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RSCDS London branch eUpdate
13 July 2020


Dear fellow dancers

Each week the roads seem to get busier as more people return to work, more shops open and pubs and restaurants once again serving food and drink to the British public.

Gyms, swimming pools and outdoor theatres are set to re-open later this month but sadly there can be no dancing for some time yet.  We had hoped to combine the London branch AGM with the new season dance on 19 September.  Whilst we cannot dance, we still intend to hold the AGM, albeit  as a virtual Zoom meeting, starting at 3pm on the 19th September,  to be followed by a short programme of ceilidh items.  More information in the coming weeks but meanwhile, if you would like to know more about the ceilidh or to offer some music, dance or other item contact Simon Wales via

Although annual  summer highlights such as the Edinburgh Festival have had to be cancelled, the Edinburgh Fringe events are going ahead online - more information here - and live classical music returns to Scotland this week, via BBC Radio 3's lunchtime concerts in Glasgow’s City Halls. 

Looking ahead to the the promised RSCDS 'Dance Scottish - a summer celebration', we are invited to  vote for our favourite dances to feature in the Summer Social on Saturday 1 August. You have until 17 July to cast your vote - click here to enter. We have 6 days of events to look forward to from Monday 27th July - Saturday 1 August, with more information being shared on the RSCDS website and via the Dance Scottish at Home newsletter each week.  

Please do let us know if you find something to share with fellow London dancers. Quizzes, favourite dance videos and memories of dancing in times past - all welcomed.  

Three of my favourite dances – Jenny Kendrick
Following last week's selections from Willie Lawrence, this week Jenny Kendrick, London Branch Classes Convener shares her favourite dances with us.

Napier's Index x 40 bar Jig - Book 45 No. 8
One of my favourite jigs is the well-known and frequently danced Napier’s Index. It’s a 40 bar jig devised by Brian Charlton of Sydney, and named in honour of Keith Napier and his Index of SCDs. I think it’s a perfectly choreographed dance. It’s balanced, elegant and at the end of each phrase, the dancing couple are facing the way they should go. The lead tune is the delightful Juniper Jig by Charles F. Sherrit, which encourages the lift and flight needed in skip-change, and it is played beautifully for Book 45 by George Meikle and the Lothian Scottish Dance Band.

Button Boy x 32 Reel - published in The Allanton Collection No. 1

It’s so hard to choose a favourite reel, but one I love is The Button Boy, devised by Bill Zobel. It’s sociable, fun and has a great story behind it: the button boy was the recruit on a training ship who climbed to the very top of the mast to salute. The eponymous lead tune for this dance is by Muriel Johnstone and if you have never heard it, it is a thing of beauty. You will find it on her aptly-named CD Dancing Fingers 2.

Up in the Air x 32 Strathspey - Book 20 No. 2

The strathspey step is my favourite step, and I love so many of the elegant strathspeys we dance. I’m going to choose Up in the Air from Book 20, because I was taught it by Bar Martlew at a day school, and Bar’s beautiful dancing and kindness to new dancers was the stuff of legend. I love the idea that we are keeping the history of Scottish dance alive: Up in the Air was devised by W. Boag and is from the eighteenth century, and the enchanting lead tune is Sir George Clark of Pennycuik by Nathaniel Gow (1766-1831).


Whether you have been dancing a long time or just started, please do tell us what YOUR choices would be? Email to tell us about them.

Previous weeks' selections
We've  begun to compile dances nominated in previous weeks into dance lists  on the site, with the person nominated each dance cited in the notes column.

To check out the dances nominated in the first 6 weeks  click here. More recent nominations are shown below.
Dave Hall
College Hornpipe, Gentleman and Wild Geese 

Mervyn Short
The NurserymanLord Elgin's Reel and The Deil amang the Tailors

Margaret Shaw
The New PetronellaJohnnie’s Welcome Hame and Sloane Square 

Jim Cook
Swiss LassieBelle Of Bon Accord and Tap The Barrel
Jim Cook
Swiss LassieBelle Of Bon Accord and Tap The Barrel

Wendy Morris
Miss Johnstone of ArdrossanJ.B.Milne and Mairi’s Wedding

Judy Valvona
Chequered CourtThe Robertson Rant and The Sailor

Willie Lawrence
Branch Puzzle

Our puzzle this week is taken from one of the dances mentioned elsewhere in this eUpdate - click on the image of the Button Boys of HMS Ganges and solve the jigsaw puzzle.

RSCDS Dance Scottish at Home.
This week's Dance Scottish at Home featured an online map showing different parts of the world from where dancer have signed into the weekly online class  and a new crossword puzzle, from Diane Hastie in Sydney. The 'What's behind the name' section provided some history of Sir Archibald Grant of Monymusk who, besides giving his name to a  favourite strathspey, was an active landowner and President of the Aberdeen Musical Society. As ever there is much much more in this fascinating newsletter. If you haven't read this week's edition yet, there are many treats in store for you.

Recent editions of the RSCDS newsletter, Dance Scottish at Home are available here:  3 July 202026 June 2020

This week's online class came from Sydney, Australia, courtesy of  Trish Nicholls.  The class suffered a little from technical issues but these have been resolved in the recording and I strongly recommend Trish's invigorating warm ups, balancing exercises, transition practise as well as the finale - "Espie McNabb” from Miss Milligan’s Miscellany. 

You can catch up with this week’s class and some of the chat here.

Much closer to home, the  previous week's class was given by Sue Porter from Oban,  Ably supported by her husband, Gordon. Sue had cleared her living room of all furniture to make a great dancing space.  Sue worked us hard and we enjoyed concentrating on our strathspey technique, setting and turning corners before dancing the strathspey "Invercauld’s Reel"  from Book 11.

Sue's class is available here.
Next week's class, with a different teacher, will be at 7pm on Wednesday and available via this link . Grateful thanks to RSCDS, the teachers and the technicians who make this weekly class possible.

To revisit any of the classes so far simply click on the relevant image or name below.
Debbie Roxburgh
David Queen
Angela Young, Mervyn Short, Dave Hall, Diane Hastie,William Williamson, Ron Wallace, Graham Donald, Atsuko Clement, Fiona Mackie 
We will continue to include links from Dance Scottish at Home but, if you'd like your own personal copy simply visit, scroll to the bottom of the homepage and complete your details in the ‘Sign up for the RSCDS eNewsletter’ section. It’s quick and easy! There is also a DSAH webpage where you can access previous issues of the Dance Scottish At Home eNewsletter and view all of the Zoom online classes to date – visit

NHS advice on keeping yourself well:

Government advice here:
RSCDS Blog here:

We look forward to dancing with you soon.
Copyright © 2020 RSCDS London Branch, All rights reserved.

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