Focus on development of dance

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Guest speaker at the latest Kirriemuir Probus Club meeting was Evelyn Hood from Ruthven, her subject being ‘Shall we Dance’.

A retired journalist and broadcaster, Evelyn told the members of her interest, as a historian, in the development of dance in Scotland over the centuries.

She illustrated her talk with slides of early drawings and prints, showing how early forms of Scottish social dances had origins in France and the Baltic states.

Country dancing became fashionable after the Union of the Crowns, an Dance Assemblies began to be organised by the aristocracy in Edinburgh and elsewhere, with strict rules and the proceeds going to charity, providing funding towards the building of Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh Asylum, harbour works, etc.

Dance became part of education in Scotland, and with the romantic view of Scotland in the 19th century popularised by the novels of Sir Walter Scott and Queen Victoria’s love of Scotland, country dancing became very popular.

Musicians and dancers, such as James Neill of Forfar, taught all over Angus and the rest of the country, and in recent years ceilidh dancing, with less strict rules, is enjoyed throughout Scotland and beyond.

President Ted Williams closed the meeting, reminding members of the next one on Wednesday, October 5, when a speaker from Tayside Police will talk on ‘Better Driving’