Beginner Class – 8 February 2021

Great to see all our new people back this week apart from one who was caught in holiday traffic. We were really impressed how much you had retained and everyone was having plenty of fun.

Tutor’s Recap
The dances we did all had the same formations we learnt last week and I added stepping up and down (usually the second couple to make room for the first couple). Step, cross, step, together is the little ditty. I also introduced right and lefts – danced in a square – cross right hand face on the side, change left hand and face across the set, change right hand across the set and face down, change left hand on the side with the person in first man’s and second woman’s place dance a courtesy turn. No twiddles until bar 8 – just keep going the way you are facing – either clockwise or anti clockwise.

We also did some more step practice for skip change of step concentrating on achieving third position, turn out and the extension of our lead leg – straight from the hip right down to a beautifully pointed toe and a reminder of the rhyme – hop right, close right, skip left close left.

We danced a circle dance and a four couple dance in a four couple set (1st couple dances once through and finished at the bottom – one opportunity to shine!). The rest of the dances were 2 couple dances in a four couple set – 1st couple dances three rotations. 1st and 2nd couples begin, while 3rd and 4th couple stand. 2nd rotation 1s in second place and 3rd couple dance with 2nd and 4th couple stand. Third rotation 1s in 3rd place and 4s, and 2s who are now in top place and 3s now in 2nd place all dance. You are getting the “hang” of this now

As I mentioned I would include links to some videos of the dances we did. I haven’t included all of them because there were a couple that were incorrect!

The Fairy Ring – Circle dance.
Circle round and back, woman dance to their left in front of their partners, back to place and in front of the man to their right, men dance to their right in front of their partner, back to place, and in front of the woman on his left and face their partner, change right, change left, change right and change left (2 bars per hand)

The Ox
1s and 2s four hands round and back 9circle), 1s and 2s right hands across and left hands back, 1 couple lead down the middle and back to 2nd place (2s step up on 3 and 4), 2s and 1s turn partner right hand and then left hand

The Kingston Flyer
Chase for 4 – women and then men, 1st couple lead down the middle and back, 1st couple cast to the bottom – (supporting couples step up on 3 and 4), 1st couple turns with the right hand

Galloway House
1st couple cast off behind own line and back to place, 1s and 2s four hands round and back (circle), 11s turn right hand for 2 bars, cast for 2 bars, turn left hand for 4 bars, rights and lefts

I also mentioned an information sheet that Ann has put together summarising what we have covered in the last two weeks. You can find this here; Beginners-Classes_handout-1.pdf

Beginners Class – 1 February 2021

What a great turnout, with 3 eight couple sets made up of 7 new dancers and club members. There were plenty of laughs and smiles as the new dancers took up the challenge and did really well on their first night. Our club tutor has provided the following notes to recap what we did.

Tutor’s Recap
Great to see all our new people on Monday and thanks to our club members for coming along in good numbers to help out. It certainly makes it much easier to have a mix of experience. I was really impressed with the “newbies” for being so enthusiastic and giving everything a “go”.

As I mentioned dances are made up of formations and we will introduce you to new formations each week and also revise what we have done in the week(s) before. You will have seen from what we did on the first night that the same formations can be used but in a different order to create a different dance. I am not sure if you took too much notice of the music as there is a lot to be thinking of – your feet, where you are going etc – but you will get to enjoy different instrument combinations and different styles.

We looked at: slip step (for circles) and skip change (hop, right, close right, hop left, close, left). We always dance on the balls of our feet so no heels on the floor.!

Formations we looked at were:
Circle or hands round and back
Turn partner right hand, turn partner left hand
Casting off behind own lines and back
Right hands across and left hands across (2 couples)

All the dances we did were 2 couple dances, so dancing couple dances as lead couple for three rotations. This will become clearer as we go on.

The dances we danced were:
The Loch Ness Monster (Circle dance) – hands round and back, turn right hand, turn left hand and promenade around the circle

Philippa’s Fancy – cast off behind own lines and back for the ones and twos, first couple lead down the middle and back to second place, ones and twos turn partner with the right hand and partner with the left hand

January Welcome – ones turn partner right hand and left hand, twos repeat, one dance down the middle and back up to second place, twos and ones dance right hands across and left hands back

The Glen – one and twos right hands across and left hands back, ones and twos turn partner right hand and left hand, ones lead down the middle and back to second place, twos and ones circle round and back.

You all seemed to have fun (which is what it is all about) and did amazingly well. A most promising start.

Beginners classes February 2021

Beginners classes are starting soon, commencing 1 February 2021, from 7.30pm to 9.00pm. They are especially for people who have never danced before, or who danced a long time ago and need a refresher. You don’t need to be Scottish or have a kilt to enjoy Scottish Country Dancing!
The cost for the four lessons is just $25. To register for classes, email as at, or come along a bit earlier on the night.

As dancing gets you moving, you will warm up quickly, so wear cool clothing. To start with you can wear soft soled shoes – the thinner the better.

A regular dance partner is not required for Scottish Country Dancing as it is customary to dance with a different partner for each dance, making it a very social form of dancing. Dances are usually danced in a set of eight people – 4 men and 4 women arranged either in two lines (men facing women) or in a square, and they work together to dance a sequence of formations.

There are several basic steps and about a dozen figures which will get you through quite a number of dances. There is also more emphasis on “steps” than in, say, ceilidh dancing, but the basic technique can be learned through a couple of months’ worth of practice evenings once a week at Club nights.

Club nights, schools, balls and social dances are held in places all over New Zealand and the world. Once you know the basics, you can join in anywhere in New Zealand or around the world.

Club Night Monday 8 June

Tutor’s Notes
It was fantastic to see you all back and keen to dance. We started off gently with some simple numbers to recap the formations that we have already covered this year.

We refreshed our skip change and danced Jig to the Music. This had simple formations of advance and retire, back to back, turning and hands around.

Then we moved onto Hedwig’s Reel recapping figures of 8 on the side and Grand Chain.

After having a quick look at our strathspey step we then moved on to the first strathspey of the night – 12 Coates Crescent. This is the address of the headquarters of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society in Edinburgh. This dance reminded us about rights and lefts and hands across.

12 Coates Crescent will be on our Annual Dance programme on the 4th of July as will the next few dances that we did i.e.

New Year Jig
On the Quarter Deck
City of Belfast (for the more experienced) and
St Andrew’s Fair

As you will see we have chosen plenty of simple dances for our Annual Dance programme. This is so everyone will be able to have fun even though we have not managed to dance much this year.

The new formation that we introduced the beginners was reels of three on the sidelines. This is effectively figures of 8 with all 3 people moving at the same time. We used the reel of three in the dance New Year Jig.