strathspey Archive: encouraging news

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encouraging news

Message 55775 · Martin Campoveja · 2 May 2009 10:02:46 · Top

A few months ago, we had a visitor from England at the Malaga SCD club.
Brought along for want of anything else to do, he was not a dancer,
but got roped in to make up a set or two in subsequent weeks. He
enjoyed the experience (of being shouted at (Do this! Come here! No,
LEFT hand! ...) and said he would look for a club locally on return
home.

I saw him again yesterday. He'd found a club in Hampshire and seemed
almost overwhelmed by the friendly atmosphere -- "a real social
gathering, all ages 20 to 80, everyone mixing, and helpful to a
beginner" .

I think this is most encouraging to know that there are clubs that
welcome beginners (unlike some RSCDS branches I have heard of, that
tell beginners to go away and learn SCD somewhere else!) and that it
is possible to have a good time from the word go. Encouraging also to
learn that a small-town club can have a membership of 80 or so (dixit
our friend), unlike so many groups we hear about that struggle to get
a set together.

Yes there is still a future for SCD south of the border.

Martin

encouraging news

Message 55776 · Angela Bulteel · 2 May 2009 10:15:16 · Top

I find it really hard indeed to believe that some RSCDS societies actually
tell beginners to go away and learn SCD elswhere!!!!

----- Original Message -----
From: "Martin Sheffield" <francoscot@gmail.com>
To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
Sent: Saturday, May 02, 2009 9:02 AM
Subject: encouraging news

encouraging news

Message 55777 · Lee Fuell · 2 May 2009 13:03:02 · Top

Yeah, I'd like to hear some facts (names of groups, locations, source(s) of info, etc) instead of just insinuations reminiscent of tabloid journalism.

Lee

Beavercreek, OH, USA

-----Original Message-----
>From: Angela Bulteel <a.bulteel@talktalk.net>
>Sent: May 2, 2009 4:15 AM
>To: strathspey@strathspey.org
>Subject: Re: encouraging news
>
>I find it really hard indeed to believe that some RSCDS societies actually
>tell beginners to go away and learn SCD elswhere!!!!
>
>
>
>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Martin Sheffield" <francoscot@gmail.com>
>To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
>Sent: Saturday, May 02, 2009 9:02 AM
>Subject: encouraging news
>
>
>
>
>

encouraging news

Message 55778 · John Chambers · 2 May 2009 14:20:31 · Top

Angela Bulteel wrote:
| I find it really hard indeed to believe that some RSCDS societies actually
| tell beginners to go away and learn SCD elswhere!!!!

This may be an exaggeration of something that I've seen here in the Boston
(Massachusetts, not England ;-) area. We have a lot of related kinds of
dancing hereabouts, including NEC (New England Contra), ECD (English), etc,
and they differ somewhat in complexity. I know a number of dancers who do all
of them, and keep an eye out for the people they consider "misfits". At
Scottish dances, when they see beginners struggling, they'll suggest that
maybe contras would be a better starting place. And when they see someone at
a contra that seems a bit bored by the repetitiveness of it all, they'll
suggest that maybe English or Scottish might be more to their taste.

This could be interpreted as "Go somewhere else to learn". But it could be a
very reasonable approach, if you're nice about it. Of course, it only works
if you have a variety of dance groups nearby that are at different levels of
complexity.

--
_,
O John Chambers
<:#/> <jc@trillian.mit.edu>
+ <jc1742@gmail.com>
/#\ in Waltham, Massachusetts, USA, Earth
| |
' `

encouraging news

Message 55780 · Angela Bulteel · 2 May 2009 18:22:47 · Top

Good Lord, I'm sorry I mentioned it. It sounds very creepy to me that
there are multi-tasking dancers (or are they self appointed praying
mantises) wandering from dance group to dance group making sure others find
their correct ability niche in the dancing world. Note to self.... Boston
is a no go area!!!

----- Original Message -----
From: "John Chambers" <jc@trillian.mit.edu>
To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>; <strathspey@strathspey.org>
Sent: Saturday, May 02, 2009 2:20 PM
Subject: Re: encouraging news

> Angela Bulteel wrote:
> | I find it really hard indeed to believe that some RSCDS societies
> actually
> | tell beginners to go away and learn SCD elswhere!!!!
>
> This may be an exaggeration of something that I've seen here in the
> Boston
> (Massachusetts, not England ;-) area. We have a lot of related kinds
> of
> dancing hereabouts, including NEC (New England Contra), ECD (English),
> etc,
> and they differ somewhat in complexity. I know a number of dancers who do
> all
> of them, and keep an eye out for the people they consider "misfits".
> At
> Scottish dances, when they see beginners struggling, they'll suggest
> that
> maybe contras would be a better starting place. And when they see someone
> at
> a contra that seems a bit bored by the repetitiveness of it all,
> they'll
> suggest that maybe English or Scottish might be more to their taste.
>
> This could be interpreted as "Go somewhere else to learn". But it could
> be a
> very reasonable approach, if you're nice about it. Of course, it only
> works
> if you have a variety of dance groups nearby that are at different levels
> of
> complexity.
>
>
> --
> _,
> O John Chambers
> <:#/> <jc@trillian.mit.edu>
> + <jc1742@gmail.com>
> /#\ in Waltham, Massachusetts, USA, Earth
> | |
> ' `

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encouraging news

Message 55781 · Loretta Holz · 2 May 2009 18:44:52 · Top

Angela wrote --
> Good Lord, I'm sorry I mentioned it. It sounds very creepy to me that
> there are multi-tasking dancers (or are they self appointed praying
> mantises) wandering from dance group to dance group making sure others
> find their correct ability niche in the dancing world. Note to self....
> Boston is a no go area!!!

I'm a bit confused by your concern, Angela. I am probably one of the most
multi-taking dancers you are likely to meet. In addition to doing Scottish
and English country dancing, I also do Scandinavian, International, Vintage,
zweifachers, American contra and squares, etc. I teach these various types
of dancing and have gigs running special event for people who don't usually
dance.

I met a Danish woman who came to our Scandinavian group. She found all the
turning involved in the dances very hard and like many others found it made
her dizzy. She was about to give up dancing when I suggested she might like
to come to our international group where she would be see a lot of different
types of dancing. She came and liked it and she especially like the
Scottish and English country dancing. She goes to dances groups for all
three of these now and she is a faithful member of my SCD group (which she
says is her favorite). So because I made the suggestion to her and she
tried other types of dancing (which she found much easier and more to her
liking) a whole new world was open to her -- she loves dancing which she
does three times a week! She is very grateful to me and I don't believe she
thinks of me as a praying mantis (rather she tells me she is so glad I
suggested IFD). By the way I recruit dancers for my SCD group from the
various groups I go to-- some from the Scandi group, some from ECD, some
from international.... In my experience those who who have some dancing
background typically find a new type of dancing much easier than would a
non-dancer.

Loretta Holz
Warren, NJ, USA

encouraging news

Message 55782 · Martin Campoveja · 2 May 2009 19:14:16 · Top

With the writer's permission, I am reproducing one of the private
replies I received this to my post "Encouraging news".

"[ We] feel that RSCDS clubs (many but not all) are very unfriendly
places and for that reason we have avoided joining.

When we first took up dancing [...], our first port of call was an
RSCDS [ in .... ]. We found it so frosty and resembling being back at
school that we would not have pursued it any further, had we not come
across a non Society club in our home town.
This was completely the other end of the scale, it was very welcoming
and boasted a membership of about 100 people from all age groups. We
became very involved with the club and soon started taking lessons at
another club that had a beginners class. We progressed probably 3
times a fast as our RSCDS beginner counterparts which we came across
now and then at dances.

I am forever coming across Society clubs complaining that they have a
declining membership, when they simply can't see that it is of there
own making. All they have to do is lose this authoritarian attitude
and become a bit more welcoming."

So the example I mentioned is not unique.

By the way, my intention was to be optimistic as a change from the so
frequently heard complaints of decling numbers and aging membership.
There *are* groups that flourish -- given the right attitiude on the
part of their committees.

Martin

encouraging news

Message 55783 · Iain Boyd · 3 May 2009 00:21:13 · Top

Greetings all,

With regard to Martin's quote (reproduced below), I feel I must query whether everyone is using the same definitions.

For many years the Society has advocated the use of classes where dancers of different ability can be taught at the level of their current ability.

There is a considerable difference between a class and a club where dancers of ALL abilities dance together.

A class is a more formal gathering and naturally a new dancer attending such a class is likely to consider the dancers 'unfriendly' especially if the new dancer is not at the level of the rest of the class.

Regards,

Iain Boyd

Postal Address -

P O Box 11-404

Wellington

New Zealand

When we first took up dancing [...], our first port of call was an
RSCDS [ in .... ]. We found it so frosty and resembling being back at
school that we would not have pursued it any further, had we not come
across a non Society club in our home town.

This was completely the other end of the scale, it was very welcoming
and boasted a membership of about 100 people from all age groups. We
became very involved with the club and soon started taking lessons at
another club that had a beginners class.  We progressed probably 3
times a fast as our RSCDS beginner counterparts which we came across
now and then at dances.

Get the world&#39;s best email - http://nz.mail.yahoo.com/

encouraging news

Message 55784 · Pia Walker · 3 May 2009 01:12:05 · Top

I really have to disagree Iain. Even if a class is a more formal gathering,
a new person entering this should never feel that it is an unfriendly social
activity. Of course as a beginner you will feel that you are an absolute
clutch, and that you have a lot to learn, but it is up to the teacher and
the rest of the class to make that person feel that this is just a stage.

I have just started learning a new skill - and feel an absolute dummy right
now - I practise, and have a 10 year old teach me how to progress. But the
whole atmosphere is 'we are in this together, and once you get th e hang of
this, you'll be ok. At no point has I been made to feel that I am a)
holding the class back - albeit understandably because I am stupid enough to
be a beginner. b) a second rate person because I did not know what
everyone else knows. Instead I get: right - let's go back to the
beginning, all of us - and everyone does.

I can also say that I am honoured to teach the Dundee Branch Adult beginners
and Improvers classes - and first of all will have to say that Improvers
should really be Advanced dancers - I throw things at them which they just
do. The Beginners have increased over the months - in fact we have had new
dancers join us every week since September - and it is purely due to the
other members of the class that the beginners have continued to dance
(sometimes with a look on their faces saying: I like it here - why????".
We have fun - we have decided that going wrong takes about a 3rd of a second
in our lives and thus it is not worth bothering about.

The result is that I have thriving classes - and I can't take the credit for
that - it is the class dynamics that does - but every week I have people
telling me that they really enjoy it - and these people are beginners.

So I would ask anyone who thinks that beginners have to go through the pain
and humiliation barrier to think again. Get real - do you want to join
something where you get to feel you have just crawled out from under a
stone???

Pia

-----Original Message-----
From: Iain Boyd [mailto:iain_boyd_scd@yahoo.co.nz]
Sent: 02 May 2009 23:21
To: strathspey@strathspey.org
Subject: Re: encouraging news

Greetings all,

With regard to Martin's quote (reproduced below), I feel I must query
whether everyone is using the same definitions.

For many years the Society has advocated the use of classes where dancers of
different ability can be taught at the level of their current ability.

There is a considerable difference between a class and a club where dancers
of ALL abilities dance together.

A class is a more formal gathering and naturally a new dancer attending such
a class is likely to consider the dancers 'unfriendly' especially if the new
dancer is not at the level of the rest of the class.

Regards,

Iain Boyd

Postal Address -

P O Box 11-404

Wellington

New Zealand

When we first took up dancing [...], our first port of call was an
RSCDS [ in .... ]. We found it so frosty and resembling being back at
school that we would not have pursued it any further, had we not come
across a non Society club in our home town.

This was completely the other end of the scale, it was very welcoming
and boasted a membership of about 100 people from all age groups. We
became very involved with the club and soon started taking lessons at
another club that had a beginners class.  We progressed probably 3
times a fast as our RSCDS beginner counterparts which we came across
now and then at dances.

Get the world&#39;s best email - http://nz.mail.yahoo.com/

encouraging news

Message 55786 · Martin Campoveja · 3 May 2009 09:30:27 · Top

2009/5/3 Pia wrote>:
> ...
> a new person entering this should never feel that it is an unfriendly social activity.

Hear, hear !

> ...we have had new
> dancers join us every week

Which can be quite a headache for the leader, but it is the only way
forward. And increased attendence will only happen of the members
enjhoy themselves enoough to want ot tell their friends about it.

Keep up the good work, Pia !

When will we finally decide to stop calling our clubs "classes"?
When will they stop training group leaders to be old-fashioned primary
school ma'ams?

Martin

encouraging news

Message 55787 · James Tween · 3 May 2009 10:13:43 · Top

I feel that if you call it a class, then people who come are under no
illusions. However, I have one local "advanced class" which is basically a
social dance for the good dancers and those who've been around too long to
be told that they aren't yet advanced; never learning advanced technique and
not always having sets that can manage advanced dances, I and my wife no
longer go. If you call it a social dance night, again, those coming are
under no illusions.

It's to do with attitude -- I know of people who've felt (because they're
younger and new) patronised at a Branch night but equally others have felt
very welcome. If you turn up to a class that is beyond your ability, then
you should not feel bad at being recommended to attend a more suitable
class, but the person doing the recommending should have the right attitude.
We get the same at university groups and we also have beginners,
intermediate, advanced, Demonstration, and sometimes ceilidh classes, and,
if people have come to a class that is to advanced for them, they are
welcomed to the class socially, and got through the dances as best as
possible (like the man in the anecdote that started this discussion) but
they will also be approached and talked to about classes.

A teacher, and anyone wishing to speak on a class' behalf, needs people
skills, otherwise there will be problems. The biggest problem is when a
class meember who lacks common sense or good interpersonal skills gets to
speak to a new member, and that is a matter to be dealt with by the
committee -- if they're really that concerned about new members, they'll
deal with anyone felt to be putting them off. Then the difficulty comes
when you try to tell a person of advanced years to change the behaviour of a
lifetime. Oh well!

Just another point of view.

James
Preston, UK

----- Original Message -----
From: "Martin Sheffield" <francoscot@gmail.com>
To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
Sent: Sunday, May 03, 2009 8:30 AM
Subject: Re: encouraging news

> 2009/5/3 Pia wrote>:
>> ...
>> a new person entering this should never feel that it is an unfriendly
>> social activity.
>
> Hear, hear !
>
>> ...we have had new
>> dancers join us every week
>
> Which can be quite a headache for the leader, but it is the only way
> forward. And increased attendence will only happen of the members
> enjhoy themselves enoough to want ot tell their friends about it.
>
> Keep up the good work, Pia !
>
> When will we finally decide to stop calling our clubs "classes"?
> When will they stop training group leaders to be old-fashioned primary
> school ma'ams?
>
> Martin
>

encouraging news

Message 55788 · Martin Campoveja · 3 May 2009 10:32:28 · Top

It would be interesting to know what proportion of SCD enthusiasts go
out on Wednesday evening expecting to be drilled and improved, and how
many go out for a pleasant evening with friends and acquaintances.

And I do not think that polling "Strathspey" would give us a clear
picure of the non-virtual dancing world.

2009/5/3 James Tween wrote :
> I feel that if you call it a class, then people who come are > > under no illusions.

Are there places where it is not called a "class"?

In GB and probably elsewhere, you may get a subsidy for running "an
adult education class"; not for "a social evening" !

Martin

encouraging news

Message 55792 · James Tween · 3 May 2009 20:18:35 · Top

That almost sounds like you don't or can't enjoy learning. Learning
technique and dances doesn't preclude enjoyment or socialising and it
doesn't entail "drilling", which is such a negative term almost implying
force. I loved my advanced nights at uni, made friends, had a laugh, but I
also learnt and developed as a dancer -- an ideal format. A class without
teaching isn't a class, and an advanced night without advanced dances isn't
advanced. I guess the dances will be dictated to an extent by the class
members, and "advanced", like any term, will vary from place to place, and
newcomers just have to find out by experience.

My first point was that if I go to a class I expect to be taught and
therefore to learn, but as it's SCD and a social dance setting, I'd also
expect to enjoy the class -- I enjoy learning. I would respect the teacher
and their opinions concerning my learning, my areas for development and, if
appropriate, my need to change classes. Does anyone expect children in
school to go to whatever Maths class they like, irrespective of their
ability? If you enrolled in night school to learn accountancy, would you
expect to be told if the teacher felt you were out of your depth? Why
should a dance class be different?

My attitude has always been to learn seriously and dance for fun, but,
again, getting it right in class and learning properly doesn't mean I'm not
enjoying it and don't expect classes to be fun places, quite the reverse.

That leads to the second point which was that it's not about "class" versus
"social" or anything like that, it's the attitudes of the dancers towards
each other and, primarily, newcomers. If you welcome newcomers, help them
fit in, and generally have a good time, then fitting into the class,
accepting teaching, and respecting the teacher should follow.

Sorry to cause confusion, etc.

James

----- Original Message -----
From: "Martin Sheffield" <francoscot@gmail.com>
To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
Sent: Sunday, May 03, 2009 9:32 AM
Subject: Re: encouraging news

> It would be interesting to know what proportion of SCD enthusiasts go
> out on Wednesday evening expecting to be drilled and improved, and how
> many go out for a pleasant evening with friends and acquaintances.
>
> And I do not think that polling "Strathspey" would give us a clear
> picure of the non-virtual dancing world.
>
> 2009/5/3 James Tween wrote :
>> I feel that if you call it a class, then people who come are > > under no
>> illusions.
>
> Are there places where it is not called a "class"?
>
> In GB and probably elsewhere, you may get a subsidy for running "an
> adult education class"; not for "a social evening" !
>
> Martin
>

encouraging news

Message 55816 · Anselm Lingnau · 5 May 2009 10:01:06 · Top

Martin Sheffield wrote:

> It would be interesting to know what proportion of SCD enthusiasts go
> out on Wednesday evening expecting to be drilled and improved, and how
> many go out for a pleasant evening with friends and acquaintances.

This is what is called a »false dichotomy«.

If people wanted to »go out for a pleasant evening with friends and
acquaintances« they could just as well go to the pub right away or have a
picnic in the park and do away with the physical exertion completely. If they
only wanted the drilling and improvement they could join the Territorial Army
and even be paid for their trouble. So there has to be something about SCD
that attracts people above and beyond the socialising *or* drill.

At least in the group I teach -- and I suspect it is similar in many places,
especially outwith the UK, where there is no special heritage thing that
makes people believe SCD is »their« form of dance --, many people come
especially *because* they like a bit of a challenge. The »drill and
self-improvement«, as far as it happens, for them is actually part of
their »pleasant evening«. In effect, they probably think of SCD as a sort of
martial art but without the belt tests.

I suppose the secret behind running a successful SCD concern (I'm avoiding the
loaded terms »club« and »class« here) is finding the correct balance between
the »improvement« and the »pleasant evening« aspects, i.e., you have to offer
the right amount of instruction so the most people will consider what you're
doing a worthwhile way of spending their time. If you turn the »improvement«
knob all the way up you will lose the people who want to dance rather than be
taught (so you get the Branch Technique Class); if you turn it all the way
down you will lose the people who enjoy trying new things and working on
themselves (so you get the Tartan Thistle 50-Most-Popular-Dances-Only SCD
Club); if your group is the only one around, then probably neither is a
desirable goal.

Anselm
--
Anselm Lingnau, Friedberg, Germany ..................... anselm@strathspey.org
The X.509v3 interpretation of extensions is a bit like the recommended
130 km/h speed limit on autobahns, the theoretical limit is 130, you're
sitting there doing 180, and you're getting overtaken by Porsches doing about
250. -- Peter Gutmann, »X.509 Style Guide«

encouraging news

Message 55789 · Pia Walker · 3 May 2009 11:45:49 · Top

Thanks Martin - my/the class is a class, by the way - within a branch. And
who are 'they':>)

Pia

-----Original Message-----
From: Martin Sheffield [mailto:francoscot@gmail.com]
Sent: 03 May 2009 08:30
To: strathspey@strathspey.org
Subject: Re: encouraging news

2009/5/3 Pia wrote>:
> ...
> a new person entering this should never feel that it is an unfriendly
social activity.

Hear, hear !

> ...we have had new
> dancers join us every week

Which can be quite a headache for the leader, but it is the only way
forward. And increased attendence will only happen of the members
enjhoy themselves enoough to want ot tell their friends about it.

Keep up the good work, Pia !

When will we finally decide to stop calling our clubs "classes"?
When will they stop training group leaders to be old-fashioned primary
school ma'ams?

Martin

encouraging news

Message 55785 · John Chambers · 3 May 2009 03:23:19 · Top

Loretta Holz wrote:
| I met a Danish woman who came to our Scandinavian group. She found all the
| turning involved in the dances very hard and like many others found it made
| her dizzy. She was about to give up dancing when I suggested she might like
| to come to our international group where she would be see a lot of different
| types of dancing. She came and liked it and she especially like the
| Scottish and English country dancing. She goes to dances groups for all
| three of these now and she is a faithful member of my SCD group (which she
| says is her favorite).

In the other direction, my wife likes to tell people that when she was a
little girl, she really liked to spin around until she got dizzy and fell
down. So naturally, when she grew up and discovered Scandinavian dancing, she
loved it. OTOH, she complains that SCD (and sometimes ECD) is overly complex,
and a dance doesn't repeat enough times to really learn to do it well, so she
prefers the "simpler" contra dancing where they'll do a dance 15 or 20 times
before going on to the next one. And since contra crowds usually dance closer
together to faster music, she sometimes gets the chance to really spin with a
partner.

It's a good thing that there are different kinds of dancing available for the
people with different tastes. It's also good for dance leaders to guide
people to the groups that they will most enjoy. The international groups are
usually good for this, since they try to do a few dances from each of a lot
of styles. The standard criticism is that they usually don't do any of them
well. But this is ok if they're doing the dances well enough to enjoy them.
If someone wants to learn some particular dance style better, they can find
the specialized groups that do just that sort of dance.

Anyway, Loretta's story was a good illustration of how, if you send someone
to a different group in a friendly way, they will often thank you for it, and
may even end up back at your group after they've learned a lot of other
styles. It might be a mistake to think of those other groups as competitors.
All the groups just might be better off if they try to help peole find where
they fit at the moment.

--
_,
O John Chambers
<:#/> <jc@trillian.mit.edu>
+ <jc1742@gmail.com>
/#\ in Waltham, Massachusetts, USA, Earth
| |
' `

encouraging news

Message 55798 · Doug Mills · 4 May 2009 00:53:08 · Top

Martin wrote:

...unlike some RSCDS branches I have heard of, that
> tell beginners to go away and learn SCD somewhere else!

Hi Martin

Why are you dumping on the RSCDS about the attitude of some class teachers?

If a teacher or dancers are rude and unwelcoming then they are at fault,
not the Society.

I'm pretty confident that it is not written in any RSCDS publication that
a teacher should behave in the way that you have described, so why pin the
blame for this onto the Society?

Doug Mills
Christchurch
NZ

encouraging news

Message 55801 · Martin Campoveja · 4 May 2009 09:48:42 · Top

2009/5/4 Douglas Mills wrote:

> Why are you dumping on the RSCDS about the attitude of some class teachers?

You are quite correct, if you mean that I should not generalize from a
couple of examples.
But that such an attitiude can exist within RSCDS branches really
shocked me, and, since branch teachers will normally have been trained
to RSCDS norms, it does show that there are things to be improved in
the Society's ideology.

Martin

encouraging news

Message 55812 · Angus Henry · 5 May 2009 03:15:25 · Top

"ideology"? Don't you mean training and examination standards?

Angus

On 04-05-2009, at 17:18, Martin Sheffield wrote:

> 2009/5/4 Douglas Mills wrote:
>
>> Why are you dumping on the RSCDS about the attitude of some class
>> teachers?
>
> You are quite correct, if you mean that I should not generalize from a
> couple of examples.
> But that such an attitiude can exist within RSCDS branches really
> shocked me, and, since branch teachers will normally have been trained
> to RSCDS norms, it does show that there are things to be improved in
> the Society's ideology.
>
> Martin

Angus & Puka Henry
DARWIN, AUSTRALIA
Website: <http://www.users.on.net/~anguka/>

encouraging news

Message 55813 · Andrew Smith · 5 May 2009 08:37:26 · Top

Martin wrote:
" I think this is most encouraging to know that there are clubs that
> welcome beginners (unlike some RSCDS branches I have heard of, that
> tell beginners to go away and learn SCD somewhere else!)"
IMHO if any Branch does that it is acting in contravention of its Licence
Agreement and probably its Constitution as well. It should be supporting the
Purposes of the Society which is defined primarily as the "education of the
public in traditional Scottish Country dancing", and I fail to see how they
can do that if they send beginners [presumably non-members] away. Similarly
for any Branch which holds classes but does not admit non-members, as I
believe happens. I feel that both are sure ways to ensure the demise of the
Branch(es) in question.
Andrew Smith,
Bristol, UK.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Martin Sheffield" <francoscot@gmail.com>
To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
Sent: Saturday, May 02, 2009 9:02 AM
Subject: encouraging news

>A few months ago, we had a visitor from England at the Malaga SCD club.
> Brought along for want of anything else to do, he was not a dancer,
> but got roped in to make up a set or two in subsequent weeks. He
> enjoyed the experience (of being shouted at (Do this! Come here! No,
> LEFT hand! ...) and said he would look for a club locally on return
> home.
>
> I saw him again yesterday. He'd found a club in Hampshire and seemed
> almost overwhelmed by the friendly atmosphere -- "a real social
> gathering, all ages 20 to 80, everyone mixing, and helpful to a
> beginner" .
>
> I think this is most encouraging to know that there are clubs that
> welcome beginners (unlike some RSCDS branches I have heard of, that
> tell beginners to go away and learn SCD somewhere else!) and that it
> is possible to have a good time from the word go. Encouraging also to
> learn that a small-town club can have a membership of 80 or so (dixit
> our friend), unlike so many groups we hear about that struggle to get
> a set together.
>
> Yes there is still a future for SCD south of the border.
>
> Martin
>

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