People

Teachers


teachers
Helen McGinley, John Gibson, and Hazel Convery


Musicians


John and Judy Barnes
John and Judy Barnes



Interviews

John (musician, chairman) and Judy (musician)
1. What brought you to Scottish Country Dance Music?
   John drifted into dance music around 1972 from amateur classical music - making under the influence of friends who already played for English country dancing. Although Judy was a classical violin teacher she was recruited by John's band in 1977. From 1979 to 1986 we lived in Scotland but ironically - with four children to occupy us - we hardly played during those years. Around 1993, through a mutal friend, we became aware that, while we were musicians without dancers, there was nearby a Scottish country dance club with no musicians. The obvious match was made, and has survived nearly a quarter of a century.
2. What do you enjoy most?
   What we both enjoy most is playing well (we know that we sometimes play badly). Judy particularly enjoys playing typical strathspeys. John derives a lot of pleasure from writing new tunes and arranging new sets.
3. What's your favourite tune?
   There are so many great tunes that it's difficult to single out a favourite. We find it more meaningful to assess combinations of tunes in sets. Our favourite sets include those we play for "Shiftin' Bobbins", "City of Belfast", "The Dream Catcher", and "The Glens of Antrim".
4. How long have you been playing Scottish Country Dance Music?
   While there were Scottish tunes in our repertoire in the 1970s, our real contact with Scottish country dancing began c. 1993.

Hazel (teacher)
1. What brought you to Scottish Country Dancing?
   I grew up in Scotland and Scottish Country Dancing was part of the PE programme for school from about age 6! It was also part of the Brownie Guide Programme so I danced there as well.
2. What do you enjoy most?
   I enjoy the mental and physical challenge.
3. What's your favourite dance?
   I like the dances to well known tunes e.g. "The Irish Rover", "Mairi's Wedding".
4. How long have you been doing Scottish Country Dancing?
   Since I was 6 means 71 years!!

Helen (teacher)
1. What brought you to Scottish Country Dancing?
   It's how my parents met; and I started in school.
2. What do you enjoy most?
   The international friendships - I can dance anywhere in the world.
3. What's your favourite dance?
   It varies. A great partner can make even a nondescript dance great.
4. How long have you been doing Scottish Country Dancing?
   Since I was 15.

John (teacher, treasurer)
1. What brought you to Scottish Country Dancing?
   In 1981 my late first wife, Irene, suggested that we should take up an interest together, as I had just retired from 5 years as Church Treasurer at the URC in Dorking, Surrey. Irene had danced as a child and teenager in St. Andrews and we decided to join an Adult Education Class in Scottish Country Dancing in a local school. Although strictly a Class, it was run very much like a Club, with many people staying for years and a few new people joining each September. When we came to Ireland in September 1987, Irene looked up the phone book to find a Presbyterian Church, rang the Manse and spoke to Rev David Caskie, who said "You will be very welcome, and if you do Scottish Dancing, you will be doubly welcomed with open arms."
2. What do you enjoy most?
   I enjoy the physical activity of dancing, and not just Scottish Country Dancing. Then there's the pleasure of meeting people and the friendships one makes. I love to know the origins of a dance, and also what the music is, as I find that a most important part of the whole experience.
3. What's your favourite dance?
   I'm not sure that I can name one favourite dance. I have many that I really enjoy - across the whole spectrum of dances, be that reel, jig, strathspey (traditional or slow air type); old or new; simple or complicated - but they all have a good set of tunes.
4. How long have you been doing Scottish Country Dancing?
   As indicated in my answer to question 1, I started Scottish Country Dancing in September 1981.

Florrie (secretary)
1. What brought you to Scottish Country Dancing?
   Another Scottish Dancer
2. What do you enjoy most?
   Friendship
3. What's your favourite dance?
   "The Wind on Loch Fyne"
4. How long have you been doing Scottish Country Dancing?
   Since 1995

Daniela (webmaster)
1. What brought you to Scottish Country Dancing?
   My father started dancing shortly before I was born, and when I was 15 he brought me along when his club in Stuttgart organised a beginners' evening. I liked it so much that I stayed!
2. What do you enjoy most?
   Dancing in time to the music, symmetric patterns, Pas-de-basque setting. Men in kilts.
3. What's your favourite dance?
   I like medleys a lot, and I love Schiehallion reels (if danced well). Therefore, the dance "Thirteen-Fourteen" is one of my absolute favourites (it is a medley with Schiehallion reels in it), and also "The Elephant's Stampede" (it also contains Schiehallion reels).
4. How long have you been doing Scottish Country Dancing?
   Since I was 15, i.e. since 2006.

Pam
1. What brought you to Scottish Country Dancing?
   Forbes and I started dancing as we needed to know how to do it, as every New Year we went to a hotel in Scotland to celebrate. Scottish dancing was very high on the agenda in the hotel.
2. What do you enjoy most?
   I enjoy everything! The company, the dancing, the suppers. I always go home with a smile on my lips!!!
3. What's your favourite dance?
   Favourite dance has to be "The Irish Rover". Especially when I'm lucky enough to get a good partner!!!
4. How long have you been doing Scottish Country Dancing?
   Must have been dancing nearly 100 years. I'm the oldest in the club!!!

Blair
1. What brought you to Scottish Country Dancing?
   My wife
2. What do you enjoy most?
   The exercise and the company
3. What's your favourite dance?
   Not sure if I have danced it yet, I like new dances and the challenge
4. How long have you been doing Scottish Country Dancing?
   Since 1996

Dorene
1. What brought you to Scottish Country Dancing?
   I came to Scottish Danicng from a long interest in folk dance generally, and then an open day Ceili was advertised to which I went, and stayed.
2. What do you enjoy most?
   Just everythig - the music, the dance, the friendship.
3. What's your favourite dance?
   I have many favourites! "The Irish Rover", "Mairi's Wedding", "Catch the Wind", "Shiftin' Bobbins"
4. How long have you been doing Scottish Country Dancing?
   I have been dancing since about 2010.

Ingrid
1. What brought you to Scottish Country Dancing?
   As a member of the Benevolent Society of St Andrew, Alan Corsini showed me a Strathspey step (after a Ceilidh dance in the National Yacht Club in 2014) and I was 'hooked'.
2. What do you enjoy most?
   Dancing, mental co-ordination and moving myself. All exercise is great. Meeting the lovely caring people who make up the Scottish Country Dance Club.
3. What's your favourite dance?
   So far any Strathspey.
4. How long have you been doing Scottish Country Dancing?
   Not long enough; but so far from January 2015. I also adore Scotland as both my husband's and my own ancestors originated in Scotland. I try to visit there as often as I can. My first visit was 1969 and the rest is history.

Pascal
1. What brought you to Scottish Country Dancing?
   I had the chance to spend one year abroad in St. Andrews University during my studies. I chose to join as many societies as possible to meet people and improve my English (pub is not for me). As a jive dancer myself, I joined the Celtic Society. I danced Ceilidh during the first semester and Scottish Country Dancing during the second semester. That was just enough to convert me to Scottish Country Dancing... ;-)
2. What do you enjoy most?
   Meeting great people, sharing a passion and realizing at St. Andrews Summer School that these dances are not danced just in Scotland, but all over the world !!!
3. What's your favourite dance?
   Dances I could name as my favourites would be rather about Ceilidh, because I started with Ceilidh, but I prefer fast dances like reels, although strathspeys are majestic... I could name "De'il Amang The Tailors" as I had the chance to dance it in front of Glamis Castle and for my own wedding too.
4. How long have you been doing Scottish Country Dancing?
   I danced in St. Andrews University in 2003-2004, then came back to France and only joined le Chardon du Dauphiné in 2008 for one year and a half, before moving out again. I recently joined Dublin Scottish Country Dancing Club in 2016 and started dancing again... Your heart actually never forgets the dance even if you don't have the chance to practice in a group...

Yannick
1. What brought you to Scottish Country Dancing?
   A colleague who was into it encouraged me to join the local group in Tübingen, and I stayed with Scottish Country Dancing thereafter.
2. What do you enjoy most?
   Scottish Country Dancing is both a social activity and something that engages your brain. This makes it an enjoyable counterbalance to work.
3. What's your favourite dance?
   Out of the many many dances maybe the Black Mountain Reel because it contains the right mixture of order and chaos.
4. How long have you been doing Scottish Country Dancing?
   Since late 2011, i.e. soon it will be 5 years.

Mary T.
1. What brought you to Scottish Country Dancing?
   It was by accident. I was picking up my sister from a dance class that just started at the University of CA, San Diego. I got roped into a dance and I was hooked ever since.
2. What do you enjoy most?
   The warm welcome and the friends that I made all over the world. I met my husband when I danced with the Tokyo group. I also love going to the dances and dancing to live music.
3. What's your favourite dance?
   I have lots of favourites depending where I'm dancing. "Red House", "The Irish Rover", "Mairi's Wedding", "Australian Ladies", "Garry Strathspey" to name a few.
4. How long have you been doing Scottish Country Dancing?
   Since I was at University so about 28 years now and still going.

Tony G.
1. What brought you to Scottish Country Dancing?
   There wasn't any Irish dancing in Tokyo as of June 1991. A friend in Sydney had pressed the Tokyo Branch contact details on me, so I started doing Scottish to get my dancing fix. The Irish dancing started in August 1991, but I already couldn't stop doing Scottish, so I've been doing both ever since.
2. What do you enjoy most?
   Dancing. Dancing with my partner and with the rest of the set. I also appreciate having good friends from all around the world that I've met through dancing, and that you'll be made welcome at any Scottish Country Dancing class anywhere in the world even if you're just dropping in for one night.
3. What's your favourite dance?
   The next eight bars, whatever that is.
4. How long have you been doing Scottish Country Dancing?
   Since 1991, in each of the four countries where I've lived since then.