First of all, the only SCOTCH (and I am using the word properly) in me
is by infusion!. I got interested in Scottish Country Dancing because people
"danced" rather than "walked", and TO THE MUSIC. As a long time Contra and
Square dancer I was very tired of people who never heard the music and didn't
know how to DANCE (Yes you can dance and still walk-but not as well). It was
only AFTER getting involved in Scottish Country Dancing that my wife (who IS of
scottish ancestry) got interested in her scottish background and I got absorbed
in the culture.
I am enough of a student and realist to know that Scottish Country
Dancing, as we do it today, is NOT authentic but I don't care! It is a
beautiful, elegant and exciting form of dance, which is more than I can say for
Ceilidh dancing-even though I do enjoy it on occassion and actually teach my
Scottish Country Dance classes occassional Ceilidh dances. You got to know how
the other half lives!
I will also take exception to Jim Healy's latest remark (which I seldom
do). We went to two NON-RSCDS country dances when we were in the British Isles
last Christmas/New Year. Sure they were more relaxed than RSCDS dances and there
was birling (see earlier discussion) BUT whether they wish to admit it or not
they owe a great debt to rhe RSCDS. The dances they did would not exist without
it. We all should be realists enough to know that the Country Dance Strathspey,
as it is done today at least, would not exist without Miss Milligan-and yet so
many decry the RSCDS and "what it has done to Scottish Dancing". Oh-come off of
it-yeh we need people outside the Society as gad flies but we also need the
society to set a st andard and keep development alive!
By the way-for those here in North America who still don't know what
Ceilidh Dancing is like-watch the Public Television performance of the Scottish
Fiddle Orchestra in the "Piper's Party" segment. It takes place in a Scottish
Castel and ALL the dances are Ceilidh dances (though a few of the dancers are
obviously Country Dancers-see the difference in both technique and footwear).
Another comment on a different subject. The Craigellachie Band recording
is available from TACSound as are recordings by a number of North American
Scottish Country Dance Bands. Would suggest that people both sides of the water
obtain their current listing.
Thanks to both Alan and Terry, and all the others from San Fancisco, for
the replies about San Francisco dancing. Will reply to Terry direct for further
Regard and happy dancing to all
Ben Stein firstname.lastname@example.org