Teaching since 1991
Australian born and bred my introduction to things Scottish began in 1955 when my parents took my sister and me to the bairns class at the Royal Caledonian Society in Adelaide. Here we, along with about 70 other children, were taught Highland Dancing a little Scottish Country Dancing (Eightsome Reel, Dashing White Sergeant, Strip the Willow and Barley Bree) along with a few partner dances. It was a wonderful social atmosphere and one that I remember fondly.
I have danced ever since then, competitive Highland Dancing for many years, sitting (or dancing) all examinations culminating in a Dancing Teacher examination I continued to teach Highland Dancing for about 25 years in the various places I have lived in South Australia.
There were several forays into Scottish Country Dancing along the way when our parents joined a SCD class and we went along also, and then later, as teenagers, a little group of us went to the Adelaide Branch class but I think our exuberance was probably a little much for the time!
My real interest in SCD began in 1986 when I was asked to teach the children at Langhorne Creek school to dance Scottish as the theme for Come Out that year was ‘International’. What to teach 60 children of a wide age range so that they could demonstrate what they had learned after about 10 weeks? A phone call to Noriel who put me on to Paula Rawson who was living in the area at the time and she introduced me to a few easy country dances for children. I enjoyed the experience and decided to continue with the learning, travelling about 1½ hours each way to classes with Jean D firstly and then Noriel when she took over the class when Jean moved to Melbourne.
Although coming from a dancing background I found the country dancing quite challenging especially as a lot of people assumed that because I had highland danced I could ‘just do’ it. So, in 1988, I made the decision to sit the prelim exam so that I could have a more in depth understanding of the formations etc. I started a SCD class at Langhorne Creek at that time with a group of young mums, who loved the fact that they could think about something other than how to make a vegemite sandwich, and a couple of old pipers who were more interested in the tunes played but held a hand out so that we could grab it when needed! It was a fabulous class that only folded when I moved back to the city.
I passed my final teaching certificate in 1991 and have continued to teach in Adelaide since then. I also used my dancing experience in my school/work environment where I taught many children over the years. I have also taught SCD, ladies step dancing and highland dancing at several Adelaide Winter Schools.
SCD is a pastime that I will continue with until my feet and brain will not cope well enough to allow me to dance with enjoyment and a spring in my step.