|Volume 29 #5||March/April 2013|
|From the Chair||Lessons|
|Puget Sound Crossroads 2013||Happy Feet|
|Below The Radar||You Know You Are A Scottish Country Dancer When . . .|
|Scottish Dance Videos||R-A-G-G, M-O-P-P, Rag-mop, Mop, Mop|
|Emerald Anniversary Ball||Calendar of Events|
|From the Chair|
|by John Shaw|
Well, here it is, already February: only the second month of the year, but the eighth month of our Branch year! Where does the time go? Like they say, time flies like an arrow, but fruit flies like a banana.
Things are falling into place for our 4th annual Dinner Dance, coming up on May 4th. (As you may have heard, "May the 4th be with you!" helps us remember the date!) It will be at St Luke's Episcopal Church, on Fourth Plain Blvd. in Vancouver. We have been very pleased with this venue in the past, so we are looking forward to dancing there again this year. By the way, have you noticed a wonderful characteristic of the hall at St Luke's? The wood paneling on the walls acts as a sounding board, and gives the music a warmth and liveliness very much appreciated by the musicians.
Now is an especially good time to sign up for the Dinner Dance.
An exciting addition to our Dinner Dance this year is its concurrence with the Youth Weekend West 2013 event, being held this year here in Vancouver. This is basically a weekend workshop for "young" Scottish Country Dancers (from 16 to thirty-ish years of age). Their festivities will begin with a Friday night dance (May 3), continue with classes on Saturday, take a break from classes to join us for the Dinner Dance, and then conclude with a class Sunday morning. Sounds like a great weekend -- be sure to check it out: www.youthweekendwest.com
And this is just a reminder: the Portland Branch annual Workshop and Ball is coming up the 2nd Saturday in March. To be sure, "patience is a virtue", but why wait if you don't have to?
Dance Forth, and Prosper!
(A question for the alert: How many references to forth/fourth are in this article?)
|Puget Sound Crossroads 2013|
|by Elinor Vandegrift via The Puget Scot|
Greetings - we are looking forward to our 27th annual Puget Sound Crossroads in June.
The Grange Hall is booked for the afternoon of SATURDAY JUNE 22nd. Our party schedule very much depends on the Washington State Ferry system! We are hoping that the ferries will be on a "spring schedule" and will get us to and from Friday Harbor at reasonable times.
We also hope that others will be able to join us from Saltspring Island, Vancouver Island, Vancouver areas (both north and south Vancouvers) , Bellingham / Skagit Valley, Tacoma and the NW region in general….make an excuse for a wee holiday planned round the dance party!
The event, as most of you know, is a joint venture organized by the Friday Harbor Dancers and the RSCDS - Seattle Branch. Back by popular request "Calum's Ceilidh Band" will be playing for our dancing pleasure. Our programme has always been made up of the Band's favorite sets and requests from local groups who join us. Because of the size of the hall we try to limit "casting" figures and "down the middle and up".
Please solicit suggested requests from your dancers and send to me. Dances should be for a mixed level of ability so we can all have a great day. Seattle Branch will have 2 evenings to "walk-through" the programme at Phinney N'hood Center, Thursdays June 13 and 20th; time TBD later. Dances at FH will be talked through by visiting teachers. The FH dancers prepare the hall and provide drinks - other dancers are asked to bring finger food to share.
The Seattle Branch website is - http://www.rscds-seattle.org
We look forward to seeing many of you in June after a busy dance season! Happy dancing. Carpe Diem - Elinor
She can be reached at 425-488-7643 and with dances for this event ~ The Editor
|Below The Radar|
|by The Editor|
Here's a little something that Eunice found searching through a record database one day:
|Music For Scottish Dancing, by Jack Seton|
Note where it was recorded.
|Scottish Dance Videos|
|by Tom Halpenny|
We have observed a growing number of Scottish Dance videos on the YouTube website in recent years. The videos are an effective method to communicate the motion and music of Scottish Dance, compared with still photos and text using other methods.
The Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary website has produced an impressive index of YouTube videos, classified by dance name. http://www.scottish-country-dancing-dictionary.com/scottish-dancing-youtube-videos.html
We can select any one of 560 dances, and a web page is displayed with one or more imbedded videos of the selected dance. The DancieMaetion animated instruction videos are prominently featured.
For example, we can select The Montgomeries' Rant: http://www.scottish-country-dancing-dictionary.com/video/montgomeries-rant.html and view four videos. The final video is the DancieMaetion video of the dance. The 3rd video is our Branch’s First Dinner Dance in April 2010. The video is three times as effective as the still photo to show visitors the value proposition of Scottish Dance, because the video captures the motion and music of the dance.
I was impressed to observe the website owner, Reuben Freemantle, has included the Spark Dance DancieMaetion video and the ceilidh act video that was performed for the December 2012 Betwixt and Between dance. http://www.scottish-country-dancing-dictionary.com/video/spark-dance.html
The website also has sections that describe Scottish Dance figures http://www.scottish-country-dancing-dictionary.com/figures.html and complex figures http://www.scottish-country-dancing-dictionary.com/complex-figures.html and demonstrates selected figures using video clips. For example, we can view the Hands Across video clip of our Branch's Black Donald video http://www.scottish-country-dancing-dictionary.com/videoclips/hands-across.html
This is the kind of video technology we might observe in future RSCDS electronic versions of The Manual of Scottish Country Dancing. The current version can be accessed at http://www.rscds.org/images/stories/epub/manual13june.pdf
|Emerald Anniversary Ball|
|by The Puget Scot|
The Seattle Branch, RSCDS will celebrate its 35th Anniversary (an Emerald anniversary) on May 18th. The Ball will take place at Leif Erikson Hall in Ballard, a fine venue with an excellent dance floor and plenty of nearby parking.
The dance program has been recreated from the 1980 ball program; this was the Seattle Branch's first formal ball which was held in the Spanish Ballroom of the Olympic Hotel. Calum MacKinnon was the bandleader for the event.
Leslie Bourgoin, Lea Maiolo, and Elizabeth Miller are organizing the ball which will be a festive-formal-fabulous event!
We'll keep you posted as arrangements develop. We look forward to seeing you there!
Note, the ball program is now online, http://www.rscds-seattle.org/images/2013%20RSCDS-Seattle%20May%20Ball%205-18-13%20program.pdf ~ The Editor
|by Linda Mae Dennis|
On Thursday, January 17th, a few of us participated in a Cultural Fair at Sarah J Anderson Elementary School in Vancouver. We were made to feel very welcome by the teaching staff, and found ourselves in a generally joyful atmosphere. Tom and Liza Halpenny, Kate Prouty, Lanette Pinard, Sally Palmer, and me, Linda Mae Dennis were joined by Tim and Penny MacLaren of the Fort Vancouver Pipe Band to present the "15 minutes of Scottish" portion of the evening. We started off with a mini-parade, marching behind the piper and drummer along with many children and teachers. And we finished off with some Scottish Country Dancing, and a little talk about our costumes. Fifteen minutes isn’t very long.
We all had to scatter afterward – SCD class in Battle Ground and Band Practice, but there was some international food for the tasting, and I was pleased to have been asked to join the Irish fiddler for some hard shoe improvisational dancing. And we did have time for a picture…
|by John Shaw|
I found the following delightful incident related in "Highland Balls and Village Halls", by GW Lockhart. The author is describing his early years in school in Scotland, and his beginnings with Scottish Country Dancing.
...It was to be at school, a few seasons later, that some undesirable traits developed in my dancing. Fourth year boys were admitted to the school dance, and it was the duty of the gym teacher to instruct the boys how to dance properly and, what was considered much more important, the rudiments of ballroom etiquette: how ladies should be invited to dance, how they should be treated on the floor, how they should be returned to their seats and thanked. Looking back, I thank old Mac for his efforts, but at that time, going through the period of being obnoxious which is so common to so many boys, my feelings were an amalgam of fear, if not hate, of the female sex, and sheer bloody revolution against such a structured and formal society. At practice in the gym, I was happy to keep my line straight and, under Mac's watchful eyes, no robustness would enter the dancing. But "birling" (or "burling", a more couth expressive term) had become my specialty and in my mind's eye was sustained the ambitious dream of 'birling' into a state of fear and submission those female teachers who made the life of an inattentive schoolboy such misery. I was strong enough to do it with my aunts: why not with my teachers?
The school dance was a grand affair. With astonishment I discovered that some classmates actually had dinner jackets (and remember these were the days when sixteen year old boys wore shorts to school). The girls wore dresses that enhanced them in ways that gym slips failed to do, and some of them were actually quite presentable. The boys, maintaining a strained composure, stood down one side of the hall, while the girls, affecting a sophistication designed to conceal the dread that they would not be invited to dance, grouped themselves down the other, the more brazen aligning themselves in the forefront. No-man's land was occupied by the teachers who would make sure no girl was left out if there was a boy available, and woe betide any youth the next school-day who willingly allowed a girl to remain unpartnered, however pimply and ugly she might be.
My target for the night was my language teacher, not because I disliked her, rather more because I hated French. She accepted my invitation to dance a Strip the Willow, and having announced to my friends how I would have her legs off the floor, there was a rush to join my set. Perhaps I indicated my intentions too early; perhaps she had experienced it all before. As I worked her down the men's side of the dance her face displayed nothing but happiness and peace with the world. At the end of the line we started to birl. Our arms were linked hard and as I increased the speed the smile on her face seemed to grow, even if the eyes reverted more to their classroom stare. Round and round we went. This was to be no mandatory turn for two bars, and I was conscious of cries of encouragement from the sidelines as we gyrated with fury. Then suddenly something akin to fear grasped me. My feet were losing their grip while she, firmly anchored to the floor, was increasing speed, her smile widening and her eyes ever hardening. Desperately I released myself from her hold, and, retaining what composure I could, gratefully accepted the arm offered to me by the girl at the bottom of the set. We were now out of time with the band and the dance finished in shambolic fashion. I returned the teacher to her seat and she thanked me graciously for the dance. She spoke no word of admonition then or ever. But she knew she had conquered me, indeed rubbed my nose in it. I never respected any teacher more.
|by Tom Halpenny|
Hello Scottish Dance friends. I wrote the following item for the Happy Hoppers Square Dance club newsletter, about the Happy Feet philosophy. This reminds me that I value the same ideas about Scottish Dance. I have enjoyed socializing with two groups of dance friends and applying qualities I have learned from Scottish Dance over to Square Dance.
“Liza and I attended the February 16 Happy Hoppers square dance, and we were surprised to hear Victor Gruol and Jill Bennett call our names to receive the Happy Feet #2 dangle award. (Vic and Jill had received the original Happy Feet award three years ago.) I was mentally unprepared to make an acceptance speech. The best I could do at the moment was deliver the announcement for the upcoming R Square D visitation.
“What does Happy Feet mean anyway? Victor said the title has a lot to do with friendship. I enthusiastically agree with the friendship quality. Liza and I often think about the wonderful friends we have met during our four years of Square Dance. The qualities of dance I value are: social friendships, learn and practice dance skills, and health benefits. Another quality I like about Happy Feet is high-energy dancing. I wear a pedometer and dancing helps me reach the goal of 10,000 steps per day. The combination of high-energy dancing with my Happy Hopper friends makes for Happy Feet! What is #2 about? The first idea reminded me of my favorite number 222. More practical is that we are the second Happy Feet couple after Victor and Jill, and we enjoy trying to keep up with them. We would like to thank you for thinking of us and we look forward to dancing with many of you Happy Hoppers who also believe in the Happy Feet philosophy.”
I have enjoyed combining qualities of both Scottish Dance and Square Dance for a more enjoyable overall dance experience. The Skip Change, Slip Step, and Pas de Basque footwork would be viewed by square dancers as high energy compared with Square Dance walking. I am able to increase the walking energy with more spring in my steps and travel the moves with a slightly longer path. Scottish Dance teaches the importance of eye contact, which I carry over to Square Dance and I observe a positive response. I like the continuous motion of Square Dance and I have become sensitive to inactivity while learning a Scottish Dance. Music is an important quality of dancing. Scottish dancers listen to beautiful Celtic music while dancing. Square dancers listen to a variety of entertaining music of all types with singing calls while continuously moving to the beat of the music.
In addition to our social friendships in both groups, I have enjoyed meeting new dancers and observing how their brains are forming new connections as they learn and practice the dance skills. New dancers of one dance form have greater curiosity to also try another dance form, compared with experienced dancers. A theory for this behavior is that new dancers are exploring new social groups and are open to forming friendships.
I enjoy connecting with my fellow Scottish dancers and I appreciate your friendship as we practice Happy Feet.
|You Know You Are A Scottish Country Dancer When . . .|
|by Marge MacLeod Van Nus|
You have difficulty counting past eight, You start walking like a duck to work on your turnout, You practice your pas de basque at work without any coworkers batting an eye, Your feet start moving on their own any time you hear Celtic music (even if it isn’t Scottish), Double triangles doesn't refer to a long forgotten geometry class, You plan your holidays around Scottish dancing events, You start doing a polite turn every time you hold the door open for someone, You accept that the men have a fancier costume than the women, Men understand why women like carrying purses for their "stuff", Every time you hear a chord you automatically find yourself bowing or curtseying without thinking. (taken in part, from the Tartan Tattler, Nov. 2003) ~ The Editor
|R-A-G-G, M-O-P-P, Rag-mop, Mop, Mop|
|by Linda Mae Dennis|
Some years ago, Jan, the ballet teacher at Columbia Dance Center, noticed that the floor in the studio was quite slick after we had used it. At first there was a lot of talking and a bit of a disinclination to accept that we were the problem. We instituted the use of ammonia-based shoe cleaner and made sure that no 'street shoes' were ever allowed in the studio. Still, the pointe class would come in to a slick floor on Wednesday mornings, and there were two instances when dancers actually slipped and fell. For a time, a cleaning person was hired to come in and mop the floor after we were done, but for various reasons – family and health issues – she wasn't able to be there consistently, and wasn't able to deliver a consistently clean floor, either.
Upon further reading, I found out that 'goop' – the stuff that we put on the bottoms of our dance shoes that helps them be less slippery has been suspected to react with tartan or marley floors (that's the kind they have in the studio) and leave a residue. In addition, because we wear street clothes made of natural fabrics like cotton and wool (and not leotards and tights made of nylon and lycra spandex), we shed a lot – a LOT of dust.
The RSCDS Southwest Washington Branch has a carefully developed, special, and symbiotic relationship with Columbia Dance Center. They have been very good about allowing us to use their studios for our events, even rearranging their own plans so that we can have the dates we want, and they charge extremely reasonable rents. As then Chair of the Branch, I wanted to protect that relationship, and I certainly didn’t want any more ballet dancers to get hurt. So I offered our services to do the mopping after our classes.
Because of that, the Dance Center has been able to greatly reduce their need for hired cleaning help. In addition, the cleaning process has been refined so that there is no longer any problem with the floors. Even better, almost anyone can learn to mop! There's no footwork to speak of, and pushing the mop back and forth is good for your core muscles – it may even prevent the dreaded (gasp!) back-fat. It’s also very zen.
So, if you have a few minutes after Tuesday classes and want to help your Branch preserve our relationship with Columbia Dance Center (and avoid back-fat), please consider helping with the mopping. We’ll train you!
Calendar of Events