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November eUpdate and AGM minutes
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Chair Chat

Hello everyone,

As the nights draw in, we look forward to a Christmas like no other. Okay, no Christmas dance with mince pies but, for a bit of festive cheer in your own home, can I suggest “Dance Scottish - An Autumn Evening” available on the RSCDS website. You could even make a batch of mince pies.

I don’t believe I have had a Christmas in Leeds without dancing The Cranberry Tart. Here it is performed at Spring Fling 2019.   Isn’t it fabulous to see set after set of enthusiastic young dancers? With so many of us enjoying this dance, it seems fitting that it found a place in Thirty Popular Dances Vol 2. This coincided with publishing an original tune for the dance. You can hear it played by James Coutts and his Scottish Dance Band on the CD to accompany the book.

Like many dancers, I enjoy learning dances with a bit of a challenge to them, but one of the discoveries of the last months has been the advantages of simpler dances when you are dancing alone. Here is one to put you in the Christmas spirit. Here comes Santa Claus  The recommended music is on the CD Scottish Christmas Dance Party by Jim Lindsay and his Band.

I am thrilled that our membership numbers have remained strong through this period of inactivity. Thank you, everyone. It proves you want to remain in touch with Scottish Country Dancing and, with the positive response to the music at the Branch AGM, your committee hopes to offer more. Further information to follow.

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas,

Marion.

Christmas activities

Robert Ferguson’s 18th century poem The Daft-Days celebrates the dark days running from Christmas to the 1st Monday after New Year. We couldn’t better his sentiments:

For nought can cheer the heart sae weel    
As can a canty Highland reel;
It even vivifies the heel
To skip and dance:
Lifeless is he wha canna feel
Its influence.

Let mirth abound, let social cheer     
Invest the dawning of the year;
Let blithesome innocence appear
To crown our joy;
Nor envy wi sarcastic sneer
Our bliss destroy.

No Highland reels for dancers this year, I'm afraid but hopefully we will be dancing again soon.

Branch Ceilidh - online!

You are invited to a Branch Ceilidh for Christmas and New Year!

Not quite what we're used to, but....
it's a chance for us all to get together and enjoy a musical entertainment. We will be using Zoom (like the AGM), but this time in festive mood. So, get yourself a drink and some nibbles and feel free to don a Santa hat or a Christmas tie.

In addition to the live musical items, there will be video clips and a quiz. The quiz questions are here and the answers will be given at the ceilidh. Looking anything up is cheating!

Your invitation will arrive in your inbox over the next few weeks. I hope you can join us.

Brenda Andrews

We recently reported the sad death of Brenda Andrews, wife of Don Andrews.  Earlier this year the committee decided that the most appropriate place for obituaries was on our website. You can read her obituary here.
Brenda in 2002, receiving a retirement present from the President of the OK Dinghy International Association when she retired from her role as Secretary.  She and Don were enthusiastic sailors, as well as dancers!

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

After a slippy trip to Asda today through Adel dusted with snow, I thought it was worth celebrating how a landscape changes with a covering of white - before it turns to brown slush that is.  
You've seen St Andrews in the sun at Summer School - here's what it's like there with that rare event at the coast - snow!  The photographer said  "wi' a dicht o' snow";  that's all you get there. 
 
Or maybe you fancy Winter School one year soon - here's Loch Faskally, at Pitlochry clad in snow; it sure gets a lot deeper there!  But it's warm inside in the ballroom at Blair Atholl!
 

Head Office

Virtual Festival 

For those who missed it, there was a virtual festival earlier this year. Branches from around the world have gathered (online and live), and wow, they have come up with some lovely surprises. Watch their fantastic contributions, and enjoy an imaginative, beautiful and fun collection of Scottish Country Dance, 2020 style.
On-line classes
I know many of you have been enjoying some of the on-line classes and here are just a few to catch up on or watch again. Angela YoungMervyn ShortDave HallDiane Hastie,William WilliamsonRon WallaceGraham DonaldAtsuko ClementFiona MackieDavid QueenDebbie RoxburghRebecca Blackhall-Peters, Sue PorterTrish Nicholls,  Samuele GrazianiRobert McOwenAndrew TimminsAlice StainerAndrew Nolan

From the Committee - cancellations!

November meeting
 This was held again by Zoom on Sunday 22nd November.  And again it was the sad outcome of our review of the Covid situation (venues mostly shut, government restrictions in place and our own risk assessments) that ALL our events had to be cancelled until Easter 2021.  What a lot of work to ensure we do nothing!  

However, there does now seem to be light at the end of the tunnel, with vaccines (almost?) ready to roll out.  Though with millions to be vaccinated it will surely be a long tunnel!  We have, however, tentatively booked a (half) day school and evening dance for September 2021 which we now hope can actually happen - safely!  We believe this will be a gentler return than a full day of workshops followed by an evening dance!

We will keep reviewing the situation and keep you up to date.

And finally...contributions required!

Not only would your Committee welcome contributions - long or short,  for our own eUpdate, but our new Management Board contact for the RSCDS Leeds Branch and recently appointed editor of Scottish Country Dancer magazine, Fiona Grant, has sent out an appeal to branches for copy.  She wrote: "I am very keen to include contributions from branches that have been silent supporters for many years, and have not been mentioned or raised their voices recently. Photos, articles (contemplative or humourous or serious or controversial or about anything to do with SCD), new ideas, previous history, opinons, letters to the editor, etc: all will be considered. I’m sure you can imagine, with so little “reel” dancing happening around the world, the next issue will be a challenge to produce!"

Why not try your hand at sharing a memory of past dancing, or a hope for future dancing?   Share with just Leeds Branch if you're shy, share with Fiona if you want your contribution to be seen worldwide!
Contact Fiona at fiona@freespiritfilms.co.uk

In the meantime, why not revise your memory of your favourite dances?  Did you know that imagining, or visualising a dance (or any other skill) can boost that memory?  Most of us will be a wee bit stiff when we get back to dancing (it seems to use quite different muscles from walking, however smartly!), but let's not have stiff memories for dance sequences too.  I'm told this works well for muscle memory too, and is used for rehabilitation.  Give it a go - and send us a report!

Best Wishes
Evelyn
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