2015-08-06 Celebrating Women’s Day

This year, Bergvliet Scottish Country Dance Club again celebrated Women’s Day with an ‘open evening’ on August 6, to which we were happy to welcome dancers from other clubs.

Among dances on our programme were some chosen specifically to recognise the pivotal role played by women – pioneers, teachers, examiners, musicians, administrators – in the RSCDS structure.

The two redoubtable ladies who founded the Society back in 1923 (Ysobel Stewart and Jean Milligan) were represented by Mrs Stewart's Jig and Miss Milligan's Strathspey. Mrs Stewart’s Jig was first published in RSCDS Book 35, published in 1988 to mark the 65th anniversary of the Society and dedicated to Ysobel Stewart. Miss Milligan’s Strathspey was devised in 1973 at the time of the Society’s golden jubilee and our stirring music comes from the talented duo of Muriel Johnstone (piano) and Keith Smith (violin), on the CD Dancing Live from Blair Castle.

Talking of our favourite pianist, Muriel Johnstone was acknowledged on our programme by the dance Miss Johnstone of Ardrossan, devised by the famed Roy Goldring. And returning to musical matters, we again danced to the strains of Muriel and Keith on the CD Vintage Goldring.

Representing just two of the iconic teachers and examiners who have touched our lives here in Cape Town was the strathspey Jean Martin of Aberdeen (eponymous) and the reel The Lass of Richmond Hill (in honour of RSCDS medal tester, Fiona Turnbull of the Richmond Branch in Yorkshire).

Keeping it all in the family, the dance Jean Martin of Aberdeen was devised by Muriel Johnstone and the music we use is the piano version of the tune played by Muriel! The music for the Lass of Richmond Hill is the traditional air of that name, played by the incomparable Luke Brady.

And on the administration front, Anna Holden Strathspey was devised by the legendary John Drewry as a tribute to her directorship of the 60th Summer School at St Andrews in 1991.

A good time was had by all, and doubtless this Bergvliet open evening will be repeated next year when Women’s Day comes around again!

Gill Loubser

August 2015