The Ghillie Gazette

The May/June 2013 newsletter of the Portland Oregon Branch of the R.S.C.D.S.


President’s Message

by Linda Gertz

It’s time for the Annual General Meeting. This is a short meeting to bring up any items anyone in the club wants to have considered, especially things that require a vote. So, are there any issues that are bugging you or any ideas that you The Ghillie Gazette think might make us a better group? Now might be the time to bring them up. If you want them to be on the agenda for the meeting, then let me know so I can add them in. Remember this is your club, so you do have a say in how things are done. Looking forward to seeing you all at the Annual General Meeting on May 13th. See my article in the GG on two issues that will be on the agenda. Happy dancing.

The Annual General Meeting (aka AGM)

by Linda Gertz

The AGM will be held on Monday, May 13 - class as usual until 8:30, and at the conclu sion of the meeting we will resume dancing. On the agenda will be two items up for vote. To vote you need to be a current member, so I urge you to renew your membership now.

Item 1: Should the Ghillie Gazette change from a printed-on-paper to an electronic newsletter? See Linda Mae’s article on the pros and cons in this issue. For people who do not have a computer, the Gertz’s have offered to print and mail a copy to them.

Item 2: The current board have all served for one year and are willing to serve one more year as allowed in the bylaws. Pat Taylor has already served two years as treasurer, which is the limit. During her tenure as treasurer, however, changes have been made in how the books are kept based on suggestions made by both Pat and the Board. The Board is requesting a one-time exclusion to allow Pat Taylor to serve another two year term as treasurer, to allow for some continuity in how the books are done. Additional time will allow Pat to fine tune procedures and write guidelines for the next treasurer. I know I myself have been treasurer twice. Both times I had to figure out what the prior treasurer had done, and each time they had done things a bit differently. Pat has prior experience doing the books for Albertina Kerr and for her DBE Chapter. We are on track to have an efficient method of handling the treasury books and having a written guideline.

Teacher’s Corner

The Ball is over and you’re thinking what more is there to learn about Scottish country dancing. The simple answer is that we’re all learning new things all the time. Even though it may be subliminally: You notice that someone seems to be always at the right place at the right time, or the way they give and release hands looks really nice and helps both dancers get to where they’re going.

It’s often the little things that make dancing more enjoyable than “just getting through the dance”. Richard is soo right – a pleasant smile can make you feel good (even while making a mistake). We all make mistakes. That’s part of dancing and life. The trick is learning how to recover. Here are a few hints:

  1. Don’t worry about making a mistake. We’re all here to have fun.
  2. Smile and keep your head up. You can’t see the little hints the other people in your set are giving you if you’re looking at the floor (head nods, hand gestures).
  3. Dance to the best of your ability that day.
  4. Pay attention to the music. Most dance figures are done in 2, 4 or 8 bar phrases. Don’t forget 6 bar reels of three though.
  5. Listen to the teacher and ask questions. If you don’t understand, someone else is probably in the same boat and it’s the teacher’s job to clarify it for everyone.
  6. Give good firm hands with tension in your biceps, but don’t crush the other person’s hand. Don’t forget to release in time to dance forward into place.
  7. Try to think a few bars ahead. It’ll help you be ready to join in on time if you’re a supporting dancer and flow into the next figure if you’re the dancing couple(s). You’ll also know where to go in order to recover.
  8. In reels of three, every time you go through the center, you are splitting two other people: 123, 213, 231, 321, 312, 132, 123). Curves are very important.
  9. Dancing is a fun social event.
  10. The more places that you go to dance, the more comfortable you’ll become. Go to other groups whenever you can.

Remember, no one can know all 15,000 plus dances and it takes practice and experience to learn all the basics that will let you immediately learn a completely new dance from just a brief.

-- Don Gertz

Pros and Cons

by Linda Mae Dennis

One of the things we’re going to vote on at the AGM is the possibility of making the Ghillie Gazette an electronic newsletter. There are advantages and disadvantages that go along with this change. The first and most obvious advantage would be that the newsletter would be far cheaper to produce. No paper, no toner, no labels, no stamps. Of course, there’s the environment to think of also. It’s a LOT of paper that is probably mostly just recycled.

The biggest disadvantage, of course, is that there would be no paper copies, so members who do not have email would be left out, there would be no archival copy, unless someone thought to print one out, and there is some satisfaction in holding the paper in your hand.

If we went truly and completely electronic, there is an advantage to the editor, as there would be no layout issues – the newsletter could be as long or as short as the content allowed. In the SwWaS Branch, the newsletter comes as an email, complete with color pictures (another advantage), that we can scroll through and read – it’s all on one “page”. On the other hand, would there be a requirement for any paper copies? In the SwWaS Branch, we have requested of the editor that he make several paper copies – one in full color, for the archive. So now we’re back to some paper, color ink (more expensive than toner), and a few labels and stamps. Because of the requirement for paper copies, the editor has to reformat the newsletter so that there are reasonable page breaks. I understand his can be rather time consuming.

For TACTalk, the newsletter of the Teachers’ Association Canada (I am currently the editor), the newsletter is completely formatted in color, and the pictures are reduced in file size to 72dpi (which looks good on a computer), and converted to a pdf file for distribution and posting. That newsletter is copied to another file where the pictures are replaced by black and white pictures at a higher resolution (150 to 300 dpi, which looks better in print), and that is sent to the printer.

The bottom line is producing both an electronic and a paper newsletter is more work for the editor than making either a paper newsletter OR an electronic one. (Besides which, someone – currently the editor – has to keep track of who gets what.)

My suggestion would be that membership dues reflect the choice of delivery method, being slightly lower for those getting the electronic version and slightly higher for those requesting paper.

So the questions we’re grappling with are:

  • Do we want a completely electronic newsletter?
  • Do we want to keep things as they are with a completely paper newsletter?
  • Do we want a hybrid newsletter where members can choose to get either electronic or paper?
  • How do we make it fair for all?

I am looking forward to a lively discussion at the AGM.

Don Gertz

by Linda Mae Dennis

This is a blurb from TACTalk Vol.4 No.3, December 1979 -- in case you didn’t already think Don was awesome... here’s proof he has been advocating for our group for over 35 years!

We have learned of two fledgling groups of dancers for both of which encouragement and assistance in the form of visits from teachers or experienced dancers would be welcomed. One is in Portland, Oregon, and we learn from Don Gertz that this group has 14 members with others hovering in the wings. There is no resident teacher, but they have been helped by monthly visits by Noel Lillie from Seattle. Simon Scott from Vancouver will be conducting a workshop for them on March 22, 1980. Contact Don Gertz, 15847 S.E. Stark #32, Portland 97233, telephone (503) 252-3570.

Fer Ma

by Sally Palmer

After a particularly hilarious class in which we danced Fermat’s Bicycle, this poem was circulated via email the next day...

We circled and chased
Crossed and wheeled
Laughed and set
Petronellaed and reeled.
And all fer what?
Not faux pas -
he’s cycled away.
It was all fer-ma(t) -
she’s here to stay.


by Maureen Sloan

We have photo albums dating back to the very early days of Scottish Country Dancing in Portland, before we became a Branch. However, no one has been updating these photo albums in the last several years.

President Linda Gertz brought this to the attention of the Board recently. It seemed to me, that sticking photos in albums, was not going to happen in 2013! Nearly all photos now are digital and stored in our computer memory. I offered to explore using the online service “Shutterfly” to provide a place where we could share photos and organize them into books which could be printed off annually to give us an easily enjoyed record of our activities for display at our Workshop & Ball, Annual Meeting, and other gatherings.

Accordingly, I have created a shared site called RSCDSPortland ( on Shutterfly and am asking all those who have photos of Branch activities to upload them to this site. In order to upload photos you must be listed as a site member. If you have photos, please let me know and I’ll add your name. To start with I’d like to go back a few years, since it’s a long time since we updated the old albums. After we’ve caught up, it will just become a case of uploading photos of events as they happen.

I’ll keep you all posted on activity as we get this project going. For now, we need your photos, so please let me know at class or by email at if you’re willing to participate. Thanks!

Catching up with June Clapp

by Linda Gertz

Many of us have been wondering “Where’s June”? She came to our group to learn Scottish country dancing so she could dance at ceilidh when she went on a trip to Scotland. I spoke to her yesterday and she did go on her trip to Scotland and England and had a great time exploring. The ceilidh was an outside event, but it was cold and rainy on the of the dance. She did go and said they danced Dancing White Sergeant. The dances that went down the middle and up were a bit wild because of the young men involved. We haven’t seen her since she got back because she has had on going health problems. The doctors have determined she has pulmonary fibrosis. So we will continue to miss her fun and smiling personality on Monday nights. Be sure to send healing thoughts her way. He’s going to being trying some other treatments to help with her illness. You can still view her lovely art work at

Youth Weekend West Ceilidh Program

Here’s the program for the Youth Weekend Ceilidh. (N.B.: The original GG had the May dance program on it, but seeing as all the May events are past and this one was handy, Darrick put this in here instead.)

1-8 All in Allemande hold walk forward 4 steps, all turn about and walk backwards (same direction) 4 steps
9-16 All Men set as Ladies dance under Mans right arm, all polka round the room
Sue Burridge
3×32R, 3C set
1-8 1L+3M change places RH, 1M +3L change places RH, 2s cross RH and all ½ turn into Allemande hold
9-16 All dance Allemande
17-24 1s set and cast 1 place, 3s set and cast up 1 place
25-32 All circle 6H round and back
P. Knapman, Collins Pocket Ref
8×32J, 3C (4C set)
1-8 1s turn RH and cast to 2nd place, turn partner LH 1¼ times to end Man facing down and Lady facing up
9-16 1s dance RH across (Lady with 2s and Man with 3s), 1s pass RSh and dance LH across with other couple
17-24 1s lead down the middle and back to 2nd place own side
25-32 2s+1s+3s circle 6H round and back
Postie’s Jig [videos: 1, 2]
Roy Clowes (1960s); Omskirk SCD Book 5
8×32J, 4C set (twice round)
1-8 1s and 4s set and cast in 1 place, 1s and 4s dance ½ Figs of 8 round new end couples
9-12 1M+4M and 1L+4L cross (men making an arch) and turn corners with free hand to face up/down
13-16 1s+4s dance down/up (couple dancing up make the arch) and turn corners
17-24 Repeat bars 9-16 from new pstns
25-32 1s+4s dance ½ RandL, turn partner RH.
Various Cèilidh Acts
Roy Goldring (2002)
88R, Square Set
1-8 Ladies dance RSh round their corners, dance RH across ending in centre
9-16 Ladies dance LSh round their partners, dance LH across and back to places
17-24 Men dance RSh round their partners, dance RH across ending in centre
25-32 Men dance LSh round corners, dance LH across and back to places
33-40 1s and 3s turn partners RH 1¼ times, 1M and 3M followed by partners dance out between side couples and back to places (1M thru 4s and 3M thru 2s)
41-48 1s+3s dance RandL
49-64 2s+4s repeat bars 33-48
65-72 Ladies dance in turning right about to dance out, cast clockwise to opposite Lady’s place
73-80 Men dance in turning left about to dance out, cast anticlockwise to opposite places
81-88 All turn partners RH 1¼ times into prom hold, Promenade anticlockwise ½ way round to original places
4×32J, 4C set
1-8 All join hands on the sides, 4s join free hands, 1M2M make an arch and, with 1L leading, all (except 1M) dance under the arch to finish in places, retaining hold;
9-16 1L2L make an arch and, with 1M leading, all (except 1L) dance under the arch to finish in places, releasing hold;
17-20 1s2s 3s4s right hands across;
21-24 1s2s 3s4s left hands across;
25-28 1s take both hands and slip to 4th place WHILE 2s3s4s step up;
29-32 2s 3s 4s 1s turn by the left.
Darrick Wong (2013 edition)
8×32S, 3C (4C set)
Note: The video is of the 2007 edition of this dance.
1-8 Mirror reels of three on opposite sides. Second and third couples end the reel slightly closer to the centerline.
9-10 First couple take near hands and dance below third couple while second and third couples make arches.
11-14 First couple turn with both hands to the right two times to face up the dance, still in the center, and on opposite sides. Second and third couples drop arches on bar 11, make arches again on bar 14.
15-16 First couple dance up to first place and face outward.
17-18 First man and second woman exchange places giving right hand while first woman and second man exchange places giving left hand.
19-20 [La Baratte] 1s cross halfway giving right hands.
21 [La Baratte] First woman dances under her right arm to face up the set while first man dances back to the middle (behind 1st woman) and faces up the set.
22 [La Baratte] First man puts his left hand up and first woman wraps her left hand fingers around the top of his palm. First woman then dances under her left arm while first man slides back to opposite place.
23-24 [La Baratte] First couple turn ⅞ by the left to end facing first corners.
25-26 [Hello-Goodbye Set] First couple set to the right one step then pull right shoulder back to dance into opposite places. First corners set with first couple.
27-28 [H-G Set] First couple set to each other and pull right shoulder back to face second corners.
29-30 [H-G Set] First couple set to the right one step then pull right shoulder back to face man down and woman up in the center. Second corners set with first couple.
31-32 [H-G Set] First couple petronella into second place.
8×32S, 3c (4C set)
1–8 1c+2c set, cross RH, repeat
9–16 1c lead down the middle for 3, up for 3, cast off to face 1cnrs (2c up)
17–24 1c set to and turn corners, finish between corners
25–32 2c+1c+3c advance and retire; 1c turn BH 1½
Roy Goldring (1983), Leaflet 7
8×32R, 3C (4C set)
1-8 1s ½ turn 2s on sides (1M RH - 1L LH) to face out, 2s+1s+3s set as in double triangles, 1s ½ turn 3s on sides (1M LH - 1L RH) end 3s facing out and 2s+3s+1s set as in double triangles
9-16 1s followed by 3s dance up between 2s, cast down 1 place, dance in and 1s cast up to 2nd place, 3s end in 3rd place
17-24 1s turn 1st corners RH, pass partner RSh turn 2nd corners RH and cross passing partner RSh to 2nd place own sides
25-32 2s+1s+3s circle 6H round and back
Friendly and Sackett (2005)
8×32R, 3C (4C set)
1-8 1s cross RH and cast into 2nd place, cross left and cast to their left, to end with 1m between 3s and 1w between 2s.
9-16 RS reels of three across the set, ending with lines of three facing the other line.
17-20 With hands joined, all set.  1s petronella into 2nd place on partner’s side while corners turn ¼ to face partner.
21-24 All set.  1s dance another petronella to end with 1m between 2s and 1w between 3s, while the corners turn ¼ to face up or down.
25-28 All dance back to back with opposite person.
29-32 1s set and turn ¾ RH to 2nd place on their own side, while corners turn their opposite once round by RH and set to partners.
Da Bonnie Polka

Upcoming Events

Here's a list of events coming up in the next ninety days. This calendar is kept up to date at

April 2019

Vancouver, Wash.
4/27 at 6:00pm

May 2019

Burlingame Water Tower, Portland, Ore.
5/11 at 7:30pm
Portland AGM
Burlingame Water Tower, Portland, Ore.
5/20 at 7:30pm

June 2019

Portland Class
Burlingame Water Tower, Portland, Ore.
6/3 at 7:30pm


If you want to vote in the Annual General Meeting (AGM), your membership must be renewed before the Meeting, which is the second Monday in May.

If your are not a current member, you can register here.

Royal Scottish Country Dance Society, Portland Ore. Branch:
Membership Form 2018-2019

Membership Type:

Note for families: Join at the family rate only if there are two adults; a single adult should join at the single rate.

A “secondary” membership is for people who already have their RSCDS membership through another branch and want to become members of our branch. The “Ghillie Gazette Only” option is for people who have not yet decided to join the branch but would like to receive the newsletter.

Please make check payable to “RSCDS Portland OR Branch” and mail or give to Sally Palmer, 1425 SE Yukon St., Portland, OR 97202-5315 . We cannot process your membership request until we receive your check.

Is Scottish Country Dance fun?