The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society

Issue 6, 1 May 2020

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Welcome to this week’s edition of Dance Scottish At Home, bringing Scottish dance and music gems to keep dancers everywhere upbeat at this time.
We’ve been appreciating your feedback and messages. Like those who have been in touch, we’d like to say thank you to everyone who is contributing to Dance Scottish At Home across the Newsletter, Podcast and Online Classes. We really value everyone’s input and the time that is being given voluntarily to keep everyone connected and engaged in Scottish dance and music just now.
Thank you to those readers who have been in touch with their VE Day memories. It’s not too late – if you have any information on where, when and how Scottish Dance and music played its part in the original celebrations in 1945, please send them in by Sunday 3rd May.
We also need your shout outs and stories for our Florence Nightingale 200th Anniversary issue. To celebrate the work by care and front line workers everywhere, we would like to share messages and content about members, their families and fellow dancers working in health, social care and other vital roles.

In the meantime, you can use the buttons at the top to share Dance Scottish At Home through Facebook and Twitter. 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.
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 dance story and 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 with another new track, while Shona MacFadyen plays a beautiful fiddle solo. We’re off to New Zealand for the story behind a dance, there’s a number quiz from Ian to get you thinking, there’s a look at jig-time and this week Peter Knapman shares his “Guest Album of the Week”.
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 Colin Dewar from back in 2005 with a broadcast from Ballymena in Northern Ireland. Then Take The Floor Ceilidh will be 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. Both programmes can be found on BBC iPlayer and on BBC Sounds.

The Thursday Challenge

Share your dance stories with our weekly Thursday Challenge using the hashtag #ThursdayChallenge.
Thank you again for some intriguing and inspiring stories of the most unusual locations you have danced at. Ideas we can all store for later. Beaches and swimming pools seem to be popular places - good reasons include how you can make whirlpools depending on the formations you dance and because you cannot really see the feet, you can relax your footwork ;-) Something that becomes obsolete when you wear gumboots, anyway... 

There are possibly broken records for 'furthest north' and 'highest up': Robert danced at a wedding in Namche Bazaar, Nepal, at an altitude of 3,440m, while Tom tells us about dancing on the still frozen surface of the Arctic Sea. It was part of a dance holiday that he wrote about in this article for the Vancouver Scottish Country Dancers in 2006.

Just a year ago, Ceilidhkids danced at the Sir Walter Scott Monument in Edinburgh. This may not be unusual but it is certainly a very special place! And during a dance holiday, Elizabeth Conder danced Scottish and local dances in Rajasthan. One photo shows her dancing at the Women's Empowerment Foundation, another illustrates that apparently, elephants can take part in dance events!
Photos courtesy of Elizabeth Conder, RSCDS London and International Branches.
Tim Bolton-Maggs from Newcastle upon Tyne and District Branch tells us this story: "While at Oxford I regularly took part in the IVFDF (Inter Varsity Folk Dance Festival) and in 1967 it was held in Exeter on Saturday 25th February. Four of us (from the OU Scottish Society, now the Oxford University Scottish Dance Society) set off in a car late on the Friday afternoon. As we journeyed, the full moon rose behind us and before long we realised that we were passing Stonehenge. Needing a break, we pulled into the car park and, because the moon was so bright, we decided to climb over the barbed wire fence and see the monument (it was that easy back then!). We decided to dance the Foursome Reel. Sadly, we didn’t have our Piper with us, but we managed with port à beul. We went on to Exeter and the Festival, where the four of us danced the Argyll Broadswords – with a Piper."
Photos courtesy of Tim Bolton-Maggs, RSCDS Newcastle Branch.

What's next?

This week’s Thursday Challenge was posted on 30th April, when in my part of Germany people set up birch trees at their love interest’s home. They do it secretly in the night - or they attempt to. The 1st May, brings a tradition to go on a bike ride and marvel at the variety of tree decorations, including wooden hearts and streamers. So, we thought we would challenge you to set up your own birch tree with the Thursday Challenge: write about your most romantic dance moment or your best dance friendship stories.
Joana Stausberg, Convenor of Youth Services Committee.
Social Media Round Up
This week we go back in time with footage from St Andrews and find out how Andy Murray is still managing to play competitive tennis.

Summer School Musicians have been keeping us entertained on Facebook as they share new and old tunes, as well as sharing old and new collaborations especially with many joining Tunes in the Hoose. This musical community celebrated its 200th episode with a 36 piece band playing Strip the Willow. They also shared this incredible photo of the musicians who have been contributing to the sets so far.  

Please click the picture below to find the Strip the Willow video.
And Summer School Dancers have been to the fore on YouTube as past demonstration videos have been shared – causing dancers to check who their partner was, have online chat to discuss who the musicians were and then chat even more as some dancers wonder if that really is them dancing! This video from 1994 showcases the Second Fortnight Men’s Highland Class in a packed Younger Hall with music by Jennifer Wilson. Dancing the Axum Reel are some very familiar faces. Who can you spot?
 Please click the picture below to play the video.
Of course Scottish Country Dancing is not the only activity to be affected by the current situation and it has been incredible to watch the world of tennis respond this week as professional players added another string to their racquets, competing in the virtual Madrid Open. Andy Murray is among 32 of the world’s leading players to replace live court competition with a knockout singles online tournament from the comfort of his own home. 16 men, 16 women, 2 knockout tournaments leading to 2 winners – players have been using lockdown hours to practise for hours, ready to entertain their fans and raise money for relief funds.
A late update to DSAH as Sir Andy won the Madrid Virtual Open 7-6 (5) on the Tennis World Tour video game – taking the virtual trophy home without leaving the comfort of his sofa!
What's Behind The Name?
Loch Leven Castle – RSCDS Book 21
Original Tune - Loch Leven Castle (Traditional).
Written by Peter Knapman, Convenor of Membership Services Committee
Loch Leven Castle – an ancient ruin on an island in the middle of Loch Leven.  However, if you dig beneath the surface, you’ll discover the story of a queen held as a prisoner by her own subjects and a daring escape on 2nd May 1568.  An escape that was ultimately out of the frying pan and into the fire.
The Queen was Mary Queen of Scots who led an eventful, if troubled life, but what was a monarch doing being held captive in a castle on a small island in the middle of a loch?
Mary Queen of Scots – life before capture
Mary was ultimately a pawn in a power struggle that involved two powerful kingdoms and religious reformation.
When only 6 days old, Mary inherited the throne of Scotland in 1542, on the untimely death of her father, James V. It was a time of great turmoil as the Catholic church fought to retain its influence against Protestant reformers. Henry VIII in England had eyes on Scotland and a Protestant Britain, so proposed a marriage treaty between Mary and his son Edward. Mary, the child queen was stuck in the middle.  French help came to Scotland, but at a price: a marriage proposal between Mary and the French Dauphin which led to 5-year-old Mary being taken to France for ‘safe keeping’.  Mary’s marriage to the Dauphin in 1558 was short lived as he died in 1559 from an ear infection.
In 1561 Mary returned to Scotland, a Catholic monarch in a country that had undergone a Protestant Reformation just a year before. Not quite what had been planned all those years earlier and possibly a recipe for trouble at some future time!
Things went fairly well for a while but a bad choice in marriage to Henry Lord Darnley resulted in a downward spiral.  Mary’s secretary David Rizzio was murdered in Holyrood palace: Henry Lord Darnley being behind the murder. Henry Lord Darnley was then murdered in Kirk O Fields in Edinburgh: The Earl of Bothwell rumoured to be responsible for this deed. The Earl of Bothwell ‘captured’ Mary and took her to Dunbar castle where they married!  None of this looks very good and it’s all a bit too suspicious!

The result: some of the Scottish nobles had had enough, capturing Mary, forcing her to abdicate in favour of her infant son James VI and holding her a prisoner in Loch Leven Castle.  It is now July 1567 and Mary is only 25, has been married three times and finds herself imprisoned in a castle on a small island in Loch Leven having been forced to give up her throne.  To add to her misery, she suffered a miscarriage whilst in captivity, losing twins.

The Escape
After an unsuccessful escape attempt in 1567, a second and successful attempt was made on 2nd May 1568 (452 years ago).  Loch Leven castle was under the command of Sir William Douglas and after the initial failed escape attempt, he kept Mary under close security.  Also in the castle was William’s half-brother George and a ‘natural’ son Willie who had been brought up to be part of the family.
Sir William’s half-brother George and his son Willie grew fond of Mary and vowed to help her escape.  The escape itself is full of daring and legend, with some variations in the versions.  All, however, convey the sense of daring that Willie played in the scheme.
In one of the most colourful versions Willie had arranged May day festivities for the 1st and 2nd of May and appointed himself ‘The Abbott of Unreason’.  This role put him in charge of the celebrations and gave him the right to make anyone his slave for the day. Willie made sure that everybody joined in the frenzied dances and consumed plenty of alcoholic beverages.
Although the castle keys were in Sir William's possession, Sir William was somewhat the worse for wear after the day's excitement, which enabled Willie to daringly pick up the keys from the dining table by dropping a napkin over them.
Willie left the hall, locking the door behind him, hurried to Mary's apartment and unlocked the doors. Mary had changed clothes disguising herself as a servant girl.  Then they all left, locking all the gates and doors behind them, heading to a postern gate, where Willie had moored a boat. He had previously taken the precaution of sabotaging the other boats by knocking holes in their hulls.  
Once safely on their way Willie threw the keys into the Loch, from where they were fished up, by chance, over 200 years later (in 1805) and can now be seen in the National Museum of Scotland.
Mary’s freedom, however, had a sting in the tail.  Two weeks after her daring escape she was involved in the battle of Langside, just outside Glasgow.  Mary’s forces were defeated, suffering significant losses. Mary took flight and headed south, where she eventually sailed with some of her most loyal supporters over the Solway Firth. She landed on English soil and put herself at the mercy of her cousin Elizabeth I of England.  Mary was held captive in England for 19 years before being executed on the orders of Elizabeth I in 1587.  Her only child James VI of Scotland inherited the throne of England on the death of Elizabeth I in 1603, when he became James I and VI.
Loch Leven today
Today Loch Leven Castle is a ruin in the care of Historic Scotland which operates a summer boat service to the castle island.  Although a ruin you can still imagine what life was like in the castle and see the space where Mary was held. Loch Leven is a National nature reserve and is the largest natural shallow water lake in lowland Britain. From late summer until spring it is home to thousands of wildfowl that use it as an over wintering base, whilst during the summer months it is home to more breeding ducks than anywhere else in Europe.  A waymarked 20km Heritage Trail extends the whole way round the loch perimeter: an interesting and varied walk should you find yourself in the area.    
Dance Puzzles Part One
This week another “What’s Behind The Name?” jigsaw.
Have you been to 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 those who have sent in the solution to last week’s DSAH jigsaw – it was of course “The Swilcan” as featured in last week’s “Behind the Dance”. The photo sparked memories for a few of you – Kate Thomson shared that although she hadn’t walked over the bridge, she had enjoyed walking on the beautiful beach there and Marjorie McLaughlin got in touch to say how much St Andrews and the Old Course meant to her Dad, especially in 1987 when she sat her Full Certificate there. Thanks also to Elizabeth Hunter for the photo of her family on the bridge after her grandson’s christening at St Salvator’s last May and to Fiona Newton who sent in the fabulous photo of golfer Tom Watson on the Winner’s Bridge.
We’ve had more entries to our Jigsaw League. Well done Marjorie, a definite improvement on last week’s time – so we’ve moved you up the table! We also loved Clair’s very precise top time. It’s great to see the global spread - so please keep sending in your name, branch and most importantly, your jigsaw completion time for our DSAH Jigsaw League.
Clair Caudwell Retford and District 5 minutes 59 seconds and ½
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
Fiona Newton Inverness and District 10 minutes 10 seconds
Marjorie McLaughlin San Diego 12 minutes 32 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.
The numbers are still growing and over 1,250 dancers joined this week’s RSCDS online class. Teacher Diana Hastie had recorded her class from Sydney to take everyone from warm-ups, through step technique and on to the step dance, The Blue Bonnets – bringing step dancing to many dancers for the first time. With Angela Young on hand to manage the live chat and the questions, we were able to keep connecting dancers from around the globe while managing musical queries. We’re also looking at your feedback as to how to allow time at the end of the class for those important chat moments, so keep watching!
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 6th May, 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. 
A Personal View
Famous Composers of Scottish Music
WILLIAM MARSHALL – 1748-1833 – A personal view
Written by Anne Taylor, Convenor of Education and Training Committee
William Marshall is close to my heart as he was born in Fochabers where I lived for a number of years. It’s also where I have now taught the children of Milne’s Primary School for many years - one of the few schools where Scottish Country Dance is taught to classes from P2 to P7 as part of the curriculum.

William Marshall was born on the 27th December 1748 to Francis Marshall and Isobel Innes, growing up with his sister Jean, and brothers Alexander and Henry.  It is thought that William only attended the Grammar school for approximately 6 months before he became a house boy in the Castle Gight (now known as Gordon Castle).  The Castle of Gight was set nearby the River Spey (the fastest flowing river in Scotland) and was built around 1479 by George Gordon the 2nd Earl of Huntly. 

The Rev. John Anderson helped Marshall with his early education at Gordon Castle.  John Anderson was commissioner on the Gordon estates and was minister in Kingussie for 27 years and 11 years in Beillie (area of Fochabers). In 1819, following objections from the General Assembly, Anderson gave up his post of minister but remained commissioner to the Duke.  William Marshall wrote the piece of music entitled “Anderson’s Rant” with the Minister in mind - rant in this case means a lively energetic tune.

Marshall, having begun his working life in the Castle as a house boy, soon showed his strength and athletic prowess.  It is reported he was handsome, intelligent and an excellent runner.  He also showed exceptional musical talents, recognised at an early age by the 4th Duke of Gordon and his wife to whom he later became a footman, butler and subsequent house steward.  He left Gordon castle in 1790 and became factor to the Keithmore part of the Gordon estate.

The 4th Duke of Gordon, Alexander Gordon was a man of enlightenment and had interests in many areas including music and writing poetry.  In fact, Robert Burns visited Gordon Castle and said of his hosts 'The Duke made me happier than ever great man did-noble, princely, yet mildly condescending and affable, gay and kind. The Duchess witty and sensible. God bless them!'  The Duke himself had written some traditional Scottish fiddle music, one example being “Brodie House” which Marshall published in his Kinrara Collection in 1800.

The Duchess of Gordon was influential in persuading Marshall to publish his first collection of Strathspeys and Reels in 1781 and Marshall went on to produce a number of other small publications. The Duchess of Gordon, separated from the Duke in 1789 and built a new house Kinrara, on the Banks of the Spey which led to William Marshall’s tune named Kinrara. And it’s there that the story comes full circle as my husband and I spent 5 years living in a Chalet next door to Kinrara, before moving back to Fochabers.
I hope you will look out for others as well as looking afresh at the music of William Marshall a composer of Scottish Traditional Fiddle Music, A Clock Maker and Butler to the 4th Duke of Gordon.  
Dance Puzzles Part Two
We aim to keep your Dance brains buzzing with our puzzles. Please get in touch if you have a Dance Scottish At Home puzzle for us – crossword, wordsearch, missing words, missing vowels – this is the space for your dancing conundrums.
More anagrams this week from Stan Grycuk of RSCDS Aberdeen with 15 dances from the recent RSCDS publication Thirty Popular Dances Volume Two. The articles in the book might even help you with some of the clues. You can download the puzzle here.
The solutions will appear in next week’s Dance Scottish At Home.
Last Week’s Solutions
Did you fill in the dancing colours of the rainbow? And could you match all the dances to the tunes? 
The solutions are presented below or you can click here
Missing Colours

Did you fill in the dancing colours of the rainbow? And could you match all the dances to the tunes? 
Thanks Zoe for sending in your puzzles – I’m sure they kept everyone busy this week, especially with the tune connections. Are you a puzzle deviser 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.
Read the latest update from the Board, available on the News & Blog section of the website. Management Board meeting highlights are also available to view on the MB Noticeboard under the Governance section of the website, once you have logged in.
Just a reminder that you can purchase a selection of eBooks and eMusic by visiting our Digital Collection webpage. Many RSCDS recordings are available to buy online via Amazon, iTunes and Spotify, and we are working on expanding the list of our digital books – including eBook 47 and the Warm-up book, just released this week.
The Loch Leven Castle (from Book 21), referred to above, is also available within the Combined Dances Book 19-24 plus the accompanying recording by John Renton and his Scottish Dance Band is available to download.
Please visit our digital collection shop and browse our range of digital products to find out more.
Next week’s newsletter is our VE Day special and will be brought to you as the 75th anniversary is commemorated.  We look forward to bringing you information, recollections and photos from 1945, so please do get in touch if you have anything you would like to share from that time.
We are also looking forward to receiving more of your care and frontline worker shout outs for our Florence Nightingale Special the following week. We want to make that issue a real celebration of those who are working so hard to keep us safe at this time.
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.
For now, take care and we’ll be back with Dance Scottish At Home next week.
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