RSCDS Twin Cities Branch 41st Annual Grand Ball
In Celebration of the Auld Alliance
1 April 2017


Dance music by Susan Worland Bentley and Lyle Ramshaw
Schedule | Registration | Accommodations | Contact | Program

Join the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society (RSCDS) Twin Cities at our Grand Ball and Dinner celebrating the Auld Alliance between Scotland and France featuring the cuisine of both nations. The Great Hall at Columbia Manor is reminiscent of a Jacobean Hall in Scotland with a large stone hearth, a high ceiling with dark timbered framing, a gallery of French doors, and a beautiful wood floor. We are excited to welcome lively music of Scottish fiddler Susan Worland Bentley and pianist Lyle Ramshaw from the San Francisco Bay area. Susan and Lyle will also offer a music workshop on Saturday morning.

Susan Worland Bentley is a California-based Scottish dance fiddler, with a past in the New England area, and an even further past as a student at Carleton College, so she is extra tickled to be back to play in Minnesota! Ah, if only she'd known about country dancing back in her student days!

Susan has played classical music all her life, starting on the piano at age three and the violin at nine, but didn't go beyond the classical realm until she was in her 20s. Post-college, living in Boston, she joined a folk dance performing group as a musician, which turned out to be a major turning point in life -- she met so many great musicians, including Barbara McOwen, who had just recently moved to Boston. Susan's first music trip to California was at Barbara's instigation, she brought the whole band Tullochgorum, of which Susan was a member by then, to play at Asilomar. Susan played a lot of Polish music back in her east coast days, and maintains an interest in various forms of Eastern European music, including seven stints as band leader at the prestigious Stockton Folk Dance Camp. She also teaches violin in after school programs, and plays in the Santa Cruz Symphony.

The Red Thistle Dance Group, based in Palo Alto, California, had a pivotal role in the big life changes that brought Susan to the west. She was recruited to play for the dance group's tour to Norway in 1998, where she met bodhran player Michael Bentley. The rest is now history, they were married in 1999. And one of the perks is she gets to play with Lyle Ramshaw many times a year!

Lyle Ramshaw has an identical twin brother Lance, and this seems worth mentioning because confusion sometimes results. They both enjoy Scottish country dancing (SCD) and play backup piano for SCD, but Lance also teaches SCD and plays fiddle. While Lance lives near Boston, Lyle lives near San Francisco, where he plays piano in the bands Red Thistle Music and Fiddlesticks & Ivory, backing up the fine fiddling of Susan Worland-Bentley in both cases. Lyle strives for dance music with spirit, in the Scottish idiom. He and Susan have played at many events of the San Francisco Branch of the RSCDS since Susan moved to the Bay Area early in the new millennium, including the Valentine's Ball, the Jean Patrick Memorial Dance, and the Kim McGarrity Memorial Ball at Asilomar. They have also played for events in southern California and as far away as Maine. Check out their recordings at Red Thistle Music.

Schedule of Events:
Thursday, 30 March
Ball Practice I

Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church, Wesley Hall
511 Groveland Ave, Minneapolis
7:00pm to 9:30pm
Saturday, 1 April
Musicians' Workshop Susan and Lyle will share what it's like to play for Scottish Country Dancing and the key distinctions between playing reels, jigs and strathspeys. Come and learn a few tunes and performing techniques unique to Scottish fiddle and keyboard playing.

Becketwood Chapel basement
4300 West River Road, Minneapolis

Ball Practice II 1:30pm-3:30pm, Columbia Manor, Great Hall
3300 Central Ave NE, Minneapolis

Columbia Manor, Great Hall
3300 Centra Ave NE, Minneapolis

6:00 pm -- Doors open, socializing
6:30 pm -- Dinner is served
7:30 pm -- Grand March and Dancing [program]

There will be a silent auction as a fundraiser to subsidize the cost of the ball weekend. If you have items (or service) to donate, please contact Nathan Wilkowski (odhaerir [at]

After-Glow Party There will be a party following the ball at the home of Cindy and Tim Davey in south Minneapolis. Directions available at the ball. Please bring food and/or drink to share.
Sunday, 2 April

Please join us for a potluck brunch, beginning at 10:30am at the home of Amy and Dean Muldoon. Directions available at the ball. Please bring food and/or drink to share.


Music workshop: $15.00
Ball: Dinner and Dancing: $55.00
Ball: Dinner Only (non-dancer): $40.00
Ball: Dancing Only (no dinner): $40.00

Dinner entrée options: Braised Salmon with Whisky Butter Sauce, Baked Chicken with Champagne Sauce, or Ratatouille Provencal with Fresh Basil (vegetarian).
Dinner includes Lemon Carrot Salad, Fresh Baked Baguettes, Wild Rice Pilaf, Petite Green Beans, Beef & Lamb Haggis, Rustic Neeps & Tatties (Clapshot), Crème Brule and Shortbread.

Register by March 15th for the above rates.
Prices increase by $10 after March 15th.

Registration here (Online or via printed form/mail)

Ball registrar: Mieux Williamsen, e-mail: registrar [at]


Hospitality may be available for out of town guests in the homes of local dancers. Please indicate your needs on the registration form or, if you are registering online, email Sharon Stephens: sharonstephens [at]


Sharon Stephens, e-mail: sharonstephens [at]

Grand Ball Program:

Download ball dance instructions (PDF - updated 3/20/2017)

Links to individual dances below include crib notes and,in most cases, videos.

1. The Machine without Horses J32 3C Rutherford: RSCDS XII
2. Lord Elgin's Reel S32 3C RSCDS XXVI
3. Thornycroft R32 2C Goldring Gr2
4. Napier's Index J40 3C Charlton: RSCDS XLV
5. The Lammermuir Hills S32 2C Goldring: Wells House
6. Maxwell's Rant R32 3C Rutherford: RSCDS XVIII
7. The Lady Wynd J32 3C Goldring Gr2
8. Argyll Strathspey S32 3C Goldring: RSCDS XXXV
9. Falls of Feugh R32 3CS Watt: 9 for 90
10. Christine M Phillips J32 3C Brenchley: RSCDS XLVI
11. Delvine Side S32 3C Campbell: RSCDS II
12. The Montgomeries' Rant R32 3C Castle Menzies (18C): RSCDS X
13. The Shetland Shepherdess J32 3C Wallace: RSCDS Graded 3
14. The Falls of Rogie R32 3C Attwood: Alexander 1
15. Mrs Milne of Kinneff S32 4CSq Macpherson: RSCDS Leaflets
16. Rodney's Rant J32 3C Dix: QE Diamond Jubilee
17. Moment Of Truth S32 3C Sigg: RSCDS XXXVII
18. The Deil amang the Tailors R32 3C RSCDS XIV

Download ball dance instructions (PDF - updated 3/20/2017)

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Last updated 20 March 2017 | info [at]