Big 60th birthday bash for White Rock Scottish Dance Club

WHITE ROCK — The oldest Scottish country dance club in B.C. is prepping for its diamond anniversary, and it’s importing hired guns, direct from bonnie olde Scotland, just for the occasion.

And that’s but a glimpse of the pomp and pageantry to be on display Saturday night (May 3) as White Rock Scottish Dance Club celebrates its 60th birthday at Star of the Sea Hall in White Rock. 

Dance headliners The Marian Anderson Band aside, the evening includes a formal reception, an introductory “grand march,” three hours of Scottish country dance followed by a full-blown banquet, and no fewer than 100 serious practitioners of the art from other, younger clubs around the region.

It will not, however, feature even a trace of that other noted Scottish dance form, the Highland Fling. You see, the two couldn’t be more different. Whereas the Fling is essentially a short, high-energy solo, country dance is a more lengthy affair involving couples and groups in a technical exercise that outwardly seems to mix elements of line- and square-dancing. But unlike the latter, Scottish country dancers have no caller – their moves are planned in advance and painstakingly memorized. 

Club president David Jackson calls it an “aerobic and mental exercise,” rehearsed weekly at Sullivan Hall in Surrey. There, teacher Maureen Lyon pushes her pupils through a series of maneuvers seemingly destined to provoke multiple head-on collisions. That all her students – some over the age of 80, others under 30 – emerge from each session cheering and fracture-free attests not only to Lyon’s 34 years as club dance director, but also to the discipline’s highly social nature. These folks genuinely like one another, and move on the floor like a well-oiled machine.

This Saturday’s gathering is a closed affair, but the group encourages the public to join the fun. The fall season begins in September, with details at www.wrscdc.org.

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