Volume 29 #3
The Scottish Country Dancer
November/December 2012

 
Articles in This Issue
What About This New Class? What a Great Way to Spend Our Time at The End of the World
Irish Ceili Dance Class The Importance of Eye Contact in Manual of Scottish Country Dancing
Scottish Dance Road Trip to Oregon High Desert Betwixt And Between
Memories of a Ft. Worden Weekend Calendar of Events
 
What About This New Class?
by Linda Mae Dennis
 

The reasons for starting this new class, Dem, Prep, and Classics, are many.

With over thirteen thousand Scottish Country Dances to choose from, it is unlikely that you'll get truly familiar with many of them in regular classes. And while we teach dancing (learn the formations and footwork, and you'll be able to go anywhere and dance any dance from just a brief) as opposed to dances, it's nice to have a small repertoire of dances in your head. If you are a dancer who wants to dance when you travel, that small repertoire can help you feel a lot more comfortable.

But how do we know which dances are good ones to learn?

Campbell Tyler in South Africa has been collecting dance programs from all over the world - as many as he can get his hands on - for over four years now, and has been compiling lists of the most frequently danced dances. So we will concentrate on dances from the top of the list in order to improve the odds.

Another thing this class can do is help prepare dancers for programs outside our area. We spend a good deal of regular class time doing dances for our own programs. If you are planning to dance somewhere else, and have the dance program, I encourage you to request that we dance the dances on that program that you are unfamiliar with.

From time to time we schedule demonstrations of Scottish Country Dancing, as you probably already know. If the class time is needed for practice, the class can be turned over to the leader of the upcoming demonstration.

As many of the dances we will be doing will be of a more intermediate to advanced nature, dancers should have had at least a year of dance instruction, and be comfortable dancing most standard Scottish Country Dance formations. On the other hand, if you'd like to try the class and haven't had the requisite year of instruction, or if Tuesday is the only day you have an opening, please contact Linda Mae, and we'll work something out.

Dem, Prep, and Classics will be held 1st and 3rd Tuesdays, 7:30-9:00pm, starting on November 6th, 2012 at Columbia Dance Center, 1700 Broadway, Vancouver, WA. Teacher - Linda Mae Dennis. $3 per person

 
Irish Ceili Dance Class
by Tom Halpenny
 

I attended the Monday Irish Ceili Dance class, 4231 North Interstate Avenue Portland, 7:00-9:00pm, $3 per person, and enjoyed an evening of dance instruction and social interaction with 12 dancers: Sam, Anne, Bette Lou, Ben, Harry, Carol, Carol S, Patti, Jeannie, Scarlet, Valerie, and Cecily.

Sam Keator teaches the class and is joined by his wife Anne. Learning Irish Ceili dance is similar to Scottish dance. I observed a more continuous level of aerobic motion and found myself drinking plenty of water. The footwork is a walking skip change ("two-step") rhythm. I liked dancing the "7's and 3's" step, and the Irish Swing is thrilling. Sam likes to join in the dances while teaching them. He taught some Scottish dances during the evening, including Postie's Jig. Sam possesses a high degree of social appeal. He is enthusiastic and jokes a lot with dancers. He calls a dancer's name and asks them to guess the CD track number of the tune he is about to play. Sam knows Portland Scottish dancers Don & Linda Gertz.

Sam and Anne Keator

The class takes a 20-minute social break at 8:10pm. I happened to attend birthday week with cake and cookies. Sam delivered announcements and introduced me as a first-time Irish dancer, and revealed to me for the first time that a new dancer is expected to sing a song. I had to think fast and I selected the brief "McGinny & McCarthy" song.

I met Valerie Clatworthy who has Scottish danced in Ashland and the Marshall center class. She attended the next day's August Mixer Scottish dance. Thanks to Sam and friends for their hospitality, and I look forward to meeting new Irish Ceili dance friends.

We can visit these websites to learn about Irish dance & music & culture:

    
    http://sandairishentertainment.com/; Sam and Anne arrange Irish entertainment
    http://www.portlandceilisociety.org/; Portland Ceili Dance info
    http://www.oregonirishclub.org/; All-Ireland Cultural Society
    

 
Scottish Dance Road Trip to Oregon High Desert
by Tom Halpenny
 

Six Scottish dancers from Vancouver/Portland enjoyed a road trip of camaraderie, hiking, and dancing with Bend and Eugene friends, surrounding the October 6 2012 Oregon High Desert Workshop and Ball.

Smith Rock
At The Ball

Martin MacKenzie's van departed Friday morning with Holly Gibson, Liza & Tom Halpenny, and Susan & John Shaw, for a drive over the Mt Hood pass and into the Oregon High Desert on a warm fall day. The group briefly inspected the Crooked River Gorge before resuming the drive to Smith Rock for a two-hour hike. Holly led climbers to the top where they observed panoramic views, then descended from the back side to view the Monkey Face formation and continued along the Crooked River to return to the starting point.

The group proceeded to Redmond and arrived at Fred Kowolowski's home where we were hosted for two nights. Amy Stinard from Bend and Deborah Ash from North Hollywood CA arrived to join us to walk through the Ball dances.

Friday ended with 14,800 pedometer steps, above the 10,000 daily average. Last year I had logged 27,800 pedometer steps during the Workshop and Ball Saturday, a personal record at the time. I was curious whether I could surpass last year's count from walking multiple times the one-mile distance between Fred's home and the venue, and dancing the workshop and ball.

Double Exposure

We arrived at the Saturday workshop and greeted friends from Bend and Eugene. Seattle Scottish Dance teacher Eileen Hsu led the Saturday workshop and helped three sets of dancers improve our dance technique. She introduced the term "whumping" when dancers fail to finish their steps while coming to a stop. The final "hop-step-close-step and close" becomes "hop-step-WHUMP" with a WHUMP sound as they pull their feet together, landing on their heels. Pivot whumping happens when a dancer needs to rapidly pivot around or back into place while whumping. Eileen had dancers imagine a laser beam firing from the toes; we want to keep toes pointed down in order to zap the bugs on the floor and avoid zapping our fellow dancers.

All Dressed Up And Someplace To Go

We were well prepared for the evening ball program from the Friday walk through, and the social camaraderie among dancers was in high gear from the day's workshop. Local Celtic band "A Scottish Heart" piped in the dancers and provided music for the energetic ball dance program. We returned to Fred's home for the after party, and I ended the day with 26,300 pedometer steps.

The Bend Scottish Dance group hosted a farewell brunch in Sisters Sunday morning, where we had a final visit with dance friends. We proceeded west over the mountains and stopped for a walk across Detroit Lake dam. We completed the drive home and I had a nap for a couple hours to finish the day with a ridiculously low 3,300 pedometer steps.

Fred and I have been promoting a cross-cultural SCD exchange since 2006 by attending each dance group's events and bringing friends to support the group. Our Branch was well represented and we sure had a fun time!

The happy conversation and laughter are still rattling around inside the van. ~ The Editor

 
Memories of a Ft. Worden Weekend
by Holly Gibson
 

Trips to places like Ft. Worden are in themselves rather like a favorite dance; you know what to expect but there are still surprises along the way and you never get tired of them. Such was the case this year with Ft. Worden 2012. John and Susan Shaw, Linda Mae, and I left mid-morning on Friday to give ourselves plenty of time to meander along back roads and small towns before rejoining I-5 near Centralia. It was a welcome break from highway traffic and a chance to see some different scenery. We arrived in Port Townsend in the late afternoon and after a quick trip to the grocery store, where we saw at least one other dancer, headed to the fair grounds and then on to Officers Row. Linda Mae and I joined Marge, Geri, Ross and Kay Morrison, and Laura Hammond in "our house," while the Shaws were next door. The weather was perfect and there was plenty of time to enjoy it before leaving for the welcome dance.

The music on Friday was provided by Elke Baker and Lisa Scott. The room was soon filled with happy dancers as we made our way through new dances and old favorites (Da Rain Dancin' being chief among the favorites). After the dance, it was time for the ceilidh. There were several great acts but one that really stood out was a duet by a fiddler and a guitarist. That was a new combination for me, but it was very well done and when they did a second piece with Muriel Johnstone, it was a real treat.

Morning came soon enough (along with a beautiful sunrise) and it was soon time for the first class. There was some last minute scampering but everyone made it to the first session in time. The teachers this year were Muriel Johnstone, Ron Wallace, Gordon Robinson, and Linda Henderson. John, Geri, and I took Muriel Johnstone's class on why some dances survive and others don't, what part the music plays (no pun intended) in whether or not a dance is popular, and how the music has changed over time. We did a number of dances with well known lead tunes to different tunes as well as strathspeys in jig time to get a better understanding of what makes a dance either last for centuries or never make its way onto a ball program.

Next on the agenda was the Highland Step class with Linda Henderson. Linda Mae joined John and me and soon Linda was demonstrating the steps we would need to learn in order to dance The Falls of Shin, a demonstration dance first performed at a Highland Games in California. We were separated into lines of three dancers across with the pattern taking up roughly a large square in the room. There were about five to six lines of three and we must have looked like so many squiggles as we jumped, set, and skip changed to the tunes of Sleepy Maggie and Tail Toddle. It was quite a challenge but very fun to learn.

After that it was lunch time and a chance to enjoy the beautiful weather. After lunch, Linda Mae and I were in Gordon Robinson's class called Way Out West. He focused on dances with unique figures that were created by west coast (that includes the western part of Canada) devisers. Tim Wilson's chaperon chain progression and a dance devised by Richard Bennett (who was in the class), with a continuous half reel, were two of the figures on the menu.

We had a few hours for this and that after class and it was spent either exploring up above the fort (we now believe the brochure that says there are 10 miles of trails nearby), walking along the beach, or just relaxing. Soon it was time for the ball and before we knew it, we were getting ready for the Grand March. Elke Baker and Lisa Scott were joined by Calum MacKinnon. The music had been wonderful the previous evening, and the addition of Calum raised the energy level another notch. The last dance was The Montgomeries' Rant and anyone who had been too tired to be on the floor for previous dances seemed to have renewed energy when the music started to play.

Sunday morning came all too quickly. We packed up the car and headed back to the hall to turn in keys, buy CDs and, of course, do some more dancing. The four of us stayed for most of the Sunday session before heading home with a stop for a picnic lunch on the way. After two wonderful Fort Worden weekends in a row, I'm starting to think maybe lightning can strike twice in the same place.

 
What a Great Way to Spend Our Time at The End of the World
by Martin MacKenzie
 

    
    Just this October 27th, we held our fall dance themed, "Armageddon: 
    The End of the World as We Know it, BUT Tomorrow is Another Day!"
    

Artfully Done

    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
        
    
    
    
    
    We experienced incomparable, wonderful, uplifting music courtesy of Lisa Scott and Leslie Hirsch.
    

Our Treasures

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   And, of course, we enjoyed all these smiling faces.
   

A Bevy of Beauties
 
The Importance of Eye Contact in Manual of Scottish Country Dancing
by Tom Halpenny
 

Social eye contact is a quality I have admired about Scottish Dance. I read the online Manual of Scottish Country Dancing to learn how the topic is presented. I was surprised to discover the topic is not specifically mentioned.

http://www.rscds.org/images/stories/epub/manual13june.pdf

I was able to find a related passage about covering as an important feature of good teamwork; however covering can be accomplished without eye contact. There is a reference to looking at partner during bow/curtsey. There are two indirect references to looking at partner during set and cast off or cast up, and two references to acknowledging partner, as if looking at partner had previously been discussed. There are numerous references to direction to face, however no guidance for where the eyes are looking.

If the Manual doesn't discuss eye contact, what is the source of this social dancing skill?

I attended the recent TAC Summer School teacher candidate training sessions in Portland as a stooge and had the pleasure of meeting thirteen teachers who were preparing for their full certificate exam. I observed that all teachers taught the importance of good eye contact. I spoke with some of them and reported that the Manual does not discuss the topic, and inquired their take on the subject? All teachers confirmed the importance. A theory was proposed that giving eye contact is a North American custom and is not stressed in other parts of the world like the UK.

I was able to test the theory when I met Ruth Beattie, the current chairman of the RSCDS, who was attending TAC Summer School from Scotland. I asked her whether giving eye contact is an important quality of Scottish Dance in Scotland? She replied, yes, very important in Scotland and everywhere in the world. I mentioned that eye contact is not mentioned in the Manual, and I wondered what is the source of this practice that is taught by all teachers? Ruth speculated that the social part of dancing was not a focus of the Manual as much as the dance techniques. She agreed that the next update of the Manual (which is happening now) could contain a sentence or paragraph about the subject. A follow up letter from RSCDS stated its omission from the Manual is a thought provoking topic and one which will be of great interest to the Manual Review Working Group.

 
Betwixt And Between
by Marge MacLeod Van Nus
 

    
Here is the dance program for Betwixt And Between;
 
Well Done Jack  32J3  RSCDS Bk. 29
Donald Bane  32S3  RSCDS Bk. 17
De'il Amang the Tailors  32R3  RSCDS Bk. 14
 
Barley Bree  40J4  RSCDS Bk. 13
Light on the Water  32S3 Bk. Let's All Dance
Flowers of Edinburgh  32R3 RSDCS Bk. 1
 
The Bramble Bush  32J3  RSCDS Bk. 25
Grey Daylight   32S2 (six times through) Bk. Let's All Dance, Too
The Reel of the Royal Scots  32R3  RSCDS Leaflet 
 
Happy dancing,

Marge    
    

 

Dancing faces you towards Heaven, whichever direction you turn. ~ Terri Guillemets

Calendar of Events

Nov 6: Dem, Prep, and Classics
Dem, Prep, and Classics will be held 1st and 3rd Tuesdays, 7:30-9:00pm, starting on November 6th, 2012
At Columbia Dance Center, 1700 Broadway, Vancouver, WA. Teacher - Linda Mae Dennis. $3 per person
Nov 10: Portland Social Dance
Waluga Hall, 417 2nd St., Lake Oswego, OR, 7:30pm. Live music! Bizarre Bazaar fundraiser, also
Nov 16: Third Friday Irish Ceili Dance
November 16, 2012: 3rd Friday Irish Ceili Dance at the PPAA
618 SE Alder St, Portland OR
8pm-12am, 7:30pm a brief lesson, $10
Energetic Irish dances similar to Scottish Dance, with live music
http://www.portlandceilisociety.org/
Dec 8: Portland Social Dance
Waluga Hall, 417 2nd St., Lake Oswego, OR, 7:30pm
Dec 28: Betwixt And Between Dance
This dance is for anyone who is here in Vancouver between Christmas and New Year's.
Columbia Dance Center, 1700 Broadway, Vancouver, WA., 7:30 p.m.
Have a ceilidh act you'd like to share? Contact Susan Shaw,
December 31: Portland Hogmanay Dance
Come join us for a true Hogmanay Dance this New Year's Eve!
It will be held at Waluga Hall, 417 2nd St., Lake Oswego, OR, 7:30pm
The cost will be $5 per person
Bring finger food to enjoy afterward
Starting January 3, 2013: Dancing at Maple Grove School
Battle Ground, Maple Grove School, 610A SW Eaton Blvd
Battle Ground Community Education 360-885-6584 http://www.battlegroundps.org/?q=node/10
Scottish Country Dance, Thursdays 7-8:30pm, school gym
Contact Liza, 360-798-3388,
Starting January 9, 2013: Dancing at Marshall Center
Vancouver, Marshall Community Center, 1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd
Vancouver-Clark Parks & Recreation 360-487-7100 http://www.cityofvancouver.us/parks-recreation/catalog
Scottish Country Dance for Everyone, Wednesday 7:30-9:00pm, Elm Room
Contact LindaMae,
Celtic Tap, Tuesday 5:30-6:30 pm, Oak Room,
Contact LindaMae,
January 26, 2013: Burns Dance
Dance in Eugene, Oregon celebrating the life of the Ayershire Bard, Robert Burns
Live Music by Linda Danielson and Cecily Morris
Event will be at Santa Clara Grange Hall, 295 Azalea Drive, Eugene, OR
On Saturday, January 26th, 2013 from 7:00pm to 10:00pm
Cost $15 per person before January 19th, $20 after
Please ask to be invoiced by PayPal or indicate that you will pay at the door
Please register at
When registering, please indicate if interested in a pre dance walk through of dances
  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, mgraemem@gmail.com. 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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