The Ghillie Gazette

The May/June 2014 newsletter of the Portland Oregon Branch of the R.S.C.D.S.

Youth Weekend West 2014

Youth Weekend West 2014

President’s Message

by Linda Gertz

Spring is in the air, and as with most of you, I’m enjoying being able to get out and about. We have one more monthly party on Saturday, May 10, 2014. Marcy has come up with an idea for handling the monthly parties, which is to have people sign up to handle one month. Please see my article below for further information.

This will be my last President’s Message to you, as in June we will meet to have the change of officers. On Monday, May 12th we will have our Annual General Meeting. If anyone has anything they would like to have brought up at the meeting, please let me know. The schedule for Monday’s class will be: an hour of dancing, a quick meeting, then more dancing. All dances will be appropriate for all dancers. So hope to see you there. On to more dancing adventures together!

Teacher’s Corner

by Don Gertz

I was having trouble deciding on a topic for this month’s Teacher’s Corner, so Linda suggested that I go back through back issues of the Ghillie Gazette. I decided to reuse and article by Jane Lataille that was in the March/April 1997 issue and originally published in TACTalk.

Stamp Out Dance Injuries

by Jane Lataille, Windsor CT

You can dance more and ache less if you follow these suggestions:

Keep in Shape

The most common injury frequent dancers sustain is damage to the cartilage in the knee and hip joints. Ankles are also vulnerable. These joints take a pounding in Scottish dancing! Damage is less likely if the muscles around these joints are strong. Here are exercises you can do to strengthen them:

  • Knees - Step up and down onto a platform 2-3 inches high until you feel the muscles start to tire. Alternate feet.
  • Hips - Sideways leg lifts.
  • Ankles - Sit on one chair and face another. With heels on the floor, push out with the feet against the inside of the legs of the second chair.

Besides exercises for these joints, you can improve your dance fitness with these measures:

  • Muscle tone - Stretch muscles, especially calf and thigh muscles, before and after exercise, dancing, or any other activity.
  • Cardio-vascular fitness - Jog, do aerobics, swim, or bike to keep heart and lungs active. Don’t smoke!
  • General health - Get plenty of sleep, eat a balanced diet, and keep your weight near your ideal weight.

Don’t Skip Warm-Ups

Before every dance, do warm-ups. Start with brisk walking to get good blood circulation before trying to stretch.

Do slow and gentle stretches, and be sure to include arches, calves, and thighs. Tense and relax muscles, then stretch again. Work the tension out of your shoulders.

End warm-ups with some skip-change and pas-de-basque to get your feet and legs into the swing of it before dancing.

Dance Correctly

Good dancing habits go a long way toward preventing injuries. Make the following suggestions an automatic part of your dancing:

  • Dance with relaxed muscles.
  • Dance with good posture.
  • Keep your centre of mass over your feet, especially when turning or circling.
  • Use good handing.
  • Don’t assume you’ll get good handing from others every time; be prepared to “dance on your own feet.”
  • Always dance with “soft” arches and knees. Use your arches and leg muscles to land gently and absorb impact, especially for pas-de-basque.
  • Turn out from the hip, not the knee.
  • Be watchful. Develop “eyes in the back of your head.”
  • Don’t dance if you know you are tired. Don’s note - It’s OK to dance walk.
  • Never skip “step practice.” This is your chance to develop and maintain technique that will keep you dancing.

Happy Dancing! Don Gertz

May 10, 2014 Ball Program

by Richard Juzix

M. Corson, RSCDS Leaflet 14
8×32J, 3C (4C set)
1-8 1s+2s+3s all clap, 1L+2L+3L dance RSh round partners & 3s followed by 2s+1s lead down
9-16 All ½ turn (Lady under Man's R arm) & 1s followed by 2s+3s lead back to top, 1s+2s+3s set & ½ turn partner RH ending in centre of dance
17-24 1s+2s+3s dance Promenade
25-32 1s+2L dance RH across (1M ending in 2nd place), 1s+2M dance LH across with 1s both ending in 2nd place
Mary Erskine [videos: 1, 2]
R. Goldring, 15 Social Dances
8×32R, 3C (4C set)
1-8 1s+2s turn on sides 1½ times (Men RH & Ladies LH), 1s cast down behind 3s, meet & dance up to 2nd place facing own sides ready for -
9-16 1s dance Double Triangles & end by turning right about to face each other (remaining in middle)
17-24 1s slip step down centre & back
25-32 1L dances LH across on Men's side as 1M dances RH across on Ladies side & dance ½ Fig of 8 round 2s
Linda Mae Dennis, Princess Bride Collection
8×32S, 3C (4C set)
Tune: Fiona Miller’s Strathspey by David Knight
Suitable recording: Track 9 on the CD “First Stop!” by Waverley Station (David Knight, Liz Donaldson, Ralph Gordon)
1-4 1st couple cross over giving right hands, and cast off one place. 2nd couple step up on bars 3-4.
5-8 1st couple turn with both hands to finish in second place on opposite sides.
9-12 All three couples turn halfway with right hands to face partner in the middle, and cast to opposite sides (half turn and twirl).
13-16 All three couples set, and turn halfway with right hands to finish with 1st couple, on opposite sides, in second place in the middle in promenade hold facing down, 2nd couple in the middle in first place and 3rd couple in third place in the middle in promenade hold facing up.
17-24 All dance a circulating allemande. On the last two bars, 3rd couple, at the top turn ¾ with left hands, and 2nd couple at the bottom turn 1¼ also with left hands to form a line up and down the middle of the set. 2nd and 3rd couples are left shoulder to left shoulder with partners, with 3rd woman and 2nd man facing the women's side and 3rd man and 2nd woman facing the men's side. 1st couple retire as usual to second place on opposite sides.
25-32 All dance the Targe as follows:
25-26 3rd and 2nd women turn ¾ in the middle with right hands as their partners and 1st couple dance anti-clockwise ¼ the way round the outside.
27-28 3rd and 2nd couples turn partners once round with right hands while 1st couple, facing up and down toward each other set.
29-30 3rd and 2nd women turn ¾ in the middle with right hands as their partners and 1st couple continue ¼ the way round the outside anti-clockwise.
31-32 2nd couple turn ¼ with left hands to finish in first place on own sides, 1st couple set to partner, and 3rd couple turn ¾ with left hands to third place own sides. Repeat having passed a couple.
T. Glasspool, Ithaca NY, USA
4×48J, Sq. Set
1-8 All Ladies RH across and return to places dancing LSh round own partners end facing corners
9-16 Corner couples turn RH 1¾ times into prom hold and dance anticlockwise a little more than ½ way to form square and face in (Men now diametrically opposite original place with 'new' partner on right and all Ladies 1 place on clockwise)
17-24 All couples (prom hold) advance to centre, release hands and retire with corner, advance again and retire with current partner
25-32 All Men LH across and return to place dancing RSh round current partner and end giving LH to corner facing in on diagonal
33-40 Corner couples Set+Link, Set+Link on sides
41-48 All circle 8H round and back. Ladies are in original place but Men are 1 place anticlockwise.
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
T. Glasspool
8×32S, 2C (4C set)
1-8 1s cross RH and ½ turn 2s LH on sides, 2s+1s chase anticlockwise 1 pl and ¾ turn partners LH into centre to a line of 4 across (Ladies BtoB facing partners)
9-16 All dance Gypsy Poussette:-
Box setting:
' 9 All set to the right turning ¼ turn to right
' 10 All set to the left (facing away from partner) and ¼ turn to right
' 11 All set to the right (facing partner, Men pass BtoB) and ¼ turn to right
' 12 All set to the left (facing away from partner and passing BtoB) and no turn, partners now facing away from each other (but not lined up back to back)
Gypsy turn:
' 13-14 All cast to right and dance back ½ way to the opposite place
' 15-16 All ¾ turn partners 2H into a line across (as start of Gypsy Poussette but having changed places with partner).
17-24 1s+2s dance reel of 4 across ending in prom hold, 2s facing down and 1s facing up (Men with partner on their right)
25-32 1s+2s wheel round anticlockwise ¼ way to dance the Tournee: 1s+2s dance into prom hold (Men with partner on right, 1s face M's side and 2s L's side), couples ½ wheel anticlockwise and Men turn Ladies into middle, both couples turn 1½ times (2s RH, 1s LH) and dance out to places
D. Haynes, Carnforth Collection 2
8×32J, 3C (4C set)
1-8 1s cross RH, cast 1 place, 1L dances a ½ Fig of 8 round 2s while 1M dances ½ Fig of 8 round 3s
9-24 1s dance Corner Chain with 1st and 2nd corners:-
9-16 1s change places RH with 1st corners, 1st corners turn LH in centre and return to places giving RH to 1s who turn LH in centre to face 2nd corners
17-24 1s change places RH with 2nd corners, 2nd corners turn LH in centre and return to places giving RH to 1s and 1s end turning LH ¾ to face 1st corner
25-32 1s dance reels of 3 on opposite sides giving LSh to 1st corners and cross to 2nd place own sides
Wisp of Thistle [videos: 1, 2]
P. Kent, RSCDS Book 37
8×32S, 3C (4C set)
1-8 1s and 3s Petronella turn into centre and set to partners, dance ½ Reel of 4 in up and down centre of dance
9-16 3s and 1s Petronella turn onto own sides and 3s+2s+1s set, 3s+2s+1s turn partners RH to end ready for Allemande
17-24 3s+2s+1s dance Allemande
25-32 1s cross RH and cast down 1 place, dance ½ Fig of 8 round 2s to end in 2nd place
Holly Gibson, Princess Bride Collection
8×32H, 3C (4C set)
Music: Fox in the Woods on the CD “The Devil’s Quandary” by Andy Imbrie and Deby Benton Grosjean
1-8 1st couple lead down below 3rd couple, turn once round with right hands, and cast up round 3rd couple to face first corners. 2nd couple step up on bars 3-4.
9-16 1st couple set to corners and partner. On the last two bars, they turn with left hands halfway round to face first corners again.
17-20 1st couple with first corners dance a half diagonal reel of four. 1st couple pass right shoulders at the end and finish facing second corners.
21-24 1st couple with second corners dance a half diagonal reel of four with and finish in second place own sides.
25-28 All three couples chase clockwise halfway round the set.
29-32 1st couple turn 1½ times giving right hands to second place on own sides. Repeat having passed a couple.
Quarries’ Jig [videos: 1, 2]
K. W. Smith, RSCDS Book 36
8×32J, 3C (4C set)
1-8 1s set, cast 1 place and dance round 1st corners passing corners LSh
9-16 1s dance reels of 3 across (1st Man with 2s and 1st Lady with 3s), 1s turn LH to face 1st corners
17-18 Centre dancers change with 1st corners RH while 2nd corners set
19-20 1st corners (in centre) change places LH while new 1st and 2nd corners dance clockwise round to next corner place
21-24 Repeat the Fig in bars 17-20 from new places
25-32 Repeat 17-20 from new places, 1s end by turning LH to 2nd place on opposite sides, 2s+1s+3s set on sides and 1s cross back RH
J. Cosh, 22 Sottish Country Dances
4×32S, 4C set
1-8 1s+2s and 3s+4s dance ½ R&L, 1s+4s (in centre) dance ½ R&L
9-16 2s+4s and 1s+3s circle 4H left ½ way, 2s+3s circle 4H right ½ way, 1s dance up to top and all face as for Reel of 4 on sides
17-24 All set Highland Schottische and dance ½ Grand Chain
25-32 All dance reel of 4 on sides. 2341
M. S. Brandon, 4 Scottish Country Dances, 1978
8×32R, 3C (4C set)
1-8 1s ½ turn RH into prom hold and dance down, cross LH and cast up behind 3s on own sides to 2nd place
9-16 1L and 2M+3M set advancing to form triangle, 1L and 2M+3M retire as 1M and 2L+3L set advancing to form triangle, repeat this Fig (bars 9-12)
17-24 1s in prom hold dance ½ LSh reel of 3 with 2L+3L (in centre of set), 2L and 3L pick up each others partner and complete reel
25-32 1s (prom hold) continue with ½ reel of 3 with 2M+3M (Men leave Ladies on Men's side in 1st and 3rd place) all end opposite side 213, all set and cross RH. 213

Saturday Dance Party Tea Information

by Linda Gertz

Some of you might be wondering what you would be getting into when you agree to do the tea, etc., for a Saturday Dance Party.

Here is what needs to be done:

Before the night of the party:

Check the cabinet to make sure there are enough supplies of: tea, sugar, plates, cups, forks, and napkins.

Note: For drinks we currently have regular tea, decaf tea, herbal teas, and instant coffee bags

On the night of the event:

  1. Bring milk for the tea.
  2. Move the little table that’s up front to the back to put the tea stuff on.
  3. Fill the urn that says “Hot Water” with water. You don’t need the tray in it that would normally hold the tea or coffee. Get out cords for the pot - don’t plug in until intermission.
  4. Put out teas, coffee, stir sticks, sugar, and cups on the little table.
  5. Put a tablecloth on the big table to be used for putting treats on.
  6. Set out napkins, plates and forks.
  7. Afterwards empty out the tea urn, put stuff back in the cabinet. If needed take the tablecloth and milk pitcher home to wash and return.


  1. Bring a centerpiece for the table.
  2. Do tablecloths for all the tables used.
  3. Any other idea you might have (surprise us!)

Please feel free to email Marcy to sign up for one of the following Saturday Dance Parties:

October 11, 2014; November 14, 2014; December 12, 2014; January 10, 2015; February 14, 2015; April 11, 2015; May 9, 2015


Linda Gertz’s Easy Pineapple Pie:

  • 1 16 oz sour cream
  • 1 16 oz can crushed pineapple (don’t drain)
  • 1 small pkg (4 serv size) Instant vanilla pudding

Mix all together - put in a graham cracker crust & refrigerate.

Note: They aren’t making 16 oz cans of pineapple now, so I used two 8 oz cans. It seems they might be putting more liquid in the cans than they used to (so probably less pineapple). So you might want to hold back on a little of the pineapple juice in the can. The last one I made was a bit runny using all of the juice.

Eunice Mac​Kenzie’s Chocolate Walnut Triangles

Makes 12 Cookies

  • 1/4 cup palm or coconut oil
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) dairy-free dark chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup chopped toasted walnuts


  1. In a double-boiler, or with a metal mixing bowl placed over a pot of simmering water, melt the palm oil and chocolate, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and stir the vanilla, salt, and the walnuts.
  2. Pour the mixture into a parchment-lined 9-inch round cake pan or fudge molds. Transfer to the refrigerator to set, 1 hour.
  3. Once the chocolate is firm, remove from the pan and slice into wedges with a knife that has been dipped in hot water. If using fudge molds, simply remove the chocolate from the molds. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the freezer for 14 days.

Flying Apron’s Gluten-Free & Vegan Baking Book

Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

by Eunice Mac​Kenzie

As you know, almost two months ago, I had a very painful, debilitating shoulder affliction. You of the Portland Scottish Country Dancers were so compassionate and generous in your words and deeds. I know that I verbally thanked most of you, but I just wanted my thanks in writing.

Thank you all very much!

Gratefully, Eunice Mac​Kenzie

Scottish Dance Technique

by Tom Halpenny

I wrote a newsletter item 18 months ago, “The Importance of Eye Contact in Manual of Scottish Country Dancing”. I was wondering where the “eye contact” social dancing skill came from, since it was not specifically mentioned in The Manual? I communicated with RSCDS and they thought the upcoming third edition could contain a sentence or paragraph about the subject.

I recently had an opportunity to read the third edition and I was curious to read what RSCDS has to say about eye contact. Before I give you the results, I would like to report what I learned about the Dance Technique topic. I have been attending Marge’s Dance Technique class since September, so I wanted to get straight in my brain the methods of Dance Technique that we need to think about while we are traveling the formations (figures) of a dance.

We can read the Dance Appearance and Etiquette methods in sections 3.2 and 3.3 of The Manual. I grouped the methods into logical categories:

  • Dance etiquette, management of a set
  • Anticipation, phrasing, covering
  • Steps, footwork
  • Handing
  • Deportment
  • Bow and curtsey
  • Spirit of the dance

The following equations define combinations of the methods:

Teamwork = anticipation + management of a set + covering

Technique = steps + footwork + handing + phrasing + covering

Following are definitions of the methods, with the help of The Manual.

Dance etiquette: Dancers wait until a dance is announced before forming sets. Join others at the end of the lines. Be aware of set boundaries. After the dance, thank other dancers and clear the floor.

Management of a set: Maintain appropriate set width and length and position to suit the movements of the dance.

Anticipation: Dancer observes all that is happening in the set and anticipates what is about to happen, maintaining continuous flow.

Phrasing: Dancer begins each formation on the first beat of the musical phrase and completes the formation on the end of the final beat of the phrase.

Covering: Dancer has an awareness of their own position in relation to the position of other dancers.

Steps, footwork: The method is described in chapter 5 of The Manual.

Handing: The method is described in the Introduction to chapter 6 of The Manual.

Deportment: Dancer has an upright carriage for good balance, easy and natural poise, and no excessive body movement.

Bow and curtsey: Dancer begins and ends a dance by honoring partner, performed rhythmically during a chord. Three parts: gather self up, move down, and back up, while looking at partner.

Spirit of the dance: The expression of the true spirit comes from the stimulus of the music and each individual’s response to the lively, elegant movements of the dance.

Now for the results of the RSCDS advice about eye contact. I observed that the subject continues to be omitted in the third edition. I thought about how eye contact fits with the methods, and I concluded that eye contact with our fellow dancers contributes to the spirit of the dance, as described in the following quote from The Manual.

“Mastering of the skills which have been described may lead to the correct performance of the dance without, however, expressing the true spirit of the Scottish country dance - “performing” rather than “dancing”. The expression of the true spirit cannot be taught. It comes from the stimulus of the music and each individual’s response to the lively, elegant movements of the dance. During an adjudication at a Scottish Country Dance Festival, Dr. Milligan exclaimed: “It is a pity that there are so many performers and so few dancers.” The difference between “performing” and “dancing” has to be appreciated in order to bring out several important characteristics of Scottish country dancing.”

Youth Weekend West 2014

by Darrick Wong

I recently had the pleasure of participating in the twelfth annual Youth Weekend West workshop, ceilidh, and ball at Western Washington University in Bellingham. This event was, of course, the latest iteration of the event that coincided with the Southwest Washington branch's Dinner Dance last May. It was organized by Rachel Leacock, a student at WWU. In addition to Western students, there were again many dancers who travelled from Seattle, Victoria, Vancouver B.C., Oregon, and California.

Friday night after dinner, we gathered in a sprawling gym on the Western campus for the opening ceilidh. It was a good thing that they reserved such a large space — apparently word had spread around campus and many college age kids had shown up to dance! Rosemary Read, the local Scottish Country Dance teacher at the university, directed the dancers through a number of large circle dances. Though many of the people at the ceilidh dance weren’t Scottish dancers, they got a small taste of what it is like. Jack Dorian of Richland danced a sailor’s hornpipe for one of the ceilidh acts.

On Saturday, we broke into three groups sorted by skill level, and headed off to classes. Katherine Shearman, Jim Maiolo, and Irene Paterson each taught one session for each of the groups. For those of us in the advanced class, Katherine taught a workshop on the various kinds of setting steps and flourishes that go with them; Irene taught a number of unusual strathspeys; and Jim helped us to work on smoothing out transitions between different kinds and directions of steps. According to Jennifer Seelye of the Bend, the intermediate class was taught a Star Trek themed dance, among other dances. The author regrets not spectating this dance. After lunch, there were two elective classes — one with called salsa dances, and the other was Israeli folk dancing. It is quite a hoot to see three men dance the “camel” in a line.

In the evening, we reconvened in a ballroom that had a beautiful overlook of Bellingham Bay. Callum Mac​Kinnon and his band played some wonderful tunes for the dance program, and Sonata Yau of Victoria piped us in the grand march. There was a lively mix of the usual Scottish dances such as The Flowers of Edinburgh and The Reel of the Royal Scots, and a rare treat — just before the intermission, all the men formed one large set to dance the Reel of the 51st Division together. This was quite the dance to have witnessed, for the men were delighted to show off their various setting steps, high kicks, and other gleeful antics!

Sunday morning, the tired dancers gathered one last time for some more relaxed dances before it was time for us to bid each other adieu until next year. If you are interested in dancing with energetic young people, please watch for the announcement of next year's event!

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?