Volume 28 #1
The Scottish Country Dancer
July/August 2011

Articles in This Issue
A Message from The Chair
SCD in Local Elementary School
The Misty Isle, Part One
The Pacific Northwest Highland Games in Enumclaw, Washington
Reel Our Way Into A Fit Old Age
Chandi Passed!
Scottish Country Dancing in Argentina, Part Two
Calendar of Events
The Herb Fest
A Message from The Chair
by Linda Mae Dennis
Our Very Own Chair

July 1st has snuck up on me, and I believe I am holding up the works. Among other things, today is Canada Day so, Happy Canada Day! In addition, the new Membership year starts today. Of course, it's not too late to register and become an official addition to the Branch. Since we're no longer in class, the best way to get a registration form is to contact Liza Halpenny, Membership Chair. The new Management Board officially takes office today, too. Thanks very much to the outgoing Board for their thoughtful contributions to the running of the Branch. And a big 'Howdy-do and Welcome!' to the new Board, specifically Rebecca Mintz, the new Secretary. You'll likely recognize the rest of the names making up the team. Geri Stuart will be the Teacher Coordinator for another year, John Shaw will stay on as Treasurer, Susan Shaw will shuffle over to Vice Chair, and I will start my fifth term as Chair. We will do our best to run the business of the branch keeping all of you foremost in our minds.

Today also seems to be the first in a stretch of sunny, dry days where the daytime high temperature will hover between 75 and 85 degrees F. What a delightful switch that will be! I am looking forward to a lot of long relaxing days. Not that we get to relax that much during the summer. There are the usual festivities and activities that help us stay in touch with each other and in shape enough so that starting classes again in the fall isn't too much of a shock. First off, this weekend we have dancing at the Fort for the July 4th celebration. Then not even a week later, on July 10th, the Branch picnic, which is always fun (even when it rains), and I do look forward to chatting and chewing (and dancing and playing) with everyone, especially those I haven't gotten to know very well yet. Then, do we rest for a couple of weeks? We do not!

The very next weekend is the Portland Highland Games, which is a great opportunity for us to strike up new friendships with people who already like Scottish stuff, and who might just like Scottish Country Dancing!! If you're helping out at the tent or with the dancing, do remember to be cheerful, friendly, and helpful - even if you're too hot.

We could then rest for a couple of weeks, but NO! We must get practiced up for the Clark County Fair. We're dancing on Sunday, August 7th, at 6:00. If you didn't sign up to dance, but are coming to the fair anyway, that's the day to catch a really good show. Then we really do take a couple of weeks off. Of course, if any Scottish Country Dancers were willing, on August 13th we would love to have an entourage of dancers following the "Skamania Pipes and Drums and Scottish Country Dancers" banner, and preceding the actual Skamania Pipes and Drums in the Skamania County Fair parade in Stevenson!

Then to round out the summer, there is a Fifth Tuesday on August 30th. How fortuitous. It will be run as an 'Introductory Class' for all the people we have convinced to 'try it' over the summer, and any friends and family also willing to give it a try. And even if no one new shows up, it will still be a super fun Fifth Tuesday with just us!

Have a great summer everyone (as though we won't see each other practically every week),

Linda Mae Dennis

The Misty Isle, Part One
by Jill Kelly

The very first time I went to Scotland (May of 1971), crossing over on the A-1 just north of Berwick-on-Tweed, I asked the friend I was with to stop the car so I could put my feet on the soil I'd heard and dreamed about since I was born. I burst into tears and then surprised myself by blurting out, "I need to get to Skye!" We tried valiantly to drive there in the few days we had before driving back to London, but only made it as far as Inverness. Too many sheep in the road! I had no idea then that I'd try (unsuccessfully) to start an eco village on Skye thirty five years later.

Isle of Skye

So it wasn't until 1995, with my husband and three daughters, that we took the ferry from Mallaig to Armadale and I finally got to the misty isle. We did not stop at the MacDonald center near the ferry landing, but drove straight to the opposite end of the island in preparation for another ferry to the outer isles the next day. Skye is fifty miles long and twenty wide, the roads narrow and twisting, so driving across it makes for a slow trip. Negotiating the narrow curved road on the spine of the southern peninsula to Broadford, we came to the small town that looks north over the sea to the highlands with a couple of large hotels and one long street of mostly tourist shops. Standing in the bay there, I felt like I was on top of the world, as if it were the north pole. Appropriately enough for the isle, Broadford is a place that always reflects the mood of the sky, strung along the coast as it is. It's either cloudy gray as far as one can see, a sunlit dusty blue, or a sea-blue that sparkles with sunshine. Often one can't tell where the sea leaves off and the land begins. And when they aren't bathed in fog, the highlands looming just across the ocean on the mainland have that sense of eternal majesty that fills my heart with the sense of heaven restored.

Leaving Broadford, we drove north along the western coast then, curving in and out along the side of barren hills that blocked the inland view. There were fleeting views of the small isles of Scalpay and Raasay off to the east. Then halfway across the isle, we came to Sligachan, the place of the shells in Gaelic, where a broad shallow river flows through a flat valley surrounded by the jagged peaks of the Cuillins. There are usually mountain climbers at the hotel here, even in late winter, but those peaks always seem forbidding to me.

As we drove to the far end of the valley, the road lifted through the pass and then down over the central inland plateau all the way to Portree. It is another small town, the center of Skye, with its small white-washed Somerled square, perched on the heights over a narrow sea loch. There are two short streets of shops here, again mostly catering to tourists. No one notices the narrow sea loch below, where the car park is located, but I thought it was lovely.

We drove on across the northernmost part of the Trotternish peninsula then, to our B&B. I was so tired from our journey, and eager to get the children into bed, that I never even looked behind me as I hurried into the house, until I glanced out as I opened the door to go inside. Thank goodness I did, for there below the headland and out across the sea were the outer isles, rising out of banks and banks of fluffy pink clouds like some magical fairyland come to life. It was utterly breath-taking, as if God had reached in and opened the doorway to the Otherworld, a moment I will not forget as long as I live. This is Skye at her best. Skye is a land of contrasts; magical views like this one moment, pouring down rain the next, a bit like the Pacific Northwest!

Reel Our Way Into A Fit Old Age
by Kevin Gilmartin

Reprinted from The Scotsman, 07 August, 2010, and found in the Los Angeles "Ghillie Callum" 9/2010:

Scottish Country Dancing could be key in keeping fit in old age, a leading university has said. Participants in a study who took part in the dancing were found to have better levels of fitness than people who did other forms of exercise.

Dr. Paul Dougall, an expert in dance and dram at Strathclyde University in Glasgow, led the research. He said, "It's generally assumed that dancing is good exercise, but we wanted to measure whether Scottish Country dancing had specific health benefits."

The study focused on older women and had seventy participants, thirty five women aged between sixty and eighty five who practiced Scottish Country dancing and thirty five in the same age range who took other forms of exercise. The comparison between two groups who were active in different types of exercise suggested that Scottish Country dancing was particularly effective in keeping people fit.

Dr. Susan Dewhurst, an exercise physiologist from the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, led assessments of the participants' fitness. She said, "We used state-of-the-art equipment to give very precise measurement of muscle quality and function."

Scottish Country Dancing in Argentina, Part Two
by Liza Halpenny
Turn by the Left

Sol also sent me an article about the BASCDancers that was written previously. She told me that there is now only one other SCD group in South America. Here is the article, which gives insights on how we are the same, how we differ, and how we make our place in the world.

BASCDancers, Buenos Aires Scottish Country Dancers, was born in 2005. We began as a group of friends interested in promoting Scottish Country Dancing in Buenos Aires. We started gathering once a week for two hours to dance and learn about the history of these dances, exchanging books, CDs and all kinds of information concerning Scottish culture. In 2006 we became an affiliated group of the RSCDS and our teacher, with the support of the International Branch, got the Teacher Certificate from the Society in 2008.

In the last months we have welcomed a few new members, probably, due to the wise decision not to stop the dancing lessons during the Southern Hemisphere Summer break. This period was also enriched by the presence of visitors from abroad, which definitely proved an interesting experience for the group.

Poetry in Motion

Twice a year we organize events in which the "Scottish-porteņos" community dance and have fun. One of these events, a social dance for Scottish Country Dancers, is the Happy Meeting, named as the dance published in Book 29. BASCDancers also runs workshops dedicated to a particular issue: last year was Robert Burns; this year, on May 30th, dances associated with "Scottish legends & fairy tales" and the presence of a storyteller.

Considering that in Buenos Aires and the surroundings there are three bagpipe bands with their own Highland dancers, a couple of "Caledonians" are organised during the year. At those parties people from the Scottish community as well as the public in general meet to listen to Scottish music and dance the traditional "Eightsome Reel", "Strip the Willow", "Dashing White Sergeant", and other popular dances. BASCDancers has become a referent to show the dances at these parties and help those who are not experienced in SCD.

Since last year, Buenos Aires was the only place in Argentina where SCD was practised. In San Rafael, a town close to the Andes range, 620 miles away from Buenos Aires, there was an attempt to set up a group, but - as far as we know - it did not work out. Last year, a new group was created in Rosario, the second biggest city of Argentina. BASCDancers is proud to have helped in the development of the group. Recently, members of BASCDancers decided to create a performance group and our teacher is helping them in the arrangement of choreographies and the selection of the music.

As far as the relationship with other SCD-groups within South America is concerned, distances do not help. The group in La Paz, Bolivia is 1395 miles from Buenos Aires, whereas the one in Rio de Janeiro, Brazilis 1240 miles away. It looks difficult, but we hope some day we can arrange a "regional" SCD-gathering . . .

In sum, in these five years, slow but steady we have progressed a lot and most of all, we have had lot of fun. We hope we will continue in this direction.

Finally, we would like to take this opportunity to remind prospective visitors to Buenos Aires that BACSDancers meets every Friday from 08.00 to 10.00 pm. Those interested in joining the group, please do not hesitate to contact us at http://www.bascdancers.com.ar

Happy dancing!

BASCDancers (Buenos Aires Scottish Country Dancers)

The Herb Fest
by Marge MacLeod Van Nus

Many thanks to the dancers who found their way through the backwoods to Pomeroy Farm for the annual Herb Festival. Nature was kind to us, staving off the rain letting the sun out, but not blindingly so, allowing all a good time. It was great to have dancers from all the different classes, plus some we had not seen for a while. The folks at Pomeroy were impressed, and most happy to have us participate. We in turn, were most happy to include "all who will" join us in the dance. That even included some very young children dancing in mother's arms

Aloha and Happy dancing,


SCD in Local Elementary School
by Liza Halpenny
Dance Program

For several years now, local Scottish Country Dancers have participated in Hazel Dell Elementary School's yearly Enrichment Fair. This hugely popular half day event takes dedicated volunteers a year to plan each time, bringing in people from all over the community to introduce the children to aspects of different cultures, arts, and activities. The students choose ahead of time which three activities they would like to participate in, and the gurus in charge do their organizing magic to make it all happen. The day of the event we set up shop in our assigned room and, throughout the course of the morning, three different groups of students (of mixed grade levels) come to us to be taught some Scottish dances and culture. In addition to the fun of working with the children, some of whom request us year after year, we are fed breakfast beforehand, tea and sweets during the break, then lunch afterward! It's a good gig.

This year Rebecca Mintz and I taught the children. When we were finished we were approached by Kate Moon, who teaches dance and art at the school, and as she says, a "dream job". She asked if we could teach a Scottish Country Dance to a group of third graders, to be a part of the Spring Performance. Well, of course! So Rebecca and I showed up one Monday morning in April to teach "Loon Mountain Reel" to a group of happy/anxious, energetic/lethargic, studious/distracted, willing/reluctant, excited children. Mrs. Moon was provided a CD of Scottish music and a video of the dance being performed by one of our local classes. She then spent the next several weeks rehearsing the children.

On June 17th Tom and I attended the Hazel Dell Elementary Spring Performance, titled "Art, Dance, and Music from Around the World." I felt very special because Mrs. Moon had a front row seat saved for me with my name on it, and I got to be in charge of her video camera. The entire concert was a delight, but especially those wonderful Scottish Country Dancers in their plaid ties and sashes. (Sadly, for security reasons, we are not allowed to publish photos or video of the children.) Hopefully we'll see some of these kids in our dance classes some day!

The Pacific Northwest Highland Games in Enumclaw, Washington
by from The Puget Scot

From the editor: This is a note from the Seattle Branch of the RSCDS.

For the fourth consecutive year we will be a part of the Closing Ceremonies at the Highland Games in Enumclaw on Saturday, July 30, around 5:30pm. We have a ten minute slot just before the Massed Bands close the afternoon festivities.

We hope to have sets from many different groups, with dancers old and young, experienced and new, to showcase the wide appeal of this wonderful activity. This is a way for us to show folks how we love to "Dance Scottish" and have fun keeping fit! We will perform four or five dances and each will only be danced a few times. The dances will be chosen for their audience appeal and will be easy enough for everyone to do and enjoy without stress. We hope you will consider signing up to dance!

On July 30th, we will get together with all the groups in the afternoon to practice getting on and off the field and doing the dances. The Seattle Branch will have three in-town practices at the Phinney Neighborhood Center in Seattle on Thursday, July 14th, 21st, and 28th. There will be no charge for dancing on these evenings in preparation for the games.

Pass this information on to your friends in other groups who come to the games and may not see our newsletter or website. Encourage them to join us at the Pacific Northwest Highland Games, one of the "Best in the West!" Sign up in class or with Rachel Pusey to be part of the event

Chandi Passed!
by The Editor
Chandi McCracken

As some of you know in our readership, Chandi McCracken was a dancer with us several years ago whom we were sad to see leave us and return to her native Minnesota after graduating from Portland State University. However, as you can see, she hasn't been sitting on her laurels.

From the The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society Twin Cities Branch:

"The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society Twin Cities Branch is delighted and proud to announce that Jafrican Bazz, Daniel Benjamin 'Franklin' Friedman-Shedlov, and Chandi McCracken have all passed their exams and now join our ranks of fully certified RSCDS teachers! Congratulations to the three of them and thanks to all the Branch members who helped them along the four plus year road to get there."

As Chandi herself said, "The results are finally in and I am officially a fully certified RSCDS teacher. Thank you for everyone's support and congrats to my fellow teacher I heard passed...and I hope to hear from the rest of you!"


On with the dance! let joy be unconfined; No sleep till morn, when Youth and Pleasure meet To chase the glowing hours with flying feet. ~ George Gordon, Lord Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage

Calendar of Events

July 10: Vancouver Summer Picnic
At the Picnic Shelter behind the Fort Vancouver Visitor Center
Noon to 4:00 p.m.
Lunch at 1:00 - Dancing after lunch.
What to bring:
Your family
A main dish for yourself (no grill available)
A dish to share
Water provided. Flyer with directions can be downloaded from www.vancouverusa-scd.org/2011picnic.pdf.
Aug 30: 5th Tuesday SCD Mixer
We hope to see dancers from all the area classes at Columbia Dance Center, 1700 Broadway St Vancouver, for a fun evening of dancing and socializing. Dancing will start at 7:15 and will include selections from the summer dance list and past 5th Tuesdays. All dances will be walked at least one time, more if needed. Afterward, there will be tea, cookies and good company, so please bring a mug. The evening is $3 per dancer. Bring your ghillies!
Sept 9-11: 37th Annual Fort Worden Workshop and Ball
An enchanting weekend of Scottish Country Dancing, including a Friday evening dance, Saturday workshop classes in a variety of technique, steps, and dance forms, a Saturday evening Ball and champagne party, and relaxed Sunday morning dancing.
Teachers: Terry Harvey - Newton Square, PA; Irene Paterson - Mukilteo, WA; Lin Pettengill - San Mateo, CA; Jim Rae - Lockerbie, Scotland.
Musicians: Calum MacKinnon (Fiddle), Ryan McKasson (Fiddle), Lisa Scott (Piano), Ginny Snowe (Bass), Brian Crisafulli (Fiddle) classes. Registration forms may be downloaded from www.rscds-seattle.org/ftworden/index.htm
Oct 1: High Desert Ball, in Bend, OR
The annual workshop and ball hosted by the Hight Desert Celtic Dancers in Bend, Oregon. More information will be posted as it becomes available.
The Program:
      Good Hearted Glasgow         J  Knapman, Collins Pocket Ref      
      The Rendezvous               R  McConachie, Grampian Coll. 
      Teacher's Choice             S
      The Bees of Maggieknockater  J  Drewry, Canadian Bk
      The Barmkin                  R  Goldring 24 Graded and Social Dances
      Shiftin' Bobbins             R  Clowes, Ormskirk Bk
      The Wee Bothy                R  S. Allely 2007
      The Bridge of Nairn          S  RSCDS Bk 13
      Tomalena                     R  Gratiot/Douglas, San Fran. Coll. 2
      The Rose of the North        S  Goldring, Leeds Silver Jubilee
      The Cranberry Tart           J  Glaspool, 7 Year Itch
      Pugwash and Tatamagouche     H  Wallace, San Andreas Coll.
      Kelso Races                  R  MMM II
      Bramble Tangle               S  Portia Kowolowski 2002
      Teacher's Choice             J/R
      Village Reel                 S  RSCDS Bk 20
      The Lantern of the North     J  Drewry, Canadian Bk
      The Deil Amang the Tailors   R  RSCDS Bk 14

  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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