It's been a little chaotic at times, but all those rehearsals were worth it. We had so much fun.
On Sunday our Scottish Country Dance group participated in "Memories of Scotland", a fundraiser for the Richmond Hill Centennial Pipe Band.
In addition to the pipes and drums, there were Highland Dancers, singers and of course, the best part of the show, the Scottish Country Dancers!
I don't have any pictures of our actual dancing.... maybe on a later post... but the whole group performed four dances on the stage (The Piper and the Penguin, Bratach Bana, The Minister on the Loch, and The Reel of the Royal Scots) and the men performed The Reel of the 51st Division. This dance has a fascinating history.
At the beginning of World War II, the 51st (Highland) Division formed part of the British Expeditionary Force's GHQ reserve.
In 1940, the 51st Division was helping the French Army slow the German's advance on Paris. When the situation became hopeless, the 51st decided to fight their way back to the coast, but were unable to cross the channel, and about 10,000 men and officers surrendered to the German army.
Some officers of the original 51st (Highland) Division ended up in a POW camp near Salzburg. Since dancing was always a big part of Scottish military life, the POWs started a dance class to pass the time. At first the dancers were reduced to hand clapping and counts for music, but later on managed to obtain musical instruments such as practice chanters and even an accordion through the Red Cross.
The dance called The Reel of the 51st Division was invented during the winter of 1940 by three officers. One of the officers tried to send a description of the dance to his wife in Scotland, but the German censors suspected that the dance notation was a secret code and spent a lot of time trying to decode it, until the men demonstrated the dance to them.
Since then, The Reel of the 51st Division has been traditionally a men's dance.
Here's the dance notation:
|1-8||1C set, cast off two places (2C up) and lead up to 1cnrs|
|9-16||1C set to 1cnr, turn 1cnr RH, join LH in the middle to BiL, turn 1¼ LH to 2cnrs|
|17-24||Repeat with 2cnrs, cross to 2pl own side|
|25-32||2C+1C+3C circle6 and back.|
No wonder the Germans were confused!
(btw, I'm in the middle, top left photo.)