RSCDS 2020: The Pandemic Year So Far – HQ DSAH

Really Scary Covid-19 Disease Shutdown

Across the seas in bonnie Scotland, the RSCDS HQ came up with its own online programs.

Mar 27th:  SCDS launched the 1st edition of the newsletter “Dance Scottish At Home” containing:

  • A musical podcast by RSCDS Music Director Ian Muir.
  • The Thursday Challenge, inviting us to post our dancing stories.
  • A social media round up, with impressive virtual performances.
  • What’s Behind The Name, of dances and tunes.
  • A Moment In Scots History.
  • Quizzes and Puzzles.
  • The latest online class.

In my opinion this is the best publication the society has ever produced. Do you have a favorite section?

April 8th:  The RSCDS launched the first online class.  We will join a different RSCDS Teacher each week for a mixture of basic movements, warm ups, technique and steps, to keep active. Live every Wednesday at 19:00 UK time, (1pm Minnesota time) the class gave us the chance to dance with RSCDS members around the world at the same time. Classes have been watched by over a thousand people all over the world. Each week, the class will be recorded and shared through Dance Scottish At Home.

April 24th:  DSAH Issue 5: Twin Cities branch members were featured in this week’s RSCDS Dance Scottish at Home newsletter! Did you spot Brian and Frances Shirley in the photo from 1964? And Lara Friedman-Shedlov at her first workshop weekend, in costume for the demo team’s performance at the 1990 IVFDF Newcastle performance.

May 15th:  DSAH Issue 8: another Twin Cities branch connection. This week’s RSCDS online class teacher Ron Wallace (co-founder of our Twin Cities Branch, teacher, & bagpiper) took the class from Santa Rosa, California. He was joined by pianist Jared Bailey and dancer Gary Thomas (Twin Cities Branch teacher, Blue Ribbon editor). Ron took the class clearly through “Merry Meghan” – giving dancers a chance to manage a complete solo step dance.

In the “At Home PodcastRon Wallace took us behind the dance “Da Rain Dancin’” which he wrote for a tune by Muriel Johnson (11:01 – 18:39).

May 29th:  DSAH Issue 10: Ron Wallace and Gary Thomas were guests on “At Home Podcast”. In the first set (11:50 – 15:45) they played “The Oyster Gatherers”, “Amicitia” (Latin for “friendship”) and “Santa Rosa Welcome”. For the second set (31 – 35)  they played “Pounce De Leon” written for the dance Jezebel’s Jig, “Volga and Kazanka”, and “Rain On The Roof”. You must listen to them, they are amazing!

June 5th:  DSAH Issue 11: Ian Muir managed to lose 2 bars in editing Ron & Gary’s set, so this week in the “At Home Podcast”, he played the complete recording of “The Oyster Gatherers”, and “Amicitia”. Prizes to anyone who can spot the missing bars (9:33 – 13.28).

Sept 18th:  DSAH Issue 22: This week teacher Jamie Berg (Twin Cities Branch teacher) and her musician husband James Gray (played for us several times, most memorably the Blizzard Ball of 2018), were in Oslo, Norway bringing a lively mix of warm ups, dancing and balance exercises. 

James was playing old and new tunes, from “Humber Jumber”, recognized as the tune for The Frisky, through to more recent compositions by himself. Jamie tasked dancers to have 2 chairs and a drink and then used the chair both in her recently devised dance and her stretching cool down.

Challenging the dancers to name her dance, Jamie had a lot of ideas to choose from including “Chairish the Dance”, “Norwegian Wooden Chairs”, “10 legs and a musician”, “10 legged Jig”, “Reel Of The Wooden Chairs”, “The Lonely Goat Chaired”, “Addressing The Chair”, & “Chairman’s Jig” (James’ father is a past Chair of the RSCDS), “Jiggin’ Jamie with Joyful James”, “Viking Rag”, and “Finn’s Wake” (Three-year old Finn was asleep in the next room and let’s admit it, we all wanted him to come wandering in during the middle of the class).
Dancers also commented on how much fun they had in the class including Joanna who said “most of all, I totally forgot this is an online class! Thanks James and Jamie!”

***Breaking news: the winning name is “Norwegian Wooden Chairs”***

Watching Jamie and James was bittersweet, a reminder that our loss is the Scottish dance community’s gain. They are a talented couple who compose, teach and perform their own dances and music……the future of the RSCDS is lookin’ good!

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