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RSCDS London branch eUpdate
24 May 2020


Dear fellow dancers

We hope you have been able to enjoy the lovely weather we have had this week and maybe even managed to practise some Scottish Country dance steps and formations in the garden or park! 

In this London Branch eUpdate we have another interesting film from the dance archives, this week's film is called Scotland Dancing Again. We also have our usual set of three favourite dances, this week courtesy of Mervyn Short, as well as links to Dance Scottish at Home including music and link to the latest online class. For those puzzle addicts, we have the answer to last week's Spot the Difference puzzle together with a new Word Search.

Following on from last week's dance Down But Not Out devised by Marion and Brian Pierson, Judith Jones shows us you really can dance with a cuddly toy!  Her new dance is called Wuhan Woo-Hoo - a 32 bar Jig to celebrate the lifting of some travel restrictions in Wuhan China (crib here). The members of her Beginners class at Richmond have already enjoyed trying the dance out at home.

We wish you all a lovely Bank Holiday weekend.

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.  

Scottish Dance Videos
This week's film is taken from the RSCDS archives. Scotland Dancing Again tells the story of The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society - through 27 of its dances. It is illustrated with extracts from the Society's archives.

Many of you have told us how much you enjoy our weekly look at the archives. We look forward to receiving your comments on this week's film.
Thanks again to Peter Knight and to Meryl and Ian Thomson for sourcing and making available these lovely films.

RSCDS Dance Scottish at Home.
The weekly Dance Scottish at Home newsletter continues to deliver a wealth of varied content from across the world.  The latest edition told us about the second World Play a Strathspey Day on 14 May when musicians across the world played, recorded and uploaded strathspeys to social media.  Search  #worldplayastrathspeyday online, or just check the Dance Scottish at Home newsletter, for a range of beautiful interpretations.

Still on the strathspey theme this week's story behind the dance  gave the background to The Lea Rig from RSCDS Book 21 -  a dance that will always have a special place in my heart for the joy of dancing it at home as part of Dave Hall's online dance class earlier this month.

Attending London branch classes in Park Walk, Chelsea, has an additional bonus in May each year - walking past the intricate and beautiful floral decorations on many local shops and businesses in celebration of the  Chelsea Flower show.  Although, sadly, the 2020s show has been cancelled, it is celebrated with a quiz in a  this week's RSCDS at Home podcast..

There's much more in the newsletter including a fascinating history of the Scottish Crown Jewels as well as the regular stories, images, puzzles.

Previous editions of the RSCDS newsletter, Dance Scottish at Home are available here Week 8Week 7Week 6Week 5Week 4Week 3Week 2Week 1

Part of the fun of the weekly online class is guessing who the mystery teacher might be and where in the world we will find ourselves.  After Scotland, England, Australia, Austria and California, this week's class came from the sunlit patio of Graham Donald in Gran Canaria.  Graham took us through a brisk and enjoyable up warm up and then Bonnie Geordie's Wig, a 32 bar reel from Miss Milligan's Miscellany of Scottish Country Dances. There is something very special about completing a full dance , even  when navigating ghosts and kitchen furniture, in company with more than 1250 dancers across the world in a week otherwise starved of dance.  
You can catch up with this week’s class and some of the chat here.
Next week's class, with a different teacher, will be at 7pm on Wednesday and available via this link (same link every week). 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 below.
Graham Donald
Ron Wallace
William Williamson
Mervyn Short
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
Branch Puzzle - Answers to Spot the Difference
Here are the answers to last week's Spot the Difference puzzle. Did you manage to find all ten?


New Puzzle - Wordsearch
This week Thelma-Jane Robb has designed a Wordsearch for us. How many of the stops and formation do you know? What is a highland schottische step?

Three of my favourite dances – Mervyn Short
Following last week's selections from long-term London Branch member, Dave Hall, this week Mervyn Short shares his favourite dances with us. 

Mervyn says, "It would be impossible for me to choose my three favourite dances but the three listed below would be in my list of top ten".

The Nurseryman x 32 bar Jig RSCDS Bk 37 No. 7

‘The Nurseryman’ by Stephen Brown was published in 1992 and I have always liked the dance. It includes the formation inverting double triangles which I prefer to double triangles. The changing shape makes it a more interesting formation to dance and to watch. I like the exit from three hands across into lines across for advance and retire and the dance finishes with an exhilarating right hand turn. The tune, ‘Miss McPherson Grant of Ballindalloch's Jig’ by William Marshall a composer from 18th century is the original tune. A number of recordings have been made but the Deirdre Adamson recording is my favourite.

Lord Elgin's Reel x 32 bar Strathespey RSCDS Bk 26 No. 5

Unlike ‘The Nurseryman’, ‘Lord Elgin’s Reel’ is a traditional strathspey and dates back to the 18th century. I like the second eight bars of this dance which require careful phrasing, good use of arms and interaction with partner and the rest of the set. The turns with corners are unusual and again require careful phrasing. In the last eight bars the formation, advance and retire is danced using one step in each direction which is easier to dance than the two step version. Like ‘The Nurseryman’, ‘Lord Elgin’s Reel’ uses a tune by William Marshall, ‘Lee Mills’. It is a strong strathspey which compliments the dance. As far as I know there is only one recording of the dance by Alan Gardiner which is good and includes some excellent alternative tunes.

The Deil amang the Tailors - 32 bar Reel RSCDS Bk 14 No. 7

‘The Deil amang the Tailors’, is another traditional and easy dance dating back to 1799. It includes all three steps and finishes with six hands round and back which I like very much. The tune is ‘The Deil amang the Tailors’ by Niel Gow, another composer from the 18th century and it is one of my favourites. The dance has been recorded by many bands but I always enjoy dancing to James Coutt's recording for Book 14.

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
Simon Wales
The Dancing MasterAutumn in Appin and John of Bon Accord

Meryl Thomson
The New Rigged ShipThe Rakes of Glasgow and The Montgomeries’ Rant

Stephen Webb
The Starrie Eyed LassieSleepy Maggie  and Up in the Air 

Melanie Rowland 
Catch the Wind, Pelorus Jack and The Dream Catcher 

Chris Hood 
Bratach Bàna, Clutha and Seann triubhas Willichan 

Rachael Wilton

Flowers of EdinburghJennifer's Jig and Midsummer Common

Dave Hall
College Hornpipe, Gentleman and Wild Geese 


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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