A successful and enjoyable Autumn Gathering 2019

image of dancing

Photograph of dancers enjoying the Ball in Bells Sports Centre in Perth, on the Saturday night.

Over the first weekend of November, the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society (RSCDS) held a very successful and highly enjoyable Autumn Gathering in the beautiful setting of Perth.

The occasion marked the 90th AGM of the Society and saw over 500 dancers, including 136 delegates, come together to enjoy a fun weekend of socialising, dancing, great music and lively talks and discussions.

It was brilliant to see the traditions of Scottish country dancing upheld and enjoyed by so many people. It was particularly pleasing to see dancers of different ages and nationalities join the Autumn Gathering, including some from North America and various European countries, proving that Dance Scottish is for everyone.

Andrew Kellett, RSCDS Chair, used the Teaching Conference at the start of the weekend to thank all RSCDS teachers for the important work they do in enabling thousands of people to enjoy Scottish country dancing.  He urged Branches to ask their most inspirational teachers to lead classes for new dancers, and encouraged teachers without classes to start their own. 

The Teaching Conference also provided an opportunity to learn more about the plans to launch the Core Training for Instructors course and hear about new software providing aids to teaching SCD. 

On behalf of the Membership Services Committee, Peter Knapman and Angela Young delivered an entertaining presentation on the development of Scottish dance instructions and music.

Thirty Popular dances, vol. 2 is now available. Visit this link!


The evening dance on the Friday night was greatly enjoyed with almost 400 dancers attending. The programme for the evening was inspired by the new publication of 30 Popular Dances, Vol.2 with two accompanying CDs. This book was produced by the Membership Services Committee and celebrates another thirty popular Scottish country dances. James Coutts and his Scottish Dance Band supplied the music for CD 1 as well as providing the live music for the Friday night dance that kicked off the Autumn Gathering weekend in good style.

At the Open Forum on the Saturday morning, Lorna Ogilvie, Chair Elect, described plans for celebrating the RSCDS Centenary in 2023, and members were invited to give their views.  There was also an update on the Business Plan.

Photograph of the children’s demonstration on the Saturday morning in Perth Concert Hall.

 Throughout the weekend, there were many opportunities to dance as well as the chance to observe the wonderful demonstrations of Scottish country dancing by both the children’s Team from the Dunfermline Branch and the RSCDS Youth Demonstration Team.

The children’s Demonstration Team, who performed in the foyer of Perth Concert Hall on the Saturday morning, were trained by Agnes Leighton and danced to music by Frank Thomson.  The Youth Demonstration Team were trained by Rachel Shankland, accompanied by Luke Brady, and performed during the Saturday night Ball.

Photograph of the RSCDS Youth Demonstration Team mid performance, on the Saturday night in Bells Sports Centre, Perth.

The weekend was also a good opportunity to highlight how the RSCDS offers education and training initiatives to support adults, children and teachers and their wellbeing. On Saturday, shortly after the children’s demonstration, representatives of the RSCDS met with Mr John Swinney, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills to promote dance within the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence.

 Photograph of Roy Bain (Chair RSCDS Scottish Schools Working Group), John Swinney, Lorna Ogilvie (RSCDS Chair Elect).

Over the Saturday and Sunday, there were two Scottish country dancing classes available. We are grateful to teacher Deb Lees and musician Angela Young as well as teacher Janet Johnston and musician Susan Macfadyen for delivering the dance classes on Saturday and Sunday respectively. These classes provided another occasion to learn and develop as well as socialise and have fun.

At 14.00 on Saturday, we held our AGM Conference, led by Andrew Kellett, RSCDS Chair. This provided a useful summary of the Society’s activities over the year, including a number of successes, and developments for the future with the aim to be as outward-looking and inclusive as possible. You can watch the full recording of the AGM on our YouTube Channel.

Photograph of delegates at the 2019 AGM.

Bill Cant, RSCDS Treasurer, reported to the AGM on the satisfactory state of the Society's finances. More details of the accounts can be found in the Trustees Report and Accounts 2018-2019 and a condensed overview of annual activities is available in the Summary Report. The meeting approved a motion from the Management Board to reduce the annual subscription by £2.00, with a recommendation that our independently constituted Branches increase their fee by the same amount.  The aim being to make more money available to support classes and other activities throughout the worldwide RSCDS community. 

During the AGM, we were also delighted to present the Scrolls of Honour to Catherine Elliot Shaw from the London (Canada) Branch, Mervyn Short from the Berks/Hants/Surrey Border Branch and James Stott from the Aberdeen Branch for their outstanding commitment to the RSCDS and Scottish country dancing.

Photograph of two of the Scroll of Honour recipients, Jim Stott and Mervyn Short, along with President Jean Martin who presented the scrolls. Catherine Elliot Shaw from London (Canada) Branch will receive her Scroll of Honour through her Branch.

Following the Civic Reception, which included a welcome from the Provost of Perth and Kinross, more lively dancing ensued on the Saturday night. 

 Photograph of the Ball on the Saturday night, in Bell Sports Centre, Perth.

The Ball was attended by over 400 dancers and a Nice ‘N’ Easy Dance in the Coaching Hall next door was attended by 40 dancers. We are grateful to the Nicol McLaren Scottish Dance Band for accompanying the Ball and to Frank Thomson for accompanying the Nice ‘N’ Easy Dance. It was great to see such a good turnout of dancers and both dance floors had a great atmosphere.

Photograph of the Nice ‘N’ Easy Dance on the Saturday night, in Bell Sports Centre, Perth.

The weekend rounded off with a very well received and informative talk on the history and evolution of some country dances presented by Jimmie Hill, Editor of the Scottish Country Dancer magazine and musician Mo Rutherford.

We would like to thank all the RSCDS members, staff and the Gannochy Complex in Perth for organising such a brilliant event that was enjoyed by hundreds of dancers, musicians, teachers and delegates.

Further highlights of the fun over the weekend can be found on our YouTube channel.


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There are 159 RSCDS Branches and over 300 Affiliated Groups in more than 50 countries around the world, located on all continents (except Antarctica).

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