|Volume 32 #4||January/February 2016|
RSCDS HQ and branches can partner to promote Scottish Country Dance. Headquarters has resources to create and share videos that branches can embed in their websites in order to demonstrate to visitors the dancing fun and feeling of moving to music.
We Scottish dance leaders are influenced by the Curse of Knowledge when we generate content in order to promote SCD to website visitors. (See Strategy to Recruit New Scottish Dancers.) When we experienced dancers view a still photo of a dancing set, we can imagine the movement and the beautiful music, while an inexperienced person can see the happy faces and the dancer clothing but totally miss the feeling of dancing. Most SCD branch websites and Facebook pages have this issue, and leaders are unaware of the issue.
RSCDS Southwest Washington State Branch website visitors can play two embedded YouTube videos that were generated by RSCDS Headquarters. http://www.rscds-swws.org/ The RSCDS Flash Mob video communicates the enthusiasm of five sets of Scottish dancers from the Aberdeen branch with live music in a shopping mall. We can select a brief excerpt from the RSCDS Spring Fling 2015 Musicians Dance video with our choice of start and end time.
RSCDS Flash Mob video! A group of dancers from the Aberdeen branch demonstrated the fun of Scottish Country Dance.
RSCDS Spring Fling 2015. Here is a clip from the RSCDS Spring Fling 2015 in London. Move to the music!
RSCDS HQ is evaluating the idea to similarly embed a conspicuous dance video on the home web page, https://www.rscds.org/ that shows the fun feeling of dancing to the inexperienced audience and that is periodically updated for variety and freshness.
The RSCDS Birmingham Branch website takes the idea to a higher level with several locally created videos that give inexperienced visitors a sense of dancing and social friendship. https://www.birmingham-rscds.org.uk/ According to branch webmaster and teacher Nicola Scott, in order to present a modern website, the inclusion of multi-media rather than just a wall of text and images is almost a given. It is good practice in web marketing to "keep it local". The content was driven by Rolf Schwarz, the aim being to show all aspects of the group's activities - including classes, demonstrations, trips (to the White Rose Festival in Leeds for example) and general socializing as well. A short video helps to capture aspects of all of the different activities of the branch. Videos from the classes give prospective dancers an idea how a dance is taught in class and might demystify an otherwise perhaps daunting looking experience.
The RSCDS San Francisco Branch has created an excellent video in order to promote its Asilomar weekend to the experienced Scottish dancer audience. http://asilomar.rscds-sf.org/
Our international branches worldwide can similarly create local videos. For those of us who have a limited budget or limited video production skills, we can easily post embedded videos created by RSCDS HQ that communicate a dramatic move-to-the-music feeling to inexperienced website visitors. Branch webmasters can use the example HTML code to get started.
<TABLE align=center width="100%"><TR> <TD align=left width="50%"> <p class="plaintext"><font face="Arial"><b>RSCDS Flash Mob video! </b></font>A group of dancers from the Aberdeen branch demonstrated the fun of Scottish Country Dance. </p> <iframe width="560" height="315" src=" https://www.youtube.com/embed/TzRhfdLD_rU " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> </TD> <TD align=left width="45%"> <p class="plaintext"><font face="Arial"><b>RSCDS Spring Fling 2015. </b></font>Here is a clip from the RSCDS Spring Fling 2015 in London. Move to the music!</p> <iframe align="left" width="560" height="315" src=" http://www.youtube.com/embed/cpfeUObClAU?rel=0&start=289&end=431 " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> </TD> </TR></TABLE>
The HTML code generates a single-row table with two cells containing the embedded videos and introductory comments. The start and end times are in decimal seconds (289 and 431 seconds).
If you missed this year's Betwixt-n-Between dance and ceilidh this year, you certainly missed a good time. It was great to see everyone after Christmas and to dance with many of you! We also had the opportunity to hear, see, and in one case, participate in the talents of our members.
Patrick and Sydney provided pleasant tunes through their small pipes.
Marge Van Nus read a series of very droll jokes reminding me of British or Eunice's family's humor. Eunice read a rather humorous section of Jane Austen's Emma, in character voice; of a woman who just couldn't shut up or even take a breath. Layne Russell read a section from one of John's Muir's book poetic descriptions of wildlife and wild places. Geri read a poem, about a wee Scottish lad hoping to have a visit from Santa even though his lum, old Scots for 'chimney', was quite dirty. This was from a Clan Stuart newsletter, http://www.clansstewart.org/fesse/winter15.pdf
Linda Mae skillfully led us in a round, singing a mildly baudy song that had in its chorus, "Sippin' Cider Through a Straw."
Ken Dewire, a member of a local international folk dance group, led an Irish folk dance, “Pot O’ Gold”.
We were pleased to have visitors, one of whom joined us in the dancing.
Thank you to all who organized and participated in this wonderful event that fills in the lull of dance activity during the holidays. See you next year!
Beginning on January 12th, Lisa Scott will lead a class titled Oldies, but Goodies. The class is intended to be a gentler, low impact class for dancers with some experience with familiar formations and the emphasis will be on the social aspects of dancing. RSCDS dances will be used beginning with Book 1. The class will meet from 7:30 to 9:00 on 2nd and 4th Tuesdays at the Columbia Dance Center in Vancouver, WA.
From a recent experience by the author with rehab from joint replacement surgery ~ The Editor My Pearl Vacation Although I’d never have chosen To spend two weeks right here, You made it very bearable And filled my days with cheer. The food was mostly edible, I liked what I had more than twice. And here’s an idea for the chef next time: More bacon and real butter would be nice! Your puzzles are so addictive Their challenges quite a trip. I just couldn’t tear myself away, But I’m sure they were good for my hip! But I’ll have to say that the best part Of finally moving on Is you never come into my room in the night Or wake me up before dawn!
There were nine dancers, promoting Scottish dancing to an enthusiastic audience at one of the early Christmas events on November 29: Vancouver Rotary Foundation’s Festival of Trees. We, under Liza Halpenny’s able guidance, performed some familiar dances from previous venues: Fair Enough, Blue Bonnets, Neidpath Castle, The Barmkin, Black Donald and Reel of the Royal Scots. We were pleased to have optimal audience participation in Something for Everyone and Fancy Free. Susan Shaw observed that we all followed Ricardo Montalban’s, “Smiles Everyone!” Before the dancing, some of us browsed and/or shopped at the many booths. The writer of this article admits to getting a wee bit of Christmas shopping in.
Included is the one group photo taken with a cell phone, so please forgive the low resolution and poor lighting. Here are: l-r: Tom, Liza, Susan, John, Eunice, Martin, Geri, Robert & Linda Mae.
We continue to develop the DancieMaetion library. Totals are up 9.29% this year (55, 086 views). That represents over 80k minutes for viewer time.
Top 5 Dances: Views:
1) Happy Meeting 2688 2) Peat Fire Flame 2142 3) Polharrow Burn 1915 4) Mairi's Wedding 1808 5) Ian Powrie’s Farewell to Aucherarder 1671
Male versus female viewers: The data look fairly balanced this year between men and women.
Statistics By Gender
Views by country:
Whether the RSCDS likes it or not, we seem to have a following in the UK.
Last year three dancers from the Portland/SW Washington branches made the trek south to the Asilomar Conference Center located on the tip of the Monterey Peninsula in Pacific Grove, California for the San Francisco Branch’s annual workshop and ball. We had so much fun we decided we had to go back, and so Linda Mae Dennis, Darrick Wong, and me found ourselves once again flying to San Jose and being chauffeured to the venue by fellow dancer Geoffrey Wood.
Compared to last year, traffic to Monterey was nonexistent. We arrived around sunset, checked in (a process in itself), and spent time catching up with friends, getting ready for dancing, and preparing for soon-to-be-tired feet. After a quick walk along the boardwalk and dinner, we headed to the welcome dance. This year's event was a sell out and finding any part of the floor in Merrill Hall that wasn't occupied by a pair of ghillies was a challenge. With music by Andy Imbrie and Judi Nicholson, it was also a challenge to find anyone sitting out. After the dance, which seemed to be over in 10 minutes, there was a ceilidh with several original dances, musical performances, and a rousing version of what Scottish Country Dancing must have looked like in the 1970s, complete with polyester, tie-dyed t-shirts, and Dancing Queen by ABBA.
Saturday morning dawned bright and sunny (and cold). The teachers this year were Jimmie Hill, Elaine Brunken, Jeff Corrigan, Allan Twhigg, and Ruth Jappy, hailing from Scotland, Missouri (by way of Scotland), California, and Canada. Dancers also came from various parts of the globe with France, England, Canada, and Denmark being represented. For the morning classes, dancers were divided by their activity preferences (as in barely moving or barely contained). The first class was quicktime and then strathspey. After lunch there were several electives to choose from. I’m sure they were terrific, some of us sort of played hooky.
Linda Mae and I walked to Cannery Row, investigated a sock shop (although the chocolate shop next door proved more interesting), took note of a Labradoodle wearing sunglasses, and then walked back along the shoreline to the conference center. After a break and a review of the dances, we were ready for the ball. Unfortunately, we were a little off on the time the grand march started and arrived just as the pipes started playing. The hall was packed with people eager to dance to the music of Fiddlesticks & Ivory and, with 18 dances on the program, there was ample opportunity. One of the largest musical surprises was the last dance, the Reel of the 51st Division, with a local piper accompanying the band, putting a large exclamation point on the end of the evening.
Being too excited after all the dancing to go to sleep; we went in search of the musicians’ after party. Unfortunately, it didn’t get started until about 1:00 a.m., 30 minutes after we left. The weather was still clear at that time but for once the forecast was accurate and the rain started early in the morning. While walking back from the beach, in an effort to see if there was any semblance of a sunrise, I noticed folks with umbrellas and thought it seemed out of place, until I realized I wasn’t in Oregon anymore where everyone owns a raincoat.
The morning dance class started around 9:30 and the floor was just as crowded as the night before (although there were more pairs of Nikes than ghillies by this time). Each teacher taught a dance, with the last one being Pulling Bracken, which has a reel across the dance with first couple in allemande hold into a grand chain, not the easiest thing to do when everyone's brain is running on a few hours sleep.
After checking out, lunch, and goodbyes, Geoffrey, Linda Mae, Darrick, and I headed to Point Lobos State Park. The wind had blown away the rain, leaving stormy skies with flashes of blue in its wake and gigantic crashing waves. Point Lobos was amazing and I’m surprised we walked as far as we did since it was so tempting to stop every few steps and just gape. Fortunately, our plane didn’t leave until late evening so there was plenty of time for that. We had dinner (and met Darrick’s dad) in Sunnyvale, and then Geoffrey dropped Linda Mae and I at the airport while Darrick returned with his dad. A few quick hours later it was back to real life, and rain. Next year, Asilomar will be in late October so there’s plenty of time for everyone to start planning a trip to the California coast.
RSCDS is organizing a worldwide Global Youth Week January 15-25, 2016 as a catalyst experiment to expand social groups of Scottish dancers.
The following text copied from the facebook event explains the purpose. https://www.facebook.com/events/942853595799071/
Youth week lasts 10 days to give more flexibility to groups and branches around the world. Youth week concept: Bring someone you consider as young to your dance class that week. There is no age limit. Consider the average age of your group. Anyone younger than that is young for your group! The aim is to have younger people in that week. If everybody brings someone, there is a chance younger people will not feel out of place, and may stay!
To give everyone a boost, Youth Services Committee is organizing a Facebook photo contest. It is optional! If you wish to take part, send your favourite photos of the event to . They will be published on Facebook. The photos with more likes will get published in the next edition of our SCD Magazine! Please remind the people on your selected photos that they will appear on Facebook. Make sure they agree that their image will be made public before sending them to us. Happy Youth week and happy dancing to you all!
The Southwest Washington State Branch will have four dance classes: Friday January 15, Columbia Dance Center Wednesday January 20, Marshall Center Thursday January 21, YMCA and Friday January 22, Columbia Dance Center We can visit the website for more information. http://www.rscds-swws.org/class.html
RSCDS Headquarters is evaluating its strategy for the coming three years. The continuing decline in membership and rising costs to provide services have stimulated the need to widen the options and evaluate priorities. The discussion is based on five strategic objectives in order to accomplish the RSCDS Mission: To grow a vibrant worldwide community of Scottish Dance and Music.
1. To promote Scottish Country Dance and related dance forms as inclusive and exciting activities.
2. To build the number, capacity and networking of branches and other dance groups who share our objectives, to help them grow and deliver SCD activity.
3. To maintain and develop high standards of teaching of Scottish Country Dance and music, including the development of the dance and music repertoire for all ages and abilities.
4. To enable enjoyable and high quality Scottish Country Dance opportunities for all ages and abilities worldwide.
5. Strengthen and improve the RSCDS, including its governance and long term financial viability, to enable it to deliver on the above objectives.
The AGM 2015 Open Forum group of 80 members evaluated the strategic objectives and provided input. We can read a summary of the results. The report lists what has been good / works well and what needs doing better / more, for each objective. https://www.rscds.org/document/1143
The RSCDS Management Board and Committees will use this valuable feedback from the Open Forum to help shape their next step in developing a Strategic Business Plan for the next 3 years. The Management Board, Committees and staff of RSCDS will be meeting on 9 January 2016 to put more flesh on to the 5 Strategic Objectives which will set the framework for producing a more detailed plan of action for the next three years. HQ welcomes your comments and feedback both through the Branch Secretaries Facebook Group and through email before then. For example, branches might want to weigh in on high priority factors, or identify factors missing from the Open Forum notes.
I perused past Scottish Country Dancer magazine editions and found articles in the 2009 issues 8 and 9, related to the previous strategic plan that might stimulate ideas for the current effort. We are considering
many of the same issues that were discussed six years ago. What progress has been made? We can continue with methods that were successful, while less-successful methods might suggest considering new
options for improvement.
Calendar of Events