Dancers from "New Scotland", the University of Edinburgh's SCD group
manage to entertain groups of up to 100 American teenagers who visit
Edinburgh each summer. The format is a Ceilidh, with "helpers" to teach
the ceilidh dances, and then dem a few dances in regular intervals (5 in
3 hours?) while the teenagers get their breath back. They do dance
strathspeys (as well as reels and jigs) to a traditional fiddle and
accordion music, and usually their audience is completely silent and
rapt. However, they always stick to the "three times is plenty" maxim
for longways dances. In addition, they often use a highland dancer for
one of the intervals, and they also demonstrate the construction and
deportment of a feilidhmhor, which usually gets a laugh.
Is there a trick? It might be that the dancers are mostly students aged
between 18 and 30.
There is nothing more likely to put off an audience than 6 or 8 "older"
ladies and gentlemen creaking through a dance, whether it is a
strathspey, reel or jig. SCD can be enjoyed socially by people of any
age, but it might get more respect if it displayed itself with a younger
profile. Perhaps there are "too many" people willing to perform SCD
badly. It might be better if there were fewer groups willing to dance
SCD for an audience, so the ones which were able to do it well (such as
Corryvrecken, and from the sound of it Red Thistle) got the respect they
deserve. Instead we hear "SCD is a social dance style which cannot hold
the attention of an audience" from people who have only seen "branch