Volume 27 #4
The Scottish Country Dancer
January/February 2011

Articles in This Issue
A Message From the Chair
Clark County Holiday Gift Fair
Honorary Membership
Iona, Holy Isle, Part One
From the Teacher Representative
A Poem for Experienced Dancers
Fifth Tuesday Mixer
Class Information, 2011
Trip to Bellingham
Calendar of Events
A Message From the Chair
by Linda Mae Dennis

Embarking on a New Year is always exciting - a time for reflections on the past and plans for the future. A time for wishes and resolutions. A time to think: What do I want to have happen in the coming year? I wish that Scottish Country Dancing in SW Washington would grow and grow. I wish I could share the joy I get from dancing with a lot more new people. Naturally, I can't resolve to make these things happen. I can only resolve to do concrete, tangible things. I hope that you will join me in resolving to:

  • cherish the dancing friends I already have and let them know in words and actions that they are important to me
  • keep dancing fun by having at least one good laugh at every class
  • look for opportunities to socialize
  • be on the lookout for people who might enjoy Scottish Country Dancing and extend an invitation to them to join us whether I think they really will or not

Happy Dancing New Year to ALL!

Honorary Membership
by Geri Stuart
Lisa Deane and Patty Krebs

From the Columbian,

"Lisa Deane, recreation coordinator at Marshall Center; and Patty Krebs, recreation coordinator at Firstenburg Center, were each awarded a certificate of "Honorary Membership" in the Southwest WA State Branch of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society (Home based in Edinburgh). Their dedication to serving the public in helping maintain Scottish Dance classes at Marshall Center for 30 years, and at Firstenburg Center since the facility opened 2006, is greatly appreciated by the local Scottish Country Dance Branch.

Geri Stuart awarded the certificate to Patty Krebs and Marge McLeod van Nus presented one to Lisa Deanne. A photo is attached, taken Thursday 18 Nov, 2010."

From the Teacher Representative
by Geri Stuart

Dancers, your teachers work hard during the year to make sure classes are available but it would be greatly appreciated by you showing your support in signing up before the start date. That way teachers can prepare better knowing how many students will attend.

We also have opportunities for dance in different places, for different events or festivals. When the call goes to all dancers it means beginners, too! Please don't feel you aren't "good enough" or "experienced enough" to participate. You are fine just the way you are! The more people, the more fun, and the more we can say "Yes!" to those asking.

Thank you for your support and keep dancing!

Fifth Tuesday Mixer
by Rebecca Mintz
Four Hands Across ~Riker~

The RSCDS SW Washington State Branch hosted our first Fifth Tuesday Mixer on November 30, 2010 at the Columbia Dance Center in Vancouver. We had twenty dancers and two observers attend, who made up a friendly and lively group. It was wonderful to have enough dancers for two four couple sets for every dance. Typically, we started with two or three walk throughs, did a briefing and then danced. By the end, we had done seven dances, including the lovely Granville Market as a strathspey and the delightfully chaotic Barrowdale Exchange.

After the dancing, Liza and Tom Halpenny provided us with hot tea and cookies while the visiting continued. Our hope was to host a fun event where any and all Scottish Country Dancers in the area could come and dance, visit and meet more dancers.

We feel like we succeeded, so we will be hosting another Fifth Tuesday Mixer on March 29, 2011. It will begin at 7:15 at Columbia Dance Center. Dancing will conclude at 9:00 and there will be refreshments served afterward. Cost is $3 per dancer.

We hope to see you there!

(Editor's note: I thought this was a very successful event and will continue to foster the strengthening of our bonds together and encourage budding young teachers like our own Rebecca.)

Trip to Bellingham
by John Shaw

So many dances, so little time!


In early November, four of us Vancouverites journeyed up-state to attend the annual weekend workshop and Ball hosted by the Bellingham Scottish Country Dancers. Though Susan and I had been once before, it was the first such trip for Tom and Liza Halpenny. One gets a hint of the relaxed and playful time in store for us from the way the locals refer to themselves - they call themselves "Bellinghamsters", of course!

Much to our delight, we were hosted by Glenda, a retired dancer with a large home. Our hostess was a very gracious lady, with amazing life stories. We all enjoyed the conversations around the dinner and breakfast tables, talking about our pets and families, and past and future adventures.

The Friday night ceilidh was held at the Squalicum Yacht Club, an informal setting for a relaxed and informal evening. After a period of meeting and greeting, Mairi Hand and Muriel Johnstone arranged us roughly in a circle and walked and talked us through many round-the-room dances, mostly two-steps, waltzes, and a few polkas. The atmosphere was very friendly and unthreatening, and Mairi and Muriel were in wonderful form, constantly teaching and laughing, and always having fun.


Saturday morning, we headed over to The Majestic, a large, square building, formerly a church and now a favorite venue for many dance groups. Mairi and Muriel taught classes on the main floor, while Rebecca Blackhall-Peters taught a class of beginners in a large downstairs studio. Lunch was not included as part of the package, so we mosied our way through the small town to select a place to eat from a large variety of eateries. On our way back, we paused to marvel at the produce for sale at a large indoor/outdoor farmer's market, a testament to the mild maritime climate in that area.

The Ball, also held at the Majestic, was a lot of fun, relaxed, unpressured. The band Fiddle Sticks and Ivory (from San Francisco) provided the music for the evening. Every dance was walked through as it was briefed (which, though making the dancing more "accessible", comes with its own package of things to watch out for). About a third of the dancers that evening were, ahem, "young" dancers - that is, in their twenties, most generally present or former students at Western Washington University. This added a certain "charge" to the air, and was alone worth the price of admission!

The trip to Bellingham is bit of a journey - enough of a journey to make it an adventure. But it is well worth the effort to meet and dance with such friendly, gracious, and enthusiastic folks.

Clark County Holiday Gift Fair
by Martin MacKenzie
Comin' through!

While my memory is at least somewhat fresh, it would be nice to tell everyone in our readership about a demonstration we did at the Clark County Holiday gift fair this past November. The Shaws, Sarah MacQueen, Van, Tom and Liza Halpenny, Sally Palmer and myself were the performers with my wife, Eunice doing yeoman duty as sound engineer. We were really there to provide some splash for the event however, we're not beyond taking advantage of such things to increase our exposure and hopefully, our membership.


Liza used the same program as used for the Old Apple Tree demonstration earlier in the fall which helped with memory and stage jitters. As we discovered that the sound engineer was going to be doing other things, he instructed Eunice in the fine points of running our music on his unfamiliar equipment so that Liza could MC the event. Her adaptability made it unnecessary for Liza to run up and down the stars between the microphone, the sound desk, and the set of dancers. We all had a marvelous time both as dancers and as explorers going through wares we found there after our demonstration was complete.

Dancing with new friends.

The best of it was the opportunity to encourage several folks to try our dancing on stage with us. One was a young fellow just moved to the area from Baltimore, Maryland who was working at the event. Another young lady was a friend of a vendor that was selling photographic services for events like weddings, graduations, bar mitzvahs and the like. A man who is a vendor in old coins danced with us and along with the dancing learned a little bit of Gaelic to help him interpret the inscriptions on some of his wares.

I would encourage everyone to try this out at least once. The dances are easy, we have great leaders and guides, you'll cement friendships, and you may even make some new friends.

See all y'all on stage!

Iona, Holy Isle, Part One
by Jill Kelly

Iona is very small, one by 3.5 miles, and a very simple place overall. There are two shops, a restaurant, and one very small grocery in the village. And yet its very name stirs the heartstrings of all Scots, the place where Scottish monarchs were taken for burial from the 9th century on. In 1549 an inventory of the graveyard listed: 48 Scottish, 8 Norwegian, and 4 Irish kings. Literally thousands of visitors flock there every spring, summer, and fall. What makes it so special? No one has yet unraveled that mystery.

The ferry crossing from Mull takes five minutes, and one walks up the steep quay to face the tiny village, the shops and restaurants to the left and a row of stone houses, painted white, to the right. A simple fishing village, by the looks, except that most of the houses are B&Bs. If you travel there after All Saints' Day or before Easter, as I usually do, most everything is closed. A strong sea wind blows unceasingly all winter long and the rain pours down, so the ground everywhere is sodden with tiny rivulets streaming through the meadows to the sea. If you step off the few paved paths to explore, you'll sink calf-deep into mud. I have a pair of rain pants I keep only for my trips to Iona!

But anyone who goes there also feels the sweet holiness and playfulness of the isle the moment their feet touch the ground. I guarantee you'll be beguiled. Walking past the village, one comes to the nunnery. It's pink stone, the walls only half there now, but nearly everyone pushes through the iron gates on their way to the Abbey instead of taking the main walk. The center of the nunnery is a beautifully kept perennial flower bed, chock full of primroses and daffodils that bloom in bright profusion by Holy week. There is an overwhelming sense of peace and tranquility there. I often sit on one of the benches, wondering if the chanting I hear in my mind is a memory held in those stone walls or just my own imagining. The wind gentles there somehow, and the quiet moves into my deepest soul, more peaceful by far than the busy Abbey. The isle itself feels very feminine to me, like a little girl who is alternately devoted to God with her whole heart or out on the moor at play . . .

A Poem for Experienced Dancers
by Pat Batt, The Reel, London Branch

    Pride Goeth . . .

I am a Scottish Dancer-
Experienced, advanced,
I like to show less able friends
How dances should be danced.

My back is straight, my head held high, 
my smile securely fixed, 
I know my dances thoroughly
and never get them mixed.

I'm ready for the next eight bars, 
I know just where I'm heading-
I even pass left shoulders
in the reels in Mairi's Wedding.

I always close my feet in third
I stand just where I should-
Although I'm a modest soul, 
I'm really rather good.

And now look at that dancer
who is coming down the room
with a frown of concentration
And a general air of gloom.

Her head is poking forward, 
She isn't quite in line, 
her toes are turning upward!-
Quite different from mine.

It must be fairly obvious
that she is a beginner, 
her figure's similar to mine-
Thank heaven I am thinner.

It's strange her dress is so like mine, 
her hair as well I see . . .
Oh, Lord, it is a mirror
and that reflection's ME!

Well now I know how I appear
to others in the set-
And that's a hard, hard lesson
I'm sure I won't forget.
Class Information, 2011
by John Shaw

Vancouver, Marshall Center, 1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd
Vancouver-Clark Parks & Recreation 360-487-7100 www.ci.vancouver.wa.us/parks-recreation

Scottish Country Dance for Everyone, Wednesday 7:45-9:00pm, Elm Room, Jan 12, 8 wk session, $42
Contact LindaMae

Beginning Celtic Tap, Tuesday 5:30-6:30pm, Oak Room, Jan 11, 8 wk session, $42

Intermediate Celtic Tap, Tuesday 6:30-7:30pm, Oak Room, Jan 11, 8 wk session, $42
Contact LindaMae

Vancouver, Firstenburg Community Center, 700 NE 136th Ave
Vancouver-Clark Parks & Recreation 360-487-7001 www.ci.vancouver.wa.us/parks-recreation

Family Scottish Country Dance, Friday 7-8pm, Aerobics/Dance Studio, Jan 14, 7 wks, $30
Contact Geri, 360-834-3757

East Clark County Community Education 360-954-3838 www.camas.wednet.edu/district/teaching_learning/community_ed.htm

Family Basic Scottish Country Dance, TBD
Contact Geri, 360-834-3757

Battle Ground, Chief Umtuch Middle School, 700 NW 9th St
Battle Ground Community Education 360-885-6584 http://www.battlegroundps.org/?q=node/10

Scottish Country Dance, Thursday 7-8:15pm, on the stage, Jan 6, 8 wks, $39
Contact Liza, 360-798-3388

Vancouver, Columbia Dance Center, 1700 Broadway

Level 3 Scottish Country Dance, 2nd and 4th Tuesdays, 7:30-8:30pm
Contact Marge, 360-892-4366

Longview, Senior Center, 1111 Commerce Ave, Longview
Longview Parks & Recreation 360-442-5400 mylongview.com/parks_rec

Family Scottish Country Dance, 1st and 3rd Sundays 7:00-9:00pm
Contact Linda, 360-578-7893
Please call or email before coming, to verify there are no changes in date.

Stevenson, Deborah Messinger Dance Studio, next to the Exhibit Hall at the Skamania County Fairgrounds

Basic Scottish Country Dance, Friday 7:00-9:00 pm
Contact LindaMae


Calendar of Events

January 1, 2011: Hogmanay Social
Dancing! Music! Games!
Columbia Dance Center, 1700 Broadway, Vancouver, WA
Presentation of The Scroll of Honour (highest award bestowed by the RSCDS) to Marge van Nus, 1:30 PM
Dancing and Games, 2 - 5 PM
Tea and Potluck, refreshments after the dancing
Music by Cynthia Soohoo and Alexander Soohoo-Hui
Dance Program:
Hogmanay Jig        J  Two Scottish Dances
Granville Market    S  Vandegrift, Leaflet
Pigeon on the Gate  R  Dunnedin Dances
Corn Rigs           J  Bk 4
Mishima Onsen       S  An International Language
New Rigged Ship     R  Bk 9

Piece of Cake             J  Let's All Dance, Too
Miss Gibson's Strathspey  S  Haynes
The Merrie Reel           R  Fort Worden XX
Gloria's Wee Jig          J  Devil's Quandary
Seann Truibhas Willichan  S  Bk 27
De'il Amang the Tailors   R  Bk 14
Circle (Oslo) Waltz
Auld Lang Syne

Here are the dance cribs and a flyer.
Feb 12, 2011: Portland Monthly Dance
7:30 pm. at Hope Community Church, 14790 Boones Ferry Rd, Lake Oswego, OR 97034. $5.
Feb 19, 2011: International Dance Potpourri
Save the date!
Camas Community Center, 1-4:30 pm.
More details as they emerge.
Mar 12, 2011: Portland 32nd Annual Workshop & Ball
Masonic Friendship Center in NE Portland. More details as they emerge.
Mar 29: Fifth Tuesday Mixer
An easy evening of dances for all levels of Scottish Country dancers.
Columbia Dance Center, 1700 Broadway St., Vancouver, WA.
7:15 - 9:00pm, $3/dancer
with tea and cookies after.
All dancers welcome!
Apr 9: Portland Monthly Dance
7:30 pm. at Hope Community Church, 14790 Boones Ferry Rd, Lake Oswego, OR 97034. $5.
Apr 30: Second Annual Dinner Dance
"Sunshine and Daisies" at
Saint Luke's Episcopal Church
426 E. Fourth Plain Blvd.
Vancouver, WA Dinner 6:00 p.m., Grand March and Dance 8:00 p.m. Music by Lisa Scott, Linda Danielson, and Leslie Hirsch. The flyer with registration details can be downloaded here: http://www.vancouverusa-scd.org/2011dinnerdanceflyer.pdf.

"Stifling an urge to dance is bad for your health - it rusts your spirit and your hips." ~Terri Guillemets

  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:  

  Martin MacKenzie
  10701 SE Hwy 212 C-7
  Clackamas, Or 97015

  By email:  

  The Scottish Country Dancer is a bi-monthly publication of the RSCDS Southwest Washington State Branch, a non-profit educational organization. For changes of address, please contact Martin MacKenzie, 10701 SE Hwy 212 C-7 Clackamas, Or 97015, . 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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