Volume 24 #5
The Scottish Country Dancer
March/April 2008

Articles in This Issue
The Brief SCD Comes to the North County
Manager Musings Tourist Sites of Scotland: Most of Them Don't Exist
Folk Dance Potpourri Savored Again Calendar of Events
A Scottish Afternoon, Somewhere Near Brigadoon
The Brief

Here are a few of the many activities coming up the next couple of months:

  • A Scottish Afternoon, on March 29th, a very popular Scottish variety show!
  • Tartan Day, April 5th at Borders Books near Fisher's Landing
  • Vancouver USA Dinner Dance, our 24th! on April 19th, at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Vancouver.
  • Perl Holmberg Workshop for Teachers and Musicians, the weekend of May 9-11, get your registration forms in!
  • Thistle Ball, the evening of May 10th, up in Vancouver, BC. Time to register for that, too!

For more information on these events, see articles below and/or the Calendar.

Manager Musings
by Linda Mae Dennis

So -- we were at the Day of Dance for Heart Health in February and I was so pleased, so gratified, upon watching all the demonstrations of all the other kinds of dancing, that I am a Scottish Country Dancer.

I know a lot of this has to do with the music. I think I could listen to Scottish music (and I am especially fond of fiddle and piano music) to the exclusion of all other kinds of music. Of course I wouldn't, but the prospect of listening to rock music with a driving beat while you step up on a box, step down off the box, step up on a box, step down off the box, while pumping your arms, sends me running back to dance class.

And our dancing is never boring or repetitive, but is infinitely interesting. Although there are figures that we understand and can execute, they are different depending upon what other figures are placed around them. And as soon as you think you have mastered one thing, another thing appears that needs to be mastered -- all the time, of course, working to improve or even perfect the footwork.

I have just dragged myself out of bed after attending the Portland Workshop and Ball. What a blast! What a gift to be able to spend a whole day listening to fabulous music, examining the complexities of Scottish Country Dancing, and enjoying the company of really wonderful, warm-hearted and brilliant people. Yes, my feet still hurt. But better still, my cheek muscles are sore from smiling so much, and the smiley lines around my eyes are a bit deeper.

Scottish Country Dancing is just the BEST.

Folk Dance Potpourri Savored Again
by John Shaw
African dance uses feet AND arms!

On February 23rd, over 60 people attended our second annual Folk Dance Potpourri to sample the dance traditions of different cultures. The whole evening was relaxed and informal, as the instructors gave brief lessons and led the group in simple dances. Through the course of the evening, we had fun trying out Estonian, Western Line, Scottish Country, Ukrainian, West African, and English Country dances.

A Scottish Afternoon, Somewhere Near Brigadoon
by Susan Shaw

What could be better?!!

Sip tea* and munch on authentic McCloud shortbread cookies while you enjoy an afternoon of entertainment at a bargain price.

This year A Scottish Afternoon will take place on Saturday, March 29th from 2pm to 4pm at the Luepke Center at 1009 E. McLoughlin, Vancouver, WA.

For $8 you will enjoy a Scottish variety show including dancing for everyone, bagpipes and drum, fiddle and piano, a wee bit of Scottish storytelling, and, yes, songs from Brigadoon!!

If you want to be truly Scottish, save $4 and buy three entries for $20. Each attendant will get one complimentary prize draw ticket. Additional draw tickets for some outstanding prizes will be sold at the door, so bring a bit of extra cash for the fun of it.

You may make reservations by contacting Marge Van Nus at (360) 892-4366 or Susan Shaw at (360) 576-5678 (We recommend reservations, especially for groups of people.)

*Tea, hot cocoa, spiced cider, or herbal tea

SCD Comes to the North County
by Liza Halpenny

A new Scottish Country Dance class has begun in a part of Clark County never served before -- Battle Ground. The Thursday evening class is offered through Battle Ground Community Education and was advertised in their catalog as "Ages 8-adult. A great family activity!"

Indeed, this seems to have struck a chord, as the class has 28 students. There are several families in the class, including nine children. Students hail from across northern Clark County, from Ridgefield to Venersborg and north to Amboy. Two of the students are from my Wednesday night Marshall Center class, and one or two others have done SCD before. The rest are brand new to our form of dance and seem to be enjoying it.

As the teacher, I am also learning a lot. New to me are the challenges of handling so many students at once, creating lessons that work for both children and adults, and communicating in a large, echoey room (a gymnasium). The Battle Ground class is a wonderful opportunity to add to my own skills, and to introduce SCD to lots of happy new dancers.

Tourist Sites of Scotland: Most of Them Don't Exist
by Gary Lautens

[Originally from The Scottish Dancer, by Gary Lautens, Toronto Star, 1971 -- and found in a 1988 issue of the Atlanta Branch's Petronnella News.]

When it comes to the tourist game, nobody tops the Scot. The Italians, the English, and the French attract thousands of visitors every year to see things like the Spanish steps or the Tower of London or the Champs Elysees. Not the thrifty Scotsman. He has built his tourist industry on things that don't exist, thus cutting down on a lot of expense.

Instead of the Mona Lisa (which costs money to keep housed, cleaned, guarded, etc.) the Scotsman tells you to come to the Highlands and not see a mythical village called Brigadoon, a make-believe place that emerges out of the mists every 100 years or so for a single day and then disappears again. The advantages of Brigadoon are obvious. Since it doesn't exist, the Scottish tourist people can say it doesn't exist in any one of several locations throughout the countryside. But the French with their Mona Lisa are stuck with Paris is their chief tourist center. They can't say the Mona Lisa is in Calais when any darn fool knows it's in the Louvre.

Besides a village that doesn't exist, the Scots have built a brisk industry around a monster that doesn't exist -- the Loch Ness Monster. I myself detoured hundreds of miles out of my way on the way home from London (where I saw Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, and the rest) in order to tell the folks back home I went to Loch Ness and didn't see the monster. Not only didn't I see the monster, I spent two days not seeing him, which is longer than I dallied in front of Rembrandt's Night Watch in Amsterdam. The best place not to see the monster is at a ruin called Castle Urquhart where the guide (after I paid the 35 cent admission fee) admitted he had never seen the monster either. That's the awful part of the Scot -- his honesty! He doesn't even pretend there's a Loch Ness monster, not after you've booked a room or bought a boat ticket.

Besides a town and a monster that are nonexistent, the Scots are particularly proud of their scenery, which is also only a figment of some tour guide's imagination. Oh, it's probably there all right -- but nobody ever sees it because of the weather. We were on a tour bus on Edinburgh's harbour on a foggy afternoon, and you couldn't see the driver at the front of the coach. That didn't daunt him. "Ladies and gentlemen," he began, "you're looking at one of the finest views in the world. If it wasn't raining at this moment and very misty, you'd see a wee island just where my finger is pointing, another one over there, and behind them some of the most marvelous hills in the world." We all craned our necks. "There are beautiful ships probably in the harbour right now, and the water itself is so blue and clear it looks like a jewel." I thought I could see the water through the windshield wipers, but it turned out to to be rain, not the harbor.

Unfortunately, I also missed the view from Edinburgh Castle ("unequaled in Europe on a sunny day") because of the mist, and the heather on the hills ("beautiful and breathtaking -- but not at this time of year"). However, I did see the house where John Knox may, or may not, have lived during his teaching career ("If he didn't live in this house, he lived near this house").

There are so many things not to see in Scotland, it took me over a week not to see them all. Scotland sure knows a tourist attraction when it doesn't see one.


Calendar of Events

Mar 29: A Scottish Afternoon
"Come Away to Brigadoon, Join Us for a Scottish Afternoon"
The program includes Singing, Dancing, Music, and other
Enchanting Amusements, plus prize drawings and refreshments.
Fun for the whole family, Luepke Center, Vancouver; 2:00 - 4:00 pm.
$8.00 per person or 3-for-$20.00.
Yes! there WILL be Country Dancing for all who will!
Reservations to Susan 576-5678 or Marge 892-4366.
Click here to see the flyer!
Apr 5: Tartan Day Celebration
Among the many places Tartan Day will be celebrated in Vancouver is at Borders Books, 811 SE 160th Ave, from 2-4pm. Fiddle music will be provided by Nathaniel! (For more info, come to class!)
Apr 12: Portland SCD Dance Party
7:30pm Tigard Grange, 13770 SW Pacific Hwy., Tigard. $5.
Apr 19: VancouverUSA 24th Annual Dinner Dance
"Bumbershoots and Wellies"
At St. Luke's Episcopal Church, 426 E. Fourth Plain Blvd, Vancouver, WA
Catered dinner at 6:00 pm, Grand March and Dance at 8:00pm

$15 Dinner only
$12 Dance only
$26 Both
Music by Lisa Scott, Linda Danielson, Leslie Hirsch
The Program:
    Lady Catherine Bruce's Reel  J Graded Book #7
    Braes of Breadalbane  S  Bk 21 #7
    The Apple Tree        R  Wetherly Bk 4

    The Cutty Sark        J  Bk 40 #2
    Strathglass House     S  Bk 13 #9
    Australian Ladies     R  Glasgow Assembly

    Ladies' Fancy         J  Bk 13 #12
    Linnea's Strathspey   S  Tim Wilson, 2001
    Fidget                R  Bk 16 #1

    Miss Anderson of Hobart  J  Ruby Anniv. Coll. (Vancouver Branch)
    From Scotia's Shores We're Noo Awa'  S  Leaflet 
    The Tattie Bogle      J  First Carnforth Coll.

    The Lady Wynd         J  Goldring 
    Glasglow Lasses       S  Bk 34 #3
    Tam O'Shanter         R  Let's All Dance, Too
Map, directions, menu and registration information are available here.
May 9-11: Perl Holmberg Workshop for Teachers and Musicians
Presented by the RSCDS Vancouver Branch, in Vancouver, BC.
Teachers and Musicians Focusing Their Skills
Teachers and Musicians Learning Together
Full registration includes attendance at the Thistle Ball on Saturday Evening
Music by Neil Copland and his Scottish Dance Band

Teachers and Teachers in Training If you have your Full Certificate, have started training to be an RSCDS teacher, or regularly teach, this workshop is for you. Come and share the excitement of working with your peers under the tutelage of one of Scotland's top teachers. Then join with the musicians and their teachers for an opportunity to learn how to use music most effectively for dancing.

Musicians If you can play your musical instrument proficiently, have a basic knowledge of harmony and are interested in playing for Scottish Country Dancing, this unique opportunity is for you. Come and learn from a couple of Scotland's best musicians and then experience the excitement of applying your new knowledge when you join the teachers for combined classes.

For more information contact Fran Caruth, , or visit the Vancouver Branch Web-site, www.rscdsvancouver.org.
May 10: Thistle Ball
Thistle Ball - Buffet Supper & Dance

Squamish Nations Recreation Centre, North Vancouver, BC
Saturday evening, 6:00 or 6:30 pm
with Neil Copland and His Band from Scotland
Tickets $75 on sale in February
May 17-18: Pomeroy History Farm Herb Festival
June 28: Puget Sound Crossroads Party
The Puget Sound Crossroads Party will be Saturday June 28th, 2008, at the Grange Hall atop the hill in Friday Harbour. This is a week later than the last few years. We expect to begin the party around 1pm and finish around 4:30pm - all dependent on the ferry system!

Since its inception many years ago, this dance party has been a joint venture between the Seattle Branch and the Friday Harbor dancers. More details later as plans evolve.

July 13: Vancouver USA Summer Picnic
11am, lunch at 1pm.
Location: to be announced!
Reserve the date, and keep checking back.
Sep 12-14: Fort Worden 2008, Annual Workshop and Ball
Musicians: Deby Grosjean (fiddle), Calum MacKinnon (fiddle), Muriel Johnstone (piano), Ralph Gordon (cello, bass)

Teachers: Eric Finley (Ayrshire, Scotland), Ruth Jappy (Delta, BC), Marjorie McLaughlin (San Diego, CA), Geoffrey Selling (Philadelphia, PA)

Classes in SCD, Intro to Old Time Dancing, English Country Dance, and Scottish stories and dances from the Supernatural.

Watch for your Fort Worden application in April, or check their website: http://www.rscds-seattle.org.
Oct 4-5: Pomeroy Historic Farm Pumpkin Festival

How is playing a bagpipe like throwing a javelin blindfolded?
You don't have to be very good to get people's attention.

  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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