Remembering Roberta Williams: from the archives

Sadly, we’ve recently had to add branch member and teacher Roberta Williams to the “In Memoriam” page of this website. As a member of the RSCDS Branch for almost 50 years, Roberta had a huge impact on the group. Here are a couple of items about her from the branch archives.

From a 2016 interview with Roberta Williams:
How did you get started with Scottish Country Dancing?
“Well I have Scottish ancestry so I was interested to explore something about that. And I had a friend who was interested in learning to play the bagpipes and he said ‘well there’s a group meeting at the University… I believe they dance so that would be something for you and maybe I could get a contact for playing the bagpipes’. So we went over to the university…and as it turned out, he found out nothing, I guess, and then he left part way through the evening. I looked up and he was gone, but I stayed…” It turned out to be a dance group run by Ann Tibor, with no bagpipes. The friend left part way through the evening and never took up piping, but Roberta stayed to dance kept dancing for another forty years! [Read the transcript of the full interview with Roberta, and other founding members Sandy and John White]

From the Blue Ribbon newsletter, v. 18 n. 3, 1993:
Roberta began Scottish country dancing in [the early 1970s]. Encouraged by certified teachers Bill Young and Sandy White, she received her full certification in 1977 with Miss Milligan as an examiner for both her preliminary and full certification examinations. Although she primarily teaches in Minneapolis, Roberta has held workshops in Wisconsin and Japan. An accomplished choreographer, Roberta has devised dances for Four Scottish Dances in Memory of Mary Nixon and the RSCDS Twin Cities tenth anniversary book. She also published her own book of dances, The Borealis Book. If you enjoy dancing at the Renaissance Festival please thank Roberta. It was her idea to have the Branch perform at Ren Fest. She called the Festival to suggest Scottish country dancing and the festival requested that the dancers audition. Roberta invited a festival rep to come to that year’s ball. “A woman in a big black cape showed up at the ball and thought we were great!” remembers Roberta and thus began a wonderful tradition for the Branch.

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