dance Further Ado, a reel, affirms the joy of a toetapping tune which made me want to get up and dance. It’s a busy tune with lots of notes which is perfect accompaniment to the dance which includes double triangles and ends with six hands round and back. Arthur Govan’s Here, a strathspey, is a gentle but strong tune. Unhurried, allowing for lots of stretch and grace while dancing, it ends with an all-round poussette which fits perfectly with the flow of the dance. A View of the Moon is a jig danced in a square set. The music melds beautifully with the movements of the dance - circles, set and link and turning as if orbiting the moon as the notes state. The Branches of the Yew are Evergreen a strathspey in a longwise set, includes the formations allemande into set and link. The strength of the music prevails throughout. Gold in my Pocket is a jig. The tune is uplifting and cheery. This dance is well kent, being devised by The Gay Gordons in 2012. It includes two new formations: a lady-boy chain and the kissing gate formation, so worth a try. The strathspey, Gillie’s Garters, flows beautifully with a half turn, then pulling back right shoulder and dancing to the opposite side followed by corner pass and turn – both with lots of drive and flight, the tune again matched perfectly to the movements of the dance. Bird in the Hand, danced in a three-couple longwise set, offers movement and progression throughout with a cheerful tune to match. The strathspey, Bennet’s Brae, includes the formation corners pass and twirl and ends with one of my favourite movements, diagonal rights and lefts. The wonderful tune made me imagine I was stepping lightly up that brae on my dancing feet! The last dance in the book is a real treat. The Minnowburn, a 4-couple strathspey, emulates the journey of the stream as it makes its way through Belfast, eventually becoming a river. The music follows the journey of the dance where there is fast flowing water, busy rivulets, and intricate patterns along the way. Music and dance are inextricably linked, perhaps because Gillie Hughes wrote both! I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to preview the book and music and look forward to dancing the dances one day. Theresa MacVarish Clark, Edinburgh branch Book available now from TACbooks: The CD is in preparation. Reviews continued on page 29 w


Sadly Missed We would appreciate it if obituaries were of 150 words or less, and sent from branch or club secretaries.

Elaine Arthur, Canberra For decades, Elaine Arthur was the centre of both Canberra’s and the wider Australian SCD community. She danced in both the Canberra Branch and Belconnen groups. In 1994 Elaine obtained her teacher’s certificate. She was a kind, observant and gentle teacher, treating everyone with care and respect; mentoring trainee teachers by her quiet encouragement. She had an encyclopaedic knowledge of SCD. At socials and classes she danced with everyone, from beginners to experienced dancers. She was a friend and wonderful support to visiting teachers, examiners, dancers and musicians. She received a Branch Award for her contribution to teaching, tutoring, mentoring, and her work on various committees. Ann Parkinson and Kira Dowling, Canberra and District Branch

Edward Cornet, Leamington Spa and Stratford Upon Avon Eddie was born in Glasgow and developed a love of dancing at an early age. His real love was the pipes and he was well known in the Midlands playing for many events. He was a regular at St Andrews and often played the morning reveille to waken the dancers. He took his teaching certificate in 1985 and taught both the Leamington Spa and Stratford on Avon classes until 2018. He was a lifelong member of the Society and a much loved and respected member of the dance community. His sense of fun and dedication to the music will be sadly missed. Margaret Baker, Leamington Spa Branch

Gary Donaldson, band leader With heavy heart I write this tribute to my friend and band leader, Gary Donaldson. In January we lost one of the very best after he lost his fight with cancer at the age of 57. There are many who have memories of Gary, especially his work with demonstration and dance classes. In 2017 this was acknowledged when Gary and his wife Philippa were invited to attend the Queen’s Garden Party at Holyrood for services to music. From a musical perspective, his unique, honest interpretation was always well received. It was indeed an honour and a very special privilege to make music with Gary. Dancers and musicians alike admired Gary and his music. His choice of material was always sympathetic to the dance. Appropriate tempo and drive and enthusiasm seldom go hand in hand, but Gary got this spot on. Picture this at Younger Hall in St Andrews: from the dance floor, dancers, their pumps rhythmically match the music, smiling, full of joy and happiness, unaware that on the stage the band were wondering “what’s that noise?”. Feedback? Something vibrating in unison? No! It was Gary, whistling along to his music and having a ball. He made a great impression on his past and present band members and we will never forget that noise. Gordon Smith, drummer

John Douglas, Newcastle-upon-Tyne John first encountered SCD as a young teacher when he offered to help with a school club. Hooked, he enrolled for a class, joined the Branch and six years later had his full teachers’ certificate. He taught classes at all levels, his certificate classes renowned for good results. He danced in demonstration teams locally and at Summer School and was appointed an adjudicator. A dance in Book 41 dedicated to him was called The Music Will Tell You. Sadly, in his later years he became profoundly deaf. John was Chairman of Newcastle Branch for 20 years, having previously been on the committee for 17 years, a popular and highly respected figure.


John’s influence extended far beyond Tyneside. He was on the Executive Council (six years on General Purposes and 15 on Finance) and a regular at Summer School, teaching there for four years. When he and Jan moved south, he was Treasurer of Berks/ Hants/Surrey Border Branch for five years. When the Society’s finances were in dire straits, he was appointed to a committee to restore solvency. He was awarded the Scroll of Honour in 1998. Irene Waters, Newcastle Branch Archivist

Valerie Frazer, St Andrews Valerie was a founder member and committee member of the Berks/Hants/Surrey Border Branch. When she and Bruce moved north, they joined St Andrews Branch where Valerie was a committee member in later years. As well as an excellent dancer, Valerie was a distinguished seamstress. When members of the branch performed The Piper and the Penguin she made all the penguins’ beaks! Valerie was always good company and phone calls were long, and full of laughter. Shirley Ferguson, Marjorie Hume, May & Jack Livingston, BHS Borders Branch

Barbara Goulden, Herefordshire Barbara was introduced to SCD when she went to Darlington High School at the age of 11. Never liking sport, it became her PE subject and the centre of her social life, and subsequently the most important focus in her multi-talented life for 73 years. As a skilled pianist, she played in a Scottish dance band, led by Bernard Dixon. On her first evening at Leeds University she met Steve, her future husband. They danced at Windermere, then with the San Francisco Branch, where they danced in the demonstration team, and in Lafayette. In Paris they were in the Branch demonstration team. Most of their friends came from the dancing community. Back in Herefordshire, Barbara was Branch Chair for several years. They danced there, and in Cheltenham and Gloucester. She was a member of the Bristol Branch for the last years of her life. Cheryl Ayers

Robert Grant, Edinburgh Bob was brought up in Findochty near Buckie, his career as an architect bringing him to Edinburgh in the late 1950s. He soon joined the Branch Demonstration team and danced in ‘An Edinburgh Fancy’. He was also part of the team who won the inaugural Cussons Golden Heather Trophy. Bob was often selected by the Society to represent Scotland abroad. Bob took his teaching certificate in the 1970s and became a very well-known, popular and charismatic teacher, teaching for a few years at St Andrews. He was also in great demand all over the world. He went on to produce and choreograph ‘Strictly Scottish’ from 1993 to 1997, a show which was part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. He devised a number of dances. He was honoured by Edinburgh Branch and made an Honorary Vice-President. Elizabeth Harry, Edinburgh Branch

Andy Jones, Ayr Local musician, Andy Jones, played for Ayr Branch’s social dancing and for the Girvan class for many years; he also played for classes for new books and similar. Some will remember him playing with Colin McKechnie’s Band for summer dancing and Branch dances many, many years ago. More recently, during lockdown, he was a familiar face on Tunes in the Hoose. Wilma Brown, Ayr Branch

Joseph Killeen, Spain

Joy Richards, Somerset

Joseph began dancing in the 1940s in the Dalbeatie area and with the Castle Douglas demonstration team. He took his teaching certificates in 1954 and 1956 under Miss Milligan. On moving to Carlisle in 1960 he was soon invited to teach the Highland class, the Branch class and in FE classes. He was President of Carlisle Branch for several years and continued to take part in demonstrations locally and abroad with the Dumfries team. He composed and published dances for the Branch.

Joy was born in Gravesend in 1926. She attended a dance school in Maidstone where she excelled in all forms of dance, and won certificates, medals and cups. She trained as an infant teacher, meeting her husband, Kenneth, at college. She later became a headteacher. Joy taught dance, including SCD to students at the Royal Ballet School. Dance was to remain an active interest until she required new hips in her 80s. Joy was in the London Branch Demonstration Team, and travelled to festivals across Europe. Whenever their feet started to flag, especially across the cobbled streets of Paris, their bagpiper would simply up the tempo slightly or change the tune to one which would lift their steps. Joy passed away at the end of 2021.

Joseph and his wife moved to southern Spain in 1990, always with the intention of exporting SCD classes to the Costa Blanca. His classes were popular, Joseph always the patient, but exacting teacher. When Jeronimo Maeso suggested the possibility of an Iberian Weekend, Joseph enthusiastically agreed and taught at the first one. When it was Torrevieja’s turn to host a weekend he was the first to bring out a band from Scotland. In 2005 Joseph suffered a stroke. With his usual determination he re-learned to speak, and walk with some success, but had to give up dancing. Louie Killeen

Jerome Reinstein, Paris and London Jerry started dancing in San Francisco in 1967. He moved to Paris in 1973 and joined the ‘The Tartan Plaidie’ group. He was instrumental in founding Paris Branch in 1984 and was its first chairman. In 1987 his job moved to London; he took his teacher’s certificate that year. Living in London and working for London Branch, he was in Paris regularly to help in both teaching and administration. He helped develop strong links between Paris and London, including celebrations of the Entente Cordiale on both sides of the Channel. Jerry was Paris Branch representative on the Executive Council, and he served on the General Purposes Committee until the formation of the Management Board. In addition, Jerry contributed tirelessly to make a success of the Paris Branch international weekend schools. He was a founding member of the International Branch. Jerry received the Society Scroll of Honour in 2014.

Jo Jones

Yvonne Tredgett, Leeds Yvonne encouraged me when I came to SCD in my late 50s. She had a very long list of teaching qualifications. Her Eglington teams were always a joy to watch. She ran the Leeds Branch shop for many years. Her involvement and organisation were the order of the day, as shown by the Malhamdale weekend school. Yvonne kept dancing for as long as she could, and even when she broke her hip, she was still involved. Kathie Dosell, Leeds Branch

Lorna Weeks, New Zealand Lorna passed away on her 89th birthday. A member of the Society since 1964, she was President of Hamilton Scottish from 1982 to 1993, and President of the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Region in 1993 and 1994. Lorna and her husband Ken were well known, attending NZ Summer School for many years with their Scottish Imports shop. Sue Lindsay, NZ Branch

Danièle Landrieau, Paris Branch Reviews continued from page 27

Mother’s Garden by Flindrikin

As a step dancer, I was brought up on the soft balletic style danced to fiddle and/or piano. As a step dance teacher, my main source of recorded music is the RSCDS St Andrews Collection – and don’t get me wrong, I love the sound from Keith Smith and Muriel Johnstone! However, it is refreshing to have a step dance CD with a totally different sound: there are still fiddle and piano, but the addition of recorder and guitar gives a completely different feel. The tracks range from the haunting Amicitia and the beautifully lyrical Air for Stephanie to the much more upbeat, and quirkily named, Toot Your Own Horn! The tunes themselves include both traditional tunes and modern compositions, many of them by Ron Wallace, who also devised many of the dances. I really enjoy the balance of instruments. The melody instruments dominate, with accompanying instruments generally in the background, playing a supporting, blending role. There is lovely interplay between the recorder and fiddle, as in

the title tune, Mother’s Garden, and at other times, the tune is played in unison, such as in Down the Burn. Flindrikin, however, is a complete contrast, with a beautiful piano solo for the first half before the fiddle takes on the tune. I particularly liked the variety in On the Green, with only fiddle and stunning guitar accompaniment for the first half, and then the recorder and piano taking over for a while, before all the instruments join in, with the tune passing between the recorder and the fiddle. All this makes for an enjoyable CD to listen to, as well as dance to. I only have one quibble, but that may be as much with the step dance instructions as the CD. I like to have a 4-bar introduction for a step and curtsey before starting the dance. But that is truly a minor complaint! The instructions for the dances included on the CD are all available in Scottish Step Dances 3, published by Ron Wallace, although it is worth noting that some of the tunes for the dances in this volume are actually on previous CDs: Dancers Dream 1 and 2 by Hood, Wink and Swagger. Kate Gentles, Cambridge Branch Mother’s Garden CD is available from TACsound: The books: Scottish Step Dances 1, 2 and 3 with music by Ron Wallace are available from TACbooks:


Day School Diary - The Day School Diary is compiled by Ian Brockbank. Please send details to Issue 35 will cover events from October 2022 to April 2023.

April 2022

September 2022

23 30


Cheltenham Branch Day School, UK NW Craven Ball and Tribute to Maureen Haynes, Kendal, Cumbria, England, UK

May 2022 2-6 7 20-22 20-21 20-22 20-22

Gay Gordons’ Residential Course, Scarborough, UK Belfast Branch Day School, N Ireland, UK Duns May Weekend, Scotland, UK Isle of Skye May Weekend, Scotland, UK Pawling Weekend, Berkshire Hills, Copake, NY, USA SCD weekend with Méaudre Reel in Vercors, France

June 2022 3-6 10-12 24-26

Munich Whitsun Course, Munich, Germany Midwest Scottish Weekend Workshop, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin , USA Scots Bonnet weekend school, St Quay Perros, Brittany, France

July 2022 3–10 4-8

Blue Ridge Scottish Dance School, Boone, NC, USA English/Scottish/Contra session, Pinewoods, Plymouth, MA, USA 8-11 Pinewoods Scottish Weekend, Pinewoods, Plymouth, MA, USA 9 Leeds Branch White Rose Festival, Harewood, Leeds, UK 11-16 Pinewoods Scottish Week, Pinewoods, Plymouth, MA, USA 22-24 TAC Teachers Conference Weekend, Calgary, Alberta, Canada 24-31 TAC Summer School, Calgary, Alberta, Canada 24/14 Aug RSCDS Summer School, St Andrews, Scotland, UK 17-31 TAC Teacher Candidates Courses for Units 2, 3 and 5, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

August 2022 26-28

Silver Tassie SCD Club Anniversary Weekend, Perm, Russia

Thistle Club Day School and Musicians Workshop, Milton Keynes, UK. 16-18 Bristol Branch Weekend Away, Dawlish, Devon, UK 17 Leeds Branch Day School, Leeds, UK 23-25 Scottish Weekend, Camp Louise, Cascade, MD, USA 25/2 Oct Australian Winter School, Muresk Institute, Western Australia 30/3 Oct International Branch weekend, Jesi (Ancona), Italy

October 2022 21-23

Sutton Coldfield Branch Weekend of Dance, Symonds Yat, Herefordshire UK

November 2022 4-6 11-13

RSCDS Autumn Gathering, The Kelvin Hall, Glasgow, UK Argyle Weekend, Northern Virginia (Washington, DC area), USA 12 Norwich Branch Day School, UK The Day School Diary just has space for day and weekend schools. For other events in your area, please check http://www. or: l Scotland and Cumbria: l Europe: l Canada and USA:

RSCDS Membership 2021-22 United Kingdom . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4055 Americas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2435 Australasia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1853 Europe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 715 Africa and Middle East . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Total (31 January 2022) 9081 Total number of branches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 155

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Mobile SCD Cribs Everyone seemed to find projects to keep themselves busy during the Covid lockdowns. My way of keeping out of my long-suffering wife’s hair was to learn a new computer script and create an application which, I hoped, would be useful to dancers with mobile phones who would like to dispense with paper copies of social programs, ball programs and the like. The app is an attempt to provide easy mobile access to some of the features of the Scottish Country Dance Database (SCDDB) on

For those who have access to Apple devices that use the new M1 chip, the app can be downloaded and used on those devices as well. I am happy to receive requests for additional functions for the app and will look into adding these. Thanks to Anselm Lingnau (SCDDB), Keith Rose (KR diagrams), David Haynes (Minicribs) and Lydia Hedge for their help and suggestions in developing the app. Also, I would like to thank the members of the strathspey mailing list round the world who volunteered to be beta testers for the app.

Using a package called ‘Flutter’, I was able to generate the app to run on both Android (phones and tablets) and Apple (iPads and iPhones) devices. Although the app was originally designed for simple access by dancers, I have added several features, based on feedback, which could assist teachers who want to use the app in their class teaching.

To access the app on the google play store search for mobile scd cribs or click on this link:

The current features of the app are: l The user can search for dances and create lists for socials, balls and classes.






For each dance on the list created, the user can display the crib instructions, Keith Rose diagrams, videos and additional information including links to full dance instructions which are available online or whichever of these 4 categories are available on SCDDB for that dance title. mobile_cribs To access the app on the Apple store search for mobile scd cribs or click on this link:

Charlie Inglis, RSCDS Ottawa Branch

Zooming into the Future by Sally Palmer

Once a list is created, it can be saved, and a new list can be created. Up to 6 lists can be saved and retrieved. The saved lists can be retrieved even when the user is offline (crib instructions and additional information only). Public lists already created on SCDDB can also be downloaded directly into the app and have all the same information as dances added individually on the app. Users can add personal notes for each dance saved in the app.

Full information about the app can found by accessing Here are some screen shots of the app.

For nearly two years We’ve danced on Zoom But there’s not much space In my living room. I was often confused Didn’t know what to think When the picture and music Were all out of sync. And the ghosts in my house Were not very bright They messed up the figures Just couldn’t get it right. You should have seen them Attempt the grand chain Getting back to my place Nearly drove me insane! I’m glad to be back here No longer on Zoom With real human partners Right here in this room! Sally Palmer, Southwest Washington State Branch


Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.