Dancing with Susanne Anders Bartholomäi, by Diana Treffry
I've been lucky enough to dance with Susanne a few times as part of the Findhorn Festival of Sacred Dance, Music and Song, where I especially appreciated the way she invited our bodies to wake up to the dance in her morning attunement sessions. At other times she introduced us to and accompanied her treasured mentors, like Dimitris Barbaroussis and Nanni Kloke.
I was so taken with her style of teaching that twice I've joined the group that Frances Fawkes gathers together in Somerset to dance with Susanne. A whole weekend of her teaching is a revelation. It seems to me her teaching is organic. It grows from body awareness movements, for instance exploring the vertical and horizontal dimensions, that may gradually morph into dances; from attention to how the foot touches the floor to how the shoulders can relax; from the space and time that opens up when you're with the music, not trying to get ahead. And if this all sounds deadly serious, there's big laughter as well as big breaths from all the concentration.
Susanne particularly teaches Nanni Kloke dances, revelling in the creative tension between dynamism and containment in their choreographies. She also teaches traditional dances and treasures the way they hold the space, supporting everyone in the circle, so everyone is actively giving and receiving as they dance.
Her theme at this year's weekend was 'Longing to Belong, inspired by a John O'Donohue poem. She explored this through a number of Nanni's dances, words, music, body movement and dances all coming together, making a whole rich experience. These are the words that came to me afterwards to describe that experience.
We flock together to dance
to dance 'Longing to Belong'
to belong for the time to each other
to each other and to the dance
the dance of our separate lives
lives touched by loss
loss cradled in the circle
the circle where we belong
It would be lovely if more people were able to experience Susanne's teaching. We are hoping she will come to Central Scotland before too long, so if you're interested, keep an eye on the Grapevine Diary Dates.
Poem by Jessie Murdoch
My Circle Dancing Journey
We circle round with Rose and Lynne dancing all the way,
We dance with grace and gusto when we hear the music play,
Slip step here - slip step there, we'll get it right one day,
Sway to right - sway to left as we dance the hours away.
Happy when we meet again, smiles seen all around,
With grapevines, nappy walks and stamps, are you sure we're here to dance?
A partner dance we have to do in a mysterious Grand Chain,
How many people have I passed? I've got it wrong again!
Article by Ben Bailey
Circle Dance - the Deep History
Some fifteen years ago, towards the end of a long illness, my therapist, Sylvia Hollingworth — now, sadly, no longer with us — invited me to try circle dance. Once I had begun to overcome the two-left feet syndrome, I was astonished by the spiritual impact. In fact, I had what I can only describe as a spiritual experience during the Vivaldi/Friendship dance — an overwhelming sensation of beauty.
Now, I am, to trade, an engineer/scientist — a down-to-earth "nuts and bolts" man — and my curiosity was fully aroused. Where on earth does this stuff come from? And, of course, other than very short term recent history, and mere speculation, no-one could tell me. . .
Article by Keryn Evely
Francesca Stridgen and ‘A Flavour of Findhorn’
It was good to have Francesca back in Auchterarder after a gap of two years. ‘A Flavour of Findhorn’ had first been scheduled for August 2015 but due to an injury Francesca was unable to come that year.br>
So it was after this year’s Festival of Sacred Dance, Music and Song, marking the 40th anniversary of Bernhard Wosien’s first visit to Findhorn, that we had our little taste of what happens there.
Here Francesca is teaching us Om Namah Shivayah.
Francesca brought with her a photograph taken at the 2014 Festival that showed the resident dance teachers Laura Shannon, Peter Vallance and Susanne Anders Bartholomai along with that year’s guest Piry Krakow.
The guest teacher for 2016 was Nanni Kloke and Francesca aimed to give us at least one dance that would have been taught (or even choreographed by) each of these teachers. Eighteen dancers came for the session held in the afternoon of August 28th at Three Kings’ Hall, Ochil Tower School in Auchterarder. . .
Article by Jo Freeman
A Labyrinth in Kinburn Park
There is a closely guarded secret in Kinburn Park, St Andrews. A beautiful Labyrinth, recently constructed by volunteers and completed about three months ago.
In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in the labyrinth, a place for personal meditation and possibly spiritual transformation. It can be used as a walking meditation, a way to finding your own spiritual centre, a body prayer.
There is no right or wrong way to walk or dance a labyrinth. It is a powerful tool to illuminating one's path through life. . . .
Article by Anne Greenshields
As a newcomer to Auchterarder, I was keen to meet people and find new interests. I had always been interested in dance and before moving to Auchterarder, had enjoyed many different types of dance class – my highlight was dancing with Wayne Sleep who was taking a tap dancing class! . . .
Article by Diana Treffry
Did you watch 'How to stay Young' (two parts, shown 7 and 14 April on BBC2)?
They investigated different types of exercise and compared their effectiveness: table tennis as against walking; dancing against going to the gym. It could just be that because she trained as a dancer, Angela Rippon, the presenter (aged 71), was a tad biased, but dancing came out as the best form of exercise. And of course I'm not biased at all when I say that circle dancing reaches those parts of the body, mind and spirit that other forms might not, and as well, it's sociable and fun and the music's wonderful!
So if you catch sight of yourself in the mirror looking older than you'd like, dust off your dancing shoes and come along.
Article by Keryn Evely
Zodiac Day, Auchterarder
On Sunday March 20th, coinciding with the Spring Equinox, 23 dancers came together at Three Kings’ Hall, Auchterarder for a day of dance themed around the signs of the Zodiac.
This dance day was first ‘aired’ in 2008, inspired by the beautiful pictures in a calendar that I had purchased the previous year.
Not knowing very much at all about astrology I consulted a knowledgeable dancer who was then part of our group, read the book she lent me, and came up with a sequence of dances.
We started the morning in Aries and danced through the signs until Pisces, completing our journey with the Sun Meditation Dance.
The pictures show us dancing a partner dance (with lots of opportunity for communication) for Gemini, as well as Kwaheri and Healing Fire Dance for Leo.
Apart from the urn deciding not to work, the day went really well and we raised £212 for Marie Curie.
Article by Carol Holtom
Zodiac Day, Auchterarder
This turned out to be a very special day for me, and an apt herald of the spring equinox.
At the beginning, Keryn reminded us of the links between the cycle of nature and the cyclical nature of the zodiac. Thanks to her impressive and extensive preparations, we were given a summary of the characteristics of each zodiac symbol, from Aries to Pisces, and as we moved round the cycle, one by one candles were lit by the dancers born under that particular sign.
Lynne gave a hilarious address* to those aspiring to teach dance to participants from different astrological signs. . .
Article by Moragh Dunning
Teachers' Day, Sauchie
New venue, new teachers, new dances, it all seemed a bit daunting for a ‘new beginner’! However it was well worth taking the plunge or should I say taking to the floor.
Although some other dancers had come from my class there were others from all over the country. Everyone was so welcoming and after a coffee and chat we were all ready for the lead-in dance.
A beautiful centrepiece to enjoy, music that I recognised and dances already known followed by some new ones, it was just so much fun to be part of this happy day.
It was great to be introduced to new teachers and learn new dances and no-one was worried if you weren’t foot-perfect. A break and wonderful lunch were most welcome. I was torn between eating more and starting dancing again. By 4 o’clock both feet and brain were certainly slowing down but my enthusiasm was still as great. I am already looking forward to the next dance share day!
Article by Lynne
Kinross Circle dance Group
The newest circle dance class within Central Scotland is held in Kinross, and this came about following a very successful taster event which was held in the Community Campus at Kinross in April of this year.
Over 50 people came along and enjoyed a wonderful selection of dances led by Rose. 34 folk expressed an interest in joining a circle dance class if one could be found in their local area, and the rest is History as they say.
A block of seven sessions was held before the summer break and what fun we had, all learning together with Rose and Lynne as co-teachers.
We are now looking ahead to the new term with the opportunity to learn new dances; revisit dances from before the holidays, and request our favourites to be included in the programme. All are welcome, and we very much look forward to dancing together again.
You are never too young to start dancing!
Article by Keryn
On Sunday 24th May a special session 'Sing AND Dance' was held at Three Kings' Hall, Ochil Tower School, Auchterarder. The idea was that people who like to sing might come and try some circle dancing and vice versa.
Twenty four singers and circle dancers from as far afield as St Andrews, Drymen and Kilmarnock came together for an hour of harmony singing led by Irene Kelso (Fintry).
After a break for refreshments I led the group for an hour of circle dancing. There was even one dance where we sang a 'round' (Irene had taught us this tune already) and danced in concentric circles.
£100 was raised for the British Red Cross Nepal Appeal. Irene and I hope to try this collaboration again!
Facebook post by Rose
On Saturday 28th March we celebrated my 70th birthday with a dance day in Cupar – well, what better way is there to celebrate than to dance? I was amazed and delighted to welcome 42 dancers who came to join me in my birthday circle.
We danced all my favourite dances and my CSCD teaching friends, Maria, Keryn, and Lynne, taught some of my favourite requests, thank you all. Lilly came all the way from Uffington, in Oxford and taught her beautiful new dance, Lilac Flower, and another of her stunning dances, Hine e Hine. She also taught Brenda Kelly’s amazing In One Glorious Harmony which I haven’t danced since leaving Oxford in 2011. Thank you Lilly.
My lovely daughter Jenny made me an amazing ‘rose’ birthday cake. Thank you Jenny. My wonderful team of dancing ladies from Cupar, made me a fantastic ‘rose’ centrepiece. Thank you Laura, Nadia, Janet and Fiona.
My rock and support, Ray – long-suffering other half – was there for me, being his usual supportive self. Thank you Ray.
Thanks to the generosity of all our dancers we raised a fantastic £260 for Friends of Conakry Refuge School. Thank you everyone. A wonderful day to keep in my ‘special memories’ box.
Facebook post by Rose
At Cupar Circle Dancing this morning we raised £70 for Children In Need. We had 21 dancers in our circle and we all enjoyed being "grown up" children again, with lots of fun dances, including Alunelul, King of the Fairies, Roumanian Duck Dance, the Sheep Dance (Changerais-Tu) and finishing with Mayan Lullaby and the Midwives Dance. Lucy and Heather made us some super Pudsey Bear cookies, dipped in chocolate and a good time was had by all.
Article by Joy
‘The circle is open but unbroken, may we go in peace (or is it
pieces?) until we meet again’. It has been another great morning of
dancing with Rose. The CD intrepid travellers will meet again - next week
in Kelvingrove, Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games cultural celebrations.
Rose has booked some executive travel. It’s exciting . . .
Article by Diana
So what's Mandy de Winter doing standing behind a table of cakes looking for all the world as if she's running the baking stall at a fete?Those are tenth birthday cakes (all baked by Jenny Collins, thanks Jenny!). But surely Mandy's a wee bit more than ten? Hasn't she just celebrated 25 years of teaching circle dance? Yes, but here's another celebration. It's hard to believe, but Mandy has been coming up to lead a midsummer weekend of dance at St Andrews, organised by Central Scotland Circle Dance, for the last ten years. And what a wonderful time it has always been. There are a core of ten of us who've been there every time and more who've come most years and yet every year we welcome some new people into this special circle for this special season. . .
Article by Rose
And so we began and the familiar strains of ‘Love Is’ wafted out across the circle. Lesley was leading us in with this oh so gentle dance.
Central Scotland Circle Dance was delighted to be welcoming Lesley and her friend Hilary to Sauchie, near Stirling, for Lesley's first visit to teach in Scotland. For many of the dancers taking part, Sauchie is their dancing home, but others had travelled longer distances from Auchterarder, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Cupar in Fife and across Central Scotland. . .