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The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society

Issue 7, 08 May 2020

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Welcome to a special VE Day Dance Scottish At Home, marking the 75th Anniversary of that momentous day while bringing you more Scottish dance and music jewels.
 

Thank you to those readers who have contacted us with their VE Day memories which we will be sharing later in this issue of DSAH. Meanwhile it’s not too late to send in your key worker photos and shout outs for next week’s Florence Nightingale 200th Anniversary issue. Please get in touch with your messages from around the world about those members, families and fellow dancers working in health, social care and other vital roles – we know how important their work is.
 
Over the coming weeks, we’ll be planning our content for forthcoming editions, so email and click the feedback button to tell us what you would like to read and hear about.

For now, please share Dance Scottish At Home through Facebook and Twitter by using the buttons at the top of DSAH. Clicking the Forward button to email the newsletter to friends, affiliated club members and the wider dance community will help keep us all in touch until we can dance together again. A sentiment which definitely resonates with the theme of Dance Scottish At Home this week.
 
The DSAH Team

In this issue

At Home Podcasts

Join Ian Muir for a new edition of the “At Home Podcasts” delivering a wealth of music and musical gems to listen to. Something new, a quiz and an interview as well as lots of music to keep your toes tapping.
 

In this week’s “At Home Podcast” you can look forward to a new recording from Jim Lindsay. We link back to Anne Taylor’s article on William Marshall, Don Bartlett from Toronto, Canada talks to Ian about his band and finally, another quiz – this time with military connections.
Listen online here >

Keep your requests and dedications flowing to Gary Innes and the BBC Radio Scotland team. Take The Floor on Saturday evening will share a favourite session from band leader, Alasdair MacCuish and The Black Rose Ceilidh Band. Alasdair has picked a session from Tobermory back in 2002 and you can take to the floor for Postie’s Jig and The Eightsome Reel, as well as enjoying some ceilidh music with a twist. If you’ve been listening on a Sunday evening, you’ll hopefully have heard some familiar names with their requests on BBC Radio Scotland while Take The Floor Ceilidh is live between 17:00 to 19:00.  So phone or email your favourite dances, musicians, bands and tracks to: takethefloor@bbc.co.uk or phone 08085 929500 but please be aware the phone line will only work while the programme is live. Both programmes can be found on BBC iPlayer and on BBC Sounds.
VE Day
On Tuesday May 8th 1945 the longed for announcement was made that war in Europe was over. It was a time of mixed emotions as celebrations went on to mark war coming to an end at the same time as everyone recognised the sacrifices made by so many leading to this victory.
This week, the good times and bad are being remembered on the 75th anniversary of that day – and it’s the good times that you have shared with us through your memories.
 
Bob Kerr, from Kitchener, Canada, sent a photograph of a celebration dance in Dundee – saying:
“You can see that it is mostly women in the photograph, as I believe that most of the men were still on active duty. The men that were there were over-age for the services and were also the ones who made up the Band. The band at this dance was, I believe 'Lou Greig's'. The two little boys sitting on the floor were myself, and my younger brother David. My grandfather, Bob Douglas, is second from the right in the second row and was very active in Scottish Country Dancing in Dundee. He organised Saturday night dances with Jimmy Shand playing, in St Salvador's Church hall, at Rockwell School hall, and the 'big' dances in the city’s Caird Hall.”
Bob also shared a more recent photo of himself and his wife, Maureen.
Margot Mernitz remembers Scottish Country Dancing to celebrate VE Day as a member of her Rangers Troop:
“Our Captain was the Scottish Country Dance representative for Northern Ayrshire and we danced as physical activity after running round the hall for five minutes as a warm up!! I think our Captain's name was Miss Allan.
My brother was in the Rovers Troop from the same church and we danced in the Howard Park in Kilmarnock for the celebration.  My brother and I were first couple - we said it was because we were the best dancers but it wasn't, it was because we were the shortest!!”
Margot emigrated to Australia in 1949, and after a long separation from SCD, started again in 1982 and became a teacher in 1992.
 
David McCormick was just into senior secondary school at the time of VE Day and remembers:
A talented P.E. Teacher who taught us the usual P.E. things but who could also sit at the piano and teach S.C.D. And after 6 months with her we danced the Foursome Reel ( 2 reel steps and 2 Strathspey ) and the Reel of Tulloch. On VJ Day, in Bonar Bridge, a Piper came down the Main Street then the next evening was a Village Hop - everyone was there! That was my first “Big “ dance plus some SCD.”
Two good starts to a lifetime of Scottish Country Dancing.
 
Doris Young’s husband, Kenny, used to tell the story of playing for the VE Day celebrations at the Castle Gate in Aberdeen when he was 15. His mum had carried his accordion along George Street, where he then played and stayed up as long as he could, keeping people dancing and singing until the wee small hours. And there was definitely plenty of dancing in Aberdeen, as this article from 2015 about the late band leader Jack Sinclair shows.
Click here to see the whole article.

While in Glasgow, Hope Street was filled with servicemen of all nationalities as at the bottom of the street, everyone joined in Scotland’s national dance – the Eightsome Reel. Every street in Glasgow seemed to be holding some party or another.
 
Most notable, from the Scottish Country Dance Society at that time, was the publication of Book 13 – first published just after the Second World War, the V on the front cover stands for Victory. All except one are traditional and collected dances – including those dating from the 18th century. The new dance was “The Reel of the 51st Division” – planned by Highland officers and first performed in a PoW camp. You can find out more in our Dance Passion article from last year here.
 
Also through the RSCDS Website, our Archivist Alan MacPherson has made past Annual Reports available. Reading the Scottish Country Dance Society’s Annual Report for 1945, there’s no doubt that SCD was incredibly popular at that time and the Society was looking forward to Branches increasing their activities and starting up new classes as accommodation problems were eased.

There was a real demand for teaching with lots of enquiries about how to start classes, as well as teachers’ classes running through 1945 in 7 Scottish centres. That year, there were 111 ‘Certificate 1’ passes, 60 ‘Certificate 2’ passes and 29 failures.
 
And within 2 months of VE Day, dancers were back at the first St Andrews Summer School since 1939. The report describes the first week standard as low, but that a vast improvement was made by the second week – the teachers Miss Milligan and Miss Allie Anderson must have been working them hard. It’s great to see the mention of the other dance styles introduced at that school – Irish, American Sequence and Old Time Dancing.  Just now, it’s easy to imagine the excitement and enjoyment those dancers must have felt as after 6 years they were back together, dancing again.

The Thursday Challenge

Share your dance stories with our weekly Thursday Challenge using the hashtag #ThursdayChallenge.
Last week's 1st May lookout for romance and friendship stories brought very few romance and friendship stories (so, no more peeking into private lives unless you want to bring them up yourselves). However, we did learn about a Scottish May tradition that was new to many of us: on the 1st May young women walk up a hill to wash their faces with morning dew. This is supposed to make them (even more) beautiful - and if you missed your opportunity this time, there's always next year.

Dancer, Linda Harley Gillespie did share her romantic dance memory: "Marrying my husband at Gretna Green, on 11.11.11 - we even made the "and finally..." bit of the TV news! Kilt is in Titanic tartan, I have a matching sash. And "Trip to Gretna Green" is one of my favourite dances!" Thank you, Linda, for sharing the photo of your wedding with us. 

What's next?

For this week's Thursday Challenge, we want you to think up riddles! Inspired by one of the podcasts, we ask for riddles on dances named after people. They can be historic people, dancers and musicians from the Scottish dance community or fantastic figures. Make sure we have a chance to guess, and riddle away.  To get you started, Margaret Lambourne from Youth Services has set her challenging 'dances named after people' riddles on this download. Here are the first couple to get you going.  
  1. This lively 3 couple reel comes from “The Ball-Room or the Juvenile Pupil's Assistant” Glasgow 1827 with the tune of the same name from 1757. There are 3 names for this dance, one of which has an aristocratic background. It is a very popular dance particularly with Reelers.
     
  2. This dance is a 24 bar 2 couple jig with a variation on the poussette. It is from Allan's Ballroom Guide Glasgow 1880. This person is a saint and not Scottish.
 We'll provide the solutions and bring a collection of your best ideas next week.    
Social Media Round Up
This week a composition to honour a new British national hero, SCD reaches TikTok and the connection between the US hit drama Grey’s Anatomy and Speyside.
 
“To all those people who are finding it difficult at the moment, the sun will shine on you again, and the clouds will go away.”
Those are the words of the new British national hero, Captain Tom or as we should now say Colonel Tom Moore - the now centenarian has just raised over £32 million for the NHS by setting out to walk 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday.
 
Captain Tom was born in Keighley in 1920 and joined the army at the beginning of World War Two, serving in India and Myanmar, then known as Burma – so it does feel particularly apt to mention him in this week’s DSAH.
Since setting himself the 100 lap challenge, Captain Tom has exceeded his target, reached Number One in the charts duetting with Michael Ball, received an estimated 140,000 birthday cards, as well as being honoured by the Queen with a telegram and been promoted to honorary colonel as an inspirational role model to generations.
Muriel Johnstone felt compelled to write 2 tunes for Captain Tom’s birthday as he had touched so many people’s hearts with his determination and inimitable spirit. Recorded with Ian Robertson, the tunes are a retreat march, Captain Tom’s Walk for the NHS and a 6/8 pipe march, Captain Thomas Moore’s 100th birthday.

Click on the photo to hear Muriel and Ian’s recording. 
Meanwhile Scottish Country Dancing has finally found its way onto TikTok – the social network service for sharing very short dance, lip-sync and comedy videos. Thanks to Ilona Brown, from Glasgow, for putting together her short video with young dancers and friends from all over – and don’t worry if you haven’t found TikTok,  you can see Ilona’s video here. Ilona’s in good company on TikTok this week, as another UK national treasure, Dame Judi Dench also became a TikTok sensation showing off her dance moves with her grandson, Sam. 
Finally this week, Grey’s Anatomy star Kevin McKidd has gone back to his Elgin roots to reform the Speyside Sessions band to release a charity single, Leave a Light On. Kevin is lead vocalist as musicians and singers based in the USA, Scotland, England, Ireland and France join together to create a beautiful track, written by Jamie Reid, that aims to raise money for the Trussell Trust. The trust works to provide foodbank support across the UK.
What's Behind The Name?
Waverley – RSCDS Book 15
Original Tune – The Lawland Lads think they are fine.
Written by Peter Knapman, Convenor of Membership Services Committee

 
Waverley - a name that has become almost totally associated with Scotland. An internet search reveals places and businesses named Waverley the length and breadth of the country. Hotels, care homes, medical practices, pubs, street names, book shops, cafes, bakeries all use the Waverley name, to say nothing of the far better-known Waverley Station in Edinburgh, the now closed (but partially reopened) Edinburgh to Carlisle railway route and the world’s last sea going paddle steamer. Hector Berlioz was inspired by Scott’s novel to compose an overture called Waverley and the Great Western railway had a Waverley class of broad-gauge locomotives named after Scott characters in the Waverley novels.
 
But shock, horror - the name Waverley is not Scottish.  The name comes from the lead character Edward Waverley in Walter Scott’s first novel ‘Waverley’.  In the novel Edward Waverley, is an English gentleman, who has an officer’s commission in the army just before the 1745 Jacobite uprising.  Whilst on leave from the army, he visits friends of his family in Scotland and Edward Waverley finds himself in the company of Jacobites. The story is one of adventure, changing loyalties, love and escape back to England leading to the novel becoming a favourite as it gained immense popularity.  It was originally published anonymously and Scott’s subsequent novels were published as being ‘by the author of Waverley’.  This resulted in the novels becoming known as ‘The Waverley Novels’ and the name Waverley being associated with Sir Walter Scott and his ‘invention of Romantic Scotland’.
Origin of Waverley
Where did the name Waverley originate?  We know from Scott’s writings that he wanted his hero to have a name that was English but not a well-known aristocratic name. Scott says he chose the name Waverley as he considered it “an uncontaminated name, bearing with its sound little of good or evil, excepting what the reader shall hereafter be pleased to affix to it”.
 
The earliest reference to the name Waverley comes from a Cistercian Abbey located in Surrey when in 1128, a small group of monks from France chose a quiet spot by the river Wey to found the original settlement. By 1187 there were 70 monks and 120 lay brothers in residence. The Abbey continued to flourish until the Dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII in 1536 when parts of the abbey were dismantled and the stone used for local building material.  Today, the abbey is a ruin in the care of English Heritage.
 
Today’s most famous Waverley
I suspect that today more people associate the name Waverley with a paddle steamer rather than any other use of the name, although Waverley station may wish to challenge that assumption.  Waverley is famous as being the last sea-going paddle steamer in the world. The sight and sound of a paddle steamer is an experience unlike any other seaborne transport: a visit to the engine room to see the Waverley’s triple expansion engine at work will mesmerise you.
 
The origin of naming steamers after Scott’s novels goes back a long way, particularly Clyde pleasure steamers, with evocative ship names such as Jeanie Deans, Talisman, Ivanhoe, Lucy Ash
ton and Meg Merrilies.  The present Waverley is by no means the first Waverley to sail on the Clyde: there have been three previous Clyde paddle steamers named Waverley. The present steamer’s immediate predecessor built in 1899 was called into active service in both World Wars. She survived WW1 unscathed and was used during the evacuation of Dunkirk in WW2. Whilst returning to Britain she was attacked and sunk on 29th May 1940, with significant loss of life.
The Waverley’s survival is down to chance.  At the end of WW2, the North British Steam Packet Company replaced the 1899 Waverley. The restricted depth available at Craigendoran pier and the shallow draught of traditional paddle steamers influenced the choice for the replacement vessel. Had her predecessor not been lost in 1940 it is unlikely that she would have been considered for replacement for some years and had it not been for the restricted draught at Craigendoran it is unlikely that the replacement Waverley would have been a paddle steamer.  Hence, as the Clyde pleasure steamer market declined, the Waverley remained the most modern of the surviving paddlers. By the middle 1960s all new vessels for the Clyde were being built as car ferries. The Waverley’s stablemates, Lucy Ashton, Talisman and Jeanie Deans had all gone. 
 
In 1973 the Waverley’s operating company Caledonian MacBrayne could see no further use for the vessel, but took the enlightened decision to sell her to the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society for the nominal sum of £1.  Since then Waverley has regularly operated pleasure cruises, mainly in the Clyde and the West Coast of Scotland but also sailing down to the South coast of England for a month in the late summer.
The Waverley underwent a major restoration in 2000 when she was returned, as much as feasibly practicable, to her 1947 condition. It is now 73 years since the Waverley’s maiden voyage and she is still the pride of the Clyde. As a result of this mixture of unfortunate and fortunate events we now have a paddle steamer that is still licensed to sail the open seas and, although more powerful and technically more advanced, can trace her heritage directly back to Henry Bell’s PS Comet: Europe’s first sea-going steam vessel.  
 
The Waverley is not the oldest Clyde-built steam pleasure craft still operating.  That distinction falls to another vessel the aptly named ‘Sir Walter Scott’ which was built in 1900 and still operates excursions on Loch Katrine in the Trossachs. But the building, dismantling, transportation to Loch Katrine and subsequent reassembly of the Sir Walter Scott is a story that will have to wait for another article.
Dance Puzzles Part One
Another “What’s Behind The Name?” jigsaw – this time “Name this.”
Have you found the online jigsaw timer?

We enjoy seeing how long you take to complete the pictures – and of course, finding out who is fastest!
Thanks to those who have sent in the solution to last week’s DSAH jigsaw – it was of course “Loch Leven Castle” as featured in last week’s “Behind the Dance”. The picture didn’t spark as many memories as the Swilcan Bridge at St Andrews – however we’re sure lots of you have memories of the tricky parts in the dance from Book 21!
 
We’ve had more entries to our Jigsaw League but Clair Caudwell is still top, with her new and improved time of 4 minutes and 58 seconds – can anyone beat her this week? Please keep sending in your name, branch and most importantly, your jigsaw completion time for our DSAH Jigsaw League.
Clair Caudwell Retford and District 4 minutes 58 seconds
Stan Grycuk Aberdeen Branch 6 minutes 35.8 seconds
Christine Hastie London Branch 6 minutes 45.1 seconds
Fiona Newton Inverness and District 8 minutes 14.4 seconds
Di Nicholson York and North Humberside 8 minutes 21 seconds
Mary Bridson Ottawa 8 minutes 48 seconds
Fiona Miller Lethbridge SCD / TAC Past Chair 9 minutes 05 seconds
Kate Thomson   9 minutes 40 seconds
Kate Storr   10 minutes
Marjorie McLaughlin San Diego 10 minutes 05 seconds
Kathy Drew   13 minutes 00 seconds
Moggie Grayson New Zealand 18 minutes 31 seconds
RSCDS Online Class
Each week a different RSCDS Teacher will be there to guide you through a mixture of movement, warm up, technique, steps and dances while you have the opportunity to dance and chat with RSCDS members around the world at the same time.
Once again over 1,250 dancers joined this week’s RSCDS online class as teacher William Williamson took the class from his home in Amisfield in Dumfriesshire. Starting with a marching warm up and working through to the medley Cauld Kail from RSCDS Book 9, William kept everyone on the move and entertained with his lively banter. Throughout the class, we’re also monitoring the chat and answering as many questions as we can. It was great to see you all engaging in the chat before and after the class, so we look forward to that becoming a regular part of our Wednesday night sessions.
 
You can catch up with this week’s class and some of the comments here.
This is an online recording at a low resolution to enable us to share the class quickly and in a format everyone can download. It will mean some moments may not be quite in time but we hope that doesn’t stop your enjoyment and participation in the class.
 
Classes are held at 19:00 BST every Wednesday.
Join next week, on Wednesday 13th May, to find out who the mystery teacher is and what they have in store.
 
Link to join RSCDS Online Class:
https://zoom.us/j/780126836
 
Hosting the class as a webinar and sharing the link through Dance Scottish At Home and email manages concerns around hosting events on Zoom. We are continuing to monitor this and doing everything we can to make this a secure environment for all.  
Dance Puzzles Part Two
Keep your brains moving with our Dance Puzzles and please get in touch if you have a Dance Scottish At Home puzzle to share – crossword, wordsearch, missing words, missing vowels – this is the space for your dancing conundrums.
This week a SCD Formations Wordsearch with 35 clues to help you find the moves. 
The solutions will appear in next week’s Dance Scottish At Home.
Last Week’s Solutions
 
We hope you enjoyed last week’s Anagrams – all from Thirty Popular Dances Volume 2. The solutions are presented below or you can view them here.  
Thanks again Stan for sending in a great set of anagrams – hopefully the recent RSCDS book helped with solving them. Are you a puzzle devisor or would you like to try your hand at coming up with a dancing puzzle for Dance Scottish At Home?
Send in your ideas by clicking “Have Your Say” at the bottom of the newsletter.  
RSCDS News
The Education and Training Committee are in the process of compiling a Register of RSCDS qualified teachers and are seeking details from any qualified teachers who have not yet managed to respond to their feedback request. If you have NOT yet provided your details then please complete the form here before Friday 29 May.
The business side of the Society goes on and we have now added a new Volunteering webpage that contains information and guidance about the numerous Board and Management Committee vacancies we are seeking to fill. Without our dedicated volunteers, the running of the RSCDS would not be possible. If you wish to nominate yourself (or encourage any other suitable members to put themselves forward) then the deadline for nominations is Saturday 12 September 2020.
 
Just a reminder that the DSAH newsletters and Zoom classes are also available to access on our website. Please visit here to view previous editions and let us know if you experience any issues receiving the newsletter.

 
Tuesday 12th May is the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth and DSAH is taking the opportunity to mark this with your care and frontline worker shout outs. We want to make the issue a real celebration of those who are working so hard to keep us safe at this time, so please send in your photos and names with information on their work so DSAH can thank them.
In the meantime, continue to let us know what you want to see and hear in your weekly newsletter - click the link below and keep your feedback coming in.
 
For now, stay safe and we’ll be back with Dance Scottish At Home next week.
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