Day School

The Branch runs an annual Day School each October. There are morning and afternoon classes with an optional afternoon workshop, followed by an evening dance with ceilidh items. There is also a Musicians’ class, leading to playing for the evening dance.

The Day School will take place on 21 October 2017 at Paddington Academy, Marylands Road, London W9 2DR.

Start time 10 a.m. for enrolment and coffee. Morning session starts 10.30 a.m. and afternoon session 2 p.m.

Teachers: Helen Russell, William Williamson, Lindsey Ibbotson, Tom Ibbotson
Musicians: Barbara Manning, Ian Muir (Craigellachie), Judith Muir, Ian Robertson

The Musicians’ workshop will be led by Ian Muir (Prestwick).


Day School evening dance programme 2017

There is an evening dance following the Branch Day School on Saturday 21 October 2017 at Paddington Academy, Marylands Road, London W9 2DR from 6 – 9 p.m.
Music from Ian Muir (Prestwick) and the Day School Musicians.

RSCDS members: £7, Non-members: £8 Tickets available in advance or purchased (cash only) on the door. All dances will be recapped.

For more details and tickets please contact

The evening dance programme is:

Hooper’s Jig Collins, Cramond Bridge, The Duchess Tree, Napier’s Index, The Piper and the Penguin, The Byron Strathspey, The New Rigged Ship, Catch the Wind, The Wee Cooper of Fife, Sugar Candie, Maxwell’s Rant, Major Ian Stewart, Glasgow Country Dance, The Reel of the Royal Scots.

Crib available at

Teachers and Musicians at the Day School 2017

Lindsey Ibbotson is originally from Poole in Dorset where she began dancing as a child. She then continued dancing at university in Oxford, and now lives in Cambridge working as a research scientist. She gained her teaching certificate in St Andrews in 2009 but spent the next five years primarily as a musician, playing fiddle for workshops and dances across Europe and at the RSCDS Summer School and Australian Winter School. Over the past few years she has been invited to teach at day schools across England and at the Spring School in Russia, and she is to teach at the next RSCDS Summer and Winter Schools for the first time. She is very much looking forward to teaching at the London Day School.





Tom Ibbotson started dancing at university and soon started to dance around Europe with the International Team, competing at the Newcastle festival every year since 2008. His interest in teaching started when he called for ceilidhs at various events in Oxford and since moving to Cambridge he now teaches regularly. He has taught at day schools in England and France and at Spring Fling last year.

He also has an interest in music and recently taught himself band piano and now plays for dances and classes. A computer geek at heart, he built the website for the newly founded Youth branch of the RSCDS, and he’s also been known to write the occasional dance. He really looks forward to meeting everyone in London in October!




After many years as a keen Scottish country and highland dancer, Barbara Manning turned her classical music training to band use over 35 years ago, and since then has accompanied dancing in many parts of the UK and Europe, the USA, Ukraine and Russia, besides visiting Summer School both as a dancer and musician. She has played for numerous day schools and London Branch technique classes, and has featured on recordings and with McBain’s Band on Radio Scotland’s ‘Take the Floor’ from St Columba’s, Pont Street and on the Earls Court Radio Show, besides playing on stage at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden for the Royal Ballet School’s Annual Performance in 1985. She currently plays mainly with the Silver Cross Band and in a duo with Ken Martlew, besides featuring solo on either piano or fiddle. In November 2016, Barbara was delighted to receive from the National Operatic and Dramatic Association the personal award of Vicki Avery for Service to Amateur Theatre.


Ian Muir started playing the accordion at school when he was 12 and playing for dances with his own band at the age of 14.  At the age of 17 he was lucky enough to be invited to join McBain’s Band, one of the South’s of England’s most popular Scottish country dance bands at the time.  In 1986 he formed his own band and since its inception the band has been well received both in the UK and abroad.  The band has appeared twice on BBC television, and has broadcast twice on Radio Scotland’s Take the Floor dance programme.  Ian’s philosophy for the band has always been that the musical arrangements the band uses in its repertoire must be as good to listen to as they are to dance to and that the future of the music lies in encouraging youngsters.  Ian is also a keen composer and many of his compositions have been published and recorded by other Scottish dance bands, and several have been adopted as originals for dances.  As a solo musician Ian has played the accordion for classes and day schools and has been a member of the Summer School at St Andrews staff for the last 6 years.  He is the current Musical Director of the Royal Scottish  Country Dance Society.


Judith Muir has an historical family interest in Scottish

traditional music.  Judith started playing in a family band and, after briefly joining the Craigellachie Scottish Dance Band in the late 1980s, Judith left and co-formed Sound Company (a three-piece Scottish Dance Band based in the south of England).  For the following 15 years Sound Company played all over the UK and Europe, including a number of trips to the Shetland Fiddle and Accordion Festival.  Following Sound Company’s retirement in 2003, Judith re-joined Craigellachie.  Judith has considerable experience playing for classes: she is the resident musician at the BHS Border Branch Technique Class, has played for numerous RSCDS day and weekend schools, including the New Zealand

Summer School, Australian Winter School, and St Andrews Summer Schools.  She is also the pianist with The Craigellachie Band.  In her “spare” time she is involved in barn owl conservation, and has recently taken up beekeeping with her husband, Ian.


Ian Muir (Prestwick) has been involved in playing for Scottish dancing in all its forms for the past 40 years. Scottish Country Dancing, Ceilidh and Old Time dancing have been the mainstay of his long career in music. As well as playing for dancing, he has performed solo in Scottish Variety theatres throughout the country. He formed his own Scottish Dance Band in 1984 and has been a regular contributor on BBC Radio Scotland’s ‘TAKE THE FLOOR’ programme not only as a bandleader but for 2 summer seasons as the programme’s presenter.

He combines playing duties with his tutorial role as principal accordion tutor in the Scottish Music Department at the prestigious ROYAL CONSERVATOIRE OF SCOTLAND, a post he has now held for 21 years.



Ian Robertson is a highly experienced Scottish dance musician with over 35 years experience playing with many top bands in the U.K. Equally at home on fiddle and accordion, Ian plays regularly for country dances, weddings, ceilidhs and concerts across the U.K. He is also a regular Branch class musician, and has also played for day and weekend schools in this country and abroad.







Helen Russell is Chairman of the RSCDS until November 2018.

Originally from north of Aberdeen in Scotland, Helen started dancing at the age of seven by attending highland dance classes. At Summer School at St Andrews in the late the 60s and early 70s she was taught by Miss Milligan and obtained her Teachers’ Certificate in 1971. Since then she has taught classes wherever she has lived, from Aberdeen to Australia. In the past twenty-five years, she has delivered workshops, day schools, week-end courses, teaching skills courses and tutor training courses in the UK, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Russia, USA, Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

Since returning to Summer School in St Andrews as a teacher, she has taught a range of classes and courses in basic Highland, Ladies Step, Intermediate SCD, Very Advanced SCD technique, mentor training, Basic SCD teaching skills, pre-candidate courses and has been a tutor for the Teaching Certificate on several occasions. She is currently an examiner for the RSCDS.

For three years she was the convenor of the RSCDS Education and Training Committee and was also involved in the editing and production of the RSCDS ‘An Introduction to warming up and cooling down for Scottish Country Dancing’, ‘The Second Graded Book’ and, reflecting her keen interest in Ladies’ Step dancing, she edited ‘The St Andrews Collection of Step Dances’. More recently she was convenor of the RSCDS Manual working group, which produced the third edition of the RSCDS Manual of SCD. Helen also chaired the RSCDS Curriculum for Excellence group, which produced a multi-media pack of materials, ‘Jigs and Reels’ for primary school teachers. This work was followed by the production of a multi-media pack ‘Dance Trad’ for secondary schools.

William Williamson is a native of Dumfriesshire.

He learned Scottish Highland and Country Dancing as a child and sang as a chorister atSt. John’s Episcopal Church in Dumfries where he would become choirmaster after graduating.

William studied music at Napier College and Moray House College of Education inEdinburgh and afterwards took up a teaching post at Moffat Academy. As the sole musicteacher in this rural area, William also had responsibility for music in the three small twoteacher schools in the Upper Annandale Valley.

Away from education he was a freelance broadcaster with the local BBC radio station where he presented the early morning breakfast news programme Solway Report and produced and presented many different programmes some for the national station including the popular Macgregor’s Gathering. He has also been a guest on the BBC’s Saturday night dance music programme, Take The Floor.

William is a well known singer and has a recording of songs from Dumfries and Galloway called “ My Bonnie Gallowa” and another called “The Folks Who Live On The Hill”.

Scottish Country Dancing has always played a large part in William’s life and he performs and teaches in many parts of the world. In 1980 he danced for the Royal Family at Holyrood Palace for the Queen Mothers 80th birthday. He is a long time member of the Dumfries Branch of The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society and has taught at the Societies AGM, Winter School and Summer School and overseas.

William enjoys singing the songs of Robert Burns and as a look-alike played the great man on the BBC’s famous children’s television programme Blue Peter.


Branch Day School 2016 report

About 140 dancers and musicians enjoyed the Branch Day School on October 15.  There were classes in the morning and afternoon for all levels of dancer, while Ian Muir (Craigellachie) led a workshop for the musicians.  After tea there was a choice of optional class – a Highland, Ladies Step and a Book 50 class – for dancers to attend before the evening dance.  Ian Muir, accompanied by Judith Muir and the Musicians attending the Workshop, played superbly for a country dance programme which was interspersed with songs, a piano duet and a highland demonstration.  Margaret  Shaw and her team of helpers ensured everyone had enough to eat and drink, and we were very fortunate to once again have use of the superb facilities at Paddington Academy.   Thank you to all the teachers, musicians, our band for the evening dance and all those who worked so hard to ensure the success of the day.

Some of the comments we received from the dancers and musician course participants:

 – Just a quick thank you for another enjoyable day school at the weekend.  Please pass on my thanks to the organising committee; it is always so well run and I appreciate the lunch and tea provided.

– I thought the quality of the teaching was very high and I really enjoyed being in both Angela’s and David’s class.  Excellent!  

– Thanks to you and all your helpers for a lovely day school yesterday. I really enjoyed it.  I hope the evening went well too.

– I enjoyed my class – Alice is an excellent teacher – and lunch was delicious. Just a shame I couldn’t stay for the afternoon session.