Volume 28 #2
The Scottish Country Dancer
September/October 2011

Articles in This Issue
A Message From The Chair
Why Do We Like to Scottish Dance?
Fall Teachers' Workshop and Dance
Scottish Dancing Diners
Welcome Back!
Fun, Fun, Fun at the Fair
The Misty Isle, Part Two
Kelso Scottish Dancing
Legend of the Holy Grail
Scotland's Mark on America
Calendar of Events
A Message From The Chair
by Linda Mae Dennis

It has been a good summer, but I'm ready to get back to dancing, and hope you are too. What we did this summer was we danced at the Fort Vancouver July 4th celebration. I missed that one, as I was doing the parade with the Fort Vancouver Pipe Band. I had hoped that the parade route would take us past the Scottish Country Dancing and the crowd would be enveloped by Scottish culture, but it didn't work out that way at all. Still, I hear the dancing went well. Then there was dining and dancing at the Summer Picnic. I really enjoyed getting to know the people from other classes a little better, and even though we were displaced temporarily by grumpy fairies, a good time was had by all (and we certainly had plenty to eat!) The getting to know everyone worked out very well as we all teamed up to dance and talk to people about Scottish Country Dancing at the Portland Highland Games and again at the Clark County Fair. It's wonderful to have so many enthusiastic new dancers ready to volunteer and participate

Now we've had a couple of weeks off from dancing. Just enough time to fight my way out from under this pile of zucchini and green beans. Seriously! (Although, the pears, grapes, and tomatoes are looking threatening.) Seems like I've gone far too long without any dancing though, and am very much looking forward to the Fifth Tuesday Mixer next week. I hope a lot of new people show up to try it out. And then, onward to the beginning of Fall Classes. Remember to set aside the evening of October 22nd for our annual Fall Dance. I can hardly wait to see you all again on the dance floor,

Linda Mae Dennis

Fall Teachers' Workshop and Dance
by The Puget Scot

The Branch teachers eagerly look forward to hosting another Fall Teachers' Workshop on Saturday, November 19th. This will be the 13th workshop. It is not quite "annual" as we have skipped a couple of years to avoid conflicting with other SCD events in the Northwest. We have a great staff for this event and hope lots of teachers in the Pacific Northwest and beyond will be able to join us.

A Proper Escort

Ron Wallace from Santa Rosa will help us hone our dancing and teaching skills. Ron is a well respected teacher of SCD, Highland, Step, and Cape Breton dance. He also teaches English and Welsh dancing to balance his act! He plays and teaches Highland bagpipes, and also plays descant recorder and pipes in two local SCD bands, "Wild Rose" and "Hood, Wink, and Swagger." Ron has shared his skills around the globe and will be teaching in Prague and at the St. Andrews Summer School this summer. Recently, he was appointed one of the Society's examiners.

Lisa Scott will play for Ron's classes. This talented pianist is no stranger to our branch and will be playing at Fort Worden this September. She has a degree in music and studied the art of piano accompaniment at USC and in New York City. Lisa has played for workshop classes throughout North America. She, like Ron, will be sharing her talents at the St. Andrews Summer School this year.

The workshop will be geared for those who are already RSCDS qualified teachers and for others who are thinking of training in the next year or two. We look forward to a great day of learning from Ron and Lisa as well as sharing ideas with teachers from near and far.

All dancers are welcome to join for the evening party. Music for the party will be provided by fiddler Brian Crisafulli and pianist Guinevere Saenger, two popular and accomplished local artists known to most of our dancers.

The workshop and dance will be at Mercer Island Congregational Church. Full details and the application form are on the website, along with the program and crib sheets for the party. Please note that the dance party will be at 6:30pm to give our out-of-town workshop attendees a better option for getting home that evening.

Welcome Back!
by The Teachers' Representative

Welcome back dancers! Teachers are busy getting ready for a full year of dancing. Please check the web site for class information or updates. We look forward to seeing you all in September on the dance floor!

The Misty Isle, Part Two
by Jill Kelly

On my next trip, to research the trilogy I am just now completing, I came in March of 1997 as the winter airfares are far cheaper, and you can get them if you leave by March 31st. What penny-minded Scot could pass that up? That first time with the children had been July. This time I stayed at a farm near Dunvegan, off to the west over the hummocky spine of the isle from Portree. The B&B I stayed in was a huge stone home, magnificently furnished, to my surprise. Because it was a farm, I'd expected something far more humble. The meals were even more lavish than the draperies. But in late March, it rarely stopped raining, with 40 mph winds most of the time. I was told once by a native that it rains on Skye 300 days of the year. So the front drive of the farm was constantly awash with mud, smelling strongly of manure. With the bare trees covered with moss and the crows constantly cawing in their rookery, it wasn't so lovely outside. How that Mrs. kept the interior so fresh and extravagant, I cannot fathom.

My first evening there, I decided to drive down the short dirt road to the headland to see if I could find the cave listed on my map. After the cave I fell in love with on Iona, I was hooked on discovering more. But when I got to the end of the track, the headland was too slick to walk, the wind so strong, it nearly knocked me down. Then as I got back in the car, and tried to back up, the wheels only slid nearer and nearer the edge of the cliff. I kept trying until there was only a foot or so of land left! So I walked the mile back to the farm in mud deeper than my boots, with the rain pelting down, and the wind shoving me sideways the whole way. When I finally reached the farmhouse and told the Mrs. what had happened, she only sighed and said, "It happens all the time. The Mr. will go down with the tractor and pull your car back in a jiffy. Dinna fret, dear." And he did, a great relief. This is Skye at her worst! I won't tell you about the 100 mph winds that shook the camping shelter I was in all night long during a later trip, keeping me awake all night, fearing for my life---or the trailer I rented for a week in Glendale, over the mountain from Dunvegan in the peninsula to the west, when the wind was so strong the camper bucked like an airplane in turbulence all night long and I didn't get a wink of sleep. I have never visited the isle without experiencing both her maidenly loveliness and her less attractive harsh side.

Dunvegan Castle

After the cave fiasco, the next surprise was my morning visit to the ancient broch across the sea loch from Dunvegan, the place I hoped to make the setting of my trilogy that takes place in the 1st century BC. Brochs are round stone towers, open-roofed, build in two concentric circles about a meter apart. There are steps built inside between the walls up to the roof, usually 20 to 30 feet high. They appeared all over Scotland for a few centuries at that time, and no one really knows why. This one was in ruins, but there is an intact one along the western coast of Skye right along the road near Carbost. But that morning, walking through the spike grass and bracken outside the tumbled stones, I kept getting tingles down my scalp and spine. Does anyone else out there talk with fairies? For me, those tingles are a sure sign of some mystery about to be revealed. And suddenly, I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that I'd lived in this broch during the time my novel takes place. I had sudden images of the clansfolk then and the board inside laden with steaming platters. It felt SO familiar! And later that morning, I was stunned by the realization that my book wasn't to be a simple story, but a path of rediscovery of parts of myself long forgotten. That is the understatement of the decade! Driving back to the B&B to write, I marveled at how I just 'happened' to be staying at an offbeat B&B that was as close to that broch as one could get. Thus began my love affair with Dunvegan.


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Legend of the Holy Grail
by Valerie Moore

There is a legend that the famed holy grail was protected by the Knights Templar in Europe and Great Britain . . . then it was turned over to the Scottish Freemasons which moved the grail to Scotland and eventually to America. For a long time, it sat on the top of the original pillar of the Washington Monument. It was hidden during the Civil War, but later it is suspected to have been melted down and used in the tip of the flame on the original Statue of Liberty.

From the Editor: For more facts and legends of the Knights Templar, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knights_Templar#Legends_and_relics

Scotland's Mark on America
by George Fraser Black, PH.D

From the Editor: This was transcribed by our very own John Shaw from the forward of this same book which was itself written by John Foord, one time Editor-in-Chief of the New York Times.

I wanted to comment on the references made to the Scots Irish in America. I feel these people are often misidentified as Irish. Fraser Black points out they were really Scots and should have been more correctly known as Ulster Scots.

Scots Presbyterians were enticed by the first King of Great Britain (James VI of Scotland, James I of England) to settle in Northern Ireland. It must have been felt this movement of Protestants would somehow help counterbalance the Catholic natives of the Island. Instead it created a problem which has lasted Centuries. Additionally, many Scots felt let down by what they actually received in Ulster, relative to what they had been promised. They left in large numbers for America.

Because of serious religious differences there was little integration between the Scots in Ulster and the native Catholics. The immigrants maintained their Scottish ways and brought them to America. The Scots, who happened to live in Ulster at one point, accomplished a great deal in their second land of promise.

Why Do We Like to Scottish Dance?
by Tom Halpenny

Two main answers that come to mind are:

    1. Learn and practice the dance skills
    2. Socialize with friends

Which of these factors is dominant? Why do we care? An understanding can help us devise effective methods to grow the Scottish dance group. I have observed that the dominant factor is social friendship, while dancing is a fun activity for friends to enjoy together.

I would like to share some related observations from the past two years. After twelve years of Scottish Country Dance, Liza and I began learning Square Dance with the Happy Hoppers club. We took the Basic, Mainstream, and Plus lessons from charismatic caller Jim Hattrick and became members of the club. We have learned one hundred moves and are now able to help new dancers. We have a new group of Square Dance friends in addition to our Scottish Dance friends.

Scottish and Square Dancers

The Scottish and Square Dance groups share many common interests, yet will likely never interact. I had assumed that many dancers would be interested in trying a new dance form that is related to their familiar dance form. However I discovered that there has been practically zero interest among more experienced dancers of either dance form to try the other dance form. I also discovered that new dancers of one dance form are more open to trying the other dance form. A paradox is that experienced dancers are able to learn the other dance form more easily, yet beginning dancers are more likely to commit the additional effort to learn the dance skills. A theory for this behavior is that each social dance group has its familiar friends, and dancers see little value to explore a new group. New dancers are exploring new social groups and are open to forming friendships.

For the past two years, I have accumulated a list of eighteen "enlightened dancers" who have danced both Scottish Dance and Square Dance at least one time with me. The list has eight Scottish Dancers who have tried Square Dance and ten Square Dancers who have tried Scottish Dance. Several Square Dancers have joined Liza's Battle Ground Scottish Dance class. The dancers have progressed from stage one, try one time for two hours then on to stage two, commit to a regular dance schedule. The multi-talented "Mac Hoppers" dance group has demonstrated Scottish Dance during Square Dance lesson breaks.

The social chemistry of the Battle Ground Scottish Dance class has been wonderful this past year. Kate joined early on and has become confident with both SD and SCD. Norma is the most experienced Square Dancer, and like Danny and Carol, is enthusiastic about every SD and SCD opportunity. Same with Darrell, who is an experienced ballroom dancer and began SD and SCD; he has brought his family, Lisa and Keanna, to the SCD class and they plan to begin SD lessons. Elka is an experienced Scottish Dancer who has brought her young daughter Lillie. Branch SCD teacher Rebecca has been a great SCD role model and friendly dancer. I have observed lots of socializing during and after the SCD class, which is a good sign. We also socialize during the breaks at the SD class, and we have a good time at SCD events and other SD group events.

Devising ideas to enhance social friendships is a powerful force to stabilize and grow the Scottish Dance group. One idea is to become friends with more Square Dancers ... perhaps some of you future "enlightened dancers" would like to give Square Dance a try and form some new friendships? A new season of lessons begins in September ... http://www.happy-hoppers.com

Scottish Dancing Diners
by Tom Halpenny

Happy Eaters

  Two longwise sets of eaters at this year's Eat More Salad!!! 
  SCD fund raiser at Sweet Tomatoes restaurant. 
  Scottish Dance friends enjoyed socializing during dinner and the evening constitutional walk that followed. 
  A portion of the price of the meal was donated to the Branch.
Fun, Fun, Fun at the Fair
by Liza Halpenny
Beautiful Harmony

On Sunday, August 7th, twenty energetic Scottish Country Dancers and four talented musicians took the stage at the Clark County Fair. An enthusiastic audience enjoyed the variety show of Scottish Dance, Celtic tap (by Linda Mae Dennis), keyboard and fiddle music (by Cynthia, Nathaniel, and Alex Soohoo-Hui), bagpipe music (by Scott Richardson), and a kilt talk (by Martin MacKenzie). Our brand new dancers did themselves proud, keeping up with seasoned performers, and thinking on their feet when unexpected things happened in the dances.

One and All, Young and Old

The Fair performance is always an interesting and amusing challenge. We start with a couple of rehearsals ahead of time to freshen up our memory of the dances and solidify our teamwork with partner and set. The day of the performance we gather near the stage, chatting and watching for stragglers. When we've all found our way there, we find a "quiet" spot to walk through our dances - meaning as out-of-hearing as we can be of whatever loud band is currently playing on the stage, with the din of the midway on one side and barbecued meat smoke wafting in from the other. When it is our turn to have the stage, we get musical equipment set up and plugged in, a little tape down on the floor for direction, piper and dancers lined up for their grand entrance, and off we go.

All performers stay flexible and good-humored, enjoying the camaraderie of the occasion. If we manage to fit in all of our acts, like this year, that's great. If we have to jettison some at the last minute due to timing, well, we still had fun and gave the audience a good show. You can see videos of this year's performance, provided by Don Morrison, on our group's Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Royal-Scottish-Country-Dance-Society-Southwest-Washington-State-Branch/141476192541235

Onward and upward to next year at the Fair!

Kelso Scottish Dancing
by Sally Bledsoe

New tidings from up north. The Kelso Scottish country dancers will start dancing at Catlin Hall Sunday Sept 18th. We dance from three to five pm. It is a social class at all levels. It costs $2.00 each class, no sign ups or commitment for a season. We have fun and always need more dancers. We continue through December but if I am gone on a trip we will occasionally reschedule for a different Sunday. Please call Sally Bledsoe at 503-556-0042 to be sure the dance is on.

The Kelso Highlander Festival is September 10th and 11th at the Tam O' Shanter park. Find the schedule for dance competitions and Games on their website at http://highlander.kelso.gov/ We may try to do something as a group but have not been able to schedule anything as of now.

by The Editor

In the May/June 2011 newsletter, the dance "East Meets West" was attributed to a local devisor in error. The actual divisor was John Drewry, the dance title is "Where East Meets West", and it was devised in 1983: http://my.strathspey.org/dd/dance/7084/


Dancing: the vertical expression of a horizontal desire legalized by music. ~ George Bernard Shaw

Calendar of Events

Aug 30: 5th Tuesday SCD Mixer
Bring your friends! This is a special introductory class/dance for newcomers, as well as dancers from ALL the area classes, at Columbia Dance Center, 1700 Broadway St, Vancouver. This fun evening of dancing and socializing will start at 7:15 and will include easy dances and instruction appropriate for all attendees. Afterward, there will be lemonade, cookies, and good company. The evening is $3 per dancer, but free to first-timers! Bring your dancing shoes!
Sep 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. More info is available at www.rscds-seattle.org/ftworden/index.htm
Sep 6: Vancouver SCD Classes start this week!
  • Sep 6: Celtic Tap, Marshall Community Center, 1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver, Wednesdays 7:30-9:00 pm
  • Sep 7: SCD For All, Marshall Community Center, 1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver, Wednesdays 7:30-9:00 pm
  • Sep 8: Maple Grove School gym, 610A SW Eaton Blvd, Battle Ground, Thursdays 7:00 pm
  • Sep 11: SCD For All, Firstenburg Community Center, 700 NE 136th Ave, Vancouver, Sundays 4:30-5:55 pm
  • Sep 13: Unique SCD Dance Class, Columbia Dance Center, 1700 Broadway, Vancouver Vancouver, 2nd and 4th Tuesdays, 7:30-9:00 pm
  • Sep 16: Stevenson, Deborah Messinger Dance Studio, Stevenson, next to the Exhibit Hall at the Skamania County Fairgrounds
For more information, see our class listings: www.vancouverusa-scd.org/class.html.
Sep 12: Classes Resume in Portland
7:30 pm. at Hope Community Church, 14790 Boones Ferry Rd, Lake Oswego, OR 97034. $5 at the door.
Sep 13: Unique SCD Dance Class
NEW, UNIQUE DANCE CLASS. Open to all dancers who have completed one years worth of basic SCD.
2nd and 4th Tuesdays, 7:30 - 9:00 PM, Columbia Dance Center, 1700 Broadway, Vancouver.
Enjoy circles, squares, longs, new formations, new dances and waltzes. $3.00 at the door
More info?, -- (360) 892-4366 or email to
Oct 1: High Desert Ball, in Bend, OR
Join us as we tour the villages and hamlets of Scotland!

The 15th annual workshop and ball hosted by the High Desert Celtic Dancers will be held at The Redmond Grange at the corner of 7th St. and Kalama St., in Bend, Oregon. Workshops: Morning and Afternoon day of the Ball, beginning registration at 9:00 AM. A short ball review for requested dances following the workshop. The Ball begins at 7:30 PM with the Grand March.

Guest Teacher: Monica Pollard of Boise, Idaho.
Music provided by: A Scottish Heart. For registration forms and more information, email , or see their website at www.hdccd.com 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
Oct 8: Portland SCD Dance Party
Hope Community Church, Lake Oswego, OR. 7:30 p.m. $5.00
Oct 22: Vancouver Fall Dance
"Dance of the Faeries"
Columbia Dance Studio, 1700 Broadway, Vancouver, WA., 7:30 p.m. $10.
The Program:
    The Fairy Ring                  J  Boyd, Happy to Meet
    The Ferry Louper                J  Goldring, 24 Graded and Social
    The Enchanted Garden            S  Boyd, World Around the Corner
    MAB of McLeod                   R  van Nus, Just Desserts
    The Charmer                     J  Bk 29
    The Sauchie Haugh               S  Leaflet
    The Fairy Dance                 R  Bk 3
    Light and Airy                  J  Bk 4
    Up in the Air                   S  Bk 20
    Airy Fairy                      R  Skelton, Stepping Stones
    The Glenora Ferry               J  Glasspool, An Itch to Dance
    The Faerie Flag of the McLeods  S  Boehmer, Cameo VII
    The Enchanted Isle              R  Boyd, Katherine's Book

  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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