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Video: Memory and Footwork at Scottish Country Dancing

  • Members of the Reel & Strathspey Society of Fairlee, Vermont practice a dance at the Lyme Congregational Church in Lyme, N.H., on Nov. 1, 2017. The Scottish country dancers usually gather in Fairlee, but the town hall is under renovations. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Gary Apfel counts couples when teaching a new dance during a night of Scottish country dancing in Lyme, N.H., on Nov. 1, 2017. Apfel organizes the group called the Reel & Strathspey Society of Fairlee, Vermont. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Scottish country dancers Peggy Richardson, of White River Junction, Vt., dances with George Sanders, of Claremont, N.H., at the Lyme Congregational Church, on Nov. 1, 2017, in Lyme, N.H. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Kathy Gale, of Newbury, Vt., shows off the footwork that would be done in the Scottsh dance she was teaching at the Lyme Congregational Church in Lyme, N.H., on Nov. 1, 2017. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • The Reel & Strathspey Society of Fairlee, Vermont warm up before starting an evening of Scottish country dancing in Lyme, N.H. on Nov. 1, 2017.(Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • After a night of Scottish country dancing and tables have been set back up, Katia Ford, of Grantham, N.H., dances a waltz with Dan Carter, of Norwich, Vt., at the end of the night in Lyme, N.H., on Nov. 1, 2017. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Kathy Gale, of Newbury, Vt., laughs while Scottish country dancer organizer Gary Apfel, of Corinth, Vt., teaches the class a dance in Lyme, N.H., on Nov. 1, 2017. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



STORY BY LIZ SAUCHELLI
Saturday, November 04, 2017

Lyme — When learning Scottish country dancing, it is important to keep trying again and again.

“The main thing is to start dancing right away so you’re moving right away and enjoying the music,” said Gary Apfel, of Corinth, who has been dancing since the early 1990s and who organizes Scottish country dance sessions in the Upper Valley.

While Scottish country dancing is similar to other types of folk dancing, such as contra and square dancing, the dance steps are not “called.”

“It involves some memorization,” Apfel said. “It’s a little bit more of a mental workout than some other types of dancing.”

Plus, there are more moves to learn.

“There’s also footwork involved; it’s more precise and rigorous,” Apfel said. “You have to learn where to put your feet as well as where you’re moving on the floor.”

Twenty or so regulars attend the weekly dances. Newcomers are always welcome to come learn to dance. Partners are not required.

“It’s a good way to get out and meet people,” Apfel said. “People become friends with each other and they interact with each other outside of class.”

There are also health benefits as well. “People like to dance and be active,” Apfel said. “It’s a good way to get some physical activity.”

Editor’s note: For more information about Scottish country dancing, call 802-439-3459 or e-mail fairleeclass@rscdsboston.org.