The sound of Scottish Country Dance music could once more be heard across the region as Primary School children prepared for the annual Wigtownshire Primary Schools Scottish Country “Days of Dance”.
The two day event took place at the Douglas Ewart High School on Wednesday 22nd March and at Stranraer Academy on Thursday 23rd March. In all, over 400 children attended and danced over the two days.
During the four day-time sessions the children performed “The Waratah Weaver” (one they had prepared at school) followed by some step practice. On both the Wednesday and the Thursday Mrs Strain taught the children two new dances. The first dance, called “The Red Nose Jig” from the RSCDS Second Book of Graded Dances, was set in a square and the children coped well with the new formation and at all four sessions performed the dance to a high standard.
It was lovely to see children from P1 to P7 perform the dance so well. The second dance “Joe McDiarmid’s Jig” had a tricky section but most coped well.
On the evening of Wednesday 22nd March eight mixed teams took part in this year’s Festival Competition, held at the Douglas Ewart High School, before a packed audience. During the introduction Mrs Strain commented on the loss of Mrs Rosemary Smith who died earlier this year after a long illness.
She and the late Mrs Nan Thin were two of the founding committee members of Days of Dance over 30 years ago and were constantly in attendance at the Festival over the years. For many years it was Mrs Smith who scribed for Mr Little.
Mr Willie Little, RSCDS, Castle Douglas had once again very kindly agreed to adjudicate with Mrs Rachel Hart as his scribe for the evening. The three dances the teams had to choose from were Mr Michael Bear’s Reel, “The Mad Hatter” and “Cilla’s Jig“ (composed by Mr Little to acknowledge Mrs Strain’s work with Days of Dance)
At the end of the competition it was the “A” team from Wigtown Primary School who took home the trophy with a lively performance of “Cilla’s Jig”. Second place went to Port William dancing “Mr Michael Bear’s Reel. Mention must go to Creetown Primary, who unfortunately had a team member fall ill that afternoon, and with no reserve had to “borrow” a dancer from another team.
This precluded them from winning the competition, but a spirited performance of “The Mad Hatter” gained them high points and praise from Mr Little.
The live music over the two days was provided by Mr Ian Kirkpatrick who we were delighted to welcome back in good health. His daughter Karen accompanied him on the Tuesday night for the Festival. Our thanks once again to Mr Little for his continued support of the event and to Mrs Hart for scribing.
A huge thank you to all the teachers, staff and helpers who worked so hard with the children both on and prior to the days and to the children who danced so well making the Days of Dance so successful.
Thanks also to the staff of the DEHS and Stranraer Academy who were most helpful. Once again we are indebted to our main sponsors, The Machars Lions Club and The Newton Stewart & District Round Table who, along with all the local Scottish Country Dance classes, have supported us in this event for many years and without whom the Days of Dance could not take place.