strathspey Archive: Why the RSCDS?

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Why the RSCDS?

Message 37911 · Fiona Grant · 10 Mar 2004 10:34:59 · Top

Help to answer the following question appreciated:

What is the RSCDS for? What does it do for me or for any other dancer?

10 second concise reply required for local dancer unimpressed by the
grandiose generality of the RSCDS objectives as laid out in the
constitution.

Postcard sized answers please by Friday!

Fiona
Bristol
UK

Why the RSCDS?

Message 37913 · Iain Boyd · 10 Mar 2004 10:52:05 · Top

Provides qualified teachers.

Iain Boyd

=====
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P O Box 11-404
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New Zealand

Find local movie times and trailers on Yahoo! Movies.
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Why the RSCDS?

Message 37914 · Jean Martin · 10 Mar 2004 11:09:40 · Top

When this topic last came up a member responded "It's not the books, it's not the CDs, it's not even the newsletters. It's the current and FUTURE existence of the dancing we love. It's the training of teachers, it's the setting of standards, it's the co-ordination world-wide, and it's being the single authoritative point of contact for information or opinion on SCD." I think that this best encapsulates what the RSCDS is about.

Jean Martin, Chairman RSCDS

Why the RSCDS?

Message 37916 · Rosamund Rawlings · 10 Mar 2004 10:49:13 · Top

As someone not closely involved in RSCDS the following comes to mind.

- training teachers and musicians
- publishing dances and music
- encouraging cooperation between groups
- supporting a core of enthusiastic dancers that make the dancing happen for the rest of us

I personally think the above are well worth a few quid a year to the ordinary dancer. Otherwise it might not happen at all.

Ros

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Fiona Grant [mailto:fiona@freespiritfilms.co.uk]
> Sent: 10 March 2004 09:39
> To: Strathspey
> Subject: Why the RSCDS?
>
>
> Help to answer the following question appreciated:
>
> What is the RSCDS for? What does it do for me or for any other dancer?
>
> 10 second concise reply required for local dancer unimpressed by the
> grandiose generality of the RSCDS objectives as laid out in the
> constitution.
>
> Postcard sized answers please by Friday!
>
> Fiona
> Bristol
> UK
>
>
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Why the RSCDS?

Message 37917 · Pia Walker · 10 Mar 2004 14:28:03 · Top

Jean you did not mention the fun!

Pia
----- Original Message -----
From: "Jean Martin" <jean@bieldside17.freeserve.co.uk>
To: "Fiona Grant" <fiona@freespiritfilms.co.uk>; <strathspey@strathspey.org>
Sent: Wednesday, March 10, 2004 10:14 AM
Subject: Why the RSCDS?

When this topic last came up a member responded "It's not the books, it's
not the CDs, it's not even the newsletters. It's the current and FUTURE
existence of the dancing we love. It's the training of teachers, it's the
setting of standards, it's the co-ordination world-wide, and it's being the
single authoritative point of contact for information or opinion on SCD."
I think that this best encapsulates what the RSCDS is about.

Jean Martin, Chairman RSCDS

Why the RSCDS?

Message 37918 · Thomas G. Mungall, III · 10 Mar 2004 14:46:07 · Top

I wonder if Royal patronage lends prestige and authority to not only the
organization, but also to the art of SCD?

Is there any other form of dance in the UK that has such an organization
with Royal patronage?

Yours aye,

Tom Mungall
Baton Rouge, La, USA

Why the RSCDS?

Message 37919 · Fiona Grant · 10 Mar 2004 15:14:29 · Top

Tom asks good questions:

Tom wonders if Royal patronage lends prestige and authority to not only the
organization, but also to the art of SCD?

Fiona wonders if in this day and age, in the UK particularly, the Royal
patronage does not give an impression of elitism and snobbery to
non-members, and the Society's image would be better served by going back to
being The Scottish Country Dance Society. Should we return to our origins
and be the SCDS?

Tom asks if there is any other form of dance in the UK that has such an
organization
with Royal patronage?

The Royal Academy of Dance: http://www.rad.org.uk/
The Royal Ballet: http://www.ballet.co.uk/links/royal_ballet.htm
The Royal Ballet School: http://www.royal-ballet-school.org.uk/
particularly attractive website
The Birmingham Royal Ballet: http://www.brb.org.uk/

and in Canada:
The Royal Winnipeg Ballet: http://www.rwb.org/

Fiona
Bristol
UK

Why the RSCDS?

Message 37920 · Thomas G. Mungall, III · 10 Mar 2004 16:05:08 · Top

Fiona,

So, it appears that in as far as Royal patronage goes, it elevates SCD to
the level of ballet. ;-)

Tom
----- Original Message -----
From: "Fiona Grant" <fiona@freespiritfilms.co.uk>
> Tom asks if there is any other form of dance in the UK that has such an
> organization
> with Royal patronage?
>
> The Royal Academy of Dance: http://www.rad.org.uk/
> The Royal Ballet: http://www.ballet.co.uk/links/royal_ballet.htm
> The Royal Ballet School: http://www.royal-ballet-school.org.uk/
> particularly attractive website
> The Birmingham Royal Ballet: http://www.brb.org.uk/
>
> and in Canada:
> The Royal Winnipeg Ballet: http://www.rwb.org/

Why the RSCDS?

Message 37921 · Alan Paterson · 10 Mar 2004 16:53:17 · Top

Thomas G. Mungall, III wrote:

> Fiona,
>
> So, it appears that in as far as Royal patronage goes, it elevates SCD to
> the level of ballet. ;-)
>
> Tom
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Fiona Grant" <fiona@freespiritfilms.co.uk>
>
>>Tom asks if there is any other form of dance in the UK that has such an
>>organization
>>with Royal patronage?
>>
>>The Royal Academy of Dance: http://www.rad.org.uk/
>>The Royal Ballet: http://www.ballet.co.uk/links/royal_ballet.htm
>>The Royal Ballet School: http://www.royal-ballet-school.org.uk/
>>particularly attractive website
>>The Birmingham Royal Ballet: http://www.brb.org.uk/
>>
>>and in Canada:
>>The Royal Winnipeg Ballet: http://www.rwb.org/

Hmmm. Perhaps that explains an experience I had on Monday.

I was being interviewed on local radio regarding the activity of SCD in our area
(with special emphasis on our current recruitment drive). The first question the
interviewer asked was "Do you have to have pointy feet?"

I think that, with my answer "It's optional", I may have come out of it not too
badly.

Alan

Why the RSCDS?

Message 37922 · Ron Taylor · 10 Mar 2004 16:59:50 · Top

I may be wrong but I recall it being said that if the Society
gave up Royal patronage then it would also lose it's status as a Charity.

Ron Taylor

ron29@blueyonder.co.uk

Why the RSCDS?

Message 37923 · Miriam L. Mueller · 10 Mar 2004 17:36:30 · Top

Fiona - The RSCDS standardizes style and terminology, so I can don my
ghillies and join the dance confidently even halfway around the globe. It
also provides focus, information, and support for others who enjoy and
teach SCD, so dancers can find each other anywhere and share old and new
dances.

(Anyone who has tried to find other social dancing away from home
appreciates the organization. Would the Strathspey Net exist if there
were no RSCDS? I doubt it. Besides, we're the organized/organizing
types.)

Miriam/Mimi Mueller San Francisco

Why the RSCDS?

Message 37926 · Pia Walker · 10 Mar 2004 17:50:57 · Top

It also publishes dances and music mostly successfully, whereby dancers can
dance the same all over the world, thereby achieving a 'corporate identity'
which is unique to RSCDS and different from many art and sports forms, thus
enabling people from all walks of life and capabilities to learn in one
place and dance in another.

Pia
----- Original Message -----
From: "Miriam L. Mueller" <mimimueller@juno.com>
To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
Sent: Wednesday, March 10, 2004 4:32 PM
Subject: Re: Why the RSCDS?

> Fiona - The RSCDS standardizes style and terminology, so I can don my
> ghillies and join the dance confidently even halfway around the globe. It
> also provides focus, information, and support for others who enjoy and
> teach SCD, so dancers can find each other anywhere and share old and new
> dances.
>
> (Anyone who has tried to find other social dancing away from home
> appreciates the organization. Would the Strathspey Net exist if there
> were no RSCDS? I doubt it. Besides, we're the organized/organizing
> types.)
>
> Miriam/Mimi Mueller San Francisco

Why the RSCDS?

Message 37937 · mlamontbrown · 10 Mar 2004 20:22:37 · Top

Pia said

> It also publishes dances and music mostly successfully, whereby dancers
can
> dance the same all over the world, thereby achieving a 'corporate
identity'
> which is unique to RSCDS and different from many art and sports forms,
thus
> enabling people from all walks of life and capabilities to learn in one
> place and dance in another

Of course Rugby football is another activity which can be learnt in one part
of the world, say New Zealand, and practiced in another, say G.B and I'm
sure that there are many other examples.

Malcolm
Malcolm & Helen Brown
York - UK

Why the RSCDS?

Message 37963 · Pia Walker · 11 Mar 2004 11:09:51 · Top

Nah - Both Soccer and Rugby styles are completely different in various
countries

Professional Soccer in Denmark for example, has a lot more ball-play and a
lot less tackling, where as Soccer in Britain is very physical - which is
why so many European footballers are injured in their first months here -
before they learn to protect themselves.

The same with Rugby in NZ - much more physical and 'dirty' according to the
rugby players from my old club :>)

Of course dance styles and behavious is different in SCD also from Country
to country, but it wouldn't interfere with our own dance style.

Pia
----- Original Message -----
From: "mlamontbrown" <mlamontbrown@btopenworld.com>
To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
Sent: Wednesday, March 10, 2004 7:22 PM
Subject: RE: Why the RSCDS?

Pia said

> It also publishes dances and music mostly successfully, whereby dancers
can
> dance the same all over the world, thereby achieving a 'corporate
identity'
> which is unique to RSCDS and different from many art and sports forms,
thus
> enabling people from all walks of life and capabilities to learn in one
> place and dance in another

Of course Rugby football is another activity which can be learnt in one part
of the world, say New Zealand, and practiced in another, say G.B and I'm
sure that there are many other examples.

Malcolm
Malcolm & Helen Brown
York - UK

Why the RSCDS?

Message 37966 · Ron Taylor · 11 Mar 2004 12:56:30 · Top

Fiona's original message has created a volume of comments some of which have gone off at a tangent, so I shall stick my oar in.

I wanted to learn Scottoish Country Dancing properly and in 1961 I had two choices, I could join one of a multitude of Scottish Societies who enjoyed ( and still do) SCD and a varied social programme or I could join a "teaching class".
My attention was drawn to the RSCDS and because of it's Royal title I though "here is a Society I wish to join". I have never regretted it - despite some nasty shocks. I found that
we were referred to as "that snooty lot" by members of Scottish societies and regrettably it is an attitude which still prevails in some quarters even to this day. My Branch chairman (and teacher) at that time once said " now this is a teaching class and if you want an evening of social enjoyment I suggest you go elsewhere" . There have been times when the RSCDS has been it's own worst enemy.

Elitist ? So what ! Is there anything wrong in feeling that you belong to something which is perhaps a little better than alternatives? The title "Royal" does not make it elitist. Jim Healy has described in a clear manner how the Society came to be granted the title "Royal". We have a Constitutional Monarchy, gone are the days when the monarch sat reading the daily news or watching TV and thought "ah Joe Bloggs is doing a fine job, I must make hime a knight or give him a 10,000 acre country estate" The Crown is advised on who should be worthy of a high honour and we should be proud that the Society received that honour. If the day comes when the title Royal is banished from our vocabulary and is replaced by a No 10 Diploma awarded by President (or Dictator) B**** then I am happy to live with "Royal". Very good American friends of mine were proud to belong to a "Royal" Society.

To those who object to the title Royal may I ask if they were on a sinking ship would they refuse rescue by the RNLI or RAF because they considered it elitist? If they don't like the title they do not have to remain within the Society.

Ron Taylor
ron29@blueyonder.co.uk

This is a teaching class, was: Why the RSCDS?

Message 37969 · Ian Brown · 11 Mar 2004 13:19:46 · Top

Oh dear!

Ron's recollection of a teacher saying " now this is a teaching class and if
you want an evening of social enjoyment I suggest you go elsewhere"

reminded me of an occasion when our teacher felt moved to say "you don't
come here to enjoy yourselves".

This comment caused much hilarity at the time and has been fondly quoted
since. I guess it highlighted his view that we had come primarily to learn
whereas some of the participants may have ranked enjoyment rather more
highly.

I presume that obtaining a blend of authority and humour or levity in
teaching is a valuable skill that must be nurtured. Whilst it's
disappointing to hear instances of shortcomings at summer school, and I too
would like to think of them being addressed suitably, I hope that they
represent only a small and unrepresentative sample of the school.

regards
Ian Brown
Harrogate Saltire SCDC

Why the RSCDS?

Message 38002 · Blain Nelson · 12 Mar 2004 06:24:07 · Top

Pia Walker wrote:

> Nah - Both Soccer and Rugby styles are completely different in various
> countries
>
> Professional Soccer in Denmark for example, has a lot more ball-play and a
> lot less tackling, where as Soccer in Britain is very physical - which is
> why so many European footballers are injured in their first months here -
> before they learn to protect themselves.
>
> The same with Rugby in NZ - much more physical and 'dirty' according to the
> rugby players from my old club :>)
>
> Of course dance styles and behavious is different in SCD also from Country
> to country, but it wouldn't interfere with our own dance style.
>

Yeah. Over here in the Pacific Northwest (USA), we dance a lot tougher
than those wimpy versions I've seen elsewhere -- lots more contact and
injuries. Inter-set squabbles can make a footballer cry like a baby.

Well, okay, so it's actually not any tougher at all. We do have
instructors who could make a footballer cry like a baby if he's not
closing to third, even if they aren't much more than five feet tall
(that's ~152 cm for those of the metric persuasion).

Well, okay, so maybe not. But I wouldn't want to cross them. Wonderful
ladies that keep us honest.

Hi, Mary.

> Pia

Take care,
Blain

Why the RSCDS?

Message 37925 · Pia Walker · 10 Mar 2004 17:47:42 · Top

There are lots of charities that have no royal patronage.

Pia

----- Original Message -----
From: "RON TAYLOR" <RON29@blueyonder.co.uk>
To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
Sent: Wednesday, March 10, 2004 4:05 PM
Subject: Re: Why the RSCDS?

> I may be wrong but I recall it being said that if the Society
> gave up Royal patronage then it would also lose it's status as a Charity.
>
> Ron Taylor
>
> ron29@blueyonder.co.uk
>

Why the RSCDS?

Message 37927 · Anselm Lingnau · 10 Mar 2004 17:55:19 · Top

Ron Taylor wrote:

> I may be wrong but I recall it being said that if the Society
> gave up Royal patronage then it would also lose it's status as a Charity.

Hm. Tell that to (off the top of my head) the Royal Red Cross, the Royal World
Wildlife Fund, and Royal Oxfam.

Anselm

Why the RSCDS?

Message 37928 · Pia Walker · 10 Mar 2004 18:11:10 · Top

They have royal patronage, but not by the Queen. Red Cross I think is P
Anne, World Wildlife Fund P Philip, and I haven't a clue about Oxfam - but
having heard about their frugality, they probably shop there :>)

It is an interesting question though - do we need royal patronage? Would
another younger Royal have better pulling power? :>) Could we get rid of
it? Who is going to write to the Queen saying: Sorry Ma'am - we
respectfully request it to be withdrawn - could we have William or Harry
instead? :>) :>) :>)

Pia
----- Original Message -----
From: "Anselm Lingnau" <anselm@strathspey.org>
To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
Sent: Wednesday, March 10, 2004 4:54 PM
Subject: Re: Why the RSCDS?

> Ron Taylor wrote:
>
> > I may be wrong but I recall it being said that if the Society
> > gave up Royal patronage then it would also lose it's status as a
Charity.
>
> Hm. Tell that to (off the top of my head) the Royal Red Cross, the Royal
World
> Wildlife Fund, and Royal Oxfam.
>
> Anselm
>

Why the RSCDS?

Message 37931 · Fiona Grant · 10 Mar 2004 18:37:54 · Top

Maybe we just need to ditch the Royal from the title and keep the patronage.

Fiona
SCDS Bristol
UK

Why the RSCDS?

Message 37939 · John Chambers · 10 Mar 2004 20:42:42 · Top

Fiona Grant suggested:
| Maybe we just need to ditch the Royal from the title and keep the patronage.

Well, I dunno about that. I recall nearly 20 years ago, when I had a
job where they decided we all needed official US government
clearances. This despite the fact that everything we were doing was
public domain and with the cooperation of standards committees. One
of the questions on the forms was whether I was a member of any
organization controlled by a foreign government. I told them I was a
member of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society. This got me some
*very* strange looks.

In these days of growing weirdness here in the US over such things,
it's really nice to have organizations like the RSCDS to throw monkey
wrenches into the misguided ideas of some of the people in power. I'd
guess that John Ashcroft would consider me a very suspicious type for
being involved in folk dancing in the first place. But to be involved
with a dance group with "Royal" in its name is even better. I'd love
to hear him try to explain why the RSCDS should be considered
dangerous to our "homeland security".

They approved the clearance. I still enjoy the thought of those
strange looks. That's an experience everyone should have.

Why the RSCDS?

Message 37933 · Thomas G. Mungall, III · 10 Mar 2004 18:47:58 · Top

Has it always been the Queen? I was under the impression at one time it was
the Queen Mother.

Tom
----- Original Message -----
From: "Pia Walker" <piawalke@nascr.net>

> They have royal patronage, but not by the Queen.

Why the RSCDS?

Message 37936 · Richard Goss · 10 Mar 2004 19:53:02 · Top

As I remember it the first royal connection came in the person of the present queen when Princess Elizabeth, and sort of got grandmothered in with her coronation.

But back to the topic (hint subject line should have been changed when the subject became one of patronage).

Most of the posters have stated the obvious, which leaves out the unasked and unanswered question of "why not?"

If no RSCDS, what then?
What would replace it?
What do we have now that would be lost?
Why do some people see the Society as a/the problem?

Those familiar with my posts will know that I have been highly critical of the Society, Miss M, and the fake ancestry of our dances, style, and dancing.

This does not mean that I am against the Society or its existance. I agree with most of the reasons previously posted.

What I want to know is what are the reasons for the question and what is behind those people who see the Society, as unnecessary, superfluous, and a problem.


Why the RSCDS?

Message 37940 · Thomas G. Mungall, III · 10 Mar 2004 21:09:57 · Top

Richard, Since I'm not familiar with your position please pray tell go on
I'd like to here more, especially about the "fake ancestry of our dances,
style, and dancing". This is intriguing!

Tom Mungall
Baton Rouge, La, USA

----- Original Message -----
From: "Richard Goss" <goss9@sbcglobal.net>

> Those familiar with my posts will know that I have been highly critical of
the Society, Miss M, and the fake ancestry of our dances, style, and
dancing.

Richard Goss' opinions (was Re: Why the RSCDS?)

Message 37942 · Adam Hughes · 10 Mar 2004 21:44:58 · Top

Thomas G. Mungall, III wrote:
> Richard, Since I'm not familiar with your position please pray tell go on
> I'd like to here more, especially about the "fake ancestry of our dances,
> style, and dancing". This is intriguing!

You can catch up on all Richard's opinions he has shared with us in the
archives at

http://www.strathspey.org/archive

It even allows you to search by Author.

Adam
PS: note change of subject...

=====
Ely (n). The first, tiniest inkling you get that something, somewhere has gone
horribly wrong. (from The Meaning of Liff, D.Adams)




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Why the RSCDS?

Message 37948 · Richard Goss · 11 Mar 2004 00:29:47 · Top

Tom,

The long answer to your question is in a previous post. What follows is the short answer and an example. My conclusions are based on M.Sc. work at St Andrews, and Ph.D. work at the School of Scottish Studies in Edinburgh. This work was done with the approval and cooperation of RSCDS-HQ, and much of it has been published.

Short Version:
1. In spite of the myth, much of Miss M's qualifications are based on her association with the EFDSS. In fact all of the dances done by her first dem in Glasgow, prior to the founding of the SCDS, were done as published by the EFDSS.
2. After the founding of the Society, its published dances fit into several phases.
.....1. First books were republications of dances already currently being danced and in print elsewhere. The Society's contribution was primarily in standardization and making these dances available in standardized form throughout the world. NB: even before "foreign" places had branches, there were expat dance groups throughout the world and in the colonies}. In the process of standardization, there were some "creative" elements also. These include the non-historical concepts of our "strathspey" steps, figures, and country dances; the allemande & pousette figures, among others.
...2. The next series of books were primarily resurrections of dead dances, edited by the Society to fit their style. The problem here was that often the dances was published before the Society had access to parallel sources to further explain the figures (see DT, below). Many of these dances were also previously published by the EFDSS, but interpreted differently.
...3. After WWII, the Society, beginning with "Reel of the 51st", became open to adding modern composed dances to the canon, and about book 21 or 22 published their first book of these in the 60's. This is also the time when the first border was drawn between English and Scottish country dances, when "country dancing as danced in Scotland" became "Scottish country dancing", and the term "co-founder" was invented to account for the ascendance of Miss M.
...4. Since then the number of modern composed dances seems to outnumber historical reconstruction.
...5. While I have nothing against popular modern compositions in general, there is an element of the trend that I think will ultimately hurt, or even sink the Society. Dances such devisors as Foss, Haynes, and "early" Drewry, tend to fit into the tradition in that they evolve from traditional forms, many others "violate" the tradition and sacrifice good choreography for cleverness. To me this makes the dances antisocial, and discourages beginners from learning the foundations of Scottish Country Dancing. As a result each dance often needs to be taught as a one off event, leaving the beginner little opportunity to synthesize the dances in his repertoire.

[On this visit to the States, I visited a class taught by Anne McBride in South Pasadena. The original had been started by the Brandons, turned over to me when they moved to Hawaii in the late 60's, I passed it on to another teacher, had it again in the early 80's, the late David Brandon restarted it in the late 90's. The dances taught were based on an upcomming social dance, and two of these were by Haynes. While the dances were original to him, there was nothing in them that would give pause to a country dancer in either England or Scotland in the 19th or 20th centuries. Vegging back, and while in the set, but observing the lesson and listening to the questions of the students, it bothered me that some of their lack dance sophistication did not allow them to just relax and follow the default instructions by going with the flow. The last time I taught a certificate class, late 80's I think, these were the same questions of insecurity, fear of being "RSCDS WRONG" that I sensed among
the teacher candidates in the class. I enjoyed the class and the teacher, but was saddened at seeing the symptoms at ground level of some of the problems people on this site discuss. It also explains why it takes longer to get through the program at many social dancing events where instead of social interaction between items, one's time is often filled with checking cribs, and listening to recaps.]

None of this world covering phenomena would have been possible without the Society and the vision of its founders after WWI. While I have found many "errors" in the reconstructions (act the only dance that I could find that unambiguously fitts the printed sourcess is the "Duke of Perth"), I consider these "improvements" simply a part of the evolutionary process, and would never suggest that our dances be re-edited back to a more historic original (for some the Society version are a lot more fun). At the same time, I feel that with current and future knowledge, we should do a better job when publishing more historic revivals.

Example: Double Triangles.
While I have no objection to the figure, I never liked the name from the first time I learned a dance containing it in the 1960's. The name did not fit my mental image. In the Society version is is really double, or back to back, angles. If the sides held hands it would be double triangles, but this constriction would spoil the shape of the figure.
Doing my research in the late 70's I came upon a book by Wilson which contains the only preSociety description of the figure. According to Wilson, the active couple dances out of the square formed by their corners by dancing foreward to their right through their corner couples, turning left and dancing behind their corners, and then, turning left again dancing back to place. As each person's path forms a triangle, the interlocking floor patterns forms a six point star (Mogan David), or double triangles, as seen on the modern flag of Israel.
Following my statement above regarding leaving published dances alone, my only recommendation is that this figure be considered in future publications of new Society dances.
The above has been previously alluded to on this site. Since last summer, I have a coda to add to the story. Spain has a contra and morris dance tradition, though much less structured than that of the U.S., English, or Scottish traditions. When it comes to public dancing the process is also different. Where I live the motivators are the bands, who happen to have teams, and teachers. If the teams are inspired and the teachers do a good job, the bands have lots of gigs. Because of the Civil War, my village (4000) has a few wounds that are not quite healed. So we have two bands, who have dem teams, and teachers. Because Spain has an arts tradition, the town councils subsidize arts related activities (my private oboe & class xeremia lessons cost me about 9$ per hour for the former, and 30$ per year for the latter, with the "municipio" picking up the difference and providing the venue). I also pay about 30$ per year for weekly dance classes at the music school, and membership in the
"majors" (opposite of "minors"). While the "majors" club has 4 dance classes per week and a dance, along with other artsy stuff, the class at the school is much like our SCD classes in structure. Just before leaving for the States, the teacher was teaching a "fandango". NB: Many Spanish dances are generic and named after the type of music (fandango, bolero, habanera, malaguena, sevilillana, jota, etc.). This particular fandango was a longways duple minor, in which there was a figure "triangulos" where the actives crossed down, cast up, and crossed back to place, in other words the same path as in Wilson's double triangles in a triple minor dance.

As this is a new discovery for me, I have not had time to check out my SCD data base (paper copy given to the Society around 1982). Wouldn't it be interesting if this "squared" contra figure in Spanish dancing be the same as our curved "half figure of eight and cross"?


position?

Message 37949 · Ron Mackey · 11 Mar 2004 00:58:40 · Top

On 10 Mar 2004 at 14:09, Thomas G. Mungall, III wrote:

> Richard, Since I'm not familiar with your position please pray tell go on
> I'd like to here more, especially about the "fake ancestry of our dances,
> style, and dancing". This is intriguing!
>
> Tom Mungall
> Baton Rouge, La, USA

Tom,
Please do not encourage Goss on this subject! :))
Have a look in the Archives!

Why the RSCDS?

Message 37952 · Helen Brown · 11 Mar 2004 01:19:01 · Top

> Fiona wonders if in this day and age, in the UK particularly, the Royal
> patronage does not give an impression of elitism and snobbery to
> non-members, and the Society's image would be better served by
> going back to being The Scottish Country Dance Society.

I don't think that the Royal patronage does necessarily give an impression
of elitism and snobbery to non-members, it is the implication given perhaps
by some members in the past that we are elitist. I think we now have an
interest in and welcome other forms of dance related to country dancing so
that we can enrich the living tradition of dance.

The fact that the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) has Royal
patronage does not make it elitist for birdwatchers - any race, colour and
creed can be a birdwatcher and I hope that would be the same for any dancer
who would like to be a member of the RSCDS.

Helen

Helen (and Malcolm) Brown
York (UK)

Elitism?

Message 37985 · Jock McVlug · 11 Mar 2004 20:56:48 · Top

"Elitism" attitude is probably more often attributed to the RSCDS because
of behaviour or comments of it's members, rather than the fact of it's
"Royalness".
Elitism to me means exclusion rather than inclusion......just one example:
my first 'grand ball' experience (some 17 years ago) was as follows; total
stranger to anyone else at the Ball, I found myself panicking somewhat as
everyone at the table was filling their dance cards. I thought "There will
be no one left to dance with for me and looks like I'll be sitting out most
of the Dances" I rued the fact I was not part of the 'bookable' group, and
the thought that this was exclusive elitism occurred to me.
Luckily, there were at that Dance a large group of teenagers who did not
pre-book and I was able to dance most of the Dances that night.

I would suggest that if we want to be less elite (or 'snobbish')(more
inclusive than exclusive) we look at our own behaviour rather than trying to
attribute charges of 'elitism' to something as incidental as the Royal in
the name of the Society.

I am happy to be able to say that in this part of the dancing world, not
prebooking dance programs is now the norm,..... much more 'inclusive'

My 2 cents on 'elitism'

Jack

Elitism?

Message 37990 · Richard Goss · 11 Mar 2004 22:35:49 · Top

While I sympathize and agree with your comments, I disagree with the common misuse of the concept elite and elitism.

What you describe is bad manners and poor organization.

Yes, I am against the thing you describe of elitism. At the same time, this term is too often used by "loosers" to justify their own lack of success. It is only elitist in the negative way if the in group has an unjust way of remaining exclusive. If the difference between the goal and where one finds himself, requires hard work, than membership is not elitist, but an honored achievement.

Too often, country dancers how had a hard time in their first experiences in learing SCD, become teachers and treat the beginners like college freshmen who have to experience the same pain they did. Too often, by delaying the actual completion of a dance taught, by making unnecessary efforts in styling, deportment, etc. the beginners become insecure dancers unable to see the overall pattern, and nervously have to ask what hand to use, what shoulder to pass, before they can enjoy a dance.

Elitism?

Message 38011 · T L Harris · 12 Mar 2004 09:33:19 · Top

As to the "Royal" in the RSCDS name, that isn't an issue here. In fact, in my 8 years of doing SCD, I don't recall it's ever having been mentioned.

And I agree with Jack about the booking of dances at a ball or social: I detest it.

Terry Lynne Harris
Pretoria, South Africa

>>> mcvlug@shaw.ca 11-03-04 09:13 >>>
"Elitism" attitude is probably more often attributed to the RSCDS because of behaviour or comments of it's members, rather than the fact of it's "Royalness".

Elitism to me means exclusion rather than inclusion......just one example: my first 'grand ball' experience (some 17 years ago) was as follows; total stranger to anyone else at the Ball, I found myself panicking somewhat as everyone at the table was filling their dance cards. I thought "There will be no one left to dance with for me and looks like I'll be sitting out most of the Dances" I rued the fact I was not part of the 'bookable' group, and the thought that this was exclusive elitism occurred to me.

Luckily, there were at that Dance a large group of teenagers who did not pre-book and I was able to dance most of the Dances that night.

I would suggest that if we want to be less elite (or 'snobbish')(more inclusive than exclusive) we look at our own behaviour rather than trying to attribute charges of 'elitism' to something as incidental as the Royal in the name of the Society.

I am happy to be able to say that in this part of the dancing world, not prebooking dance programs is now the norm,..... much more 'inclusive'

My 2 cents on 'elitism'

Jack

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Elitism?

Message 38060 · ebaw22 · 13 Mar 2004 11:23:01 · Top

Jack,

Well said. I am really pleased to read that, at least in some other parts of the world, pre-booking is also not the norm.

I never pre-book dances, even at Balls, yet always manage to dance all the dances I choose to. Some dancers think I'm very brave, standing my ground in refusing to book dances, but I disagree.

Dancing is a fantastic social experience, made even better by dancing with a wider group than we initially know. I noticed a long time ago that some dancers either booked with those they already know or those they know are good dancers. This left a group of people, either beginners or those that do not know many people yet, 'out in the cold'. This is too 'exclusive' & damaging to the ethos & enjoyment of SCD & the RSCDS. I always prefer to be 'inclusive' & welcoming with my attitude to the dance & try to spread this message, both to my current Branch class & the wider SCD community, by example. I'm also very happy to say that I'm certainly not alone with this attitude; many of my fellow dancers do likewise, at least in part. The end result is usually more balanced sets & greater overall enjoyment, with the whole set also feeling more empowered to take more responsibility for each other with the increasing confidence gained.

No, I'm not 'a goody goody', just someone trying to take shared responsibility in helping all participants to enjoy the evening.

Apologies for the 'soap box'.

Happy dancing,

Elaine Wilde.
Croydon & London RSCDS Branches.

McVlug <mcvlug@shaw.ca> wrote:
"Elitism" attitude is probably more often attributed to the RSCDS because
of behaviour or comments of it's members, rather than the fact of it's
"Royalness".
Elitism to me means exclusion rather than inclusion......just one example:
my first 'grand ball' experience (some 17 years ago) was as follows; total
stranger to anyone else at the Ball, I found myself panicking somewhat as
everyone at the table was filling their dance cards. I thought "There will
be no one left to dance with for me and looks like I'll be sitting out most
of the Dances" I rued the fact I was not part of the 'bookable' group, and
the thought that this was exclusive elitism occurred to me.
Luckily, there were at that Dance a large group of teenagers who did not
pre-book and I was able to dance most of the Dances that night.

I would suggest that if we want to be less elite (or 'snobbish')(more
inclusive than exclusive) we look at our own behaviour rather than trying to
attribute charges of 'elitism' to something as incidental as the Royal in
the name of the Society.

I am happy to be able to say that in this part of the dancing world, not
prebooking dance programs is now the norm,..... much more 'inclusive'

My 2 cents on 'elitism'

Jack

Elitism?

Message 38067 · Alan Paterson · 13 Mar 2004 14:15:52 · Top

ELAINE WILDE wrote:

> Jack,
>
> Well said. I am really pleased to read that, at least in some other parts of
> the world, pre-booking is also not the norm.
>
> I never pre-book dances, even at Balls, yet always manage to dance all the
> dances I choose to. Some dancers think I'm very brave, standing my ground in
> refusing to book dances, but I disagree.

I wish it were so simple!

I have attended several dances where, if one does NOT pre-book, then one does
not dance.

The most extreme example of this came from a group led by a respected (by me)
vocal member of this Mailing List - and in a neighbouring country to me - where
people filled out their dance cards THE DAY BEFORE THE DANCE. I didn't quite sit
out most of the dances, since there was my own partner with me, but it was
close! I fondly remember being one of 2 men left out - and yes, we DID dance it.

Like so many things, a compromise is often called for. I will now usually
reserve about 40% of a given dance program in ordder to dance with my favourite
partners (my wife especially). For the rest, it does depend on the local
customs, but I can usually expect to sit out 2 or 3 dances.

Alan

Elitism? Also, 'to book or not to book'.

Message 38068 · ebaw22 · 13 Mar 2004 14:48:05 · Top

Alan,

I was saddened to read your reply re. booking before the day of the dance and the consequences that resulted. Many likeminded dancers that I know fully agree with or understand my reasoning but do as you do, book some dances with particular friends/partners, in order to enable them to dance all the dances that they wish to: I have no problems with that, I just choose not to do likewise. That said they are finding, as I am, that it is becoming easier to dance dances without pre-booking.

I also dance outside my usual area occasionally but still manage to dance all the dances I choose to dance (usually all of them; & I dance almost every Saturday!). Perhaps I am lucky, but if more people ensure that at least 60% of the dances are not pre-booked then all will benefit. I easily accept the compromise but I for one will continue not to pre-book, even if it does result in me missing the occasional dance. I feel that it is worth it: looking positively, it would give me the opportunity to sit and chat as not all wish to dance every dance.

Regards,

Elaine.

Alan Paterson <alan.paterson@paranor.ch> wrote:
ELAINE WILDE wrote:

> Jack,
>
> Well said. I am really pleased to read that, at least in some other parts of
> the world, pre-booking is also not the norm.
>
> I never pre-book dances, even at Balls, yet always manage to dance all the
> dances I choose to. Some dancers think I'm very brave, standing my ground in
> refusing to book dances, but I disagree.

I wish it were so simple!

I have attended several dances where, if one does NOT pre-book, then one does
not dance.

The most extreme example of this came from a group led by a respected (by me)
vocal member of this Mailing List - and in a neighbouring country to me - where
people filled out their dance cards THE DAY BEFORE THE DANCE. I didn't quite sit
out most of the dances, since there was my own partner with me, but it was
close! I fondly remember being one of 2 men left out - and yes, we DID dance it.

Like so many things, a compromise is often called for. I will now usually
reserve about 40% of a given dance program in ordder to dance with my favourite
partners (my wife especially). For the rest, it does depend on the local
customs, but I can usually expect to sit out 2 or 3 dances.

Alan

Why the RSCDS?

Message 37950 · Ron Mackey · 11 Mar 2004 00:58:42 · Top

On 10 Mar 2004 at 10:14, Jean Martin wrote:

> When this topic last came up a member responded "It's not the books,
> it's not the CDs, it's not even the newsletters. It's the current and
> FUTURE existence of the dancing we love.

The thing I find most telling but which many of the younger
generations do not seem to appreciate is the past. If an accident of
'fate' had not brought a few people together those years ago we (well,
most of us) might have tiddleywinks as our main hobby. It is most
unlikely that SCD would be as popular as it now is.
It would be nice to think that our present enthusiasm and
efforts, while perhaps selfish to some extent, will enable many who
have not yet had the opportunity to dance and have as much fun as we
do in the many years to come.

Why the RSCDS?

Message 37967 · Ron Taylor · 11 Mar 2004 13:12:40 · Top

In a response to Fiona's query about "why the RSCDS" : Iain Boyd said it "
Provides qualified teachers." Hmm?

The RSCDS Web site also claims that Branch classes are
taught by "qualified teachers"

I pose the question as to the status of this qualification, how does it
compare with certification by The Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing or
by The Royal Ballet School? Is it universally recognised - eg by Education
Authorities?

Secondly is the Society "claim" correct? Twenty years ago I queried with the
Executive Council whether or not
persons who have passed the Prelim Test should be permitted to teach Branch
Classes. The Chairman of the day wrote to me and said "yes otherwise some
Branches will cease to exist as such". In otherwords the Society was more
interested in maintaining membership numbers than in adherring to a
standard. If I lose my driving licence I can no longer drive. Some Branches
will only allow persons having the Teachers Certificate to Teach, on the
other hand there are loads of classes being well taught by persons who have
no qualification just as there are persons with the Teachers Certificate who
haven't a clue about teaching. How some of them ever got there certificates
remians a complete mystery.

In my eyes the status and value of the Teachers Certificate plunged when the
Society said that Branch classes could be taught by anyone, in my opinion
when a Branch was left without a qualified Teacher it should have been given
some other status until the matter could be remedied.

Ron Taylor
ron29@blueyonder.co.uk

Why the RSCDS?

Message 37968 · Andrew Buxton · 11 Mar 2004 13:14:01 · Top

Thomas, How long have you been on the list? :-)

Andrew Buxton
Lewes, England

-----Original Message-----
From: Thomas G. Mungall, III [mailto:atheling@cox.net]
Sent: 10 March 2004 20:10
To: strathspey@strathspey.org
Subject: Re: Why the RSCDS?

Richard, Since I'm not familiar with your position please pray tell go
on
I'd like to here more, especially about the "fake ancestry of our
dances,
style, and dancing". This is intriguing!

Tom Mungall
Baton Rouge, La, USA

----- Original Message -----
From: "Richard Goss" <goss9@sbcglobal.net>

> Those familiar with my posts will know that I have been highly
critical of
the Society, Miss M, and the fake ancestry of our dances, style, and
dancing.

This message is for the addressee only and may contain privileged or confidential information. If you have received it in error, please notify the sender immediately and delete the original. Any views or opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of IDS.

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How long on list? was Why the RSCDS?

Message 37970 · Thomas G. Mungall, III · 11 Mar 2004 15:13:59 · Top

Andrew, Most recently for only a week or two. I was on for a couple of years
back in 1995-96 and again in 2000. I've only been dancing since 1992.

Tom Mungall
Baton Rouge, La, USA

----- Original Message -----
From: "Andrew Buxton" <A.Buxton@ids.ac.uk>

Thomas, How long have you been on the list? :-)

Andrew Buxton
Lewes, England

-----Original Message-----
From: Thomas G. Mungall, III [mailto:atheling@cox.net]

Richard, Since I'm not familiar with your position please pray tell go
on

Why the RSCDS?

Message 37941 · Martin · 10 Mar 2004 21:44:13 · Top

This is not an answer for Fiona, but, as it happens, I have just read an
account of a dancer's first visit to Summer School many years ago.
From this, and from other reports of visits to St Andrews, I am tempted to
say "Why indeed?"

If there are several active SCD clubs in France (I cannot speak for other
countries) it is certainly not thanks to the RSCDS, at least in the first
instance.
Several members of a group from France that attended summer school in 1983
were soon in tears, utterly disgusted by the attitude of the teacher, who
was unwilling to demonstrate, content to give merely verbal instruction.
When one has not learnt all the specialized jargon, words are near useless.
Luckily, these people also met a number of pleasant helpful students ready
to give them a hand outside the classroom and help them through some of the
evening dances. Why pay for summer school teachers, if it's the other
dancers that do the real teaching?
Luckily, some of these people did not give up entirely after their return
to France, and, thanks to SCD enthusiasts such as myself, they discovered
that SCD could be enjoyable and felt encouraged to continue. Once they had
learnt steps, figures, style and a number of dances, those that returned to
St Andrews were relaxed enough to be able to enjoy their stay and the
company of other dancers.
Another year, when I was at summer school myself, I witnessed the same kind
of treatment dealt out to foreigners who could not follow verbal
instruction. This time, it was group that had already learned the basics,
some were good dancers. They too were quite disgusted. The lesson they
learnt was that SCD was more enjoyable when far away from the official
teachers.
None of that group ever went back to St A, though all of them continued
dancing in their clubs at home.
(People reading this may know that a number of French dancers attend St A
regularly; I would contend that this is because they had learned and caught
the bug *before* their first visit.)

OK, that's ancient history. Less than a year ago, however, I met a Scottish
couple who had been turned down when they applied to join their local
branch. The message was: go and learn first, join the RSCDS afterwards.

The RSCDS benefits from the ground work done by modest grassroots enthusiasts.

I remember reading here (I think):
Ask not what the RSCDS can do for you. Ask what you can do for the RSCDS.
Some of us have done a lot already. In return, the Society provides
publications and recordings, though publications and recordings made by
other agencies are often far more noteworthy.

So, why the RSCDS?
Because there is nothing else and we know that over the years, the Society
is changing
and improving.
So, let's keep it, even if we are not sure what it is there for.

Martin, ducking under fireproof umbrella.

Why the RSCDS?

Message 37944 · Lara D. Friedman~Shedlov · 10 Mar 2004 21:59:00 · Top

Martin,

Do you honestly think that Scottish country dancing clubs would
exist in France today if not for the work done by the RSCDS to preserve
the dances, to train teachers, etc.? Where did the people who started
your club learn SCD? Who taught them and where did they learn it from?

Yes, the RSCDS benefits from the work done by grassroots enthusiasts.
Aren't MOST of us, RSCDS members or not, grassroots enthusiasts working
in our local areas to promote and share SCD? But I find it hard to
believe your group hasn't benefitted enormously from the RSCDS as well,
even if it may be indirect and/or a generation removed.

The attitudes your dancers encountered are strange and shocking to me. I
can't imagine an RSCDS branch sending away dancers to learn somewhere else
before joining the branch. If it were up to me, I'd revoke their
branch status.

Lara Friedman-Shedlov
RSCDS Twin Cities Branch
Minnesota, USA

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Lara Friedman~Shedlov "Thwart not the librarian!"
ldfs@bigfoot.com
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

On Wed, 10 Mar 2004, martin sheffield wrote:
<SNIP>
> If there are several active SCD clubs in France (I cannot speak for other
> countries) it is certainly not thanks to the RSCDS, at least in the first
> instance.
<SNIP>
> The RSCDS benefits from the ground work done by modest grassroots
enthusiasts.

Spring Is Here

Message 37947 · Garth Martens · 11 Mar 2004 00:00:54 · Top

In Victoria the ornamental cherry blossoms are exploded like so much pink, white and purple cotton candie... the daffodils are in clumps under the garry oak trees. Spring is here! and so is March, one of the busiest Scottish country dance months in these parts...

Our university SCD club is hosting our usual term ceilidh next Monday... and it's our 5th anniversary as a club. To think... how many new student dancers have come through our doors? When I'm at the last inch of my tether with all this SCD committee work, a look at how much we've grown and how many new and enthusiastic dancers we've created... well, it doesn't seem so worthless. Frustrating, yes. But it's better than jail, eh?

One of our dancers lives in P.E.I., another in Ottawa, one will be in Scotland for a month in May or June... we lose 'em, someone gains 'em.

Let's remember it's about the dancing and the friends, however many committees and however much bureaucracy we suffer in tandem with the joyous bits. Take a whiff of those daffodils... and if you aren't so lucky as the butterfly-chasing lotus-eating dancers on this Island... well, I'm sorry for you!

Happy Dancing,

Garth Martens
Victoria, B.C.
http://www3.telus.net/UVic_Caledonian

---------------------------------
Post your free ad now! Yahoo! Canada Personals

Why the RSCDS?

Message 37960 · Martin · 11 Mar 2004 07:54:18 · Top

Hello, Lara,
you wrote:
>Do you honestly think that Scottish country dancing clubs would
>exist in France today if not for the work done by the RSCDS

as it happens: yes.
Even if, today, many French dancers have indeed joined the Society.

> Where did the people who started your club learn SCD?

I learned as a student, quite outside any RSCDS framework, and I'm sure
that this is the case of many dancers in Scotland.

>Who taught them and where did they learn it from?

Have you heard of the Imperial School of dance teachers?

>The attitudes your dancers encountered are strange and shocking to me. I
>can't imagine an RSCDS branch sending away dancers to learn somewhere else
>before joining the branch. If it were up to me, I'd revoke their
>branch status.

Good idea; shall I pass your suggestion on?

If I sounded generally negative, it is this kind of thing that explains my
feelings.

Martin, member of the Society for at least 20 years.

Imperial School and Bad Branch Behaviour

Message 37971 · Lara D. Friedman~Shedlov · 11 Mar 2004 16:34:17 · Top

Martin, or anyone else that knows -- what is the relationship of
the Imperial School of dance teachers to the RSCDS, as far as SCD goes?
Would the Imperial School have been teaching SCD if not for the
groundwork laid by the RSCDS? Was there a parallel tradition of SCD going
on in the Imperial School all along? I'm just curious about this.

And Martin, to answer your question below, YES. If I ever encountered
that situation, I would be writing to RSCDS in Edinburgh asking them if
they are comfortable allowing any SCD group with that kind of policy to
call themselves a branch of the RSCDS. I have no idea what, if anything,
they can do about it, but I'd contact them nevertheless.

/ Lara
RSCDS Twin Cities Branch
Minneapolis, Minnesota
USA

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Lara Friedman~Shedlov "Thwart not the librarian!"
ldfs@bigfoot.com
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

On Wed, 10 Mar 2004, martin sheffield wrote:

> I learned as a student, quite outside any RSCDS framework, and I'm sure
> that this is the case of many dancers in Scotland.
>
> >Who taught them and where did they learn it from?
>
> Have you heard of the Imperial School of dance teachers?

<SNIP>

> >The attitudes your dancers encountered are strange and shocking to me. I
> >can't imagine an RSCDS branch sending away dancers to learn somewhere else
> >before joining the branch. If it were up to me, I'd revoke their
> >branch status.
>
> Good idea; shall I pass your suggestion on?
>
>
>
>

[Un]Welcoming branches (was RE: Why the RSCDS?)

Message 37961 · Ian Brockbank · 11 Mar 2004 10:56:25 · Top

Hi Martin,

> OK, that's ancient history. Less than a year ago, however, I met a
> Scottish couple who had been turned down when they applied to join
> their local branch. The message was: go and learn first, join the
> RSCDS afterwards.

Here in Edinburgh it tends to work the other way. Most of the non-RSCDS
groups (with the exception of New Scotland - the university group) tend
to say "go and learn first", and the Branch is the only group to offer
a full range of classes.

And not having been to Summer School, I won't comment on the rest of
your email.

Ian Brockbank C.Eng. MBCS
Applications Software Engineer
e: ian.brockbank@wolfsonmicro.com / apps@wolfsonmicro.com
scd: ian@scottishdance.net
t: +44 131 272 7145
f: +44 131 272 7001

Teachers at Summer School (was Why the RSCDS?)

Message 37957 · Doug Mills · 11 Mar 2004 05:30:51 · Top

martin sheffield wrote:

> ...Several members of a group from France that attended summer school in 1983
> were soon in tears, utterly disgusted by the attitude of the teacher...

Surely the responsibilty for the situation Martin describes rests with the teacher
concerned?

It would be wrong to condem the RSCDS because of the atitude of an individual -
the Society would hardly have instructed that teacher to be rude and ignorant
because Johnny Foreigner was in the class.

Doug Mills
Christchurch, NZ

Teachers at Summer School (was Why the RSCDS?)

Message 37962 · Adam Hughes · 11 Mar 2004 11:00:18 · Top

Doug Mills wrote:
> martin sheffield wrote:
> > ...Several members of a group from France that attended summer school in
> 1983
> > were soon in tears, utterly disgusted by the attitude of the teacher...
>
> It would be wrong to condem the RSCDS because of the atitude of an individual
> -
> the Society would hardly have instructed that teacher to be rude and ignorant
> because Johnny Foreigner was in the class.

And is it not equally right to condemn the RSCDS for not censuring the teacher
and offering an apology to the offended people?

The teacher was presenting the public face of the RSCDS at its own summer
school. To behave badly in that situation is to invite criticism from your
peers. And if that teacher is not criticised, then the teacher is obviously
behaving within acceptable bounds of behaviour for the Society, and we who see
that as wrong should say so.

Adam
Cambridge, UK.

=====
Ely (n). The first, tiniest inkling you get that something, somewhere has gone
horribly wrong. (from The Meaning of Liff, D.Adams)




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Teachers at Summer School (was Why the RSCDS?)

Message 37965 · Pia Walker · 11 Mar 2004 11:29:20 · Top

I kind of remember what Martin talked about - it was my first year at summer
school also.

I don't think teachers go into a class in order to be rude, but I do think
that perhaps teachers and others at that time were less aware (and to a
certain extent still are) that 'foreigners' perhaps are not taught
completely in English - and that customs and etiquette are different from
country to country. Also it is very difficult for a person, who perhaps
only speaks one language, to understand that it takes some time for verbal
instructions to firstly be heard, then understood and then transferred to
another part of the body - I see this in interpretation situations all the
time.

I notice this still at St Andrews - in the briefing of dances at Younger
Hall - when the person briefing has a) a broad dialect, b) tries to
abbreviate the briefing so much that he/she is speaking short-hand and c)
shows a remarkedly lack of patience with the dancers. It happens again and
again, and you can visible see peoples' enjoyment of the evening lessen.

Pia

----- Original Message -----
From: "Doug Mills" <radagast@cyberxpress.co.nz>
To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
Sent: Thursday, March 11, 2004 4:28 AM
Subject: Re: Teachers at Summer School (was Why the RSCDS?)

> martin sheffield wrote:
>
> > ...Several members of a group from France that attended summer school in
1983
> > were soon in tears, utterly disgusted by the attitude of the teacher...
>
> Surely the responsibilty for the situation Martin describes rests with the
teacher
> concerned?
>
> It would be wrong to condem the RSCDS because of the atitude of an
individual -
> the Society would hardly have instructed that teacher to be rude and
ignorant
> because Johnny Foreigner was in the class.
>
>
> Doug Mills
> Christchurch, NZ
>

Why the RSCDS?

Message 37979 · Ron Taylor · 11 Mar 2004 20:31:31 · Top

Martin describes the experiences of a number of French
students attending Summer School at St. Andrews, I am shocked - but not
surprised. As with any pastime, profession etc, there are those who are so
full of their own importance that they think they know everything and cannot
listen to the views of others. I have seen this attitude in a number of
teachers having the Teachers Certificate and who have taught either at
Summer School or at a locally organised Day School. They do a great
discredit to the work of the Society.

Ron Taylor

ron29@blueyonder.co.uk

Why the RSCDS?

Message 37980 · Marilyn Knight · 11 Mar 2004 20:38:37 · Top

I have sometimes mused how the test would be much improved if they could
gauge warmth and humility and personality(humor of a kindly variety)....

-----Original Message-----
From: RON TAYLOR [mailto:RON29@blueyonder.co.uk]
Sent: Thursday, March 11, 2004 2:37 PM
To: strathspey@strathspey.org
Subject: Re: Why the RSCDS?

Martin describes the experiences of a number of French
students attending Summer School at St. Andrews, I am shocked - but not
surprised. As with any pastime, profession etc, there are those who are
so
full of their own importance that they think they know everything and
cannot
listen to the views of others. I have seen this attitude in a number of
teachers having the Teachers Certificate and who have taught either at
Summer School or at a locally organised Day School. They do a great
discredit to the work of the Society.

Ron Taylor

ron29@blueyonder.co.uk

Why the RSCDS?

Message 37991 · AGallamore · 11 Mar 2004 22:52:39 · Top

Dear all,

I look back over the 20+ years that I have been dancing and my imput on the
subject is simply this....

The RSCDS has done a good job of establishing a basis for Scottish Country
Dancing, providing research for older dances, and encouraging new dances. If
not for them, I don't think that we would have an even standard for dancing,
great music to which we dance, and friends who have made for an everlasting love
in an everchanging world.

As for those who take all of this a bit too seriously and believe that
footwork is superior to enthusiasm, I am sure that you would like to have it
renamed the "Rigid Scottish Country Dance Society."

See you on the dancefloor (or St. Andrews to enjoy a chocolate martini with
Stella...),

Sandy Gallamore
Charlotte, North Carolina

P.S. Pia - I think I just shot off at the mouth!

Why the RSCDS?

Message 38013 · Pia Walker · 12 Mar 2004 09:59:57 · Top

You mean you suffer from the same affliction I've got? :>) - (SFDL) speak
first - dance later?

See you, hopefully in St Andrews - if I'm not on your side of the pond

Best wishes

Loudmouth :>) :>)

>
> Sandy Gallamore
> Charlotte, North Carolina
>
> P.S. Pia - I think I just shot off at the mouth!
>

Why the RSCDS?

Message 38007 · Martin · 12 Mar 2004 09:15:54 · Top

Marilynn wrote:

>I have sometimes mused how the test would be much improved if they could
>gauge warmth and humility and personality(humor of a kindly variety)....

Three cheers for Marilynn.
I propose her as candidate for the next chairman.

Martin
(who never imagined his criticism would stir things up so much, or the
there would be so much agreement about this (occasional) weakness in the
Society's way of staging classes).

PS:
I won't write to HQ about the branch that rejected keen beginners, since
there are comittee members who will have already read the tale here, and i
am sure they will know what action is appropriate.

Why the RSCDS?

Message 38010 · T L Harris · 12 Mar 2004 09:30:53 · Top

Our group has gone to the opposite extremme, it seems. Footwork, timing, phrasing, technique, concentration - these have more or less gone out of the window. More or less anything goes in the name of "just wanting to dance" and "having fun". Where is the RSCDS standard of dancing in that? Surely there is a happy medium? There are a few of us in our branch who want both a reasonable standard of dancing and fun. Surely the two are not mutually exclusive? I don't believe they are.

Hammering footwork, etc home to the exclusion of fun and enjoyment is a sure way to drive dancers and potential dancers away. But the opposite is also true: anything-goes-let's-just-have-fun-and-socialise is having the effect of discouraging and frustrating those of us who do care about how we dance. And unlike countries where the SCD scene is strong, here we have no choice of local classes and groups.

Terry Lynne Harris
Pretoria, South Africa

>>> AGallamore@aol.com 11-03-04 11:52 >>>
Dear all,

I look back over the 20+ years that I have been dancing and my imput on the subject is simply this....

The RSCDS has done a good job of establishing a basis for Scottish Country Dancing, providing research for older dances, and encouraging new dances. If not for them, I don't think that we would have an even standard for dancing, great music to which we dance, and friends who have made for an everlasting love in an everchanging world.

As for those who take all of this a bit too seriously and believe that footwork is superior to enthusiasm, I am sure that you would like to have it renamed the "Rigid Scottish Country Dance Society."

See you on the dancefloor (or St. Andrews to enjoy a chocolate martini with Stella...),

Sandy Gallamore
Charlotte, North Carolina

P.S. Pia - I think I just shot off at the mouth!

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Why the RSCDS?

Message 38015 · Pia Walker · 12 Mar 2004 10:06:00 · Top

But if you don't write directly - can they take action? If we all just
speak indirectly, notthing is actually stated as fact, and nothing can be
done about it - whatever it is.

Pia
----- Original Message -----
From: "martin sheffield" <mj.sheffield@wanadoo.fr>
To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
Sent: Friday, March 12, 2004 7:51 AM
Subject: RE: Why the RSCDS?

> Marilynn wrote:
>
> >I have sometimes mused how the test would be much improved if they could
> >gauge warmth and humility and personality(humor of a kindly variety)....
>
> Three cheers for Marilynn.
> I propose her as candidate for the next chairman.
>
> Martin
> (who never imagined his criticism would stir things up so much, or the
> there would be so much agreement about this (occasional) weakness in the
> Society's way of staging classes).
>
> PS:
> I won't write to HQ about the branch that rejected keen beginners, since
> there are comittee members who will have already read the tale here, and i
> am sure they will know what action is appropriate.
>
>

Why the RSCDS?

Message 38200 · Andrew Smith · 19 Mar 2004 09:10:54 · Top

But equally, Ron and Martin, there are those who are positively inspiring,
and equally the blame is not always entirely with the Society if a teacher
is less than satisfactory.
Last year there was a gentleman in one of the classes that I attended who
was very vocal off the floor about dancers whose standard was way below that
of the class. He was right, they were holding the class back, but was
surprised when I told him at the end of the week that I had actually made
the point on my feed-back form. He had not. I have also fed-back on the
teacher when I thought it necessary.
If folk go away without feeding back, for whatever reason, the Society could
quite reasonably assume all was well. If it does not react to the feed-back,
then that may be a different issue.
The Society also need to know the exact circumstances of Martin's "a
Scottish couple who had been turned down when they applied to join their
local branch. The message was: go and learn first, join the RSCDS
afterwards." because that Branch was apparently not meeting its
responsibilities. I say apparently, because they may not have had a class
for new dancers, for whatever reason, and/or the response may not have been
well phrased.
It is no use trying, in either of these or any other cases, to rectify the
situation by complaining on Strathspey a long time later. If you have a
problem with the Society, then tell it directly. It is only an e-mail,
letter or 'phone call away.
Andrew,
Bristol, UK.
(Not a teacher)
----- Original Message -----
From: "RON TAYLOR" <RON29@blueyonder.co.uk>
To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
Sent: Thursday, March 11, 2004 7:36 PM
Subject: Re: Why the RSCDS?

> Martin describes the experiences of a number of French
> students attending Summer School at St. Andrews, I am shocked - but not
> surprised. As with any pastime, profession etc, there are those who are so
> full of their own importance that they think they know everything and
cannot
> listen to the views of others. I have seen this attitude in a number of
> teachers having the Teachers Certificate and who have taught either at
> Summer School or at a locally organised Day School. They do a great
> discredit to the work of the Society.
>
> Ron Taylor
>
> ron29@blueyonder.co.uk
>

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