Members tagged “English Dance”

Noreen MacLennan

I started Scottish Country Dancing at an early age and continued into the teens where it was part of the school curriculum. The programme for our school dances as a teenager was Scottish dances. When I moved to London in 1952, attending weekly Scottish dances was a way of making new friends.

In 1954, I moved to Toronto where again I sought out a Scottish Dance group. At this time many Scots were immigrating so more groups were established in Toronto and I became part of a demonstration group performing at many local events and appearing on TV. As the number of members increased, this called for more teachers. A teacher training group was established and in 1957, Miss Milligan, founder of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society (RSCDS) came to Toronto to examine candidates for the Preliminary Teacher's Certificate. I was a successful candidate and prepared for the final certificate when again, in 1959, Miss Milligan was to return for the examinations. Again I was successful and was presented with the certificate.

While in Toronto I joined an international folk dance group and acquired a repertoire of folk dances from many different countries. We had access to teachers from many ethnic groups and often had workshops in dances of specific countries. From this time, I have a library of resources - books, course outlines, recordings etc. I can make available any of these if anyone wants information.

I moved to Newfoundland in 1964 and in 1966, at the request of Father Shea, was asked to to teach a teenage group on Shea Heights then known as the Brow. Soon after there was a request to form an adult group. With both dance groups, musicians and singers,we did performances in various communities on the Avalon the highlight being, in 1970, a concert in Holy Heart auditorium, with a full house and the Lieutenant-Governor in attendance.

In 1980, I joined the Scottish Dance Group, and soon after became the teacher. A performance group was formed and we participated in many events in the city. We were invited in 1985, to the Codroy Valley to take part in their summer Festival and in 1986 at the request of the French government, we travelled to St. Pierre to be part of the Bastille Day Celebrations. From the summer of 1987 on we organized week-end workshops every two years with visiting teachers from many parts of Canada and the United States.

In 1997, an English Dance group was formed after I had been to a week long session at Pinewoods Camp near Plymouth, Mass. where song, dance and music weeks are organized all through the summer. With Martin Mulligan, a Scottish dance teacher, we began a group to teach English Dances. This has been very successful, and we are now into our 16th year. We welcome newcomers in the fall, but in the winter session, previous dance experience is required. We meet on Tuesdays, 7.30 pm at St James Church on Elizabeth Avenue.

Noreen MacLennan