We have a great lineup of teachers and muscians to help dancers improve their dancing technique and musicians improve their musical knowledge of playing for dancing at our annual Day School. Find out more about our 2021 staff below:
Fiona has been dancing since the age of four, and has always had a love for Scottish dance and music. Taken to dances from a very young age she has danced most of her life in Dundee, Scotland but has also been lucky enough to dance in many places around the world. She has taught local classes for many years, covering all levels of class and age, making sure the fun of dancing is enjoyed by everyone. For the last few years Fiona has been teaching the advanced class in Dundee Branch. She has also taught in the UK and in Europe, and has taught at Summer School in St. Andrews. She is looking forward to visiting and dancing in London again, as the last time she danced in London was at Spring Fling a few years ago.
David started dancing at 5 years of age and qualified as a Scottish Country Dance teacher in 1993. He has taught regular branch classes in the north of England and workshops around the UK and also at RSCDS Schools in St Andrews, Pitlochry, New Zealand and
TAC. He has also been very fortunate to receive invitations to teach around the world in such diverse locations as Japan, Russia, USA, Canada and across Europe.
David has served as a member of the RSCDS Education and Training Committee and is currently one of the Depute Directors of Summer School. David enjoys promoting good technique and derives a great deal of satisfaction from seeing dances performed to a high standard. His classes seek to help all abilities of dancer to achieve their own personal best whilst ensuring that they have fun!
Mervyn started Scottish country dancing over forty years ago and qualified as a teacher three years later with the Imperial Society Teachers of Dancing. Around the same time he also started Highland dancing and, after passing medal tests, qualified to teach. He then taught children and adults regularly at all levels.
In 1995 Mervyn gained his RSCDS Full Certificate. Since then he has taught at day and weekend schools all over the UK, Europe, America, Australia, Canada, Japan,
New Zealand, Russia and South Africa. He also regularly teaches at Summer and Winter Schools. He is an assessor for children’s medal tests and tutors and
examines candidates for the Society’s teaching examinations. He is very keen to maintain the technique and traditions of Scottish country dancing but appreciates that it is an evolving dance form.
Alice came to country dancing as a student in the thriving Oxford University Scottish Dance Society, thinking to exchange the rigours of ballet for a more forgiving and sociable form of dance that combined with her lifelong love of Scotland. She was only half right, finding that Scottish Country Dancing brings its own rigours; but it has certainly made her friends in many different places, and she credits it with helping her through some tough times in her life. She also loves the grace and elegance of Ladies’ Step Dancing, and is keen to preserve and promote it amongst the dance community. Since qualifying as a teacher, she has led an RSCDS Youth Workshop, taught regularly at Summer School in St Andrews and taken Day and Weekend Schools around the South of England and in Germany, as well as teaching weekly classes at her home branch, RSCDS Oxfordshire. It is her delight to explore with her classes both the rigours and the joys of Scottish Country Dancing.
Adam Brady – picture and bio to follow
It was whilst a student at Oxford University that Jeremy Hill took up Scottish country dancing seriously. Both he and his wife Grace, who he met when they were both members of the London Branch demonstration team, have encouraged their children to enjoy their love of Scottish music and dance.
In addition to teaching and playing at various Day Schools and classes, he taught the RSCDS London Branch demonstration team and has been a regular pianist at Summer School since the late 1990s.
In 2012 he became Editor of The Reel, and remained Editor until May 2017. Jeremy has also served on the London Branch Committee. In 2018 he was awarded the Branch Award in recognition of his services to Scottish country dancing in London and the S.E.
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 and Meryl Thomson
Ian and Meryl first started playing for country dancing around 1981 with various English country dance and Scottish ceilidh bands. They started playing for SCD classes in 1998 and played together for SCD classes at St Andrew’s Summer School for four years, including playing for quadrille classes with Jimmie Hill.
They have worked with Mats Melin for a Shetland and a Cape Breton class and have played at the Argyll Weekend School in Dillington and IOW Weekend School. In past years they have also played together for some of the London Branch Summer General classes and more recently for several of the London Branch Advanced Technique classes.
As part of the band Green Ginger since 1998 they have played for Scottish country dances in the UK and further afield in France, Germany, Luxembourg and USA. They also play for historical Balls, particularly from the Regency period.
Their interest lies in the traditional fiddle music of Scotland, using music from the greats such as William Marshall, Robert Mackintosh and Niel and Nathaniel Gow in their repertoire. They play as a duo with Ian taking the tune and Meryl providing a bass line/chords. Meryl and Ian were also part of The Reel editorial team for several years.
For almost half a century Jim has consistently been one of the most respected and ‘in demand’ musicians on the Scottish music scene. Becoming Scottish Accordion Champion in the early 1970s established him as a top band musician working with most of the legendary names from the golden era of Scottish dance music. You will find him on the credits for countless recordings and broadcasts and he has played at every significant Scottish dance event across the UK with one band or another.
Jim formed his own band in the 1980s which quickly became renowned for his innovative arrangements and concert performances. Their popular brand of listening music continues to be regularly featured on the BBC and their critically acclaimed ‘Free Hand’ CD released in 1996 inspired a generation of young Scottish musicians.
In recent years Jim has brought the two strands of his music career together playing and recording for dancing under his own name as well as continuing to play with other well known bands.
Jim’s band is firmly established as one of the most popular for Scottish Country Dances in the UK and he has performed across Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand Japan and China. His 2007 Christmas Dance Party CD topped the celtic music charts and brought a smile to faces around the world and a subsequent spate of commissions resulted in a further 8 dancing CDs to date.
Jim is looking forward to the workshop after having a most inspiring day on his last visit when London hosted Spring Fling.