March eUpdate
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          Chair Chat          

Hello again!
Thank you for all the kind wishes I have received over the last weeks. I am extremely grateful to the committee who took charge of the February ceilidh at short notice.

Wasn’t the ceilidh good? It was lovely to see happy faces, to read the chat and join in the quiz. All the musicians put on a fine show, some taking the plunge into a live Zoom performance for the first time. As a Branch, we are so lucky that we can call upon members to provide musical treats. Once again Ian Slater offered two great items with a musical quiz and an outstanding finale. Don’t tell him, but his playing can make me a little tearful for all we are missing.

Did you join the Craigellachie Band and friends for a Celebration of Music and Dance in March? Lee Davidson must have been busy, contributing to our ceilidh and joining an international cast under the direction of Ian Muir. Debbie Crossley from Sheffield, whom you may have met at a Leeds Musicians' Workshop or when she was MC for us in March 2018, also took part. Well done, everyone.

As the vaccination programme progresses, the committee is beginning to talk about options for our non-virtual future. It is still early days, but we all want to make the best possible start when the time is right. When will that be? We are making plans for later this year, but this pandemic has taught us that we must be flexible.

A very happy Easter to you all. 

Spring Fling 2021

Spring Fling 2021 will be hosted virtually from Aberdeen, Scotland on 17 April 2021!

Yet Another Online Ceilidh

Our last online ceilidh was so successful we are going to try and organise yet another. Save the date - 16th May 2021 at 8.00 pm.  

Can you offer a contribution? You can either perform live, or send us a video. If performing live, you'd need a reliable internet connection, laptop or computer with a good microphone. We'd particularly like a new musician or two, and/or someone who can read or recite poetry.  Or could you sing?  Dance solo, or with household members?    Please don't be shy!

Contact Evelyn or Marion for more information, or just send us the videos!

Committee News & Future Dates

 At our Committee meeting  we explored the idea of meeting up in the Summer. There is the possibility we might be able to run some extra classes on Thursday nights during July and August (Covid restrictions and regulations permitting). Would any one want to come?  If you would, and the idea is very tentative at the moment, please email us, so we know whether the idea is viable.  
The second idea, as the White Rose Festival has been cancelled, was to hold an afternoon picnic instead. Venue to be decided upon, and this would obviously only go ahead if the afternoon was fine, but put the date 10th July in your diary. Wouldn't it be wonderful just to meet up and chat again?

 We are now quite hopeful that our autumn term events can go ahead more or less as planned, with classes starting back in September and an afternoon School held on 17th September taught by David Queen, followed by the first branch dance of the new season both to the music of Ian Slater. 

Malhamdale 2021 

Malhamdale 2021

Janet Brayson has asked me to tell you there are STILL 2 places left for this year's Malhamdale weekend, which is from the 26th - 28th November 2021. As we have no more rooms left for single occupancy it would have to be for a couple, or two people willing to share. It could also suit someone with a non-dancing partner. If you're interested, please email Janet  or phone on 0113 2584634.

News from Richmond 

Jan Robinson has sent the following message from Richmond

Hello Everyone

I hope this finds you and all well and keeping on an even keel.  Dancing is still a long way off, but a bit more exercise in the Summer months will help us build up to something like dance fitness and hopefully a return to dancing in August/September.
Meanwhile, I have been looking ahead and, having cancelled the Richmond April dance this year, I have now confirmed the date of Saturday 9th April 2022 for the Richmond Spring dance with Marian Anderson and her band.  This gives you something to put in your  diary and have a dance to look forward to.

 The date for our dance in October 2021 with Ian Slater, postponed from last year, will be confirmed in due course when we have a better idea of when dancing will re start.

Meanwhile, we are getting there so keep going and stay safe!

Kind regards

An  RSCDS Heritage

My background in Scottish Country Dancing - a longer trail than I thought! 

Like many of us, one of my sisters has spent some time during lockdown in sorting through some family papers and unearthed these documents:

  1. RSCDS Certificates March & August 1936 - note inconsistency in the initial; my mother’s given name Catherine was shortened by friends to Cath or Cathie, often spelled with a ‘K’, and here used also on a formal document.
  2. SCD 1936 exam paper
  3. Medical Electricity paper 1936
  4. Medical Electricity paper 2 1936
  5. Hygiene exam paper 1937
  6. Class of ’37

In the 1930s my mother was a student at the Dunfermline College of Hygiene and Physical Education, the main training college for women PE teachers in Scotland, although male students were also admitted for some periods in its history.  ‘Dumf’ as it was known to its students, is now merged with Moray House College of Education, which in turn now forms the School of Education of Edinburgh University.  It was founded in 1905 and amongst other roles became the central training institution for school medical officers throughout Scotland.  Aspiring sportswomen also trained there, as pre-WW2 there was no other way than teaching PE for sportswomen to earn a living.  The three year course also included physiotherapy - and, of course, teaching Scottish Country dancing. 

The college was residential and stories from my mother’s ‘set’ of the supervision and training of the young ladies’ manners (including table manners) and morals seemed hilariously pedantic to us, reminiscent of a boarding school or finishing school; they were, of course, mostly under 21, still the age of majority at that time.  This particular college ‘set’ (1937) remained lifelong friends, meeting up annually for the next 60+ years, continuing to share their enthusiasm for sport, physical education and health education.  When this photo appeared in the Fife and Kinross Extra there were only 9 of the 25 who graduated left - all in their 80s.

A selection of exam papers in our possession was another source of hilarity - and disbelief.  Amongst the subjects taught as part of the physiotherapy course was ‘Medical Electricity’; we’re not exactly sure what this was prescribed for, but ECT is still used for severe and intractable depression, but in hospital and under general anaesthetic!

Although a keen and talented sportswoman, my mother had hoped to go to art college, but financial constraints meant she had to pursue a safer career, so she joined her best friend from school in going to ‘Dumf’.  The latter became godmother to one of my sisters, and later taught PE at our secondary school, Madras College, where she taught us Scottish Country Dancing.  Of course we learned some Scottish dancing in normal PE classes in preparation for school dances at Christmas: the Gay Gordons, Strip the Willow, the Dashing White Sergeant and eightsome reels.  However, she claimed that, partly because of me, definitely no sportswoman, who clearly loathed hockey, she introduced ‘proper’ SCD as an alternative ‘sport’ for senior girls in winter.

Having inherited my mother-in-law’s Davidson tartan silk sash, I discovered that coincidentally, at around the same time, she was a student at Jordanhill College of Education, training to be a (primary) school teacher.  As part of their training, students at both colleges were taught Scottish Country Dancing by Miss Milligan, whom they remembered fondly.  Miss M also remembered her old students, and greeted my mother warmly when during the late 50s and early 60s we provided morning coffee at our hotel opposite for her Summer School classes in the Younger Hall.      

Evelyn Davidson

Scottish Dance Radio

A new radio show - For Scottish country dancers

Amanda Peart has joined the team of presenters at RadioGH to host the show "The Sunday Class Dance" on Sunday afternoons at 4pm. This hour long show consists of 10 dances in the sort of order you might expect on a Dance programme. The brief for the show was "For Scottish country dancers By a dancer" so you might be interested to listen to it.

The first programme was aired on Sunday 28th February and is now available on The Sunday Class Website - just click on "Listen Again".

And finally...volunteers wanted !

Can you contribute to this Newsletter?  We've asked before, but usually only the Committee respond!  Even very short contributions are welcome.

This is a special invitation for the photographers and writers amongst you.  Please share your photos, thoughts, ideas and observations with the rest of the Leeds Branch.  Which media or activities have kept you going during lockdown?  What dancing or music items have you enjoyed?  What memories of personal dancing highlights could you share? Have you any news to share?

 For the next AGM we'll be also on the look out for fresh new faces on the Committee.  Could you offer to serve on the Committee for a couple of years?  Again, don't be shy - let Marion or me know if you want more information about what is involved.

We'll also need helpers at classes, especially with supporting  - and perhaps even coaching newcomers, especially beginners.    Once we are sure that regular dancing is back on the calendar, we aim to run a 6 week beginners' course to introduce newcomers to SCD gently.

Please let me or a committee member know if you are willing to have a specific role with beginners or with classes, and ceilidhs or dances generally.  

 I hope you have been enjoying the sun; here's hoping it lasts for may weeks!

Best Wishes, hope you have a great Easter with lots of Easter eggs,
Copyright © 2021 Leeds Branch RSCDS, All rights reserved.

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