Volume 28 #4
The Scottish Country Dancer
January/February 2012

Articles in This Issue
Who Me, Dance??
Scottish Country Dancing, Master's Degree Research, Raphaelle Orgeret, Lyon, France
Message From The Chair
The Misty Isle, Conclusion
MS Walk, SCD Style
Calendar of Events
B'twixt and B'tween Ceilidh
Who Me, Dance??
by Holly Gibson
Holly Gibson

If someone had told me a little over a year ago I would be involved in Scottish Country dancing my response would have been incredulous laughter. My dancing experiences consisted of a best forgotten year long stint as a seven year old ballerina and an occasional swing dance routine with college friends. So when my Mom, who lives 1,700 miles away, but gets the local Lake Oswego paper, told me about an ad she had seen for a Scottish Country dance class practically in my backyard, my response was the typical "whatever" eye roll. I made a concerted effort to "forget" about the class. But as summer drew to a close and some of my other outdoor activities were winding up, I decided to give it a try. After all, it was free the first time and if, and I was sure when, I found Scottish dancing wasn't my thing, I wasn't out any money and I could say I had tried it.

Except it didn't quite work out that way. I don't remember a lot about that first class, except no one else was in running shoes. But that didn't seem to matter. Everyone was very friendly and welcoming and eager to help those of us who were new. We did a few simple dances, and it dawned on me that this was a lot of fun, not to mention great exercise that didn't involve being out in the rain. Plus, there was this terrific music to listen to and almost be part of. The only downside to all this fun was having to admit to my Mom that she was right, something she won't let me forget. But now the ghillie is on the other foot and she is the one rolling her eyes when I go dancing multiple times a week, plan my vacation return flight around the monthly dance in Lake Oswego, and walk to workshops wearing running shoes and a skirt.

Message From The Chair
by Linda Mae Dennis

The holidays are past, the decorations linger. It's a brand new year! Outside, we can anticipate dark and rainy. Inside we can anticipate light, music, and the joy and laughter of dancing with friends.

Behind us is the Betwixt and Between Dance and Ceilidh. I'm sure it was fun, even though I'm writing this before it actually happened! Time warp! Ahead of us is the Dinner Dance. Rebecca Mintz is chairing the Dinner Dance this year, so if you have any time to help out, please ask her what you can do. Many hands make lighter work. And beyond the Dinner Dance, we have a great opportunity this year.

The TAC, Teacher's Association Canada, Summer School will be held in Portland this summer. This is a full week of daily Scottish Country Dance classes, morning and afternoon, and social dances at night. The classes feature some of the best teachers and musicians, and dancers come from all over the world to be a part of it. It is a great chance to meet a diverse group of Scottish Country Dancers, as well as an intensive honing of skills. It is open to everyone, and I encourage all of you to attend. Even if you can't do the whole week, classes and dances are also priced separately, so you can pick and choose at will. I expect space will fill up quickly, and online registration begins on January 1st, so make plans now to attend!

"There ARE shortcuts to happiness, and dancing is one of them." ~Vicki Baum

Linda Mae

MS Walk, SCD Style
by Eunice MacKenzie

Here it is, the end of 2011, and I am reminded of several unfulfilled intentions. Martin's eagerness to have a more substantive newsletter provided the impetus to write an article that is long overdue. If it were only about me I might still have let it slide. However, it is also about support, friendship, and good times, SCD style!

April 9, 2011 found hundreds of people congregating in Portland's "living room", Pioneer Courthouse Square, all with a common purpose: support the cause of finding a cure for MS by walking a set course downtown, either self-or other-sponsored. Several friends and family members were with me there. I had "dreamed up" a "catchy" name for my team: The Celtic Crossers. (Most of us were members of or related to members of Scottish Country Dancers from both sides of the Columbia River, and we had to cross a couple of bridges in our walk!)

Most of us in our team wore plaid or other Celtic clothing, and we set off with excitement, anticipation, and our "Celtic Crossers" sign. The cherry trees were in full bloom which we took advantage of for a "photo op". Farther along, we stopped at a wide spot and took partners for a 5-couple set and danced "Eunie's Jig", based upon an old nickname of mine and written by Linda Mae for the occasion. Since we were technologically challenged, the music was a little faint, coming as it was from Katherine's cell phone speaker, but there was an appreciative audience, nevertheless.

It was a special, memorable day with friends who were there in the flesh or in spirit! I love and appreciate you all.

Now, what else can I get done before the year ends . . . ?


As the list is happily long, I wish to include the list of folks who came as follows: Don and Linda Gertz, Linda Mae Dennis, Debbie Ralls, her daughter Lora Grant, Gail MacPhee, Maureen Sloan, Molly Weinstein, Katherine MacKenzie, Cori Johnson, Eunice herself, and ~ The Editor

B'twixt and B'tween Ceilidh
by The Editor

Just earlier this week, many of us, a roomful for sure, and according to one account around forty six, participated in the B'Twixt and B'Tween dance and Ceilidh this last Tuesday, December 27th, 2011.

There were wonderful Ceilidh acts between dances: a gaggle of 'Russians', a jazzy angel singing a snowy little love song for us, and we learned from a family of mice, the great value of learning a second language. There was a Theodore Geisel skit with a little moral taught us how a simple dance move, "the MacZax", could resolve a conflict between implacable foes. We were treated to a gloriously fun and foot stomping Québécois fiddle set and an inspiring reading from the story, "If You're Missing Baby Jesus, Call 7162."

Most important of all, look at all the smiling faces dancing off those holiday pounds!

Scottish Country Dancing, Master's Degree Research, Raphaelle Orgeret, Lyon, France
by The Editor

Last April of 2011, Linda Mae forwarded a research questionnaire to us via e-mail from Raphaëlle Orgeret, an SCD dancer from Lyon, France who was doing research for a Master's degree program. She asked many detailed questions in terms of data points like educational level, family status, how often the person dances, why does the person dance, workshops attended, etc. Now, I acknowledge Raphaëlle likely has come to different conclusions from the research, however, I would like to, unscientifically, pull a few data points out of the research and comment on them briefly out of local observation.

SCD people are curious, hard working, and intelligent.


SCD dancers are enthusiastic!


SCD dancers are from every corner of the globe.



SCD dancers are friendly!


SCD census data shows a bit too few men. Guys, step up to the plate!


Are any of us surprised, really??

The Misty Isle, Conclusion
by Jill Frew
MacLeod's Table, Southern View

It would take a book to tell you all the adventures I've had on the Misty Isle, and this article is far too long already. So I'll just finish with the most magical experience of all. It was on a later trip, in 2003. I'd come up the outer Hebrides from Barra to Lewis, stopping last at Callanish, with its vast network of stone circles that has always fascinated me. Everyone pointed out the 'sleeping beauty' that nature had carved on the heights there. And then I came across to Skye, so the lady on the cliff was fresh in my mind. I'd not have made my discovery otherwise. And as I was walking in the cove behind Dunvegan castle that first night, I suddenly looked up to the hills and realized there was a face carved into that mountaintop, a face I recognized. Many tingles! "Who is that?", I asked myself. I know I'd seen that face before. And then I gasped and put my hands over my mouth and began to cry. For there in exquisite detail on MacCloud's table south was the face of the Statue of Liberty! My fairy friends whispered in my mind that the Celts knew her as Arienrhod, one of the mother goddesses of the Celtic pantheon. But all I know about her is that a sense of wild sovereignty flows from that mountaintop that always fills my heart with a rush of longing for freedom, for myself and all peoples, from fear and hardship. It's a mother's heart for sure. Whenever I could take the time after that, even during the workday, I sat in that cove and basked in Lady Liberty's glow. When the sun goes down behind her, the whole cove and the hills behind are washed in gold. It's no wonder that both crofter rebellions, the one in 1882 and the recent land reforms movement, began in that valley!

Skye is a land of barren mountains, gorgeous coves and coasts, sparkling rainbows, fog and rain, and more magic than all of those put together. It's where you can imagine your most fantastic dream of goodness come to life and have that hope linger in your heart for years afterward. If I could take some of the taste for real freedom that mountain goddess filled me with, during those golden evening, and put it into every person's heart in the whole world, I would.


"Dancing is moving to the music without stepping on anyone's toes, pretty much the same as life." ~ Robert Brault

Calendar of Events

Jan 14, 2012: Portland SCD Dance Party
Waluga Lodge, 417 2nd St, Lake Owego, OR. 7:30 p.m.
Jan 28, 2012: Burns Dance
Note the date change!
A dance this time, without a dinner!
Music provided by Linda Danielson
Santa Clara Grange Hall, 295 Azalea Dr., Eugene, OR. $15.
The Program:
    Good Hearted Glasgow
    Angus McLeod
    Fair Donald
    Polharrow Burn
    Cranberry Tart
    Linton Ploughman
    Irish Rover
    Bees of Maggieknockater
    Shifting Bobbins
    Highland Fair
    Peat Fire Flame
    Miss Ogilvie's Fancy
    Mrs. Stewart's Jig
    Dancing Around the Hearth
    Reel of the 51st Division
Jan 31, 2012: Fifth Tuesday Mixer
Columbia Dance Center, 1700 Broadway, Vancouver, WA., 7:30 p.m.
Mar 10, 2012: RSCDS Portland 33rd Annual Workshop and Ball
Save the date!
Norse Hall, 111 NE 11th Ave., Portland, OR.
Teachers: Fiona Miller, Lethbridge, AB; Andrew Smith, Emporia, KS.
Musicians: Andy Imbrie, piano; Deby Benton Grosjean, fiddle; Renata Bratt, cello.

  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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