I love to dance. This is not something new for me. I can’t remember when I didn’t like to move to the music. My first memories of watching others dance come from my childhood in Cape Breton where I would watch the adults square dance. Then, there were the step dancers who would often accompany themselves on the “bones” or, if like Nathalie MacMaster, they were really talented, playing the fiddle. These solo artists could break into dance anywhere – living rooms, verandahs, or the middle of a country canteen.
And then there were the Antigonish Highland Games. It helped that I loved the bagpipes, but I could watch the grace and ferociousness of highland dance for hours. The Sword Dance (Gille Chaluim), The Seann Triubhas, The Highland Fling and The Reel of Tulloch all danced in full highland regalia makes for a colourful spectacle.
I know that it may be hard to imagine but I was once a little shy of my love for dancing but I was lucky. When I was much, much, much younger I had a lot of alone time so I could dance alone at home. And then, when I was thirteen my oldest brother came home to visit from South America. He brought a collection of what I disrespectfully called his “tookie-tookie” records. It turns out, he loved to dance too – almost as much as he likes to play Bridge these days. So for a few months there were house parties almost every weekend and I got to dance and dance – and dance some more. Gone were the inhibitions!
I danced my way through my high school years and well – I just never stopped until Covid. If the music started at nine and ended at one, I would have been on the dance floor for three and a half hours. Hey – everyone needs a bio-break and a little bit of hydration.
So then the coronavirus and now a little bit of that old inhibition crept back in. I found myself sneaking downstairs and dancing by myself for ten or fifteen minutes before my regular treadmill trot or some weights. I had to find a cure. So, my wife and I have started going to Royal Scottish Country Dancing classes. Is it a challenge for you to tango or waltz with one? Try having eight or more people in a set relying on you to do the right thing.
This form of dance is enthusiastic and can be a little bit of a workout – so good cardio. And a bonus! Royal Scottish Country Dancing (“RSCD”) attracts an eclectic group! From dancers in their twenties to dancers in their eighties! Eastern europeans, Québecois, French, Chinese, East Indian – need I go on! The RSCD Society is not a Scots clique – indeed, it has 160 branches and 300 affiliates spread out all over the world. Of the 50 plus people that we have met, No more than maybe ten of us have any Scottish blood.
I do not claim to have any talent or skill but I am enthusiastic. The intent is to get good enough not to have to be in recovery mode much of the time. After all, I love to dance.
If you too would like to dance Scottish in Montreal, come to the Church of St-Andrew and St-Paul, 3415 rue Redpath on Tuesday evenings – 7pm. The cost is $5 per person.
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