The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society

Issue 5, 24th April 2020

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Welcome to this week’s edition of Dance Scottish At Home, bringing more Scottish dance and music jewels to keep dancers and members upbeat at this time.
This is the fifth issue of Dance Scottish At Home and it seems an appropriate time to take stock and reflect just a little. The idea behind the newsletter was to keep in touch with our members through this difficult period and we hope that it is achieving that in an informative and entertaining way.  The bulk of the work involved in preparing content of DSAH falls on members of the MS committee and the Music Director with help from the Convenors of the Youth Services and Education and Training committees. Coates Crescent office staff are involved in putting the Newsletter together and handle distribution. 
As mentioned last week, we are looking ahead to further issues of Dance Scottish At Home and would love your help. We are hoping to create a special VE Day issue and would appreciate any information you have on where, when and how Scottish dance and music played its part in the original celebrations in 1945. A couple of members have already been in touch, so please keep sending in these stories and photos.
Then later in May, we’ll be marking the 200th Anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth by celebrating the work by care and front line workers everywhere just now. Please send in your shout outs and stories, especially about members and fellow dancers working in health, social care and other vital roles.

In the meantime, please use the buttons at the top to share Dance Scottish At Home through Facebook and Twitter. By clicking the Forward button, you can also email the newsletter to friends, affiliated club members and the wider dance community, helping to keep us all in touch until we can dance together again.
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 nuggets to listen to. Something new, another dance from the archives, a Guest Album of the week as well as lots of music to keep your toes tapping.

In this week’s “At Home Podcast” you can look forward to James Coutts and his band playing a new track, while Ian explores the music from last week’s “DSAH What’s Behind The Name?” There’s an occupation quiz to get you thinking, the story behind a popular jig and Luke Brady shares another “Album of the Week”.
Listen online here >

Keep your requests and dedications flowing to Gary Innes and the BBC Radio Scotland team. Saturday evening’s Take The Floor is an archive session from Jimmy Lindsay and his Scottish Dance Band from 2004. Sadly, Jimmy died earlier this year and this session celebrates his contribution to the Scottish music scene.

Take The Floor Ceilidh will be back live on Sunday evening between 17:00 to 19:00, so phone or email your favourite dances, musicians, bands and tracks to: or phone 08085 929500 but please be aware the phone line will only work while the programme is live.


The Thursday Challenge

Share your dance stories with our weekly Thursday Challenge using the hashtag #ThursdayChallenge.
Photo courtesy of Lara Friedman-Shedlov of her first ball at the 1990 IVFDF Newcastle performance.
Last week, we were thrown back in time to our first Scottish Country Dance ball. Your stories and photos evoked that special mix of excitement and nerves for sure, with comments including:

You ended up as first couple in the first dance of the evening - because you knew the dance better than the other dancers in your set. You got lost in a dance but others helped you through - or helpfully commented on your detours afterwards. You came in a crowd - and still have contact to a few of the dancers you came with (or are even married to one of them).

One thing has changed over time: we now mostly have recaps - and often the MC also allows for 'walk as I talk'. I think I'm glad about this development – what about you?
Photo courtesy of Brian Shirley of his first ball at the 1964 Oxford Cambridge Highland ball.
For this week's Thursday Challenge, we explore the 'unknown territories' of dancing. A few weeks ago, this would have included kitchen floors and living rooms, but alas, not any more. Which, then, are the most unusual places you have danced at?

If you tried guessing the dances from the photos last week, please look out for the answers later in Dance Scottish At Home. You can also keep up with the Thursday Challenge social interaction throughout each week on the RSCDS Dance Scottish Facebook page.

What's next?

This week's #ThursdayChallenge is about the most unusual places you have danced in, let us know by sharing your stories with the hashtag #ThursdayChallenge. We look forward to hearing them.
Social Media Round Up
This week we look at how some patient dancers have used “Stop Motion Animation” to bring dances to life and we share an amazing concert finale.
First, thanks to Diana Hastie, Sydney Branch for sharing what is happening “Down Under”. The Teddy Bear Hunt has extended to car windows and has been side by side with an Easter Art Hunt and a Chalk Line Easter Challenge. Children followed chalk lines while star jumping, bunny hopping and hop scotching with social distancing, while teddies in car windows were easier to spot than in houses.
In Vienna, Chairman Felix Hamelbeck has been working with Stop Motion Animation to create a “Lego” performance of Miss Milligan’s Strathspey. Joining a traditionally dressed demonstration dancer in a white dress are a mermaid, a pirate, an army captain, a swimmer and a cowboy. With music from Dancing Live by the Muriel Johnstone Trio, the team show beautiful covering and excellent phrasing although some work may be needed on handing and footwork.
In Montreal, Holly Boyd used Stop Motion Animation to trial a dance she had devised – “Interesting Times” a 32 bar medley for four couples in a square set. With commentary to describe the dance, Holly has created a miniature ballroom including a sound system and has dancers dressed up to the nines! Particular attention should be paid to the men’s beautifully tied ghillies.

Please click on the above photos to see both Stop Motion dances.

The variety of new music available on every platform with artists of every genre recording at home is phenomenal. Groups and individuals are continually searching for new ways to bring performances to the widest audience possible and last week over 40 musicians joined together for the Pure Dead Brilliant Livestream Concert. Take a look and listen to the amazing finale of great fiddle tunes. “Miss Shepherd’s Reel, Jenny Dang the Weaver and The High Drive”– they just make you want to dance. Something we can look forward to doing again.
Please click on the picture below to view the video.
What's Behind The Name?
Scottish Dances – What’s Behind The Name?
The Swilcan – RSCDS Book 23 – J. B. Cosh
Original Tune Gordon B. Cosh (Norrie MacInnes)
Written by Peter Knapman, Convenor of Membership Services Committee
Mention St Andrews and what comes to mind? Golf? An ancient university? Scottish country dancing?
The Swilcan burn may not be familiar to many of you who attend the Summer School at St Andrews. However, should you venture out of the comfortable surroundings of University Hall and explore the Old Course, you will see the Swilcan burn as it winds its way over the 1st and 18th fairways.
For years, the Swilcan sought its own and often varied route to the sea up until the mid 1800s when the banks of the river were stabilised, finally ensuring a fixed route.  A number of small bridges cross the burn, with the oldest and most famous being known simply as ‘The Swilcan Bridge’.  The exact age of the Swilcan Bridge is unknown, although reputed to be between 700 and 800 years. Many a famous golfer has had their photograph taken crossing the ‘Golfers’ Bridge’.

Golf and St Andrews are completely intertwined with records as early as the 15th Century indicating golf was played there.  In 1457, James II banned the playing of golf as he considered that the young men of the day were not spending enough time practicing archery. Fortunately, for those of you who are golf fanatics, James IV enjoyed playing ‘gowf’ and in 1502 removed the ban. Golf became further popularised in 1552 when the townspeople of St Andrews were given the right to play on the links. The word links comes from Scots language, meaning rising ground and is the oldest style of golf course, having been developed in Scotland. The next big development, in our Summer School home town, was the founding of the Society of St Andrews Golfers in the 18th Century, eventually leading to the formation of The Royal and Ancient, which is the governing body of golf.
Apart from the age of the course, one of the main reasons St Andrews became the ‘Home of Golf’ was the 1552 Charter that confirmed the rights of the local populace to use the links, creating the concept that golf is for everyone. This tradition continues today with the course being held for the benefit of the public by the St Andrews Links Trust under an act of parliament. Unlike most top ranked golf courses, this means anyone is permitted to play golf at St Andrews. Although, because of high demand, it is often difficult to get a tee off time!
 But don’t worry there are other options as The St Andrews Links Trust runs what is ‘Europe’s largest public golf complex’ boasting a total of six 18-hole championship courses plus one 9-hole family friendly course.

Over the years the Old Course at St Andrews has been influential in the development of the modern game, such as in the 18th Century reducing the number of holes from 22 down to 18, making this the standard for golf courses the world over. 
Would our 15th Century ancestors recognise today’s golf as the same game that they played? Would they marvel at the technological developments or be horrified at how the game has become formalised and maybe lost some of its fun: who knows? They might even prefer archery practice!
The dance ‘The Swilcan’ was devised by Jimmy Cosh, whose name will be familiar to most of you.  Jimmy and his family frequently took their caravan to St Andrews for family holidays. Attending summer school was included as part of their activities. However, one of their sons, Gordon, much preferred spending his holidays playing golf on the links at St Andrews.  These holidays with a shared interest in both dancing and golf resulted in the Swilcan, a Scottish country dance that is firmly rooted in the home of golf.  It is also fitting that the original tune is Gordon B Cosh named after Jimmy Cosh’s golfing enthusiast son.

Not only was Gordon an enthusiastic amateur golfer, he was excellent at the game, representing Scotland at golf matches in the 1960s, and Britain and Ireland in the Walker Cup in 1965. Although the match was tied overall, Gordon won both his two singles matches!  Gordon also plays the pipes and is a member of the Glasgow Highland Club, which was founded in 1882 with the aims of preserving the dance and music of the Highlands.
The original tune, Gordon B Cosh, was composed by Norrie MacInnes an accordion player and friend of Jimmy’s. It is difficult to find any additional information about Norrie as he does not appear to have written any other tunes.  He does, however, have the legacy of writing this fine jig for his friend Jimmy.
With Jimmy Cosh owning a bakery business on the south side of Glasgow, his son being an excellent golfer and Norrie MacInnes, being a butcher by trade, maybe the title of this article should have been: The Butcher, The Baker and The Golfer?
Dance Puzzles Part One
This week a “What’s Behind The Name?” jigsaw.
Do you have photos of this famous spot?
And have you found the online jigsaw timer?
We’d love to know how long you took to complete the picture – and of course, find out who was fastest!
Thanks to Kate Storr and Marjorie McLaughlin for sending in the solution to last week’s jigsaw – it was of course “The Old Man of Storr” from the 2020 RSCDS Calendar page celebrating “The Cuillins of Skye”.
They’ve also started the Jigsaw League Table with the first two entries, so let’s keep it going.
Marjorie did say she didn’t think she had top marks, but that it was fun – thank you Marjorie. So send in your name, branch and most importantly, your jigsaw completion time for our Jigsaw League.
  Kate Storr   10 mins
  Marjorie McLaughlin (San Diego)   20 mins 15 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.
The numbers are still growing and over 1,200 dancers joined the third RSCDS online class on Wednesday. Teacher Dave Hall was in Vienna to take everyone from a warm-up, through step technique and on to dancing The Lea Rig from Book 21 – clearly showing how you can dance this beautiful strathspey on your own, as a couple or in a small set. Thanks also to Judy, Emily and Anna for their help. The feedback from dancers creates a real sense of community and the questions help to deliver a great, live class atmosphere.
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 29th April, to find out who the mystery teacher is and what they have in store.
Link to join RSCDS Online Class:
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 will continue to monitor this but are doing everything we can to make this a secure environment for all.
It’s been great to see photos of dancers taking part in the online classes and we loved this photo from Stan and Clare Grycuk, RSCDS Aberdeen Branch.
They took this week’s class outdoors and danced with Clare’s ponies.
It looks like the ponies were definitely paying attention and their covering is great!
So please keep your Online Class photos coming in.
Dance Puzzles Part Two
Thanks to Zoe Hill of the London Branch for two new Puzzles.
Do you know your Scottish Country Dance Colours?
And do you know your Scottish Country Dance Tunes?
Download the Puzzles here or see below.
Below are 15 dances – fill in the missing colours.
Next, can you match the dance to the tune?
The solutions will appear in next week’s Dance Scottish At Home.
Last Week’s Solutions
We hope you enjoyed last week’s challenges. The solutions are presented below.
Guess the Dances from the Pictures
Did you recognise the dances portrayed in the Thursday Challenge photos?
Most importantly – can anyone help with Dance 6 as we can’t find the answer. Who knows what the dance is?
Download the answers here.

 Anagrams from the 2019 Autumn Gathering Dance programmes
Was your favourite dance from the November programmes in last week’s anagrams?
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? Anagrams, Wordsearch, Crossword or Missing Vowels – this could be your chance to challenge fellow dancers.
Send in your ideas by clicking “Have Your Say” at the bottom of the newsletter.
Although staff are not currently able to process physical shop orders, the good news is that you will still be able to purchase a selection of eBooks and eMusic by visiting our new Digital Collection webpage.
Many RSCDS Recordings are available to buy online, including via Amazon, iTunes and Spotify, and we are now working on expanding the list of our digital books - including eBook 46 which has just been released.
The Swilcan dance (from Book 23), referred to above, is also available within the Combined Dances Book 19-24 plus the accompanying recording by Gordon Shand and his Scottish Dance Band is available to download.

If you wish to discover more, then please visit our digital collection shop and browse our range of digital products.

Next week’s newsletter will bring the next At Home Podcast which goes to New Zealand to explore the music for another dance. We’ll celebrate a moment in Scottish history in “What’s Behind The Dance?” alongside the link from our next online class and much more.
Please keep sending in your VE day information, recollections and photos for our special VE Day issue. We also look forward to receiving more of your care and frontline worker shout outs! Do let us know what you want to see and hear in your weekly newsletter – we would love to have more articles with an international feel. Click the link below and keep your feedback coming in.
Take care and we’ll be back with Dance Scottish At Home next week.
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