Volume 28 #3
The Scottish Country Dancer
November/December 2011

Articles in This Issue
Lessons I've Learned About People From Scottish Country Dancing
Scottish Dancers Thrill the World
Message From The Chair
Laws of SCD, Courtesy of TACTalk, June 2010
First Annual Holiday Ceilidh
Letters to the Editor, from The Scottish Country Dancer, October 2011
Lesley Martin Reminisces
Using Gaelic
The Misty Isle, Part Three
Kelso Dancing
Dance of the Faeries
Calendar of Events
Lessons I've Learned About People From Scottish Country Dancing
by The Editor

1. Everyone, including the serious, needs a little fun on a regular basis.

2. Working together with others creates beauty and harmony.

3. Kindness goes a long way.

4. Scottish dancers are some of the best and kindest people on the planet.

5. When people are learning to dance, be so very gentle handling them as many have experienced great discouragement and rejection attempting challenging endeavors.

6. Dancing chases away loneliness.

7. Smiles can be brighter than the sun during dark days.

Message From The Chair
by Linda Mae Dennis

By the time you read this, the Fall Dance will be behind us, and the holiday season and the Betwixt and Between Dance will be on the horizon.

Winter is a great time to be a Scottish Country Dancer. Think about all those poor people whose idea of winter exercise is sweating through a mindless spinning or aerobics class, or swimming endless laps and going home smelling like chlorine. If only they knew how much fun it is to work your brain along with your body, listen to great uplifting music, and get plenty of exercise while smiling and laughing with friends. Not to mention the lack of rain in the dance studios.

Unfortunately, some of our classes are suffering because not enough people have signed up. I believe the best way to attract people to Scottish Country Dancing is by word of mouth. Please remember to talk to everyone you talk to about SCD, and how much enjoyment you get out of it. It really is a wonderful pastime.

With a pile of green tomatoes in the kitchen, and just a few more pickings in the garden, I'm looking forward to dark afternoons, twinkling lights, the spicy smells of holiday baking, and lots more dancing.

Mmmm, gingerbread, pas de basque, and pumpkin pie,

Linda Mae

First Annual Holiday Ceilidh
by Jill Frew
First Annual Holiday CŤilidh! December 10, 6 to 8:30 At Jill Frew's home 643 NW Oregon St. Camas, WA 98607 360 833-2484

A book signing for Jill's newly released book, "Alba Reborn" will also be held from 4:00 to 5:00 pm. If you want to know about the book, email me and I'll send you the press release. Or check http://www.albareborn.com after about November 20th. Those who want to come to both will be served a vegetarian dinner from 5-6 pm (shepherd's pie, herbed barley, scones, salad, and sticky toffee pudding!) R.S.V.P. at if you will be coming to dinner. Instruments that do not take up a lot of room are welcome, my home is not large. Bring those Scottish songs you always wanted to sing!!! Everyone bring one or two songs or a not too long story. We will go around the circle.

To get to my home, take Hwy 14 east to exit 12. The exit ramp goes under Hwy 14 and there is an immediate left turn opening in the median after the overpass. Don't take that one. Do take the left turn about 100 feet further on, onto Norwoood St. The road immediately curves to the right and then left. Go up one block and turn left at the fork onto Norwood Dr. Go one block and turn left onto Oregon St. I am the first house on the right.

Lesley Martin Reminisces
by Liza Halpenny

This excerpt is from the October 2011 issue of Scottish Country Dancer magazine (p. 15).

Helen Beaney, a recent recruit to the Editorial Board, dropped by to chat with Lesley Martin, a stalwart of the Society, at her home in Aberdeen. Ms. Martin shared these memories from her days of attending RSCDS Summer School

"There was always a ceilidh on the Friday night. Elma Taylor recited marvelous witty monologues and poems. She did all her composing in the bath. Afterwards there was an official party with Miss Milligan, Miss Haddon and Miss Ross. Once we had sung "Goodnight ladies" they would leave and then the real party would begin. John Corbett was the most wonderful mimic and had Miss Milligan to a T with all her sayings. We used to be invited to Pitlochry where there was a natural amphitheatre and we always danced a Thirtytwosome. The cars parked round about would flash their headlights and toot their horns as applause. We were invited to all sorts of places from St. Andrews to give massed demonstrations but that seems to have stopped. We gathered on the grass outside University Hall to practise before we went anywhere. Bill Ireland was always given the task of training the teams and a good job he made of it. I remember one display was at a Highland show. It had been raining and we went on immediately after the cattle had been paraded. Apart from the cowpats, it was damp and the worms were coming up through the grass, so there was very little eye-contact at that demonstration!"

The Misty Isle, Part Three
by Jill Frew
Dunvegan Castle

Dunvegan is the home of the MacLeod of MacLeod, the clan chief who lives in a fairy-tale castle at the inland tip of the sea loch there. It boasts magnificent gardens, lush with rhodies and walled perennial beds. Gardens are very hard to grow on Skye with all that wind. One of the gardens at the castle has a small stepped pyramid on one side, and a pool on the other, with a vine-covered walkway in between. But the main attraction for tourists to the castle is not the grand staircase or extravagant interior, but the fairy flag in the basement. It is a piece of silk, approximately 12x15", one continuous thread of palest pink, very faded now. It was given to a MacLeod during the crusades outside Jerusalem. He was deeply discouraged that night about the loss of the holy lands to foreigners and expecting to return home in defeat. During the night, he dreamed that a fairy handed him this flag. She told him that whenever it was flown the MacLeods would be victorious. And he woke to find this piece of cloth beside his bedroll. Not only that, but his battalion soon won their battle after weeks of losses. Only twice in a thousand years has the fairy flag been brought out of its safe enclosure in the castle. Both times the clan was in grave danger and both times they came out victorious against great odds. When I stood looking up at it under its Plexiglas covering at the castle, the red-haired matron there leaned over and whispered to me, "It's the clan's most treasured possession!" Any clan that talks with fairies is a friend of mine.

If you drive up behind the castle, which hardly anyone ever does, you come to a small cove that is absolutely delightful, the gorse on the hill behind in bloom any time of year. I was entranced the moment I first saw it and always spent my evenings there, watching the seals play on the rocks. Beyond the cove, a short way down the road is a wee fresh-water loch surrounded by tall plumed grasses. It is the most peaceful spot, where a pair of swans makes their home in the summer months. Carrying on to the end of this road past scattered crofts, there is a narrow carpark. And from it a dirt trail leads off through the moor. Following that over the low hill, climbing over a stone fence, and watching out for the bull through the machair, one comes down to what is called 'the coral beaches.' It is a made from bits of coral, not sand, intensely white with tinges of peach that contrast wonderfully with the pale turquoise waters of the shallows. One can walk along the beach for a quarter mile or so before the rocks rise up again. Beaches are rare on Skye, with her rugged boulder-strewn coasts. The only other beach I know about is at Talisker Bay near the whiskey distillery, and the very pebbly one at Broadford. Once when I was at the coral beaches (always spoken of in the plural for some reason), the tide receded to reveal a small strip of land out to the wee island just off the shore there. Of course I was intrigued and scampered across it, ran the length of the very uneven ground through shoulder high grasses and scampered back to shore again. Good thing I hurried, for that strip of land disappeared below the waves in twenty minutes, no more. Again I was filled the sense of the Otherworld and spirit helpers creating enchantment just for me. It is ever so on Skye . . .

Dance of the Faeries
by The Editor

If you weren't there for our October 22nd fall dance entitled "Some Enchanted Evening", you missed a magical time. Lisa Scott and Betsy Branch spun wonderful sets of music that gave flight to our "wings." Linda Mae assembled an appropriately themed program and Jill created magical artwork for us to enjoy between dances. And all of you that attended brought your smiles and good humor making it all a good time of harmonious fun!

Enjoy the photos!

Faery ring
Give us a hand!
Coming across to meet
Our very own wizard
King and Queen, for a day
Smiles everyone! Smiles!
Friends from Oregon

Scottish Dancers Thrill the World
by Tom Halpenny
Thriller Roar

Vancouver Scottish dancer friends were thrilled to perform and watch Thrill the World, October 29, 2011 at 7:00 pm at Big Al's bowling alley in Vancouver. Zombie dancers from Melbourne to Aberdeen simultaneously performed a six-minute dance choreographed to the Michael Jackson "Thriller" song, to set a new world record for the largest number of people simultaneously dancing, while also raising money for charity.

Linda Mae Dennis taught a Zombie Dance class through Vancouver Park and Rec, and registered the Vancouver Thrill the World group. Two kilted zombies were observed among fifteen performers. We can view the performance at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZfqTbwwKHw

Scottish dancer zombies were: Linda Mae Dennis, Mary Russell, Norma Rice, Liza Halpenny, Tom Halpenny. Thanks to Scottish dancer friends who cheered on the performers: Patrick Hogan, Eunice Mackenzie, Martin Mackenzie, Susan Shaw, John Shaw, Kate Prouty, Carol Williamson, Danny Williamson, Brenda Martinez, Jim Martinez, Iris Hsiao, Don Morrison.

Laws of SCD, Courtesy of TACTalk, June 2010
by Bob Anglin
Law of Placement:

When you are in second place, hoping to watch once, second couple is the dancing couple. 
When you manage to be in fourth place, it's a four couple dance and first and fourth couples begin. 
If you forget how the dance begins you are top couple.

Law of Briefings:

When you need a good briefing to clarify the dance in your mind,

        a) the briefing will be especially confusing, or
        b) the MC will say there is no need for a briefing because everyone knows the dance. 

Dave's Discovery:

The person who just briefed the dance cannot be relied upon to know how it goes.

Phyllis's Theory:

If the teacher didn't see it, it didn't happen.

Anonymous Observation:

When there are two or more teachers in a set, the dance will break down.

Law of Set Drift:

Sets will drift sideways toward the walls either because of the magnetic attraction or the natural slope of the dance floors.

Fran's Rule:

If the teacher has just commented on how well everyone is dancing, you will go wrong in the reel.

McMillan's Axiom of Memory Conservation:

Formations that are seldom done or dances that are rarely danced are automatically deleted 
from one's mental hard drive after six months and have to be reinstalled.

Bob's Rule of Setting:

When the intermission has been long, the next dance will have twelve bars of setting.
Letters to the Editor, from The Scottish Country Dancer, October 2011
by Peadar O' Donnghaile

Dear Editor,

The short answer to John Laurie's question concerning the "q" in Balquidder (Scottish Country dancer 12) is that "Balquidder" is little more than a corrupt spelling of the Gaelic Both-chuidir. In the same way, Breadalbane is a corruption of Braighead Albainn. Both are attempts to render the names of Highland localities in the Lowland English orthography (spelling) of the 17th and 18th centuries.

In English orthography the letter combination "ch" always produces the same sound as it has in "church" and "lurch." By comparison in Gaelic orthography, the letter "h" does not exist as a letter in its own right, but is used to indicate aspiration of a preceding consonant. The word "loch" is a familiar example and demonstrates the pronunciation of "ch" in Both-chuidir. The "q" in Balquidder is obviously an attempt to represent this sound. "Q" is, however, not the only way in which the Gaelic sound represented by "ch" has been represented in English. Further north "Dail Chuanaidh" is represented as "Dalwhinnie. "

I use the word "Highland" advisedly. The Gaelic name for "The Highlands" is "A' Ghaidhealtachd." Gaelic is sometimes cast as the language of the Hebrides, but in fact native Gaelic speakers local to the southern/eastern edge of the Highlands survived, on Loch Lomondside into the 1950's, in Perthshire into the 1960's, and Aberdeenshire into the 1970's.

When the Scottish Country Dance Society was established in the 1920's, the term Highlander was still synonymous with Gaelic speaker (Gaidheal.) By this measure, Mrs. Stewart (co-founder), Lord James Stewart-Murray (President 1924-57) and Mrs. Brice (credited with writing the historical notes in the early books) were all Highlanders. In that era "highland" as an adjective implied "gaelic" (gaidhealach.) The references to "highland music" in early society publications can be construed accordingly, as indicators of Scottish country dancing's significant Gaelic heritage.

Is mise le meas,

Peadar ” Donnghaile, An t-Eilean Sgiathanach

From the Editor: "There are quite a few sets of tunes in our dancing I've heard that have pipe tunes of Gaelic origin or outright Gaelic songs in them that I've pointed out from time to time."

Using Gaelic
by The Editor

From a blog posting on Indigenous Tweets at http://indigenoustweets.blogspot.com/2011/05/were-here-were-using-this-language.html , "We're here, we're using this language": Michael Bauer on Scottish Gaelic

"So we ran a pilot where we got members of the community who were willing to pass on skills they have to run a six week pilot teaching two hours a week, offering an art course, Esperanto, creative writing, Tae Kwon Do, Jazz Dancing and Chinese arts and crafts - all taught through the medium of Gaelic. We had some problems with advertising and attendance but we hope to improve that next time round because the feedback was great, people really enjoyed doing something totally different where Gaelic wasn't the target but just a means of interacting. People have to pay a contribution which pays the tutor and the rooms and so on but split between several people, that's not a lot. We also don't require the tutors to have teaching qualifications or suchlike or indeed offer certificates - for the most part, people are just interested in the subjects. It's a very simple model but we have great hopes for it and I think it could be easily applied to other communities." ~ Michael Baur

From the quote, this editor wonders what a shock it would be to everyone's systems if Scottish Country Dancing could at some point be taught using a Scottish language, Gŗidhlig!!

Kelso Dancing
by Sally Bledsoe

We are not dancing in Kelso for November and probably December also. We don't have enough dancers. So if anyone is thinking of coming up Sunday afternoon for a dance, please call first.

Sally Bledsoe is at 503-556-0042.


Calendar of Events

Nov 12: Portland SCD Dance Party
Waluga Lodge, 417 2nd St, Lake Owego, OR. 7:30 p.m.
Live music and the Bizarre Bazaar!
The Program:
    St. Andrew's Fair           BJ  RSCDS 5 for 1982
    Sugar Candie                IS  Bk 26
    The White Cockade           BR  Bk 5
    Waverly                     IJ  Bk 15
    The Hidden Valley           BS  4th Carnforth Coll.
    Sueno's Stone               IR  RSCDS 4 for 2008
    The Flight of the Falcon    IJ  Priddey, Anniv. Tensome
    Balmoral Strathspey         BS  Bk 22
    The Missing Turn            IR  Bk 46
    Hollin Buss                 BJ  Bk 24
    The Robertson Rant          IS  Bk 39
    The Deil Amang the Tailors  BR  Bk 14
Dec 27: B'Twixt 'n B'Tween Ceilidh Dance
  Mark your calendars now for a fun evening of easy dances, plus ceilidh acts!
  In years past we have had a ceilidh at the last Marshall Center class in December. 

  And we have had a 'Twixt and 'Tween dance between Christmas and New Year to
  include in school, or visiting, dancers who were in town for the Holidays.
  This year the two activities are combined.
  Dances will be from the October dance program, the summer dance list, and the
  Beginners classes this Fall. If you have a ceilidh act, please sign up in class.
  The cost is $3.00 per person at Columbia Dance Center, 1700 Broadway, Vancouver, WA., 7:30 p.m.
January 21st, 2011: Burns Dance
From Robert and Leone Burger:

"Our Burns Dance will be Jan 21, 2012 at the Santa Clara Grange Hall, 295 Azalea Drive, Eugene, Oregon.
It will be just $15, with live music by Linda Danielson"

The dances we plan to do are below:
Good Hearted Glasgow 8x32J3 P. Knapman, Collins SCD (Pocket Reference)
Angus McLeod 2x64R4 A. Queen, RSCDS Southport Branch Leaflet (in MacLeod SCD)
Fair Donald 8x32S3 Bk 29
Polharrow Burn 5x32R5 Glendarroch SD Sheets (in 3 by Hugh Foss)
Cranberry Tart 8x32J3 Glasspool, 7 Year itch
Linton Ploughman 8x32J2 Bk 5
Irish Rover 8x32R3 Cosh, 22 SCD
Monymusk 8x32S3 Bk 2
Bees of Maggieknockater 4x32J4 Drewry, Canadian Bk
Shifting Bobbins 8x32R3 Clowes, Ormskirk 6

Highland Fair 8x32J2 Graded Bk
Peat Fire Flame 8x40R3 Drewry, Bon Accord Bk
Miss Ogilvie's Fancy 8x32S3 Bk 20
Mrs. Stewart's Jig 8x32J3 Bk 35
Dancing Around the Hearth 8x32R3 C. Ryer, Heather and Rose Society Leaflet 2011

Reel of the 51st Division 8x32R3 Bk 13

Robert Burger can be contacted at (541) 935 6051

Dancing is the loftiest, the most moving, the most beautiful of the arts, because it is not mere translation or abstraction from life; it is life itself. ~ Havelock Ellis

  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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