Over 700 schoolchildren dance in Glasgow

Anselm Lingnau

Message 44941 · 1 Apr 2006 02:06:26 · Fixed-width font · Whole thread

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Dick Daniel wrote:

> So why is RSCDS crumbling towards oblivion and unable to attract young
> people? There is no doubt in my mind. Modern children [and young adults],
> of many nationalities, find dancing to good Scottish music, totally
> irresistable. These same modern children [and young adults] generally
> refuse to submit to the severe regimentational standards imposed by RSCDS.
> Standards, which were excellent for the era in which they were introduced
> as ground breaking procedures and policies, are now seen as irrelevant,
> “kill – joy” and “stuffy”, by current generations. As the youngsters would
> put it --- “RSCDS needs to LOOSEN UP”.

Consider the following: Everybody can have fun kicking a rusty can around the
street, and there's nothing intrinsically wrong with having fun that way even
if »proper« footballs are round and made from leather. However, playing
organised football does take some practice and dedication, but since people
are actually trying hard to be accepted by the better teams when they could
just as well keep kicking rusty cans around the street, doing it »properly«
must obviously be more fun than can-kicking. And incidentally, football DOES
have rules, and some rather more complicated ones than SCD at that. Even so,
nobody suggests »loosening up« the rules of football to make the game more
accessible to the can-kicking public.

Dancing (any kind, not just SCD) is just the same. It is absolutely true that
one can have lots of fun in SCD as a new dancer, especially if one's teacher
does not confuse the dance floor with a military parade ground. But the sort
of fun that one derives from, say, doing a sequence of the more intricate
figures of The Celtic Brooch with five good dancing friends is something that
only comes with a certain amount of practice and dedication, and no amount
of »loosening up« will change that.

The point is that the fun is already there to be had at all levels of dancing.
It is up to the more experienced dancers to make new dancers feel welcome
enough so they can grow up to be experienced dancers themselves. The Glasgow
school kids affair only goes to prove that SCD can be fun even if the correct
pointing of feet is not the first priority, and the fact that Glasgow Branch
teachers did the teaching only goes to show that the RSCDS *is*
actually »loosening up« already. Apparently the RSCDS were down there in the
thick of it rather than outside wrinkling their noses at the outrage, and
that is what counts.

Sure, not every single one of those 700 school children will go on to become a
life-long member of the RSCDS. But the main problem in Scotland seems to be
that people tend to *view* the Society as a stuffy assemblage of old fogeys
who are intent on taking all the fun out of dancing with their strict rules
and standards, obvious evidence to the contrary like the Glasgow schools
event notwithstanding. Over here in Germany, where the general public is not
thus conditioned, we have no trouble whatsoever attracting *and* keeping
young adults in our SCD groups, especially those groups that do attempt to
teach RSCDS-style technique and standards. (There are a few children's groups
and from what I hear most of those are also going strong.)

What the RSCDS needs in Scotland is not »loosening up«. It just needs a PR
campaign to educate people. From that point of view the Glasgow event is a
Good Thing.

Anselm Lingnau, Frankfurt, Germany ..................... xxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxx.xxx
Things are only impossible until they're not. -- Cpt. Jean-Luc Picard (ST:TNG)

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