Bergvliet Scottish Country Dance Club History

The Bergvliet Scottish Country Dance Club (BSCDC) is among the longest-standing Scottish Country Dancing groups in Cape Town.

It was back in 1958 that members of the embryonic BSCDC met for the first time at the Bergvliet home of Mr & Mrs Thomson. History relates that the instigators were Ron Brown and Ada MacFarlane, recently arrived from Bloemfontein, who, full of enthusiasm, gathered together a small group of keen, would-be dancers.

Soon, however, the Thomsom’s home was outgrown and the club moved to The Hut, a prefabricated hall on Council ground, adjoining Bergvliet Primary School. Rental was R1.25 per month! Dancing was hard going on a linoleum-covered cement floor, but with Ron Brown as chairman and teacher, ably assisted by Ada MacFarlane, the club blossomed and grew.

The class typically included 40 beginners dancing from 7.30 to 9.00 pm and two demonstration sets dancing from 9.00 to 10.30 pm.

Once a month, a social evening was arranged, to which members of other clubs were invited. These occasions were extremely popular and drew large numbers of dancers. This was an extremely happy and progressive period in BSCDC’s early history. But then tragedy struck. The Council decreed that The Hut should be demolished. It was razed to the ground and the club was homeless. After drifting from hall to hall, with some too expensive, and others cheap but unsavoury, numbers dwindled until only one set remained.

It was then that an energetic duo, Joan Evans and Rosemary Deary, came to the rescue. Running a publicity campaign in top gear, they soon had recruits pouring in.

Almost simultaneously, the club found a new home at the Second Plumstead Sea Scouts Hall. BSCDC was back in action!

Soon after this, when Ron Brown was transferred to Johannesburg, Joan Evans, with her outstanding teaching ability, became the club’s teacher . . . and, although she retired a number of years ago, her spirit lives on.

Joan’s untiring efforts over the years left the club with a fine legacy, with dancing standards continually honed in an atmosphere of fun and friendship.

The club remained in its Plumstead base for many years, until it moved to its current address at the Trinity Presbyterian Church Hall in Newton Drive, Meadowridge. BSCDC has traditionally supported up to three classes a week . . . a beginners class, a general class and an advanced class.

However, the BSCDC advanced class has now been reconstituted as an Interclub Demonstration class, to which members of other clubs are also invited.

Since Joan Evans’ retirement, the Bergvliet class has been taught by Gill Loubser. More recently, Caireen Alston, now a fully-certificated RSCDS teacher, shares the teaching with Gill.