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Comments on Highland and Scottish Dancing


"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, Callander

(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 singing voice.

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.

Moira Hogg


 


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