Volume 24 #3
The Scottish Country Dancer
November/December 2007

Articles in This Issue
Coming Up, Briefly Scottish Country Dance Cross-Cultural Exchange
Manager's Message Fixing English
Teacher's Workshop Calendar of Events
Bend Workshop and Ball
Coming Up, Briefly
  • The last class at Marshall Center is Dec. 19th. and that will be the Ceilidh (Party!).
  • Dancers are welcome to drop in for Friday night classes at Firstenburg during the holidays as they will continue through Jan. 4th. (7:30-8:55).
  • Don't forget the Waltz Workshop on Dec 1st. $5.00 at Columbia Dance Studio, 1700 Broadway, Vancouver (sign ups/payment requested - forms available in class).
  • And for those who've expressed willingness - Dec. 15th at PDX for the "Holidays Take Flight" program - more info and forms to fill out are coming soon.
  • The Betwixt 'n Between Dance is on Dec. 29th from 7:30-9:30 pm, at the Columbia Dance Center.
Manager's Message
by Linda Mae Dennis

Fall classes got underway without a hitch, as you all probably know by now. We have a wonderful group of brand new dancers, all progressing very well under Marge's expert tutelage. We've had a couple of demonstration opportunities to show what we do (and why we enjoy it so much). And all the teachers got an excellent dose of instruction at a teaching workshop in Seattle in September.

And of course, we've all enjoyed the spectacle that is the Fall Dance. Every year I am delighted by the creativity and originality of the costumes, and the good high spirits of everyone involved. I am so pleased that we all work together so well and so willingly to make our events so much fun.

Frankly, I am very pleased that I started Scottish Country Dancing in the first place, and so surprised that it took me over 40 years to find out about it. I hope everyone who has the opportunity explains to the new folks (and everyone else they meet) that this is more than just a semester of dance classes, that it can become a part of your life and lifestyle and that your SCD friends can become part of your family.

I can hardly believe it's November already and time to wish everyone a happy, healthy holiday season, and to start planning for another fantastic year of dance, dance, dancing. But it is. So Best Wishes to All!

Teacher's Workshop
by Ross Morrison

[Editor's note: several of the teacher's from VancouverUSA attended this workshop for teachers in September, hosted by the Seattle branch and taught by Helen Frame of Ayrshire in Scotland. For this reason -- and that the article is so Ross Morrison -- this article is reprinted from the November/December 2007 issue of the Puget Scot.]

If you've ever wondered if the teachers actually work at their workshop, listen up, they do. There were 25 of them in a big circle in the Sanctuary of the Church on Island Crest Way all getting the word and the drills from an Ayrshire lass with healthy lungs. Their circle was big enough to fill the Sanctuary. Every now and then they would sit in the choir stall, where Helen Frame had them at her mercy. War story followed war story, each imparting its grain of wisdom. "What do you do when half your students are stars and the others have two left feet and a very short attention span?" Very practical stuff for any kind of teacher. Then she split them up into work groups and had them plan how to teach their assigned dance, and how to make the dance danceable (at least that's what it looked like to me).

Her students seemed pleased with the whole workshop, and I must admit it was the best workshop I have ever spied on. As an ex-treasurer I was also pleased to see that it made a small profit. The Branch owes a vote of thanks to Stephanie and Clark (the admin team), to the Fort Worden committee who flew Helen all the way from Troon, and to Lisa Scott who tickled the ivories in strict tempo. Come spy on the next one; it's entertaining yet not shocking.

Bend Workshop and Ball
by Martin MacKenzie

This year was my first experience with the Bend Workshop & Ball.

As some of you may know, two intrepid dancers [Tom Halpenny and I] headed down to Bend, Oregon recently, and ladies, we did have more than two words to rub together! Tom and I began a leisurely journey at about 10:30am Friday and headed down Highway 26 over Mt. Hood and south through the Warm Springs Indian reservation with a stop and a short hike at a bridge over the Rogue river canyon/abyss and leisurely travel through many miles of grass farms, ranches, and small towns like Madras, towards the Bend - Redmond boomtowns.

We killed a bit of time upon arriving early with a first visit at Starbucks for Tom in Redmond, and wandering around Drake Park in Bend where there was an example of early logging equipment which had the look of an extra large cannon carriage until one looked a bit closer.

We were hosted for the weekend at Michael Andrakin & Judy Thompson's house in Bend. They were extremely hospitable folks who made absolutely sure we did not feel neglected. Tom and I took them to Anthony's, a very popular seafood restaurant in Bend as a hospitality gift.

The next day, we went back to the Redmond Grange for the workshop and, being a little late after a pleasant breakfast at Michael and Judy's house, we had the opportunity to watch a very erudite Chuck Ryer put the dancers through their paces from the benches whilst we kitted ourselves up for the day's activities, looked through the various sign-ups, and noted familiar faces. Once we were ready, we were swept up into the day's activities. This began with the advanced class where I learned, among other things, that I probably hadn't been doing a very good job leading my partner(s) through the Allemande figure. Chuck also reviewed how to properly shorten one's turning radius for quicker turns with decreased effort and admonished us to use all of the music. He also drilled us on regulating our steps to arrive at the right place at the right time which resulted in a bit of amusement and competition between the participants. Through all, his teaching style was very clear, concise and pleasant with smooth demonstrations throughout.

After a pleasant deli style lunch in which I had to exercise great restraint, we began the afternoon's enjoyment of social dancing which was a fun way to while away the afternoon learning more of the above-the-waist interactions between people during dances that make the experience more enjoyable for all. After that, Susie Allely, with humor and showmanship, lead us adroitly through the ball dance program.

For those who hadn't had enough yet, we had a too-brief period of waltz instruction by Sara Gratiot who is from Asilomar on the Monterey Peninsula in central California. She taught me I had much to learn about that dance form which I proceeded to demonstrate with Lea Martin, one of the Bend area dancers and an excellent waltz dancer. How embarrassing! Fortunately, she wasn't harmed. I wish there had been more time for this. Waltz is to Scottish dance in the dance world as jazz is to classical in the world of music: you have to know the various elements well enough to do them in your sleep and be able to switch between them seamlessly on impulse or need in order to make the dance flow smoothly. Waltz does not have the readily apparent structure of Scottish dance.

We then had a couple of hours to wind down, "ibuprofen" up, and get dressed up in our Scottish garb and invade Madaline's Grill en mass for dinner. Since they had Thai offerings, I picked a Thai wrap with lots o' salad. We sat across from Mark & Christina Welsh and through our conversations together, we were reminded again of just how geeky and intelligent Scottish dancers are!

Afterwards, we sashayed our way back to the Grange and began the activities of the Ball. It began with a grand march but with a bit of a random twist. Each dancer started out without a partner and ended up with a randomly selected partner in a dance set for the first dance. The Ball had the feel of lower intensity version of Fort Worden's ball with lots of pageantry, fun, mistakes, and triumphs throughout the evening. It actually went a little longer than I'm used to but, you know that couldn't stop me! After cleaning up the Grange facility we were using, we headed up to Mark & Christina Welsh's house for an afterglow of socializing, and "The Chair."

The next morning, we departed Michael Andrakin & Judy Thompson's home with our thanks and headed up to Sisters for brunch and a bit of English Country dancing afterwards. This gave us a little more time to get to know folks such as Sarah Gratiot and Tom & Hazel Ryan, over more food than we could or should have eaten. We also learned that English dancing is not always as slow paced as one might think, that it requires thinking and listening skills as much as Scottish dancing, and that Judy Johnson, despite her reluctance to do Scottish dance because of a past injury, has a quick mind for picking up something that she had never attempted before.

Many other enjoyable experiences were part of this weekend, but I don't want to hog the newsletter space and I know y'all will want to come with us next year and find out what you might learn and enjoy for yourselves!

Scottish Country Dance Cross-Cultural Exchange
by Tom Halpenny

Scottish Country Dance groups can mutually support one another by attending one another's dance events. Fred Kowolowski of Central Oregon believes in this thesis and definitely leads by example.

I began corresponding with Fred and first met him at the Portland Workshop & Ball in 2006. I was intrigued by the social relationship that exists between the Bend and Portland SCD groups. At least six Bend dancers travel to Portland each year to attend the SCD Workhop & Ball in March, and a similar number of Portland dancers attend the October SCD event in Redmond, just north of Bend.

Fred and I discussed the cross-cultural exchange possibilities between the Vancouver and Bend SCD groups. We decided to run an experiment to promote each group's SCD events to see what the response would be.

Four Vancouver dancers traveled to Central Oregon for the fall 2006 Workshop & Ball and four Bend dancers attended the Vancouver Fall Dance, and one came to the Vancouver Dinner Dance. This year, two Vancouver dancers traveled to Central Oregon and two attended the Vancouver Fall Dance. One of these is interested in attending the next Potpourri Folk Dance and the other would like to attend the next Dinner Dance.

After participating myself and talking with the cross-cultural exchange participants, I came away with the following key factors that influence success: 1. friendships formed, 2. novelty of the experience, 3. expectations of the dance event, 4. willingness to travel out of town.

Perhaps you would like to help nurture a cross-cultural exchange with another SCD group. We will make some new dancing friends, enjoy a different SCD experience, and hopefully be able to host more dancers for our SCD events.

Fixing English
Could Gaelic Be Next?

[This is definitely "tongue in cheek". -ed.]

With the implementation of the Eurodollar underway in Europe these last few years, the European Union is trying to find new ways to standardize practices in Europe.

The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the European Union rather than German, which was the other possibility.

As part of the negotiations, Her Majesty's Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a 5-year phase-in plan that would become known as "Euro-English".

In the first year, "s" will replace the soft "c". Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy. The hard "c" will be dropped in favour of "k". This should klear up konfusion, and keyboards kan have one less letter.

There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome "ph" will be replaced with "f". This will make words like fotograf 20% shorter.

In the third year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible. Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent "e" in the languag is disgrasful and it should go away.

By the fourth year, peopl wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing "th" with "z" and "w" with "v". During ze fifz year, ze unesesary "o" kan be dropd from vords kontaining "ou" and similar changes vud of kors be aplid to ozer kombinations of leters.

After zis fifz yer, ve vil hav a reli sensibl riten styl. Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech oza. Ze drem of a united urop vil finali kum tru.

Und efter ze fifz yer, ve vil al be speking German like zey vunted in ze forst plas.


Calendar of Events

Nov 3-7: Alasdair Fraser's Fiddle Train
A Five-day adventure across Canada!
Vancouver, B.C. to Toronto, Ontario, November 3 - 7, 2007
Join Scottish Fiddler Alasdair Fraser, Cellist Natalie Haas, and friends (more to be announced) as they travel 3,000 miles across Canada with music and dancing. There will be a Kickoff Concert in Vancouver, B.C.

For information: Fred van Nus 360-892-4366, or www.flyingunderradar.com/rails/fiddletrain.htm.
Nov 10: Portland SCD Dance Party
7:30pm Tigard Grange, 13770 SW Pacific Hwy., Tigard.
Live music, by the Portland Scottish Fiddle Club!

  The Hollin Bus            BJ  RSCDS Bk 24, #8
  Miss Catherine Allan      IS  RSCDS Leaflets
  Galloway House            BR  RSCDS Graded
  The Flight of the Falcon  IJ  Priddey
  Lady Glasgow              BS  MMMI
  Polharrow Burn            IR  RSCDS 3/2007
  Glayva                       IJ  Drewry
  Ca' the Ewes tae the Knowes  BS  RSCDS Bk 16, #8
  Florrie's Fancy              IR  Stewart/Gertz
  The Findlay's Jig            BJ  Goldring
  Staffin Harvest              IS  RSCDS 4/1978
  The De'il Amang the Tailors  BR  Bk 14, #7
Dec 1: Waltz Workshop
Columbia Dance Studio, $5 per person. Please sign up in class, or call Marge at 360-892-4366 or Linda Mae at 360-609-0623.
Dec 8: Portland SCD Dance Party
7:30pm Tigard Grange, 13770 SW Pacific Hwy., Tigard.

  The Hollin Bus            BJ  RSCDS Bk 24, #8
  Miss Jane Muirhead...     IS  Winters
  On the Quarterdeck        BR  
  Last of the Lairds        IJ  Bk 22, #5
  Lady Glasgow              BS  MMMI, #27
  Fife Ness                 IR  4/78, #1
  Glayva                    IJ  Drewry
  Queen Anne's Lace         BS  Let's All Dance Too
  Florry's Fancy            IR  Stewart/Gertz
  Fiddlin' Round            BJ  Devil's Quandry
  Staffin Harvest           IS  4/78, #3
  Maids of Currie           BR  SCD for Ch. #7
Dec 19th: Last Class Ceilidh
The last class this term at Marshall Center will be Dec 19th, and it will be a Ceilidh! Details in class.
Dec 29th: Betwixt 'n Between Dance
In town between Christmas and New Years', and thinking about doing a little dancing? Come to the "Betwixt 'n Between" Dance! Columbia Dance Studio, 7:30-9:30pm.

Did you hear about the Scotsman who married a lass born on February 29th so he'd only have to buy her a birthday present every four years?

  Do you have an item of Celtic interest you would like to see in print?  
  You can contact me in any of the following ways:  
  By mail:  
  John Shaw
  PO Box 2438
  Battle Ground, WA 98604
  By email:  
  The Scottish Country Dancer is a bi-monthly publication of the Vancouver USA Scottish Country Dancers, a non-profit educational organization. For changes of address, please contact John Shaw, PO Box 2438 Battle Ground, WA 98604, . The editor reserves the right to alter or edit any material submitted for publication for reasons of taste, style, or clarity. All materials for publication should be sent by email to the editor at the address above, preferably in straight text. Deadline is one week before the end of the month prior to publication date. Editors of other newsletters may use or adapt any materials in the Scottish Country Dancer unless a specific copyright notice is included. Please credit author and original source.
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