Canterbury St Andrews Scottish Country Dance Group
Download poster (PDF).
- Spring Dance:
- 16th March 2024
- Evening 7.15pm start
- Summer Dance:
- 6th July 2024
- Evening 7.15pm start
We hold dances during the year at the Littlebourne War Memorial Hall, near Canterbury. We shall be delighted to see you there if you can attend.
- Spring Term 2024:
- 5th January - 22nd March
- Summer Term 2024:
- 5th April - 5th July
- Autumn Term 2024:
We meet on Friday evenings from 7 to 9:45 p.m. in the main building of Canterbury College, New Dover Road, Canterbury CT1 3AJ. (See separate panel for term dates.) The fee for the evening is £4 (first session free). The College provides hand sanitiser, you are encouraged to use it between dances.
The first hour of the session is intended especially for beginners, but is by no means exclusively attended by beginners. During the hour, typically three dances are worked through in detail, with each couple first walking the dance and then dancing it to the music.
From 8 p.m. onwards the evening is for social dancing. Each dance is walked through once - sometimes twice - and then danced as a set. As the evening progresses, the dances tend to become of progressively greater difficulty, but the first dances after 8 p.m. are generally those studied in detail during the beginners' session.
There is a break for refreshments at about 8:30.
If you have never seen or tried Scottish country dancing, may we recommend it as an enjoyable way to take regular exercise? We hasten to add that country dancing is not the same as Highland dancing - no swords and no solo efforts!
Now, you may be looking forward to attending a ceilidh, Burns night or Hogmanay celebration later in the year. Well, we can help you out there by giving you the opportunity to learn some Scottish country dance steps and formations while helping to get you in trim. Even if you have no pressing Scots-sponsored engagement, just come along for fun.
As most dances are performed in 'sets' of six or eight people it is also highly sociable. You don't need to bring a partner: singles, couples or groups are all equally welcome. (It is the custom to have a different partner for each dance.) No special clothing is required. Just bring a pair of soft shoes - preferably non-slip - and yourselves. Rest assured, you will always receive a warm welcome from us Scottish country dancers.
Fisherman's Reel: 554th attempt... (Boots essential; all attire is suitable for Scottish dancing as shown!)
All too often ladies partner each other due to a lack of men. So it seemed fitting that when, on this particular evening, we had a surfeit of men they should also 'enjoy' getting their heads round dancing on 'the opposite side'! It does not happen very often but they rose to the challenge.
Our group began originally in 1963 when six people, one of whom was Eileen Acott, came together to dance Scottish. We first danced as a group in St Andrews United Reformed Church, hence our name. A public dance was held for the first time in 1978 and dancers were charged the exorbitant sum of 75 pence entrance. Many successful occasions followed (thanks to Eileen's strenuous efforts teaching the dances) and now we hold three each year.
Happily our group flourished and we moved to Barton Court School in the early 90s before coming, in 2001, to Canterbury College where we now dance. Eileen retired in December 2010 after leading us for some 47 years but sadly died in February 2012. We are still dancing with Pat Gill as our teacher. Members come to enjoy and improve their dancing with much fun and laughter on the way. So on with the dance!
A more detailed history of the club from an idea in 1962 until 2003
by Barbara J Armstrong
The New Chairman
In 2022 Andrew Helbling retired from the post of Chairman of Canterbury St. Andrews SCD group. For the last 20 years he has brought his own inimitable style to all his many duties. His lightness of touch made even AGMs a pleasure to attend.
He has been ably supported throughout by his wife Jenny and we give them both deep thanks. We are happy that they will both continue to be with us on Friday nights.
Andrew has now passed the chairmanship to Carolyn Toland and we have great pleasure in welcoming her to this new role.
In many years Jenny and Andrew Helbling have invited us and other dancing friends to their home for the 'Chairman's Garden Prance': a gloriously sociable time of fun and dance. Our first meeting following the pandemic lockdown was such an event, on 1st August 2021. Unfortunately, as we were starting the third dance, there was a torrential downpour, and we had to retreat under the marquee for the remainder of the programme.