The Mary Isdale MacNab Collection
Mary Isdale MacNab Dances collected by her niece Elizabeth Sutorius
for the benefit of all teachers and dancers
Below are links to all published and previously unpublished Mary Isdale MacNab Collected/Arranged/Choreographed dances.
Nine Sets of dances in their original form as published by RSCDS from 1948 to 1966 and as were taught mainly by Mrs Mary Isdale MacNab and Miss Jean Milligan at St Andrews Summer School between those dates.
By referring to the introductory List (which is an updated version of page 14 of Reel 313) it can be seen which Sets the individual dances were originally published in. This information can also be seen in Angus Henry’s diagrams (RSCDS London Branch are most grateful to Angus for granting permission for these to be reproduced here).
Eleven individual Highland, Country and Set dances some previously privately published by Elizabeth Sutorius at her Aunt’s request or by RSCDS.
Eleven dances not known to have been collected by Mary Isdale MacNab but included by her in Festival exhibitions of Highland and Country Dancing
Sixteen, generally unseen MacNab dances in typed form set down by Dr Hugh Thurston, The Fletts, inter alia.
In addition, there are sixteen mainly handwritten dances in fragmented form awaiting development and only listed in the below list.
Reference to the below List gives a further fifty-three dance names for which information is sought.
Living Archive: Any person – dancer/ deviser/ teacher wishing to create a best guess at resurrecting the originally intended dance by Mrs MacNab by interpreting her handwritten notes should apply to firstname.lastname@example.org stating which dance(s) in the list they would like to tackle and the handwritten information that is known will be sent to you as a foundation.
Similarly, to the same email address should any errors, discrepancies or improvements be found in these dances or videos please write in with the details and they will be remedied where appropriate.
You are also invited/encouraged to dance these dances and should any new video result you may apply using the same address to have it added to this archive.
RSCDS London Branch is grateful to Meryl Thomson for making this Mary Isdale MacNab resource possible by setting up links to both dance descriptions and available dance videos (some of which feature London Branch members). Thanks, are also given to Peter Knight for making available several of these videos.
You are invited to click on the five links below to read more about Mary Isdale MacNab and her niece.
- Mary Isdale MacNab Biography
- The Thistle 033 October 1967 (Tribute by Hugh Thurston)
- A History of SCD in Vancouver by Rosemary Coupe
- Mrs MacNab’s legacy and Mrs Sutorius’ pledge
- Elizabeth Sutorius (1915– 2009) obituary
S29 Tir nan Og
L04 The Huntly Reel
L07 MacLeod of Lewis
F02 The Eight Men of Moidart (from Mingarry)
F09 Scotch Measure
T14 Waltz Cotillion
T15 A Weaving Lilt
A list of dances with incomplete descriptions mainly in Mrs MacNab’s handwriting – no links except H02 The Brooch of Lorne.
H02 The Brooch of Lorne (incl.The Dirk Dance)
Reel-time dance spectacular for many dancers depicting The Cairngorm Brooch of Robert the Bruce – for full description see RSCDS Bulletin Issue 82 Dated November 2004 excellent article by Rosemary Coupe (and Mary Murray) on Mary Isdale MacNab.
H03 The Clansmen
Believed Reel for 11 dancers and 10 swords
H04 Duke of Gordon’s Fairhaired Lassies
Believed 64b 4-couple Reel in a square set
H05 Four Marys hist.16C
Believed 16b Strathspey and 48b Reel for 4 ladies in a square
H06 Honor the Piper
Large display dance Waltz/March/Strathspey/Reel
Piper in the centre of six dancer spokes
H07 Hopping Dance
Believed 48b Irish Jig for 4 couples
H08 Indian Stick Dance
Believed solo ladies’ sword dance (believed 64b Strathspey)
H09 McKenzie of Kintail (Earl of Kintail’s Reel)
Believed 7x8b Strathspey for 4 couples in a square set
H10 Mrs Pringle
Highland dance. Reel-time. Description difficult to understand/follow
H11 Sadie Simpson
Description difficult to understand/follow
H12 Sailors of Harris, (Harris Sailors)
Believed 6x8b Hornpipe Hebridean dance 8 dancers in costume
H13 Shandy Heather Waltzing Medley
208b Waltz for 4 couples in a square set
H14 Star of Robbie Burns
Believed Strathspey and Reel for 5 dancers
H15 The Three Swords
Believed Strathspey and Reel for 3 dancers
H16 Wee Waltz
Believed 8x32b Waltz for 4 couples