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August eUpdate 
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Chair Chat


Dear dancers,

With no Summer School this year and foreign travel restricted, how grateful I have been for Dance Scottish – a Summer Celebration. One of the joys of St Andrews is meeting fellow dancers from places I have never visited, so it’s been wonderful to discover more about branches around the world and their summer schools, each one unique.

Unlike dancers on my screen who can demonstrate dances in sets of 4 with their families, I have become a solo dancer. Add in severely restricted space and ingenuity is called for. Down the middle and up becomes curve round the armchair and back, while the knot is just laughable. Still, I persevere.

It’s hard to believe that this time last year many of us were at Castle Howard, invited by Countryfile to dance in the beautiful grounds. As I look at the happy faces in the photographs, I also look forward to many joyous events in the future.

So much that we love about Scottish Country Dancing – forming intricate patterns together, giving hands, exchanging a smile – makes it high risk. While we won’t be running branch activities until things improve, Head Office continues to provide Dance Scottish at Home and a weekly online class, keeping dancing alive while we wait for safer times.

Take care everyone,

Marion 
Committee Activity

The last Committee meeting took place, again by Zoom, on the last Sunday of July. Indeed, the Branch AGM will also be held by Zoom on the same date as originally planned: 17th October 2020, but at the revised time of 6pm.  Please add it to your (busy!) diaries and we look forward to actually seeing lots of you there.  Further instruction will follow.  York have already successfully done this, so we are not expecting any problems.  

The main items on the July Committee agenda focussed on our immediate future plans for the autumn term’s programme: classes, workshops, social dances and ceilidhs.

There were some hard decisions to make.  Here are the outcomes (in red and amber for now.  Watch this space for the green!):

  • Classes: all classes for the autumn term, including the 6 week course for beginners associated with the Family Ceilidhs are cancelled.  We sadly decided that Scottish Country dancing cannot be done with social distancing, masks and/or gloves, and without the mixing of several households.  After considering all legal (and some fanciful) options, we decided to cancel all classes for the autumn term.
  • Workshops: the September Day School was already cancelled.  
    • However the Highland Day School in October, and the Malhamdale residential weekend are still ‘on hold’ and will be reviewed at least monthly.  It may be possible for Catherine to run a workshop of Highland step dances and other step practice with social distancing.
  • Branch Social Dances: the delayed Spring into Autumn Fling for Ilkley, the September and October evening social dances which would have followed the Day School and the Branch AGM respectively have also been cancelled. The AGM itself, however will still be held on the planned date (see above) but by Zoom.
    • But the joint Ball with York in November and the joint Christmas Dance with the Club are still ‘on hold’, and will also be reviewed monthly.  It may be that restrictions can be safely eased in time for these events. 
       
  • Ceilidhs: the Family Ceilidhs at Meanwood are cancelled.
 We have found that the halls we use have been very understanding and sympathetic; indeed their risk assessments tallied with ours and would preclude us using their indoor space for dancing; they have all been supportive and will welcome us back when it is deemed safe.

Delegates
Marion and Evelyn were confirmed as our delegates to the Society AGM in November, heretofore held in Perth, Scotland, this year by (International) Zoom as the Autumn Gathering has also been cancelled.

Branch membership
We'll also find a way for you all to renew your memberships! As you will be very aware the Coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic has caused a significant problem to all charities and the RSCDS is no exception. The cancellation of Summer School has been a huge blow and additional expense has been incurred for the weekly podcasts and Zoom classes with Dance Scottish at Home. Head Office is now facing a significant deficit of £140,000 and some very difficult decisions. This included the cancellation of the Autumn Gathering. 
 
As a result Head Office are asking existing members for their subscriptions at the normal time, rather than waiting until we are dancing again. I know this seems hard, as currently Leeds is able to offer little benefit to dancers in return for their membership fee, but we are paying cancellation fees to some of the musicians and venues. We need to keep supporting the RSCDS in order that there is a vibrant society left when it is safe to dance again.  

Partly in response to the Covid-19 pandemic we are changing the way we are handling renewals to enable you to pay by bank transfer. You will receive a separate email with the details in the fullness of time. 

Your membership of RSCDS Leeds Branch became due for renewal on the 1st July 2020, and we sincerely hope that you will join us for another year.

Leeds Branch Website
Have you noticed that our Webmaster, Adrian, has revamped our website? Have a look!

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!

Filling the Gap

Feeling blue about the lack of green events on our list?  Time dragging without your regular fix of SCD?

Here’s what I’ve found:
The music for me is a huge part of 'Dancing Scottish'.  So YouTube, provides the music, and is great even when I don’t want/need to learn a particular dance!! This is a different kind of watching and listening - and much more relaxed than when trying to memorise the sequences.  And how to choose what to watch?   Dances are often named after people and places, so I go down Memory Lane to visit  places which can include those I know well, or have visited once and would love to go back to, and even those which remind me of ANOTHER place.  For example Les Remparts de Seville, reminds me of the famous classic car race, the Circuit des Remparts d’Angoulȇme, which we discovered camping alongside competitors - and their beloved cars, near Angoulȇme and again on the way home at a coastal campsite.

Chequered Court reminds me of the lifelong friends I made at University Hall as a student and makes me feel young again, or did until I found out at Summer School that the carpet tiles laid chequered style (height of 60s interior design for institutions) in Chequered Court, the doorless 'room' off the Covered Way between Old Wing and Lumsden, have gone, so no-one now knows why it’s called that.  A seriously important space, it housed the ONLY telly in the whole of University Hall (Old Wing, Lumsden and Wardlaw) and was very draughty.  The year before Lumsden and the Covered Way were completed there was NONE.  Maybe the warden had one in her private sitting room, but I wouldn’t bet on it!  How times have changed with even many children accessing videos on their tablet or laptop in their own room.

Others include Crail Harbour, (my granny lived here, as did I as a toddler), St Andrews Links, Cellardyke and Largo Law were all places we walked growing up, Dundee Whaler, (my great grandfather was a riveter in the docks here), Cramond Bridge and Flowers of Edinburgh represent my days as a trainee teacher in Edinburgh, New Brudenell Jig (well the Brudenell bit) my time at the eponymous Adult Education Centre in Leeds.

When I have trawled enough for places with memories - I may soon embark on people I know; although Karin’s Strathspey is NOT named for my sister, the spelling is sufficiently unusual that I’ll include that.

Maybe you, too, can find dances with memories - of where you learned them, or how you learned them, or people you danced them with.

However you find your fix of Scottish Country dance and music, keep moving, even if like me you need to walk now to get any sort aerobic or sustained movement. I (almost) envy those of you who spend hours gardening! It all keeps those muscles awake.  We will dance together again!

Best Wishes
Evelyn
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