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Kalamunda Scottish Country Dancing

Home > Perth > Performing Arts | Dancing | Céilidhs
by Douglas Sutherland-Bruce (subscribe)
Douglas has been a professional food writer since 1986. He is also an award-winning actor and director in Community Theatre and has been for many years. His blog may be found at:
Published May 14th 2013
It May Tickle Your Fancy
Kalamunda Scottish Country Dance Group (Inc) began life 27 years ago, with a small group of keen dancers meeting weekly for social Scottish Country Dancing .

Kalamunda Scottish Country Dancing
Kalamunda Scottish Country Dancing

For the last 20 or so years they have met at the Jack Healey Centre on a Thursday night. People often confuse this type of dancing with Highland Dancing, and picture us leaping over swords with hands raised above our heads. The reality is somewhat more sedate – but only somewhat!

Scottish country dancing is more like folk dancing or bush dancing. However, there is a plethora of what may seem (to onlookers) to be complicated formations but which, when they are practised regularly, become familiar.

Kalamunda Scottish Country Dancing
'The Band 'Heel & Toe' playing for the Kalamunda Scottish Dancing group

Dances can be fast (reels or jigs) or slow (strathspeys). There is usually one slow dance to every three or four fast ones, enabling dancers to have a rest and catch their breath.

Over the years the club has had several teachers who ran the club and taught the various formations and dances, but for the last few years a group of members, appointed by the club's committee, have organised the weekly programmes of dances, including programmes for party nights.

From time to time a teacher from the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society in Perth is invited up to help members to brush up on their footwork.

For many years the year has started with a Burns Night, including dances such as The Poet and his Lass, Burns Hornpipe, and Tam o' Shanter, celebrating Robbie Burns with a haggis supper, piped in by one of the members, while another member reads the traditional Ode to the Haggis.

Kalamunda Scottish Country Dancing
Piping in 'Great Chieftain o' the Puddin' Race' for Burns Night

Early in December is the annual Christmas party dance, which ends (of course) with all the dancers joining hands around the room for Auld Lang Syne. Members of other clubs are invited to these party nights, and the hall resounds to the sound of many dancing feet.

Lots of dances have interesting names – Roaring Jelly is named after a slang term for gelignite, while The Bees of Maggieknockater is named for a town in the north-east of Scotland that used to have a large apiary. Bratach Bana means "white flag". Cape Town Wedding was written to celebrate a wedding, and contained a formation known as "the knot". Another dance, Fare Thee Well, marks the subsequent divorce, with, of course, a formation to untie the knot!

Pelorus Jack celebrates a dolphin which, for 24 years from 1888, accompanied ships between Wellington and Nelson (New Zealand). The story goes that he was killed by Norwegian whalers, but he possibly died of old age.

There are dances named for flowers (Marigold, White Heather Jig), birds (Piper and the Penguin, Flight of the Falcon), people (Lauraine's Delight, devised and named for one of Kalamunda's longest-serving members), food (Sugar Candie, Cranberry Tart), nationalities (Australian Ladies, Swiss Lassie), places (Nottingham Lace, Corrievrechan, a whirlpool off the west coast of Scotland), and even our own Kalamunda 25, devised by long-time member Ken Sumby to mark the club's 25th anniversary in 2011.

Kalamunda Scottish Country Dancing

If this tickles your fancy, and you feel like joining the dancing throng, call Ken Sumby on 9291 7843 for more details. Beginners' classes are being run prior to the social dancing, and newcomers are always welcome.
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Why? Fun Scottish dancing for singles and couples
When: 8:00pm to 10:00pm Thursday nights
Phone: 9291 7843
Where: Jack Healey Centre, Corner Mead Street and Canning Road, Kalamunda
Cost: $40 per term
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