How to do it and how to teach it

Anne Taylor       September 2019

How to do it and how to teach it

Anne shared some of her knowledge gained through many years of teaching both adults and children discussed the various standards of dance needed in the new Dancing Achievement Awards ( DAA).

How to do it and how to teach it

Anne Taylor       September 2019


Reporter:  Carole Stoker


This year the meeting was held for the first time in West Horsley Village Hall . The visiting ‘tutor’ was Anne Taylor from Buckie, Moray, a well-known teacher of Scottish Country Dance and Convenor of RSCDS E&T Committee Elect and Director of Summer school. Her theme for the workshop was “How to do it and How to teach it”. We were delighted that Anne was willing to share with us some of her knowledge gained through many years of teaching both adults and children. Anne spent the afternoon session explaining with an interesting video the various standards of dance needed in the new Dancing Achievement Awards ( DAA) The musician for the day was Judith Muir well known as an accompanist for many classes in the area and of course part of the Craigellachie Band (led by husband Ian Muir).


There was a very good number of attendees but as Jane Rose commented at the meeting at the end of the Course it would be very much appreciated if members replied by the reply date rather than 72 hours or as in some cases 24 hours before the event! Needless to everyone was very welcome.


In warm-ups Anne suggested that especially in the case of teaching Beginners simple moves can be introduced towards the learning of the vocabulary of formations that dancers have to acquire. Circles with slipping step and advancing and retiring into the middle emphasising the actual steps i.e. closing the feet in the correct position and dancing a grand chain ,firstly with 2 steps to each hand and then 1, so having an open position with the arm for 2 steps and much closer for the one step, which led onto turning with 4 steps and turning with 2 and the relevant teaching points of a circular movement in and out with 4 steps and a much closer movement ,obviously for 2 steps . She emphasised that it wasn’t the grip so much as a firm upper arm.


Using slipping steps, advance and retire, chain and turning, we danced The Ferryboat (R32 or J)

1-4 Mn adv and ret

5-8 All slip to left

9-12Lds adv and ret

13-16 All slip to right

17-24 face partners grand chain,4 places then face new partner

25-28Take both hands of new partner and slip toward centre and back

29-32Turn this person with right hand finish in single circle ready to start again


We then danced Kendall’s Hornpipe , J32 3c (Graded SCDs Book 1) which has the common formations of;

Rights and lefts…..look at the person as you pass them

Lead down for 3 steps ,back up, cross and cast to 2ndplace.(5 steps)

Ladies chain…Anne suggested ladies should retain hands for as long as possible ie it is a chain

Advance and retire

1st couple (now in 2nd place )turn by the right 11/2 times


My Mother’s Coming in Book 15 R32 3/4c

Parallel reels – when teaching reels demonstrate from each position Remind dancers the two facing dancers pass right shoulder so oddsbody facing a back, goes out to right and then through middle and if left shoulder, they go out to left.

Arrive slightly late after half fig of 8 so that you can direct dancers on either side of you into adv and ret.

Double triangles ,corners keep setting may have to move into take dancing couple’s hand but don’t exaggerate!


Mrs Macleod (of Raasay)Book 6 R32 3/4c

Practice 4hands across no thumbs being grabbed

Set and turn corners ..walk feet position no ”cheating” just anticipation!! right foot stretch across to change places then left reaches back to centre

6 bar reel so everybody still and only dancing couple moving on 7 and 8.

Keep heads up and look at partners.


Practice for Strathspey travelling step and setting step - sometimes have to vary length of step. When practising round room remember to change dancers from inside to outside of circle

Throughout the morning Anne had stressed teamwork in the fact that we should be covering and being aware , not what just our set was doing but being in line with the other sets.


We finished the morning session with a dance written by Anne’s husband Bob Taylor;

A Pack of Flies(aka The Reel of Midges) R32 3/4C

1-2 1stC set to each other

3-6 1stC dance towards each other touch hands and cast off to 2nd place (2s step up 5and6)

7-8 1stC turn3/4 by LH to finish 1st M between 2nd couple facing up and 1st W between 3rdC facing down

9-24 From here Anne said she would walk normal reel of 3 across the dance, 1stC dance round to their left and then do another reel with 1stC dancing round to their right THAT IS THE PATH OF 2ND AND 3RDCOUPLES

1st man does fig of 8 with 2nd 3rdmen passing left shoulder with 2nd man to begin.1st man finishes where he began1st woman meanwhile dances a fig of 8 round 3rdW and 2nd W (passing left shoulder with 3rd W. She finishes where she began.

Repeat this but 1st C dancing to their right 2nd and 3rd couples just keep doing reels across dance

1st couple passing left shoulder back to back in middle

25-32 1s set as in DTS with 2nd 3rdcs

1s with setting step go round each other to set in DTs with 2nd 3rd C but at opp ends

Set out to own side in 2nd place ready to start again


After this we were well ready for a lunch break.


The afternoon session was Anne’s comments on the video of the various stages of the DAA


We finished the day by dancing City of Belfast Book 48 S32 3c especially the teaching of the espagnole.


It was an interesting and varied workshop and caused some thought especially for those members who are taking part in the teaching awards.


We were very appreciative of both Anne and Judith giving up so much time for what was an interesting and enlightening workshop.


Carole Stoker