Volume 26 #5
The Scottish Country Dancer
March/April 2010

Articles in This Issue
The Brief A Good Sense of Balance
From the Chair BBC NEWS: Scottish Tribal Link Celebrated
April Dinner Dance Calendar of Events
Elke Baker Fiddle Workshop Planned for April
The Brief

Coming up in the next 2 months:

  • Classes! Yes, now or soon, it will be time to sign up again!
  • March 7: Beginners' Dance in Longview/Kelso (see Calendar entry)
  • March 13: Portland workshop and Ball
  • March 17: Several demos are coming together -- sign up with your teacher
  • April 17: SW WA State Branch Dinner Dance!
  • April 18: Elke Baker Fiddle Workshop, in Portland
From the Chair
by LindaMae Dennis

It appears that we're having an early spring. Everything is blooming! The sap is flowing. And the dancing juices are really getting revved up.

The Potpourri is behind us, and the Dinner Dance is fast approaching. Be sure to get your registrations in prior to the April 1st deadline - this is going to be a very special event and not one that you'll want to miss.

The business side of the Branch is humming along quite smoothly. We have three (paid) demonstrations lined up for St. Patrick's Day. (If you are planning to be there to help with the dancing, be sure that your name is on the sign up sheet so that the teacher in charge can plan. If you don't attend the Wednesday class, you can get someone to put your name on the sheet for you.)

There is a Beginners' Dance in Longview/Kelso coming up on March 7th. This is an excellent opportunity to introduce friends to Scottish Country Dancing and at the same time support the Longview/Kelso group. Plus it's only $2! So attend with a friend, and don't forget to carpool.

April Dinner Dance
by Marge Van Nus

The Not-to-be-missed -- Extraordinary -- Once-in-a-lifetime -- Milestone Dinner Dance celebrating the Vancouver USA SCD 25th dinner dance and the 1st Anniversary dinner dance for the RSCDS Southwest Washington State Branch.

MUSIC: Elke Baker, fiddle; Lisa Scott, piano
WHEN: 17 April, 2010. 4:00 to 10:00 pm
WHERE: An elegant Georgian Estate, the Fairgate Inn, 2213 NE 23rd Avenue, Camas, Washington.

RESERVATIONS: MUST be made by 1 APRIL. Flyer, program, and reservation form on website www.vancouverusa-scd.org.

Coming from afar?

1) The Fairgate Inn is a Bed and Breakfast. (360) 834-0681. www.fairgateinn.com

2) Camas Hotel. (360) 834-5722. www.camashotel.com A newly renovated "boutique hotel" in an historic building. Local dancers can offer transportation.

3) Home hospitality. Check the reservation form.

Elke Baker Fiddle Workshop Planned for April
by Cynthia Soohoo

On Sunday, April 18 (the day after the Vancouver Dinner Dance), Elke Baker will be holding a fiddle workshop, at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, 2201 SW Vermont, Portland, OR., from 2:30 to 5:00 pm. The charge will be $25, to be collected at the door. Reserve a spot by contacting Cynthia Soohoo, email: .

More information about Elke Baker

U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Champion Elke Baker has played all over North America and in places as far-flung as Japan, West Africa, and Scotland, as well as closer to home at The Birchmere (with Ken Kolodner) and the Kennedy Center.

Elke has been a faculty member at the Washington Conservatory of Music and Artist-in-Residence at Montgomery College. She brings a scholar's depth of knowledge and an extremely engaging manner to her performances, as well as an intimate knowledge of just what makes people want to dance.

Her recent CD, Caledonian Muse (Terpsichore), features favorite dances married to beautifully crafted medleys to create a feast for the ears as well as the feet. The Washington Post writes "Baker's fiddle nearly throws off sparks," and Elke's music was featured in the soundtrack of The Boyhood of John Muir, nationally broadcast on PBS television.

Elke has shared her expert knowledge and love of Scottish music with well over a thousand students. She has been Music Director (and principal teacher) of the Potomac Valley Scottish Fiddle Club since its organization in 1993, and played a key role in starting up and supporting Scottish music clubs in New York City, Chicago, and North Carolina. She has taught Scottish music at camps, workshops, and festivals throughout the U.S. as well as in Scotland itself, and has taught individual lessons for more than 20 years.

A Good Sense of Balance
by LindaMae Dennis

(Excerted from the Portland Branch newsletter)

If you know me at all, you know that I do enjoy a nice twirl here and there within the dance, especially if I happen to be wearing a twirly skirt, which I usually am. For example, I like to put the polite turn in at the end of every Half Rights And Lefts or Grand Chain, even if the next figure doesn't require it. This finishing the figure is a personal preference, and one that does not disturb any other dancers (unless someone takes it as a challenge, which of course, is not my intent). I love that little twirl in Tomalena where the woman goes from facing the men's side at the end of Double Triangles all the way round to the other side of her partner to face up. And yes, I milk it so that I get the full motion of the skirt. I love being in second place on the women's side to start the Tournee because I get to do the all-the-way-around turn to face the men's side on bar four. These are wonderful, beautiful moments within Scottish Country Dances.

With the Portland Ball and SW WA Dinner Dance coming up, it is possible that there may be dancers in attendance who enjoy putting in extra twirls, burls, and flourishes. If the devisor didn't include it, it isn't really part of the dance, but it does happen. To be polite, dancers who wish to make these kinds of additions to an existing dance should consult with their partner and set beforehand. It's quite disconcerting to have someone try to twirl you when you're not expecting it, and this generally has the result of halting the flow of the dance, as well as uncomfortably yanking on the woman's arm. There are many dancers who get dizzy easily, or are easily disoriented. It is quite rude to assume that every dancer can or wants to do extra turns. It is perfectly acceptable to identify dances ahead of time that have the potential for 'extras' and inform your partner and set that you would rather not. Otherwise you may simply guard against them by always giving strong arms and refusing the extra twirl. (It is also acceptable if you do get dizzy or disoriented easily to leave out some of the twirls that may have been written into a dance.)

If you decide twirling looks like fun and you want to try it, please try it at home first. The ballroom is hardly the place to attempt a skill for the first time. To simulate the conditions of the ballroom, you should probably not drink anything for about eight hours so that you're nice and dehydrated. Then, I suggest running up and down stairs for about half an hour - at least until your leg muscles are burning and you've broken a good sweat. Place chairs in close proximity, leaving about a four-foot square area of clear floor for practice. Try a Set To And Turn Corners move with an extra twirl at the end. You should be able to do it consistently (like six times in a row) without running into any chairs. Now you're ready to bring it to the ballroom.

Another note about extras in Circle Hands Round And Back. There is a tendency among some groups to put something else in upon the change of direction. Some dancers break hands with all the other dancers and execute a full pivot turn before changing directions. Others leap into the air, clapping their feet together. I too, have been known to throw in a little kick at the change of direction - this is something I learned from Bill Smith, who was teacher emeritus and 83 years old when I started Scottish Country Dancing. That he was still dancing at 83 convinced me that SCD was for me. He was a wonderful person and partner and this is my little remembrance of him.

I am totally in favor of fun in dancing. Please remember, though, that SCD is a team sport, and whatever you put in as your 'personal signature' should in no way disturb or disrupt the other dancers. The person next to you is counting on your hand being there for support and you should resist breaking the circle of hands. If you intend to leap into the air, you should be able to do so without the support of the people on either side of you. And this is another skill that should be practiced prior to its execution at a dance. Remember to simulate the conditions - get dehydrated, run up and down stairs until you sweat, spin around 10 times, and try it in a very small space. Leaping into the air and clapping your feet together when you're rested and fresh is totally different from doing so when you're tired and thirsty.

And, remember to make new dancers and people from out of town feel welcome by asking them to dance. Join sets at the bottom and not until the music starts or the dance is announced. Use up every last strain of the music with your bow or curtsy, and afterwards appreciate the musicians with applause and cheering. Thank your partner and set for the dance, and after each dance clear the floor by walking with your partner to the sides. Keep a cheerful countenance and value each person and each moment.

I can hardly wait.

BBC NEWS: Scottish Tribal Link Celebrated
by Laura Seawright, from the BBC
Digging Up Your Roots

An extraordinary link between Scotland and a Native American Indian tribe is set to take centre stage at an International Clan gathering.

It is believed that up to a half of the Cherokee Nation could be descendants of Ludovick Grant, who was a laird's son from Creichie in Aberdeenshire.

A delegation from the tribe are planning a visit to the Clan Grant International Meeting this summer to discover the roots of their celebrated ancestor.

Ludovick Grant was captured while fighting for the Jacobite army in the battle of Preston in 1715 and was due to be hanged. However, he escaped death and instead was transported to South Carolina, where he was an indentured servant. Following his release from his seven years of servitude, he began working as a trader for the Cherokee people.

According to Marjorie Lowe, a descendent of Ludovick, the fact that he was the son of a Scottish laird would have been meaningless to the Cherokees. "Each person was judged on his own merits, and they did not recognise any kind of social hierarchy except their matriarchal clan system," she told BBC Radio Scotland's Digging Up Your Roots programme. "So Grant, no doubt, was accepted as a peaceful person who brought trade goods which they desired.

"Since Ludovick lived among the Cherokees for more than thirty years and intermarried, we can surmise that he was accepted fully as an adopted Cherokee citizen."

Ludovick met a Cherokee girl known as Eughioote, and according to the Clan Grant, they had a daughter named Mary.

Seannachie Adrian Grant said: "Although Ludovick only had the one daughter with his Cherokee wife, nevertheless she went on to be the ancestress of so many Cherokees that a huge proportion - something like a third or a half - of all Cherokees now count Ludovick Grant as one of their ancestors."

Ms Lowe added: "Many of our Cherokee leaders were descended from this one intermarriage, others too numerous to mention, would include justices of the Cherokee supreme court and many council members."

However, while creating a legacy with the Cherokees it also appears that Ludovick had left a wife behind in Scotland. The laird's son had married a woman called Margaret Redwood in Edinburgh in 1710 - five years before he was captured and sent abroad.

In 1736 she sought a court order requiring Ludovick to act as a proper husband. This document, known as a Process of Adherence, was viewed as a first stage in seeking a divorce.

But Adrian Grant still has some sympathy for Ludovick.

"I think it's quite poignant that Margaret's daughter [from a previous marriage] was called Mary, and Ludovick called his own daughter Mary," he said. "So one can't help feeling that he did have some regrets about the situation he found himself in. But then, he was lucky to be alive -- he really should have been hanged for his pains."

Story from BBC NEWS: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/north_east/8447105.stm


Calendar of Events

Mar 7: Try SCD! Beginner's Dance
7:00 - 9:00 pm
Longview Senior Center
1111 Commerce Ave.
Longview, WA

Easy, fun dances -- All ages welcome -- Bring friends and family
$2 per person at the door.
For info contact Sally 503-556-0042, or email Linda at
Mar 13: RSCDS Portland Branch 31st Workshop and Ball
Saturday workshop and evening Ball will both be held at:
Masonic Friendship Center
5625 NE Alameda Street
Portland, OR 97213

Teachers: Eileen Hsu of Bellevue, WA; and Fred DeMarse of Alameda, CA.

Music: Cynthia Soohoo and Alexander Soohoo-Hui of Portland, OR

Ball Program:
      Good Hearted Glasgow, Knapman
      The Australian Ladies, Campbell, Glasgow Assem.
      Lady Lucy Ramsay, MMM
      Waverley Whispers, Wallace, The Waverley Suite
      Tomalena, Gratiot/Douglas, San Francisco Vol 2
      The Pleasure is Mine, Goldring, Graded & Soc. 3
      The Bees of Maggieknockater, Drewry
      Moment of Truth, RSCDS, Bk 37
      Mairi's Wedding, Cosh, 22 SCD
      The Machine Without Horses, RSCDS, Bk 12
      Mrs. MacLeod, RSCDS, Bk 6
      The Silver Tassie, RSCDS Leaflet
      The Craven Jig, RSCDS, Three Dances
      The Piper and the Penguin, RSCDS, Scotia Suite
      The Falkirk Lass, Brunken, The Merse Collec.
      The Reel of the 51st Division, RSCDS, Bk 13
For registration information, contact Debbie McRobert at or Don Gertz at .
Mar 21: Longview Classes Start
SCD class sponsored by Longview Parks and Rec. For info contact Sally 503-556-0042, or email Linda at
Apr 17: VancouverUSA 25th Annual Dinner Dance
Please join us for an "auspicious" event: our first dinner/dance as the Southwest Washington State Branch of the RSCDS!

At the beautiful Fairgate Inn Bed and Breakfast, 2213 NW 23rd Ave., Camas, Wa. 98607
The semi-formal evening will begin with an early catered dinner at 4 pm, followed by the dance which will conclude around 10 pm.
The musicians for the evening will be Elke Baker, fiddle, and Lisa Scott, piano.

The Program:
      Tillamook Tides           J  Boehmer-Cameo 4
      Silver Tassie             S  Leaflet
      Mairi's Wedding           R  Cosh - 22 SCD
      The Luckenbooth Brooch    J  Foss-Glendarroch
      Moment of Truth           S  Bk 37
      Loch Leven Castle         R  Bk 21
      Follow Me Home            J  Bk 38
      Miss Gibson's Strathspey  S  Leaflet
      The Fireside Reel         R  SCDs of 18th Cent.
      Trip to Gatlinburg           J  S. Tang - Leaflet
      Delvine Side                 S  Bk 2
      The Montgomeries' Rant       R  Bk 10
      The Nurseryman               J  Bk 37
      Cherrybank Gardens           S  Leaflet
      The Reel of the Royal Scots  R  Leaflet
      Oslo (Circle) Waltz
Complete information can be found on the registration form, which you can pickup in class; or you may request a form by emailing . The deadline for dinner registrations is April 1st.

Note: accomodations are available at the Fairgate Inn, and also at the nearby historic Camas Hotel, 405 NE 4th Avenue Camas, Washington 98607.
April 18: Elke Baker Fiddle Workshop
U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Champion Elke Baker will be holding a fiddle workshop in Porland!
2:30 - 5:00 pm, St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, 2201 SW Vermont Portland, OR.
Fee: $25, to be collected at the door
Reserve a spot by contacting Cynthia Soohoo, .
Sep 10-12: Fort Worden Workshop and Ball
Save this date! Check back for more info in April.

Scottish Country Dance has been called the Ballet of folk dance.

  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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