September 2016          A NEWSLETTER           No. 146


Sometimes at this time of year I look back to a good summer of dancing with the White Rose festival and Summer School; other years I have encouraged people to see what they can get out of dancing during the coming season. This time, though, it’s all about ME – so you can skip this if you want, and go on to the interesting stuff inside. You might be able to identify with my problems, however!

Last year I became quite dissatisfied with my dancing, for a number of reasons. For one thing, I didn’t dance enough, either in class or at dances. For another, I wasn’t dancing well enough. So I was failing in both quantity and quality. Later last year, my ladies’ step/highland dance class sadly came to the end of its life too. The last one may not apply to you, but I wonder if you can recognise some of my other problems in your own dancing?

So why wasn’t I dancing enough at class? During the last two years, Chris and Lynne have begun teaching a few of the dances at my class so that I can at least dance some of the dances; I still usually teach the more difficult dances or dances with technical points. Sometimes I join in a dance because I’m needed to make up the numbers; conversely, I’ve sometimes still had to drop out because the numbers don’t fit. However, sometimes this has happened by choice, particularly when it’s been an hour or more since I last danced and the hall is cold. I know that if I join in at that point I am risking an injury, and I would rather not do that: I have discovered that as you get older injuries take much longer to heal!

What can I do about this? The obvious thing is to join in more. Then what about the gap and the cold hall? I think I have to wear thicker tights, and probably leg-warmers as well, and I must DEFINITELY put them on when I’m not dancing, and even when I don’t feel cold. Occasionally my feet or ankles can seize up in the mornings – and it’s the top of the foot rather than the sole which is the problem. I woke up in the night with a painful foot, and started making notes for the editorial, but did I put socks on? That would have been far too sensible!

I always begin my own class with a brief warm-up – but I think I personally now need more of a warm-up, and so I need to arrive earlier to do my pre-warm-up warm-up. This has to be true for branch dances, too. I HAVE to give this more priority. If there is a dance with a longer interval, then I must make sure that I warm-up before I start in the second half – and maybe this is also a plea to MCs not to let the interval last too long! And during the last year or two I have spent too many dances MCing rather than dancing – well, I’m off the committee now, so I must make sure I DANCE.

So much for the quantity, and what to do about it – now for the quality. Why wasn’t my dancing good enough? Sometimes this was due to injury, or only dancing in one half due to all that MCing – and not being warmed up enough to really go for it until the last few dances when everyone else was flagging. Often, however, it was because of my lack of fitness, partly because I wasn’t dancing enough (see above) but also because I have put weight on. This isn’t due to our famous faith suppers, though it’s not unknown for that to be my main meal of the day, but due to a too-sedentary lifestyle.

It has been something of a vicious circle – not enough dancing (etc.) leads to loss of fitness which leads to not enough dancing which… you can see where this is going. So this year I am going to recover my fitness, dance more, dance better, and recover my passion for Scottish Country Dancing. By having written this, I may just shame myself into doing it – at least just as soon as my foot is recovered! And if you have recognised these symptoms in yourself, maybe you will be inspired to join me, and we’ll dance more, and dance better, together.

                                                  Joyce Cochrane


Are you really going reeling in your Scottish dancing shoes?

Are you really dancing reels to blow away the blues?

In your shoes are you dancing your fav’rite Scottish reels?

Is it really Scottish reel time; is that really how it feels?

Your shoes, how do they feel; do they have any clues?

Do they do what your feet do or follow their own rules?

The Scottish rules of reel time are not the same for jigs

So make your shoes be careful when you go to Scottish gigs.

Why does jig say jig when gig says gig and guide has to have a u in?

What’s with bare and bear when one is nude and the other is a Bruin?

I’ve heard of taking skins off and dancing in one’s bones

Oh, wouldn’t that be wonderful (barring spectators’ groans)!

Though what with Argee Bargee rants and Willie’s Tartan Trews

One wonders what is going on that doesn’t reach the news...

I’ll put a girdle round the earth

Until I find the Duke of Perth

And when I find him I’ll complain

He’s made me out of breath again.

My cat’s called Strath

’Cos I had her speyed

And ever since then

She hasn’t strayed.

Veronica Wallace, York


At the beginning of the week leading up to the White Rose Festival in July the weather forecast sounded promising. It led us to reminisce about the last few Festivals when we’d danced outside, thrilled to be part of the mass open air dancing, enjoying the setting with beautiful country views and red kites circling overhead. Time between dances to enjoy our picnics in the sunshine and to wander round the grounds, catching up with dance friends from far and wide.

As the week went on the forecast became progressively worse, and despite my being in denial until the last minute, the day of the Festival dawned with persistent rain, and it was clear there would be no dancing outdoors. Plan B was to be the dreaded “dancing indoors”, which we had heard nothing good about. Twenty two dance teams from around the country somehow all dancing in the school sports hall, and with the children’s teams taken off to dance in a different part of the school and with their own musician (Ian Slater).

As it turned out, we were pleasantly surprised. The big sports hall looked much less functional than usual, with the ceiling being festooned with drapes (installed for the previous day’s prize giving, but we benefitted from them too).  In some ways dancing in the confines of the hall was more personal than dancing outside in a much larger area. The afternoon was non stop, since each of the dances had to be performed twice because there was only room for half the dancers to be on the floor at once.  It gave us a chance we wouldn’t have had outside to watch other dancers - though when dancing ourselves we did feel under scrutiny from the spectators who were sitting close by - who says footwork doesn’t matter?! With few pauses in the programme, and with the numbers crowded into the hall to dance and/or spectate, it was difficult to get round the vast hall and talk to people, but those we didn’t speak to we did at least see at a distance (including dancers in the York team).

Our thanks to George for knocking our Branch team of ten into shape. Under his patient tutelage we learned two demonstration dances as well as the rest of the programme, and hopefully we didn’t do too badly - we haven’t dared ask George what he thought! Hopefully he was at least impressed by our ability to recover ourselves when we went awry in one of our two demonstration dances!

Thanks as well to Lynne for organising our team, and for the complex logistics involved in deciding who was to do which dance, in what position, and with whom.

At the end of the dancing, the rain stopped for almost long enough for us to enjoy a picnic tea outside, though at one point we had to beat a hasty retreat into the Leeds Branch shop’s marquee, where we grabbed the opportunity to walk through the no instruction dance for the evening,
Angus McLeod. Then back into the hall for more dancing, again to the excellent music provided by Neil Hardie and his band.

We think it’s fair to say that a good time was had by all - in spite of the weather!

Carol Hazell (with comments and criticisms from Ken Wallace)


Jennifer worked her magic for this year’s walk: the weather was perfect, the walk delightful and the lunch more than satisfying. A small group of dancers met in the car park of Kirkbymoorside Golf Club, along with a non-dancing husband (whose knowledge of geology added to the interest of the morning) and two reasonably self-effacing dogs. The car park itself, reached up a steep tree-lined lane, was attractive, its borders overflowing with late-Spring flowers.

Our walk was varied, through woodland and open fields, just a bit of road and not too much mud, with lovely views all round. You would have learnt, if you didn’t know, that Kirkbymoorside had a castle with a moat. We came across the moat first, quite a large pond now, with water fowl, and more-or-less diametrically opposite in the circular walk a few big stones that are all that is left of the castle keep: in its heyday it must have been a very large castle indeed. As we descended to the Golf Club for lunch we admired the roofscape of Kirkby, mostly red tiles set at odd angles to each other.


A notice outside the Golf Club informed us that we couldn’t go in wearing jeans and other such casual garments, but since most of us had nothing else to change into we were relieved that the notice lied. Or it may have been that Jennifer, being local, had special influence, or it may have helped that another couple, sociable dancers but not walkers, had arrived early looking very respectable and were sampling what the bar had to offer. It was good to welcome Helen who then joined us in time for the excellent meal.


A very warm thank you to Jennifer for organising such a splendid day.

         Veronica Wallace, York




Our Half Day School takes place on Saturday 3rd October, at its usual venue, Stockton on the Forest Village Hall, beginning at 2pm and finishing at 5.15 p.m. The teacher is Lindsay Ibbbotson from Cambridge Branch -  musician, teacher and co-writer of “Midsummer Common” in Book 49 ; the pianist is our old friend Patricia Cass from Newcastle.

The cost for the Half Day School is £12. The application form was sent out electronically to members this year with the Chairman’s Letter. You can also download it from the branch website by following this link:

If you cannot access the internet or have difficulty downloading the form, please contact Allan Highet (01904 763154).


As usual you may put in your order for a High Tea after the class (cost - £6 – please book!). If you can help with the catering for the High Tea or with tray-bakes for the evening dance, please contact Chris Hare (01482 645282).


The evening dance will follow the Half-Day School and High Tea, still in

Stockton on the Forest Village Hall; the dance begins at 7.30 pm and is expected to end at about 11 p.m.. There will be light refreshments during the interval; there is no Faith Supper. Anyone afraid of missing out on a meal can always book the High Tea on the application form. If you are only attending the dance, the cost is £12, but just £10 if you have attended the Day School.

We will be dancing to the music of David Oswald and his band, a band which the editor recommends! You will find the programme, drawn up by Allan Highet, on the following page.

You are asked to apply for the Half-Day School/High Tea by September 23rd to help finalise catering arrangements, if possible.

PROGRAMME: see Events page

Reminder: CLASS £12; HIGH TEA £6; DANCE ONLY £12; FULL DAY: £28


Our joint ball this year will take place on Saturday 19th November at the Riley Smith Hall in Tadcaster, beginning at 7.30 p.m. This year it is Leeds RSCDS’s turn to organise the dance. We will be dancing to the music of Nicol McLaren and the Glencraig Band. Tickets are £19 including supper.

Information about programmes will be sent to you via class teachers as soon as it is available.


Our pre-Christmas dance in December is, for the 3rd year, being held on the first Sunday afternoon in December, on Sunday 4th December, at Swanland Village Hall – parking both in the grounds and alongside the pond. As previously, live music will be provided by Ian Slater, and there will be mince pies for your delight at the interval. The dance begins at 2.00pm and is expected to end at 5.00pm; admission costs will follow.

The programme has been chosen by Lynne Brooks.


For full details of our Branch dances see our Events page

For other events use our contacts SCD links page

Copy date for next issue:     19th November 2016

Nonsense Verses

White Rose 2016

Branch Walk/Lunch

Day School details