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  • mlbrown

    mlbrown June 15, 2001, 4:22 p.m. (Message 26358)

    Dance Devisers - background

    Last year the Northallerton Caledonian Society organised a workshop & dance
    based on the dances devised by James Cosh and Douglas Henderson.  Peter
    Clark, with assistance from Maureen McCrudden of Glasgow and Susan Robertson
    of Dundee and who now  takes the Broughty Ferry class,  produced the
    following notes for the workshop.
    (And I had to persuade Rita Eastwood to scan the notes in and send them to
    me, as my computer currently refuses to believe it has a scanner attached to
    About Jimmy Cosh
    James Cosh was a very enthusiastic dancer who really loved Scottish music.
    He was a member of the Glasgow Branch of the RSCDS and served on the
    committee for a number of years.  He founded a social dancing group, the
    Glenshee SCD Club which met in the Langside Halls, Glasgow. The group ran
    for 40 years under his leadership. He was instrumental in organising
    weekends away to dance in Dunoon and Crieff. He devised about fifty dances
    most of which were published in little booklets called the Glenshee
    Collection and Twenty Two Scottish Country Dances.  The sales of these
    booklets and other charity events raised funds for the National Fund for
    Research into Crippling Diseases which acknowledged receipt of £1050 in
    1973, Children's Charities and Guide Dogs for the Blind which recorded £2700
    donated by 1992.  For many of Jimmy Cosh's dances the music came first. He
    liked two-step tunes and there are few dancers who will not have heard of
    The White Heather Jig, devised to a tune composed   by Jimmy Shand called
    "Six Twenty" Two Step.  This was the signature tune for the Scottish Dance
    TV programme shown at 6.20 pm. weekly on Scottish Television.  Schottisches
    were also popular strathspey tunes for him as seen in The Garry Strathspey.
    He had a few original ideas for figures. The diagonal rights and lefts was
    his invention in The Irish Rover, another very popular dance.  Half reels of
    four to take corners to diagonally opposite places were introduced by Jimmy
    as in Main's Wedding which was published in 1959. This dance known
    worldwide, its popularity influenced by the well-known tune. In the late
    1960's Jimmy wrote in the Reel (London Branch Newsletter) how concerned he
    was that dancers were not performing the half reels as written in his
    booklet - he wanted left shoulders in the middle   Jimmy obviously had
    influence with the bands in the 1960/70's to record his most successful
    dances. When the RSCDS started to publish some modern dances in books 22 and
    23 the Swilcan was included. Jimmy died in October 1995.
    About Douglas Henderson
    Douglas Henderson was born in Dundee and educated at Morgan Academy and
    Dundee Technical College. He worked for D.C Thomson as a stereotyper and
    later in the advertising and accounts department, for 53 years.  He gained
    his SCD Teacher's Certificate in 1937.
    Dougie was also a drummer and played with Winifred Bird Matthew and Her
    Scottish Country Dance Players. During the war he served with the RAF
    reaching the rank of wing commander in the   engineering branch.
    One of Dougie's earliest dance pupils was the legendary Jimmy Shand who was
    not only taught the steps and figures but also the "barring" for popular
    Dougie taught Dundee Branch classes for Fifty years. He taught dancing at
    the Broughty Ferry East Parish Church.    In December 1987 he collapsed
    after returning from one of their Saturday evening dances and died a week
    later.  Dougie founded the Clarendon Country dance Club which he taught for
    33 years until the group broke up in 1981. While in the RAF he served in the
    Hereford area for a short time in 1946.  With the help of a Miss Diana Helme
    (later Mrs Blanchard of Leominster) a superintendent physiotherapist and
    keep fit teacher, he started a Scottish Dancing class which in 1949 became
    the Hereford SCD Club.
    Douglas Henderson published about 45 dances.  A number of them were leaflets
    produced by Mozart and Allan of which the Baldovan Set is probably the best
    known. He produced two lift le booklets The Tay Bridge Pocket Book and the
    Kinclaven Pocket Book, which were sold in aid of The National Institution
    for War Blinded. The Douglas Henderson Collection was published by TAC. He
    also had a dance included in Book 23 of the RSCDS publications called the
    Glens of Angus. This dance introduced the new figure called the Spurtle
    which occurs in one or two of his dances.  Crown triangles was his invention
    and another figure called "Balance in line right round" must be the
    forerunner of the Spoke later published by Neil Grant in RSCDS Book 32 No.1.
    Dougie always named a tune for his dances.  Besides using some traditional
    tunes he asked musicians such as Betty Low, Nan Main, Jack Lindsay, Angus
    Fitchet and Winifred Bird Matthew to compose tunes for his dances.  Dougie
    Henderson    attended the RSCDS Summer School regularly. In October 1987 he
    was presented with a Scroll by the Earl of Mansfield on behalf of the RSCDS
    for his long distinctive career as a teacher and enthusiast of Scottish

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