The Scottish Country Dancer
Royal Scottish Country Dance Society, Southwest Washington State Branch
Volume 38 #1
July/August 2021

Articles in This Issue

When Will In-Person Activities Restart?

by John Shaw

The short answer is "We don't know, yet." However, this is a question foremost in ALL our thoughts, and I want to assure you all that the Board and the Teachers are continually in discussions, evaluating all aspects of the situation to determine when is the proper time to reopen and with what appropriate safety measures in place.

There are hopeful signs -- like the recent lifting of statewide mask mandates in Oregon and Washington -- that the time of "reopening" is getting near. It may be that classes could open in the Fall "as usual" -- the usual before 2020 -- and wouldn't that be nice!

So, have a nice, safe, summer, and hopefully we'll have classes and dances in the Fall, and people will remember that "zooming" is something you do on a motorbike.

Branch AGM, 2021

by Tom Halpenny

Branch members met online on May 15, 2021 for the Annual General Meeting.

We can access the draft minutes of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society, Southwest Washington State Branch 2021 Annual General Meeting here.

The 2021-2022 slate of elected officers is:

The Panel of Instructors will appoint a Teachers' Representative to serve in that role for 2021-2022.

We can view the Management Board history at

Reminder that interested persons can access the online "RSCDS-SWWS Branch Meetings and Correspondence Secretary Notebook" at The webpage will ask for a user name and password. Email if you need me to send you the username and password.

All Management Board and General meeting minutes and reports are open for members to access. We can also access Branch business correspondence that occurs between meetings. Just click a link to access a document. If you are interested, I can include you in the Branch secretary's email list for notifications. Please feel free to contact me with any feedback or questions at .

Scottish Legends Dessert Dance

by Tom Halpenny

Scottish dancers tuned in online for the 35th annual Dinner Dance with theme Scottish Legends Dessert Dance to enjoy energetic dancing music played live by Cynthia Soohoo - piano and Nathaniel Soohoo-Hui - fiddle. In case you missed it or would like to watch the May 22, 2021 dance, we can view the recording.

Dessert Dance recording

The 35th Dinner Dance originally scheduled for 2020 had been postponed because of the COVID-19 lockdown. The 2021 online version was hosted instead, without dinner but with dancers supplying their own desserts.

Lin Pettengill and Rebecca Mintz expertly briefed the dances. Liza & Tom Halpenny and Susan & John Shaw formed a 2-couple dancing pod to walk thru the dances. Dance chair and emcee Susan Shaw presented a history of authentic and mythological Scottish legends, and led the intermission discussion of desserts and recipes that dancers shared.

Many thanks to folks for their efforts to put on the Dessert Dance to conclude the online dancing season that included the Betwixt and Between ceilidh and Déjà Vu Dance. Liza Halpenny had taught the dessert dances in the April and May Social Dancing classes. Ken Heinemann co-hosted the online meeting and once again assisted the musicians to produce good-quality sound over Zoom.

Online Dancers and Emcee
Musicians and Dancing Pod

Random Memorabilia

[Perusing some early editions of this newsletter, I found some interesting items -- interesting because of the people or kind of events mentioned. ~Ed.]

From the Vol 8 No 1 (July/August, 1991) issue of The Scottish Country Dancer:

May Flowers
by Marge van Nus

Thank you to Sally Bledsoe for the "May Flowers" Fourth Friday Dance in Kelso. True to the theme, we danced old favorites such as "Flowers of Edinburgh", and were challenged by "new" dances such as "O'er the Muir Among the Heather". It was a delightful evening of dance finished with refreshments by candlelight at the fireside.

The "O'er the Muir Among the Heather" was first published in a manuscript named A Collection of the Newest Country Dances Performed in Scotland, Edinburgh, 1740. Those same dances were again published in 1960 under the title Scottish Country Dances of the 18th Century, edited to modern day terminology by Jack McConachie.

Little did we all realize how well the "May Flowers" Dance connected us with the rich heritage of Scottish Country Dance.

From the Vol 10, No 1 (July/August, 1993) issue -- an event at a very interesting venue, with musicians we recognize:

2nd Annual Celtic Country Dance. Friday, July 16, 7:30 p.m., at the Portland Police Athletic Association, between 6th and 7th on Alder. The entire family is welcome, with age 12 and older suggested for participation. Both Irish and Scottish Dance steps will be taught from 7:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Live music will be provided for both the Irish and Scottish dancing. The Irish music will be provided by Seamus Egan and Aidan Brennan, and the Scottish music provided by Callum McKinnon and Lisa Sharp [Scott]. Admission is $6 at the door, $5 in advance.

From the Vol 15 No 1 (July/August, 1998) issue, on the importance of dance:

You may remember in the May/June issue of this newsletter, a quote from Moliere: "All the ills of mankind, all the tragic misfortunes that fill our history books, all the political blunders, all the failures of the great leaders have arisen merely from a lack of skill in dancing." I smiled at that one -- it was humorous that something I enjoy as a pastime should be considered so fundamental to the success of mankind. Maybe, I thought, Moliere was exaggerating just a little.

"Dancing in all its forms cannot be excluded from the curriculum of all noble education..." F. W. Nietzsche

So, consider the following from Nietzsche: "Dancing in all its forms cannot be excluded from the curriculum of all noble education: dancing with the feet, with ideas, with words, and, need I add that one must also be able to dance with the pen?

Hmmm -- "dancing with ideas". A sports oriented society might say "wrestling with ideas". With this expanded definition of dance, perhaps Moliere was not exaggerating at all!"

Just for Fun

[This tidbit was forwarded to me by way of Sally Bledsoe and Tom Halpenny. ~Ed.]

An Arab Sheik was admitted to the Hospital for heart surgery, but prior to the surgery, the doctors needed to have some of his blood type stored in case the need arose.

As the gentleman had an extremely rare type of blood that couldn't be found locally, the call went out around the world.

Finally, a Scotsman was located who had the same rare blood type. After some coaxing, the Scot donated his blood for the Arab.

After the surgery, the Arab sent the Scotsman a BMW, a diamond necklace for his wife, and $100,000 US dollars in appreciation for the blood donation.

A few months later, the Sheik had to undergo a further corrective surgical procedure. His doctor telephoned the Scotsman who was more than happy to donate his blood once again.

After the second surgery the Arab sent the Scotsman a thank-you card and a box of Quality Street chocolates.

The Scotsman was shocked that the Arab did not reciprocate his kind gesture as he had anticipated. He phoned the Arab and asked him, "I thought you would be more generous than that. Last time you sent me a BMW, diamonds and money, but this time you only sent me a lousy thank-you card and a crappy box of chocolates?"

To this the Arab replied, "Aye Laddie, but I now have Scottish blood in me veins."

Calendar of Events

July 28 - July 30: TAC Virtual Summer School 2021
The Virtual Summer School, which will be open to dancers of all levels, will be held as a series of events from Wednesday, July 28th through Friday, July 30th. Details of the events and login information will be posted on the TAC website, the Facebook page, and in emails to TAC members and attendees of previous Summer Schools. We look forward to your participation as we are planning a ceilidh, a virtual auction, classes, musical interludes, and interactive events.

Check their website for updates and event status.

I went to see the ballet, and ... all the dancers were standing on tiptoe.
I said, "Why don't they just get taller dancers?"

  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:  
  John Shaw
  PO Box 2438
  Battle Ground, WA 98604
  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 John Shaw, PO Box 2438 Battle Ground, WA 98604, . 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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