Many of us will have felt a pang last weekend when, instead of stepping out to celebrate the London Branch 90th Anniversary with the Grand Autumn Ball, we instead had to content ourselves with (yet another) Saturday night in with Strictly Come Dancing as the nearest available alternative. I make no apologies for linking from that to a video that never fails to lift my mood - a long ago rendition of Schiehallion from Strictly's predecessor Come Dancing in 1992. This is such a joyful video, the stately strathspey opening, the fast, furious, but precisely stepped, reel, the glorious overhead shots on the golden dance floor and the rapturous audience response.
We may be some way from live demonstrations, the 2nd wave of COVID-19 having brought renewed restrictions to many of us, but we can still look forward to our next scheduled dance - hopefully the Winter Wednesday dance on 17 February 2021 as well as our rescheduled 90th Anniversary ball on Saturday 16 October 2021.
Whilst we wait to dance together again, we have an opportunity to reassess and adjust what we do and how we do it. We mentioned in our last eUpdate that we would be sending out a members' survey. This will be available in hard copy in the next edition of the Reel, for those with limited internet access, as well as in online format. We'll share the link to the online survey via the eUpdate, website and other branch media. Please do look out for it and share your thoughts
Meanwhile, there is also a Society survey, seeking input from RSCDS members across the world. It is open until Friday 13 November and your input will be invaluable in helping to shape the future of Scottish Country Dance - click here to take the survey.
The RSCDS AGM takes place tomorrow, Saturday 7 November, at 2pm via Zoom webinar from 12 Coates Crescent.. Take a few minutes to register in advance to make sure you don't miss any of the meeting. There will also be an evening event with music, dance and chat. More information further down the eUpdate and link here.
Until we meet again, please do keep sending your links, quizzes, favourite dance videos and memories of dancing in times past - whatever you have that you think may be of interest. Whether you have been dancing all your life or just began recently, if you're a teacher, musician, beginner, demonstration team member or simply enjoy the occasional social dance, please do keep in touch.
RSCDS online AGM 2020 and Autumn Evening
The 2020 AGM will be live streamed from 12 Coates Crescent on Saturday 7 November at 2pm. If you can't log on at that time the meeting is being recorded and will be available on the RSCDS website shortly after the event.
Later in the day there is to be an Autumn Evening event featuring the best of RSCDS recording and videos. It will include a playlist of 9 popular dances accompanied by videos of dancing moments from RSCDS events with photos and background dance information. Join in wherever you are with The Duke of Perth; Links with St Petersburg; Minister on the Loch; The Reel of the 51st Division; Pelorus Jack; Miss Gibson’s Strathspey; The Ullapool Ferry; Asilomar Romantic and finishing with the Flying Scotsman.
The evening will also include an Autumn Evening Interval featuring Jimmie Hill and Maureen Rutherford inspiring us with tales of dancing and music of the past. All this, plus the opportunity to use the Zoom chat function to connect with dancing friends across the world.
Sign in from 19:45 GMT and chat with the global dance community before the evening entertainment begins in earnest at 20:00 GMT.
Remembering an earlier anniversary
Whilst we have been obliged to postpone our 90th anniversary events, we offer some images of activities during London Branch's 75th anniversary year. The photos show children each preparing to blow out candles on their own mini birthday cake in December 2004 and included an Albert Hall demonstration and branch dances in May, October and December.
Dancing with no hands
Although dancing in London cannot restart until we come out of the 2nd lockdown, we can dream and we can plan. For those who have not yet seen this helpful list, compiled by Diane Hastie from Sydney, here is a wealth of enjoyable dances, all with no or minimal hand content for the best of socially distanced dancing.
The Branch Puzzle
Scottish Country Dances Wordsearch The letters of the dances are arranged diagonally, horizontally or vertically.
Can you find all 20 dances?
RSCDS Dance Scottish at Home.
Since the last eUpdate there have been 2 more fabulous editions of the Dance Scottish at home newsletter, including the 25th edition, and 4 online classes. The newsletters may be viewed here: 16 October 2020 30 October 2020
The online classes continues to be very popular. If you want more than one class a week and have not yet found your way to additional classes, this page on the society website provides a guide to many other virtual classes around the world..
On 14 October, Deb Lees took the class from Newcastle upon Tyne, accompanied by her husband, Roger, playing the fiddle. After a marching warm up to Geordie folk tunes, Deb focused on Highland steps for Scottish country dances – t the Reverse Scottische and the Glasgow Highlanders Setting Step followed by Pas de Basque Coupé and a step Deb described as “Toe Off and Bourrée”.
The following week class, 21 October, came from Lethbridge, Alberta in Canada, courtesy of Fiona Miller with technical support from her husband David. Fiona concentrated on strathspey step technique, working on long and short steps, reaching out to cover the ground and then working on the body positioning for shorter travelling steps. This lead up to Linda Gaul's dance “The Valentine” published in The RSCDS Magazine Dances and originally included in 5 Dances for 2009.
By the 28 October the online class had traveled to Runciman, New Zealand – just south of Auckland. Although the class was pre recorded, teacher Katharine Hoskyn joined the online chat to interact with class attendees. The class involved formations and phrases taken from dances and combined to work as sequences specifically designed for dancing at home. With diagrams and labelled furniture, Katherine explained corners for those new to dancing and challenged experienced dancers to suggest dances for the sequences.
We will bring the link to this week's class, on Wednesday 4 November, to you in our next eUpdate.
The Wednesday 11 November class will again be at 19:00 BST via this link. Please remember that, as Zoom has changed its security advice, there is now a Passcode for the class. Passcode: 249430.
Grateful thanks to all teachers, musicians, technicians and organisers involved in the delivery of these classes.
To revisit any of the classes so far simply click on the relevant name below.
We will continue to include links from Dance Scottish at Home but, if you'd like your own personal copy simply visit www.rscds.org, 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 www.rscds.org/get-involved/dance-scottish-home.