- From the Chair
- Teacher’s Corner
- WANTED: New Branch Treasurer
- RSCDS Management Board
- A Fun Weekend Going to Irene Paterson’s Farewell Party
- Move to the Music
- Burns Dance, Saturday, January 17, 2015
- Maureen Sloan Requests for Photos for Photobooks
- Dancing in the Highlands
- November 8, 2014 Portland Dance Program
- December 13, 2014 Portland Dance Program
From the Chair
by Martin MacKenzie
First, I'm very thankful to the members of the board for all the research they’ve done to help us find venues for our monthly dances! One of the results of our latest success we will experience at our November second Saturday dance party. We'll be at a new venue this time around, The Renaissance School of Arts on Renaissance School of Arts, 0234 SW Bancroft St., Portland, Ore. Note the "0" in 0234. There is a map of this location on the party page, towards the bottom. It is a beautiful facility and will allow all of us to socialize afterwards using our own food and avoiding the less than desirable experience we had at Maher’s Irish Pub.
As Sally, our Vice Chair observed, “(There's) a nice, big, open room, with a great floor, and a piano with a lovely view. They have a refrigerator, microwave, and sink which we can use, and we can use any of the tables scattered around outside of the ballroom. There seems to be plenty of parking around, both in their parking lot and on the streets next to it. They have a rule that no street shoes can come in the building, so we can just put on our dance shoes as soon as we come in the door.”
As we won’t be doing a Bizarre Bazaar this year as it hasn’t produced much in terms of fund raising, we need to come up with more ideas for fund raisers. If you have any ideas, please contact any member of the board. As well, if someone would be interested in serving as treasurer next year, we would love to train interested parties in taking over that rôle in the future.
Finally, I would like to thank all the the folks who came to our October dance party at the Academy of Ballet & Dance Arts studio and brought their cheerful and helpful ways to make it an enjoyable event!
by Debbie McRobert
Our group has several dancers who have danced for many years. When someone keeps coming to the same class for that long, there must to be a reason for them to return. I can think of a few reasons because they are true for myself. I come for the exercise, both of the mind as well as the body, and for the people that we keep in touch with each week.
Sometimes I need a little more to keep myself focused. I have found little opportunities to keep dancing fresh and new each class. These activities improve my own dancing and can also help other dancers improve. I thought I would share with you what I’m thinking about while I’m dancing.
- I watch the other dancers in the set, with special attention to those who may need a helpful hint.
- I look for ways to cover with my partner and with others in the set. Maybe even covering with the other sets.
- I notice how the deviser of the dance transitioned from one figure to the next.
- I listen to the music and how it fits or does not fit the dance.
- I think about the little things:
- Taking hands and releasing hands
- Phrasing, ending in my spot right at the end of bar 8
- Flowing from one figure to the next, without starting/stopping too early/late
- Eye contact
- Encouraging smiles
- There are questions I ask myself while dancing.
- How’s my turn out doing?
- Am I closing in third each step?
- Are my hands at shoulder height?
- Am I bending my knee on the first strathspey step?
I listen to teachers as they instruct to see if there’s something new I can learn. The steps are not new but figures and wording can be new, and that different wording can bring new life to a step or figure. When Ron Wallace taught a class on the strathspey step, he described the closing as your feet “kissing”. For the next month every time I danced a strathspey my feet were kissing away, and I closed every step.
WANTED: New Branch Treasurer
by Pat Taylor
At the Annual Meeting in May, 2015, my already extended tenure as Portland Branch treasurer will end. I know May seems a long way off, but I thought it would be a good idea to give plenty of notice so that if anyone is interested, I could begin to work with him or her after the 1st of the year.
This is not a difficult nor time-consuming position - in fact, I have enjoyed it, and still am. I like working with figures because there’s only one right answer, no debating!
These are the duties:
- Provide sign-up sheets and collect the fees at Monday classes and Saturday parties. (It is not necessary to always be present if arrangements are made in advance for someone else to take the money)
- Count and enter the amount collected in the appropriate fund in the ledger.
- Deposit the funds - I usually do this at the end of each month.
- Deposit checks for Demo Team performances.
- Write rent checks to Waluga Lodge, St. Barnabas and the Saturday party venue.
- Keep a record of teachers and write checks for them periodically.
- Keep receipts for miscellaneous expenses and write checks for reimbursement.
- Balance the checkbook against the bank statement monthly.
- Create a monthly report of income/expenses - I have a spreadsheet for that.
- Make various payments during the year, e.g. dues to Edinburgh, insurance, TAC memberships, publicity, Highland Games Association.
The busiest time of the year is, of course, around the Workshop & Ball when many checks have to be deposited and many expenses paid.
- Attend Board meetings 3 or 4 times a year.
These are the perks:
- You get to work with really nice people.
- You get the summers off!
Talk to me if you might be interested, or email me at patmtay at comcast dot net
RSCDS Management Board
by Tom Halpenny
The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society elects its Management Board and committees from members of its 160 branches worldwide, at the Annual General Meeting in November. Since I have an interest in dance group processes, and would like to learn more about the processes of the Society, I submitted my name in nomination for one of the seven open Management Board positions. I would like to thank many of you supporters who signed my nomination petition. I submitted a candidate profile with my SCD background and what I would like to bring to the position. I was pleased to learn on September 26 that I have automatically been “elected” for a three-year term, since only three candidates had submitted their nomination. I will be one of the trustees with the responsibility to manage the Society with its annual budget of 800K pounds.
Branches recently received the RSCDS 2013 AGM Minutes, and I enjoyed reading the informative content. Branches are enthusiastic about supporting the society activities. Committee volunteers collaborate with the paid staff in order to produce products and services that benefit Scottish country dancers worldwide. I observed a theme with a desire to establish improved communication and partnership with branches. I will be interested to learn which ideas were tried this year, and the results? Branches expressed a desire to continue to improve efficiency and manage costs. I wonder how well aligned HQ and branches' goals are?
Declining membership is a headwind and the greatest perceived risk to the Society’s future. Branches are responsible for generating members, and HQ would like to be helpful to recruit members. I recently obtained the membership numbers going back to the beginning. I compared RSCDS membership data with the attendance of the USA National Square Dance Convention from 1952 to 2013.
We observe similar trends when we overlay the charts of the two data sets. The most significant thing I learned from the comparison is that the dominant trends in RSCDS membership and square dance participation are correlated and are global and are challenging to influence. We would want to focus on methods that generate a longer-term membership increase. Which methods have an international effectiveness and can be adapted for different cultures? Which methods depend on local personalities compared with publicity that has a global reach?
It is possible for a branch to locally counteract the globally declining membership trend. Successful branches can share their improvement experiences. However branches are generally isolated from each other. HQ hosted Branch Secretaries workshops in 2012 and 2013 at 12 Coates Crescent in Edinburgh. I am interested in a project to create a new internet Facebook discussion group which is effectively an ongoing Branch Secretaries workshop with worldwide participation. The aim of the group is to examine the role of Branch Secretaries and is intended for current Secretaries and those who may be interested in taking on the role. It is an opportunity for Branch Secretaries to meet each other and network to learn what is going on in the wider environment. HQ might similarly establish Facebook discussion groups for branches to network in other ways.
I am excited to meet the RSCDS Board and committees members and collaborate and learn RSCDS processes. We will hopefully have significant progress to report over the next three years.
A Fun Weekend Going to Irene Paterson’s Farewell Party
by Linda Gertz
Don & I headed north on Saturday, October 18 to attend Irene’s farewell dance. We decide to stop at the Falls Terrace Restaurant in Tumwater, WA for lunch. It is a special place to go, as the seating is in tiers so everyone has a view of the river & the small falls. The leaves were just starting to turn colors, which made the view even prettier. Afterwards we decide to walk up to the falls. We discovered that there is a trail that goes along the river and there are several more falls along the way. At the bottom of the falls we got to spy a really big sockeye salmon resting in a calm area before attempting the fish ladders to go up stream. According to a lady we spoke with if we had been two weeks earlier we would have seen many more fish. We also discovered the name of the river is the Deshutes! How dare Washington take the name of a river in Oregon! We then walked up to the top of the falls & found there is a fish hatchery at the top. There they let the wild fish go on through, but the hatchery fish returning are taken to create more little fish that are released in the spring.
After the refreshing walk, we continued on to our motel in Bellevue. It was my turn to drive & we discovered that Don had forgotten to bring a book with him. One of us without a book in insufferable! So I got out my I-phone & found a book store nearby called “Half-Priced Books”. We went there & found new books are half price, plus they also sell used books. So Don found 3 books that were $1.00 each. It was time for dinner, so I again got out my I-phone and using the “Find Me Gluten Free” app I found a close by Indian restaurant. It was wonderful. I got to have lentil crepes & curry; a lentil savory donut and lentil soup. Yum!
Now back to change & on to the dance. The dance hall they used was very attractive with wood beams and a good giving floor. During the week, on the way up & and at dinner time we had been busy studying the dances. There were several that neither one of us had heard of. There were numerous different figures that we don’t do a lot, such as: Set & Rotate, Interrupted Hello-Goodbye setting, the Birl/Bourrel, the Tourbillon. Irene’s favorite figure was obviously the diamond poussette, as it was in 3 dances on the program. So it was a challenging program, but a fun one too. We managed fairly well. The other dancers were friendly and helpful. Irene hasn’t moved and isn’t sure when they will as their house hasn’t sold yet. So who knows, there might be another party for Irene. The music was amazing with Calum Mackinnon, Lisa Scott & Marcia Thumma playing!
The next day must-do item was to have breakfast at Portage Bay Café, where their motto is “Eat like you give a dam!”. They have 3 restaurants in the Seattle area. This time we went to the one on Lake Union. They are really concerned about the source of their food & making sure the food is of good quality. I had wonderful gluten free bananas foster French toast with a rum/caramel sauce. If you order pancakes or French toast you get to go to the breakfast bar where you can add berries, nuts, peaches, pears, butter, whipped cream or dried fruit to your entrée. I also loved that I could only eat half of my order, so I got leftovers for Monday’s breakfast!
Next item on our agenda was the Seattle Aquarium. We had never been there. Don wanted to see how Mo (short for Molalla) the river otter was doing. He was one that was born over a year ago at the Oregon Zoo. We enjoyed the aquarium. Mo seemed to get along fine with the other otters. He and one of the other otters were busy grooming each other. They had a neat exhibit that shows all the different types of fish that live in the sound.
Now onward to home to get back for dinner together with Don’s family. Being so stuffed from breakfast, we didn’t need to stop for lunch. At a rest-stop for a break and change of drivers, we just walked a bit and ate the bananas I had gotten from the motel.
So as you can see we had a great weekend full of enjoyment, dancing and good food and music, plus great weather!
Move to the Music
by Tom Halpenny
Let’s explore the Fun of “Friendship, Fun, and Fitness” factors that attract people to our dancing activity. I have tried several folk dance forms, and the common theme that appeals to both the thinking and feeling parts of the brain is “move to the music”.
When we photograph dancing as a promotion method, a main goal is to show dancers having fun while moving to the music. Still photos are limiting because they communicate neither motion nor music. A new person might respond differently to a dance photo, compared with an experienced dancer. An experienced dancer can view the photo and imagine what the dancing motion with music is like, based on their experience, while a new person might receive a lower-impact message. A video resonates with the feeling part of the brain where the decision is made to try dancing.
For example, we can improve on this photo of the 2014 RSCDS Spring Fling event of youth Scottish country dancers, with the video that communicates the high-energy motion and music.
We can observe the room of Contra dancers moving energetically to the music. The caller reminds dancers of each figure at the beginning while the music plays a background rhythm. The calling gradually diminishes as dancers remember the pattern, and the musical melody moves to a higher level as dancers enjoy the music while dancing without the caller.
A high-energy Square dance video shows the caller singing a popular song in Germany, and the dancers are singing along. Interesting to listen how the caller mixes calls in English with song lyrics in German.
An English country dance video communicates the graceful choreography to the beautiful waltz music. While the caller teaches the figures before beginning the dance, the musicians play along with the teaching tempo, which activates the thinking and feeling parts of the brain.
The final video is a medley of Irish Ceili dances with live Irish music. The caller likes to form sets and begin the dance with little instruction. He calls the figures during the dance and relies on experienced dancers to help new dancers learn with fully activated thinking and feeling parts of the brain.
Dance groups can attract more people to the Fun of dancing if we focus on moving to the music in all our processes. Move to the music!
Burns Dance, Saturday, January 17, 2015
by Robert Burger
Our Burns dance will be Saturday, January 17, 2015 at 7 pm. It is to be held in the nice old Santa Clara Grange, 295 Azalea Drive, Eugene, OR, with its good wooden floor. Live music will be provided by our wonderful D‘n’A band, Doug and Amey.
By the way, our class has moved to Wednesdays 7-9 PM at the Santa Clara Grange Hall, 295 Azalea Drive, Eugene, OR.
Robert Burger, Senior Teacher, Eugene, OR RSCDS Class
Maureen Sloan Requests for Photos for Photobooks
by The Editor
Maureen Sloan requests photos of the Portland Branch activities taken in 2013 and 2014. She would like to add them to the photobooks similar to the one she made for 2012. Photos can be emailed directly to Maureen at msloan34 at comcast dot net.
Dancing in the Highlands
by Maggie Hannahs and Darrick Wong
On the first Friday in October, Maggie and Darrick trekked over the curvy passes of the Cascade mountains to Bend to attend a Scottish Country Dance ball in the highlands of Oregon. On the way there, we stopped to admire the monkey head at Smith Rock State Park in Terrebonne before stopping at the Seelyes’ house to pick out amusing hats, admire the local deer, and socialize a bit. We enjoyed the opportunity to spend time with dancers from the host branch before the festivities began, and to experience a little bit of downtown Bend.
Monica Pollard, a teacher from the Boise Scottish Dance group, led our group of about twenty dancers through a number of tricky workshop dances. Some of the dances involved those lovely complex figures that show their faces only rarely, while others involved amusing variants of the more standard moves to tease everyone’s brains. Those who attended the workshop, including several more dancers from the Portland and Vancouver branches, were more than up to the challenge! Between the workshop and the ball, Jennifer from Bend, Sonia from Boise, and the two of us retired to a nearby pub to chit chat and to compare notes about the upcoming ball dances.
In the evening, everyone regrouped and more dancers showed up for the ball. A fun time was had by all as we danced long into the evening to the live music of A Scottish Heart, who also provided a delightful mini-concert during a break in the dancing. The dance hall was spacious, giving the participants ample room to perform the figures with grace and style. We really enjoyed the opportunity to dance the high energy and tricky dances that were on the program.
At the afterglow, Maggie was excited to jam on her fiddle with another musician well into the night while the rest of us relaxed and assuaged our tired feet. The next morning, the two of us highballed it back to Portland, stopping in Detroit Lake to admire the exposed stumps in the reservoir. We are certainly looking forward to the next ball in the highlands!
November 8, 2014 Portland Dance Program
R. Goldring, 24 Graded and Social Dances
|8×32J, 2C (4C set)|
M. Levy, RSCDS Book 36
|8×32S, 3C (4C set)|
R. Arrowsmith, RSCDS Book 40
|8×32R, 3C (4C set)|
J. Cosh, 22 Scottish Country Dances
|8×40J, 3C (4C set)|
J. B. Dickson, Lothian Coll.
|8×32S, 3C (4C set)|
Castle Menzies Mss, RSCDS Book 10
|8×32R, 3C (4C set)|
I. Boyd, Happy to Meet
|8×32J, 3C (4C set)|
J. Drewry, Bankhead Book 1
|3×32S, 3C set|
Longman and Broderip, RSCDS Book 7
|8×32R, 3C (4C set)|
B. Skelton, RSCDS Book 41
|8×32J, 3C (4C set)|
D. Haynes, Carnforth Collection 4
|8×32S, 2C (4C set)|
R. Goldring, RSCDS Book 33
|8×32R, 3C (4C set)|
December 13, 2014 Portland Dance Program