Teacher Profiles

Neville Pope

Neville

Neville Pope

I’ve enjoyed Scottish Dancing since childhood and learnt Highland Dancing as a child. I danced at Scottish functions over the years, but was somewhat older before I found a formal class for Scottish Country Dancing. Over the years I have enjoyed the physical and mental challenge of this dancing and made many friends across Australia and New Zealand. It has kept me fit and provided a very supportive community. In the last few years, I have been challenged to achieve my teaching certificate, making yet more friends along the way. There is a sense of mutual achievement in mastering a new dance and often a sense of exhilaration when you have a roomful of people dancing to the stirring Scottish music.

 

Jean Lumsden   Burnside Dance Group

Jean and Mary

Jean and Mary

Born in Scotland, we were taught Scottish Country Dancing at school.  As a teenager and on, I danced a mixture of what is now termed Ceilidh Dance, Modern and old time.  No one mentioned the RSCDS until I came to Adelaide in 1989. I attended the Adelaide Branch for all of ten years. In 1981, I decided to visit Scotland and also to apply for the Preliminary Examination at the St Andrews Summer School,  (talk about fools rushing in), however, I developed an enthusiasm for Scottish Country Dancing and the RSCDS. On returning to Adelaide I taught Scottish Dancing at the Workers’ Education Association (WEA) for experience, these classes were very successful, my pupils asked me to start the Burnside Group. It took me until 1987 to finally achieve my goal of passing the Full Teachers’ Certificate as trips to St Andrews has to fit in with work holidays. Elma See and Morag Napier and many others here and in Scotland, gave me lots of encouragement. On my return, as teachers were scarce here at that time, it was straight into being an assistant tutor at teachers exams and then later tutored many teachers in Adelaide, until last year. Scottish Country Dancing is a ‘passion’ which does not fade with the years, we have a plethora of fabulous dances, new and old, new formations to keep us on our toes, and beautiful music being composed.  The people who dance with us do not require a partner, we are very sociable. You can attend Socials & Balls, and visit anywhere in the world and fit in, because the dances are standarised. At the Burnside classes we welcome, beginners and experienced dancers.  So come along and join us. Scottish Country Dancing is fun.

Mary Hodgen  co-teacher Burnside Dance Group My introduction to Scottish Country Dancing was when my daughters were learning Highland Dancing and I was invited to attend a Caledonian Society Evening at Pt Adelaide.  Visiting Canadian Dancers were performing that night and I Joined the Port Adelaide Country Dance Class  the following week to learn, as I enjoyed it so much That was 35 years ago and I am still “hooked” on Scottish Country Dancing. When my dance teacher, went to overseas and she asked me take the class, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and decided to become a teacher myself.  In 1991 I was delighted to receive my Teacher’s Certificate.  Scottish Country Dancing has introduced me to new people, good friends, and great social dancing.

Margo Mernitz

Margot Mernitz

Margot Mernitz

I believe that in my day  Physical Education teachers in Scotland had in their curriculum particularly for high schools teaching Scottish Country Dancing. After all Miss Milligan was, I think , in charge at Jordan Hill College in Glasgow where teachers trained. I certainly remember Petronella and Flowers of Edinburgh in first year at Kilmarnock Academy. Following my parents example from about fourteen on wards we were dancing our own version of Ceilidh type dances and such dances as Eightsome Reel, Dashing White Sergeant, Drops of Brandy , as Strip the Willow was called in our area. School end of year parties usually included dancing like that, but when I moved from Girl Guides to Rangers our Leader, Miss Allen, was the Royal Scottish Country Dance Representative for North Aryshire so for physical activity we danced RSCDS style. We also competed in local festivals of Music Dance and Drama.   In the V.E. and V.J. celebrations my brother and I danced in the demonstrations in the park. We were usually first couple we said, tongue in cheek, that was because we were the best dancers, but it was really because we were the shortest and the couples were positioned by height.!! But I do think we were fair dancers we certainly enjoyed it.   When I came to Australia in 1949 I was a junior teacher at Port Vincent. I was responsible for physical education for Grades 1,2,&3. I remember I wanted to teach them dancing for the school concert, but it was a very bad year for poliomyelitis and it had been noted that strenuous activity made the condition worse if it had been contracted so I was not allowed to. When I went home to Stenhouse Bay we taught the locals Ceilidh Dances in the regular get-togethers.   When we came up to Adelaide in 1950 Scottish Country Dancing was not an easy option and I became involved in hockey, and the Parkside Girls Club Combined Church Clubs Calisthenics organization that had marching, exercises, dancing, clubs and rods.   I really did not take up Scottish Country Dancing again until I attended Jean Lumsden’s WEA class. The same one as Roy, I’m not sure of the date maybe 1987. Jean persuaded me to study for the Teacher’s exam. I know I was sitting the written exam the day my husband died and that was June 28 1990. I started a class in 1991 and sat for the full teachers certificate in 1996. I love dancing although my knees are getting a bit stiff at 80. I love to teach and enjoy my dancers having fun and gradually improving. When they cope with a dance that initially appeared a bit challenging we are all so pleased with ourselves.   Being a physiotherapist always interested in gerontology I do endorse that Scottish Country Dancing meets all the criterion for successful aging. It is physically demanding, intellectually challenging (in a nice way), it is by its very nature social, if you relate spirit to uplifting the music is certainly that and it must be good for the environment.

Maureen Morris

Maureen

Maureen Morris

Apart from at an occasional Highland Dance cabaret in the late sixties and early seventies my first encounter with Scottish Country dancing was through Arthur Littlejohns. In 1978 my husband and I joined the Adelaide Colonial Dancers and one week a month Arthur took the class, teaching SCD. We enjoyed it and shortly after we joined the Adelaide Scottish Country Dance and Social club. Paula Rawson, who was President of ASCDASC for several years, introduced us to Lily Davison’s class at Elizabeth. It was there I met Kay Armstrong. Kay was a lovely dancer, despite her years, and when I learnt she had a class at Gilles Plains I started going along.  She invited me to lunch most Wednesdays and we got to know each other very well. Even so it was quite a surprise when she asked me if I would take over her class as she wanted to further her interest in Shakespeare. Adelaide U3A had begun a course for reading Shakespeare’s plays that began at 1pm.  I really didn’t know what I was getting in to when I said yes.  My first morning was interesting! I gave those attending some step practice and lost two members! I was told they didn’t need it – put me in my box!  When it was mentioned that there was to be a course run to ready people to take the preliminary certificate exams, I knew I was in it for the long haul, though up to that point I hadn’t heard about these exams!  Now, nearly twenty six years on, I can only say thank you to Arthur for introducing me the this interesting world of SCD. Winter Schools have added extra colour to these years opening up a wide circle of friends and aquaintances.  Thank you to all who have supported me through these years; people who have attended Gilles Plains Scottish Country dancers, tutors at the certificate courses and Adelaide and Districts Branch RSCDS.

Noriel Tarca

Noriel

Noriel Tarca

I was first introduced to Scottish Country Dancing was when aged 7 or 8 at the Port Adelaide Caledonian Society Bairns’ Class.  My parents were members of the Society and every Saturday evening there was a children’s class from 7.30pm until the adult programme began.

Dancing for me went into recess for some years, but after I married and had two boys I returned to the Port Adelaide Caledonian Society Country Dancing Class which began in 1968. I started my own class, on a Tuesday morning, in March 1986, just after I passed my Preliminary Test.  The class continued for a couple of years, with a change of day, until I merged the day dancers with a Friday evening class which still continues.  I passed my Teacher’s Certificate in August 1988.

In 2009 I took on the position as Teacher of the Port Adelaide Caledonian Society Scottish Country Dancing Class.  The teacher withdrew and the class was about to close.  As this was where it all began for me I was motivated to see the class continue.

I have been a guest teacher at Weekend Schools in South Australia, Melbourne, Sydney and Wellington, New Zealand.  I was honoured to be invited to adjudicate a Scottish Country Dancing Competition in Sydney, NSW, in May 1996.  During the Easter weekend in 2009 I convened an afternoon workshop and called dances for 200 plus people at the Scottish Country Dancing Ball at the National Folk Festival in Canberra, ACT.

In August 1995 I attended my first Summer School at St. Andrews, Scotland, as a recipient of the Sir Lyell McEwin Fellowship.  The Fellowship funds are used to foster Scottish activities and traditions and recipients are required to spread the knowledge gained overseas to fellow dancers/pipe. drummers/kilt makers/ adjudicators, etc.  I returned to St. Andrews in 2000.  In recent years I have attended four Canadian (TAC) Summer Schools.

 

Jean Dodds

Jean Dodds

Jean Dodds

I was born in Airdrie, Scotland and at 10 years old travelled with parents and siblings by sea to Australia as “10 pound migrants”.

At the age of 12 I began classes in Highland Dancing which I embraced with a passion.  As well as competing, I completed all of the dancing examinations including the Australian Adjudicators’ Exam.

During a 6 year stay in Melbourne I was introduced to Scottish Country Dancing and went on to complete my Teacher’s Certificate in 1988.  Since that time I have taught classes regularly in Adelaide as well as teaching Workshops in Australia,  New Zealand, Canada and America.

I recently spent a year in Vancouver to take advantage of the beautiful scenery as well as the vibrant Scottish Country Dancing Community.  During my stay I had the pleasure of teaching classes, workshops and being involved generally in the Scottish Country Dancing community.

On a personal note, I am married to Sandy (an Englishman – but very nice) and have 3 grown up sons – Stuart, Calum and Andrew – none of whom are remotely interested in Scottish Dancing!

Barbara Lupton

Barbara 2013 cropAustralian 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 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 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, both with my own class and at the Adelaide branch.  My dancing experience has also been used in my school work environment where I have taught more children over the years always culminating with a display for their parents and friends.  I have also taught ladies step dancing and highland dancing at Adelaide Winter Schools.

SCD is a pastime that I will continue with until my feet and brain will not cope well allow me to dance with enjoyment and a spring in my step.

 

President 2017

Andrew Timmins,
Teacher Adelaide Branch RSCDS

 

Mechthild Timmins Teacher Adelaide Branch RSCDS

Mechthild Timmins
Teacher Adelaide Branch RSCDS