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Fast paced social dance class - content

For advanced and very advanced dancers

March 2024: Alice Stainer

We had a wonderful evening of dancing this week, led by Alice Stainer with Adam Brady providing the music.  Alice’s theme for the evening was ‘flow’ and the evening certainly flew by as we focused on smooth transitions and interesting dances.  Many thanks to Alice for a challenging and most enjoyable session.

Next session will be on Tuesday 23 April when Joan Desborough will take the class.


Dances covered in this session were:



February 2024: James Fairburn

Many thanks to James Fairbairn for a fast paced and enjoyable evening of dance covering 10 dances in all – including the eponymous Warm-up Jig.  James introduced some less familiar dances (although the Black Swans of Narrabeen could definitely claim cousinship with the Wild Geese) as well as favourites such as the City of Belfast. The Phantom Piper, devised in honour of piper John Dick, references the ghostly piping sometimes heard around the ruins of Gight Castle. This is said to be the playing of a piper who failed to return from exploring an underground passage (a modern interpretation might be the ringtone of an unattended phone….)


Thank also to Adam for some wonderful music.

Dances covered this week were:



I’ve been prompted by other Branch classes to remind anyone interested in attending this year’s Summer School in St Andrews that the early bird deadline is this coming Thursday 29 February.  More information here.  


Also, the Combined Societies dance, hosted by RSCDS London (in association with St Columba’s Dancers, the London Highland Club, The Little Ship Club, The Gay Gordon and Summer Tuesdays) with music from Dave Hall, Judith Smith and Angela Young, takes place on 2 March 2024.  


Our next session will be on 19 March when our teacher will be Alice Stainer.  


January 2024: Grace Hill

Huge thanks to Grace Hill for a lively, challenging and fun class this week. Thanks also to Adam who stepped off the train from Paris and into the role of class musician with his customary immaculate timing.

Grace began with a much needed warm up on a cold evening, paying especial attention to the lower leg before moving into our first dance, Linlithgow Palace.


A theme of the evening was ‘meanwhile’ and this Mervyn Short reel set the precedent in good style. Our second dance, The Graceful Strathspey, written in honour of Grace’s 21st birthday by Lewis Derrick, lived up both to its name and the theme – being a truly graceful strathspey which kept all 3 couples dancing until the final 8 bars (when the 3rd couple were permitted a rest). This was followed by a second Lewis Derrick dance, Georgie’s jig, before a brief break.


After the break, Grace maintained the momentum with Asilomar Romantic, introduced the circulating allemande in Salute to San Diego (dance devised and music written by Muriel Johnstone), and finished with a high energy, 7 couple version of Trip to Timber Ridge (sadly, I only have a link to the standard version to offer here).



Our next class will be on Tuesday 20 February when James Fairbairn will be our guest teacher.



December 2023: Dave Hall

Great to see so many of you this week at our last Fast Paced Social Dance class of 2023.  Dave Hall was our teacher for the evening and proceeded to stretch our minds and limbs with a series of interesting and challenging dances. Many thanks to Dave and to Lindsey Ibbotson (who stepped in when Adam was called away at short notice on business) for her wonderful music.


Dances covered were:


We’re now looking forward to the London Branch Christmas dance tomorrow evening. Looking further into the New Year the RSCDS London Burns Ceilidh and Supper takes place on Saturday 13 January.  Both events at St Columba’s, Pont Street and tickets are available online and on the door.


November 2023: Kate Gentles

Great to dance with you this week.  Kate Gentles was our guest teacher for November, accompanied by our regular musician, Adam Brady. Many thanks to both for an evening of challenging and enjoyable dances.

Details of the dances covered are given below.  Next month we will be meeting slightly earlier in the month on Tuesday 12 December when Dave Hall will be our teacher.



October 2023: Jeremy Hill

The October Fast Paced Social Dance class welcomed Jeremy Hill as teacher. Accompanied by Adam Brady, Jeremy introduced the class to a Roy Goldring book of dances ‘Auld Friends Meet’ which included many dances Roy had written for dancing friends. The emphasis throughout the,  most enjoyable,  class was less on complexity, and more on the beauties of simplicity, symmetry and elegance. Apparently, the original music for our warmup dance, Buchan Gate, featured a trumpet. Even the talented Adam couldn’t provide this via a school loan keyboard, but his stirring music still achieved the aim of warming up dancers and preparing them for the dances to come – all listed here with link to the SCDDB videos and cribs.



Next class will be 21 November 2023 when Kate Gentles will be our teacher.

Meanwhile, we have the RSCDS London Autumn Wednesday dance this week, 25 October, at St Columba’s, Pont Street. Details here. Our mid term dances are friendly, welcoming and well attended events with a range of dancing ability. We’re fortunate to have a good number of new, keen dancers and this is an excellent opportunity to welcome newcomers and build their confidence and commitment to dancing in London.


September 2023: Sam Schad

It was good to see many of you at the first fast paced social dance session of the new season.  Sam Schad, our teacher for September, began the session with a promise that the class would live up to its ‘Fast Paced’ name. With 10 dances in 2 hours, she was true to her word.  Accompanied by great music from Adam Brady, this was a fast, challenging and most enjoyable evening. Thank you, Sam and Adam.


Next month’s class will be on 17 October, same time, same place (7-9pm, Maria Fidelis School, Drummond Crescent, NW1 1LY)  and we look forward to welcoming Jeremy Hill as teacher. (details here).  We have some different  new classes starting in the next month – see end of this email for links.


This coming weekend we have the RSCDS London New Season dance (Saturday 23 September, 7-10pm, doors open 6.30pm) when we will be dancing to the music of Dave Hall and his band.  Tickets available online or on the door.


Details of the dances from Tuesday evening are given here with links to the SCDDB where available.  The one exception, Dolphin Square, is Sam’s own dance and she has kindly shared the crib with us – see below.

Dolphin Square                 64S + 64J

1-8 Eight hands round and back.

9-16 1C & 3C set advancing, nearer hands joined; turn opposite person both hands; circle four hands round to the left.

17-24 1C dance ‘dolphin’ (alternating tandem) reel with 2L & 4M, 1M giving right shoulder to 2L to begin, while 3C dance ‘dolphin’ reel with 4L & 2M, 3M giving right shoulder to 4L to begin.

25-32 1C & 3C dance RHA, chase clockwise half way.

33-40 2C & 4C set advancing, nearer hands joined; turn opposite person both hands; four hands round to the left.

41-48 2C dance ‘dolphin’ reel with 3L & 1M, while 4C dance ‘dolphin’ reel with 1L & 3M.

49-56 2C & 4C dance RHA, chase clockwise half way.

57-64 All promenade once round anti-clockwise.

Repeat in jig time.

Thank you, Sam!

Tube stations:


Euston Square

King's Cross

Warren Street

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