September eUpdate and notice of our AGM
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Chair Chat

September. The days are shorter and children go back to school. Scottish country dancers dust off their shoes, look forward to stiff muscles after the first class and sign up for the day school, aiming to improve their dancing technique. Above all, we anticipate with pleasure good company, live music and excellent dances.

Not this year, of course. The RSCDS Dance Scottish - A Summer Celebration cannot lead us to autumn gatherings of any sort, as branches cancel events across the world and the AGM, normally part of the wonderful Autumn Gathering in Perth, is to be held by Zoom.

I hope you are taking advantage of the online classes and reading some of the items in Dance Scottish at Home. It’s reassuring to know that there are many dancers out there who, like us, are just waiting for things to get started again. But just waiting is not enough. Unless we support the RSCDS, Scottish dancing will be in a weaker position when we meet again. It will be fantastic if you all decide to continue your membership of the Leeds Branch.

Next month we will have a virtual Leeds Branch AGM. Please be there to offer support.  And don’t ignore that nomination form – the committee does need new or returning members.

Happy (online) dancing,


 Notice of AGM

The Branch AGM
will be held by Zoom on the
 17th October 2020 at 6pm.

We'll need a quorum, so we hope to see lots of you there!
New to Zoom? Worried you don't know how to use Zoom? We will run two taster sessions nearer the time to make sure you can join us, and limit the technical hitches.

The Agenda and reports will be sent out in the eUpdate in October.  In the meantime, here are the Minutes of last year's meeting, a link to Branch Constitution.  

Committee Vacancies
There are at least TWO vacancies on the committee and anyone wishing to join would be most welcome. Normally members would receive a nomination form to use, but in these strange times, please email your suggestions to: or by post to 15, The Turnways, Leeds, LS6 3DT.  

All nominees must have agreed to stand, be a member of the Leeds Branch, and be over 18.  If you are nominating someone other than yourself, please seek their permission first.  Each nomination should have a proposer and a seconder.  Your nominations need to be with the Branch Secretary by 1st October. 

The current Committee, with the exception of our retiring Vice Chair Alan Horsfall, who has fulfilled his two terms on the Committee, have agreed to stand again for another term.  However, as well as a replacement for Alan we need at least one additional member; one of these two should not have serve on the Committee before.

Here's a reminder Who's Who on the current Committee:
Marion Walbank (Chair), Ray Williams (Treasurer),  Evelyn Davidson (Secretary), John Pugh (Assistant Treasurer)
Committee members:
Alan Horsfall, Elisabeth Pugh, Jill Woodman,  Nicola Waugh, Sharon Taylor
Shop Manager: Christine Parker-Jones

  • Both Officers and Committee members must be elected/re-elected every year.
  • The Vice Chair is elected by the Committee from among the Committee members.
  • Other responsibilities (see below) are shared out amongst the serving Committee members.
  • In addition the Shop Manager and Membership Secretary are ex-officio Committee Members, without voting rights. 

Members contribute by organising or supporting :

  • Class admin
  • Liaising with classes, teachers, venues and musicians
  • Workshops, Day Schools & Weekends
  • Ceilidhs
  • Events  (eg demos, WRF, etc)
  • Catering at dances and events
  • Taking minutes

In addition, many retired Committee members continue to use their particular expertise in supporting the work of the Branch!

Branch membership
A special thank you to all those of you who have renewed your membership, and for the couple who generously gave a donation to the Branch. Those who have not done so yet, please consider doing it now, either by bank transfer or by sending a cheque to the 

  • Assistant Treasurer,  
    John Pugh
    4 Styveton Way
    Keighley      BD20 6TP

If you want to pay by bank transfer the details are in the eUpdate you were sent in August, or email 

We value your support and sincerely hope that you will join us for another year.

Committee Activity

You guessed it!  The last Committee meeting again took place by Zoom, this time on August 23rd.  

The main items on the August Committee agenda focussed on
1) updating progress on our calendar of events which MAY still run and are STILL under review: The Highland Workshop on October 24th, the joint Ball with York and Malhamdale residential weekend in November,  and the Christmas dance with the Leeds SCD Club in December, and
2) planning the online Branch AGM.

Further afield

 Let's hear it for the RSCDS Zoom classes which are taking us all over the world!  Remember, you don't have to be 'free' on Wednesday evenings, if it clashes with your buddy phone call or your Book Club Zoom session, there is a repeat on Fridays and adjustments for other time zones which should suit even night owls like me!

And long ago

Having run the shop for a number of years, I am very conscious of the vast range of music now available to classes and dancers. But it was not always like that. I thought these snippets from my father’s letters home when he was stationed in Singapore in the 1950s might be of interest: 

“We are going to start a weekly session of Scottish dancing on Thursday evenings. The floors at the Centre are not at all suitable so we have managed to borrow the school hall of the Army school at Pasir Panjang which was completed little more than a year ago. It has a good parquet floor which is kept in beautiful condition, and folding doors opening onto the ground down the two longer sides. A very keen Scots major is going to act as an instructor, and there are several officers who are competent performers who are keen to take part. The great difficulty at present is to purchase the right gramophone records. These seem to be unobtainable in Singapore.”

 “The arrangements for the Scottish dancing are now complete and we have at least 16 starters for Thursday evening, which means a minimum of two sets for an “Eightsome Reel”. I did not feel at all confident to choose the music so I dragged Major Maclean (our instructor to be) into the shop to help and hear them first. We purchased two long playing records of Scottish Dance for something less than 30 shillings and with these two records in place we have a playing time of 80 minutes and 16 different dances.¶”

And later

The Scottish dancing on Thursday evening was a great success so we went on from 8:15 until nearly 11. There were four complete sets of eight and there was a marked improvement in the standard. Afterwards we went to the Officers’ Club for a drink. ¶

"... and after that there was the last Scottish Dancing session so I was fully occupied that day. The Scottish Dancing went very well as the newcomers, and our instructor went through most of our repertoire with little instruction, and it was great fun. We presented Mrs Maclean with a large box of chocolates as she and her husband have worked very hard in their spare time and have even refused to have the cost of their transport refunded."¶ No change there 

"The weather recently has been quite cool, or at least it has felt cool although the temperature has not fallen below 72°F. Coming home from Scottish Dancing I wear the thick woollen pullover, and I do not feel too warm. "

"... there was our Scottish dancing class which is becoming more and more popular with 42 people turning up…"

Like all of you, I am missing my fix of dancing and would love to be able to dance again, even if it was limited to 16 different dances. And I am also envious of feeling cool at 72°F.
Hope to dance with you all again soon,

And in chilly Scotland:
Have you caught up with the Extreme Dancers on YouTube yet??  (Not to be confused with Extreme Ironing, also on YouTube.)

Watch them dance on Crail Harbour pier in the buffeting wind and their trainers, perilously close to a dip in the briny, demonstrating the eponymous strathspey!

Maybe we, too, could dance extremely in Yorkshire - on the Chevin, perhaps?   Anyone know of a dance entitled Otley Chevin - or game to write one?  We could advertise the Branch in a suitably ventilated and public space near the beacon, when we get round to demos again! 

Until then, I'll just be walking (stumbling) along the crest of the Chevin and other viewpoints around Leeds.

Best Wishes

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