"I like Highland Dance
because you can jump a lot. It is really fun. When I am excited I can dance
and use up my energy even when I cannot go outside. Highland dancing gives
me both strong muscles and a lady's posture."
Miss Robertson, 9 years
Memories of Corstorphine Fair
When I attended Corstorphine Primary School and was in
Primary 5, Mrs Hunter started Scottish Country Dance Classes in the Gym Hall
after school for an hour (3.30pm-4.30pm) each Tuesday during term time at a
nominal cost. I joined, as did my big sister (2 years above me) and several
of our friends. It was a big hit but in those days it was sissy for boys to
dance so it was mostly attended by girls. At the end of the first session,
of course, the eldest members left for secondary school and Mrs Hunter held
a later class (4.30pm- 5.30pm) for them. She also asked some of the older
pupils in the first class if they would like to stay on for the later class
to increase the numbers attending. I did so. The same applied the
following year. By this time it was certainly a “girls only” class.
The later class (second class?) became Mrs Hunter’s demo
team. Because of the small numbers attending (two teams max) she was able
to give us almost personal tuition. We danced The Gordon Highlanders and
Shepherd’s Crook as entertainment at one of the Edinburgh Branch, Royal
Scottish Country Dance Society’s Dinners.
When I was in Primary 7 (that must have been session
1959-1960) we were very excited when Mrs Hunter told us that there was going
to be a revival of the Corstorphine Fair in St Margaret’s Park the following
the summer (1960) and she was going to compose a new dance for it. Our
class pianist, who had been with us from the start, a lovely lady, whose
name unfortunately, I cannot remember, was going to compose new music. It
would be called “Corstorphine Fair”, and we would dance it on the stage in
the park in the afternoon. Yes, our little class was going to give the
first ever performance of “Corstorphine Fair” which is now a recognised
Scottish Country Dance appearing in the publications of the Royal Scottish
Country Dance Society!
Over the year there were changes to the formations of the
dance, changes to the music, lots of hard work but always lots of fun! We
eventually performed “Corstorphine Fair” on stage in the park.
Being so young we were all a bit apprehensive about
appearing at such a “do”, especially when someone like Andy Stewart was on
stage singing and the “White Heather Club Dancers” danced. Dixie Ingraham
was on stage just before us. He was dancing the Sailor’s Hornpipe. He had
a few false starts and eventually sat down, took off his shoes and socks and
performed wondrously well in bare feet. When he came off stage he came over
to us and told us to be very careful when we danced as the stage was
extremely slippery – thus why he danced in bare feet. How lovely that a
“big name” could be bothered to come and warn us.
So who were the members who danced the first performance
of “Corstorphine Fair” (and the reserves). Unfortunately I can’t remember
them all now but there was :
Pamela Connet, Glebe Grove, went on to attend James
Gillespie’s High School for Girls and to do Pharmacy – all contact lost.
Margaret Martin; Corstorphine Hill Gardens (my big
sister), went on to attend James Gillespie’s High School for Girls; went
into chemistry with McFarlane Smith; now Mrs Utterson, Camp Place,
(Me) Moira Martin, Corstorphine Hill Gardens, went on to
attend James Gillespie’s High School for Girls; career in computing now Mrs
Hogg, 3 Sycamore Gardens, EH12 7JJ
Jacqueline Graham, Belgrave Gardens, mother French, went
on to attend James Gillespie’s High School for Girls; became a Primary
School Teacher (in Falkirk?)
Colette Graham, younger sister of Jacqueline, a year
below me. Was last in contact with her about 10 years ago when she was
married and living in Longniddry, two of a family at that time.
Vivienne, Mrs Hunter’s niece, who attended Mary Erskine’s.
Ruth Watson, lived more up towards Clermiston, super
And I think also :
Sheila ? lived at Carrick Knowe, long hair pleated. Went
on to James Gillespie’s High School for Girls.
Joan Kennedy, Corstorphine Hill Road, went on to attend
James Gillespie’s High School. Family moved up to Morningside.
There were races in the park that afternoon. I remember
the results being announced from the stage.
I was also singing in the Corstorphine Primary School
Choir, as was Colette and Ruth, at the concert in St Ninian’s Church Hall in
the early evening. Our school music teacher was Mrs Lamb.