|Volume 36 #4||January/February 2020|
So, the year of Perfect Vision is upon us -- yes, 2020!
In the near term, I see classes starting the week of January 6th: Portland's classes start on Monday; then on Tuesday at the Columbia Dance Center, there is Liza's Challenge class; and on Friday, also at the CDC, will be Linda Mae's Fab Friday Fun Class. And don't forget, the next Tuesday (the 14th) is Lisa's Low Impact class.
And many people will be at least noting the birthday this month of one of the most famous Scots ever. Do you know who that is? (The answer is sprinkled throughout this issue!)
As for dances, there will be Portland's bimonthly Dance Party on January 11th, and our Déjà Vu Dance on February 1st.
So, I hope to see you on the dance floor, and Happy Dancing!
Thank you, everyone for participating, helping, bringing food and drink, and providing entertainment for this fine Betwixt and Between Dance, December 28, 2019!
Special thanks to these folks that helped make my job easy!
And a special thank you to everyone who provided ceilidh acts!
And to everyone who came and participated a special thank you!
Happy New Year to everyone!
The Ceilidh Master
Even if you have never traveled to Scotland, you have probably heard of a few Scottish legends. A legend is defined as a traditional story popularly regarded as historical but unauthenticated, or it could be a person (or monster) who is extremely famous or notorious.
A fairly recent legend revolves around the mysterious sighting of the Loch Ness monster. Its name first appeared in 1933 in an article by Alex Campbell in The Inverness Courier with a description of a sighting sure to spark public imagination and spur on a rush to be the next one to see it (as described in Wikipedia):
"The creature disported itself, rolling and plunging for fully a minute, its body resembling that of a whale, and the water cascading and churning like a simmering cauldron. Soon, however, it disappeared in a boiling mass of foam. Both onlookers confessed that there was something uncanny about the whole thing, for they realised that here was no ordinary denizen of the depths, because, apart from its enormous size, the beast, in taking the final plunge, sent out waves that were big enough to have been caused by a passing steamer."The article went on to say "Loch Ness has for generations been credited with being the home of a fearsome-looking monster".
The next year the famous photo of "Nessie," was published, and people have been searching for 'her' ever since. Besides the many articles and websites devoted to the legend of the loch, there is now a Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition in Inverness. Using a highly effective mixture of animations, lasers, and special effects, visitors can experience the history of the monster by exploring Scotland's geological past and folklore, and find out what has been discovered and what research has been done, and view some of the actual equipment used to explore and navigate the Loch.
Do you know of any other Scottish Legends? In our next newsletter, I hope to explore some Scottish legends promoted and exploited in the poems, plays, and novels by the superstar of his day, Sir Walter Scott.
In the last newsletter, I wrote about TAC, its aims and resources and how it is valuable to you and to our dancing community. Now I want to make sure you are aware of the services of TAC's affiliates - TACBooks and TACSound.
Currently run by the energetic and efficient Irene Townshend, TACBooks is a wonderful resource for obtaining dance books and related items. TACBooks gathers publications from RSCDS headquarters, from Branches, and individual dance devisors across the globe, so you enjoy one-stop shopping. Being a nonprofit, it sells at modest prices. You don't have to be a teacher to buy from TACBooks.
Most of the books are in soft cover printed form; there are a few ebook offerings as well. Among their offerings are the little green book of dance diagrams, a small selection of printed music for musicians to play for dancing, books about the history of Scottish dancing, and sometimes even bottles of Slip Stop (used to reduce slipperiness on dance floors).
Now, you may think to yourself, why should I pay for a book when I can look up the cribs or view a video online for free? Well, there are several reasons to invest in books. Cribs do not contain all the information that is included with the original instructions. For example, cribs usually don't indicate when to step up or down; they won't have detailed instructions that make clear the dance devisor's intentions on how a figure, phrase, or transition should be executed. The original instructions also frequently include enlightening notes about the history of the dance or its title or inscription. You miss that personal connection when using only a crib. And teachers! you know that you should only teach from the original instructions or risk getting burned by teaching a dance incorrectly.
Videos - yes, they are helpful. But they are not always clear or accurate or well-danced. Having the original instructions, plus viewing a video, is a great combination for learning about a dance.
You may purchase from TACBooks online year-round (shipping from Alberta, Canada). Every summer, you may browse in person - and avoid shipping costs - when TACBooks brings a large selection of its books to TAC's Summer School (another incentive for attending Summer School!) Check out their website www.books.tac-rscds.org/
TACSound operates similarly to TACBooks but focuses on recorded music. Its management was recently transferred from the talented musician and dance teacher, Gary Thomas, to yours truly and my patient husband, Ken Heinemann. TACSound sells recorded music in CD form from around the world. While it sells many CD's that are recorded in strict tempo and with appropriate repetitions for Scottish Country dancing, TACSound also has recordings for Ceilidh dancing, Scottish step dancing, Old Tyme/Time dancing, and many marvelous recordings made only for listening pleasure. It has a few dance instructional DVD's, too.
You may purchase year-round online, paying by check or PayPal; items are shipped (or hand delivered locally) from Portland, Oregon. Cash payments made in person are always happily accepted. Discounts are available for large orders and for TAC members.
A large portion of the inventory travels annually to TAC's annual Summer School where you may ask for a listen before making your purchase. At Summer School only, we accept major credit cards and debit cards, in addition to the usual cash and check. If you are not attending Summer School and want to pay by charge card, you need to purchase online using PayPal; just link your PayPal account to your credit card.
Visit the website to see what we have at sound.tac-rscds.org/ Click on "Really Really New!!!" on the left to see the latest offerings. Don't see something you want? Let us know and we'll see what we can do. The TACSound email is .
Given its affiliation with TAC, TACSound and TACBooks keep their accounts in Canadian dollars. As a result, prices on the website are quoted in Canadian dollars. However, pricing in U.S. dollars is always available - don't be put off by the higher looking prices on the website!
Now, you may be thinking, why should I buy a CD when I can borrow it from a friend and make a copy instead? Well, that short-changes the musicians that worked so hard to produce the music you love. Don't we want to support our musicians and give them the financial incentive to continue making music for us? I do!
A new RSCDS book titled "Thirty Popular Dances Volume Two" brings old and new dances together in one volume plus music. The audience is all dancers, new and experienced, to be able to read about popular dances in depth. The Membership Services Committee sent an email to branches requesting their popular dances, and received 111 responses with 283 submitted dances. The committee reduced the list, in stages, to 30 dances. The book includes information about dances that could not be found elsewhere. The mix of dances reflects the global nature of the Society. The book is accompanied by two CDs: one CD of new recordings by James Coutts and his Scottish Dance Band; and a second CD, a re-releasing of RSCDS archive recordings by various artists: David Cunningham, Colin Dewar, Bobby Crowe, Kenny Thomson, Lindsay Weir, and George Meikle. The book was released for the 2 November 2019 RSCDS Autumn Gathering event and has been well received.
We can listen to RSCDS Membership Services Committee member Angela Young explain the production of the book and CDs on the "12 December 2019 Take the Floor programme" www.rscds-swws.org/news/stories/AngelaYoungInterview.mp3>
We can also read the previous Branch newsletter item to learn the SWWS Branch's dance selections and process for evaluating its popular dances at "Popular Scottish Dances and Music" (www.rscds-swws.org/news/201809/vol35-2.htm#art.8).
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