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RSCDS London branch eUpdate 26 April 2020
+ online class links

With apologies for the delay, here are the working links for the online classes available so far
Dave Hall,  Mervyn Short and Angela Young.

Dear fellow dancers

The weeks seem to be going round so rapidly - even whilst the lockdown days are moving slowly. A strange phenomenon during a very strange period for us all. The sunshine is definitely helping here, even if our local ice cream shop does remain resolutely closed. 

This week in the London Branch eUpdate we have another video from the archives, the answer to last week's puzzle and a further set of 3 favourite dances,

Thanks to London branch teaching convener, Jenny Kendrick for the link to a fascinating course about Robert Burns: Robert Burns: Poems Songs, and Legacy, Later in this eUpdate we'll include information about the RSCDS Dance Scottish at Home class, this week led by Dave Hall in Vienna with supporting cast of family dancers.  Another class option is provided  at 2pm each Saturday afternoon by Kate Gentles in Cambridge. To join her weekly step class, email Kate for details.  

A feature of many people's lock down experience has been the seemingly never ending series of humorous or poignant videos and images.  With apologies if you have see these before, my favourites from this week include 'Explaining the pandemic to my past self' , a COVID-19 booklist plus a different, and quite beautiful, dance video from the Opera National de Paris..

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.  Tell us about your favourite dance - its history, music, how to dance it,  share your experiences of  Summer/Winter school or of dancing around the world!   

We miss you and we look forward to hearing from you

RSCDS Dance Scottish at Home. 
The 5th edition of the 'Dance Scottish at Home' newsletter again provided a great range of interesting and engaging content. Perhaps my favourite  this week was the Lego stop motion version of Miss Milligan's Strathspey.  Click on the newsletter link above for more music, dance, podcasts, puzzles and challenges from around the world of Scottish Country Dance.

Attendance at the Wednesday online class has continued to grow with over 1200 logins recorded again this week. Dave Hall led the class from Vienna, ably supported by family, Judy, Emily and Anna.

This time we achieved the seemingly impossible and danced a full dance, the Lea Rig, in the confines of our various kitchens, sitting rooms, hallways and gardens. A minor glitch prevents me sharing the link this evening but I will forward as soon as it becomes available. 

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.

Previous editions of the RSCDS newsletter, Dance Scottish at Home are available here Week 4Week 3Week 2Week 1). 

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

As noted last week, future editions will celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE Day on 8 May and the 200th Anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth.  RSCDS is appealing for stories of where, when and how Scottish dance and music featured in the 1945 celebrations and stories of how present day members and fellow dancers are supporting us all through their  work in health, social care and other vital roles. There must be lots of London content so please do send to
Three of my favourite dances – Mel Rowland
It has been a great pleasure to receive details of favourite dances nominated by London branch members. It is always interesting to learn more about the background to a dance but I have appreciated the opportunity  to discover what has made it special to a fellow dancer. 

Following last week's selections from Stephen Webb (The Starrie Eyed LassieSleepy Maggie  and Up in the Air ) - this week we are pleased to share dances selected by Mel Rowland who dances with the Park Walk Technique class. 

She says "I have only been Scottish Country Dancing for four years, and still have so much to learn. My 3 dances take me back to the Beginners class at Richmond taught by Judith Jones where we had such fun learning the formations and then putting them together in the dances”.

Reel - Catch the Wind  from Bk 45 No. 5
I have chosen this as my favourite Reel as it has such a jolly tune and it was the first dance that I was confident enough to dance all the way through without needing a recap. So, I’m always pleased to see it on dance programmes. As a Beginner the dance had the challenge of a reel of three and seemed to be quite fast paced.  It was often a rush for the dancing couple to complete the last 4 bars (1st couple turn right hand) and be ready on the sidelines to start again. (NB: for anyone inspired to try dancing this at home, here is a 'Dance Scottish at Home' example with just 2 people!) 

Jig - Pelorus Jack  from Bk 41 No. 1
This was the dance which introduced us to Alternating Tandem ½ reels (or a Dolphin Reel) and what a sense of achievement we had when they went right! I like the fact that the dance was named in honour of a  dolphin that was famous for meeting and escorting ships through a stretch of water in the Marlborough Sounds, nearby Pelorus Sound, in Cook Strait, New Zealand, between 1888 and 1912.

Strathspey - The Dream Catcher  from Bk 45 No. 9
I enjoy dancing in square sets – and this dance has such beautiful music. When we first started to dance this in the Beginners class, it seemed so complicated with Judith having to patiently call out the instructions each time we danced it. I have only ever danced it with the same partner and always in the position of 2s but I can now dance it without instructions. My next challenge is to try and dance it from a different starting position!

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)


Scottish Dance Videos

This week's video is the RSCDS film "Take Your Partners". 


This 28 minute film produced around 1978 shows Miss Gibson talking about the Society and then continues with a historical look at Scottish dancing recorded at various locations around Scotland including Jordanhill College, Glasgow. Steps and formations are also shown, finishing with 3 dances - The Golden Pheasant, The Deil amang the Tailors and From Scotia's Shores We're Noo Awa'.

Thanks again to Peter Knight and to Meryl and Ian Thomson for sourcing and making available these lovely films.
Many thanks to Thelma-Jane Robb for these enjoyable puzzles.

NHS advice on keeping yourself well:

  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • always wash your hands when you get home or into work
  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards
  • try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell

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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