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Welcome home, Xiaowen!

Ten Johnsonville dancers joined dancers from around the Wellington Region on Friday 7 February to welcome Xiaowen Yu home from eight and half years of study in the United States – where she gained her doctorate in neuroscience from Northwestern University in Chicago and undertook research as a Postdoctoral Associate at New York University.

After dancing from a young age at Island Bay Club (now Capital City) before moving to the United States, Xiaowen continued to dance during her time in Chicago and New York. In 2019, she gained her full Scottish Country Dancing Teaching Certificate.

Xiaowen dancing Pelorus Jack with Johnsonville Life Member John Homes

The welcome home celebration was a surprise for Xiaowen with her mother Juping enticing her to attend by saying she’d been invited to brief two dances at a dance party. While thanking everyone, Xiaowen confirmed it was indeed a complete surprise as no one at the Region’s Tuesday session of summer dancing or at Capital City Club on Thursday evening gave even a hint of next seeing her at this event on Friday night!

Thank you to John Gregory and Helen Simmers for helping Juping set up for the dance with John creating another of his marvellous backdrops, this time with Xiaowen’s name literally lit up in lights.

Dancing Scott Meikle

Dancing to the toe-tapping music of Lynne Scott and Jason Morris with Sharlene Penman joining in the band from time to time, six sets of dancers enjoyed the programme of some of Xiaowen’s favourite dances.

Showing the depth and strength of Scottish Country Dancing in Wellington, we were treated to briefings from a series of well-known tutors: Jeanette Watson, Damon Collin, Elaine Laidlaw, Romaine Butterfield, Iain Boyd and Catherine McCutcheon, with Xiaowen herself briefing Mairi’s Wedding and Best Set in the Hall.

Xiaowen mentioned she’d had the pleasure of dancing with seven of the night’s attendees while in the US – Duncan and Mary McDonald, Sharlene, Gaye and Damon, her Mum and Margaret Pitt. Proof that when New Zealand dancers travel the world, they find dancing friends wherever they go!

Thanks also to James Scott for managing the sound for the evening and Elaine and Kevin Lethbridge for their hard work in organising supper and clearing up afterward.

 Xiaowen will soon be off to Otago University in Dunedin for her second post-doctoral position as a researcher. So, make the most of the opportunity to dance with her before she goes!

Dr Xiaowen Yu and Dr Aline Homes Photo: John Homes

See all the fun and laughter at this wonderful celebration with dancing friends in Loralee Hyde’s photos

Hogmanay Customs: New Zealand and Scotland

New Zealand has developed its own New Year’s Eve traditions over the years, and the Scottish Country Dancing community celebrates Hogmanay in its own particular way.

This year Johnsonville Club organised the Hogmanay dance on 31 December 2019, and member Pat Reesby videoed Piping in the First Foot and Sweeping out the Old Year. You can find links to her videos at the very bottom of this Wellington Region Hogmanay article.

Doug Sinclair piping in First Foot Jason Morris

Aileen Logie was leader of the band for our Hogmanay dance, and she found it interesting comparing these customs with how Hogmanay is celebrated in modern day Scotland. Read what Aileen has to say below.

Aileen Logie playing in the band with Iain and Jason at the Wellington Region Hogmanay

It’s wonderful this Victorian version of Hogmanay persists in Wellington – it doesn’t quite happen like this in Scotland now! Everybody cleans their house and gets all business/jobs finished ready to start the new year with a clean sheet and new resolve.

Celebration is immediately after the last bell of midnight – primed with a charged glass and counting the seconds down. Chaos for the next wee while – hugging, toasting and singing.

The First Foot is important – whoever first crosses the threshold after midnight (can’t be from your house) determines the luck of the household for the next year – a tall, dark, handsome, male scores top ratings.

Usually a neighbour appears (after bringing in the New Year in his own house) carrying the required items – traditionally, a lump of coal (warmth), black bun (sustenance) and whisky (water of life). But coal and black bun are becoming rare, so humorous substitutes turn up, but the whisky is a forever staple. He gives everybody a dram from his whisky bottle and gets some cake/singing/dancing in return. People then go from house to house in their street. If a fine night, sometimes dancing in the street.

Councils are now tending towards organising an event in the town centre to contain the noise/people in one place! These attract tourists in large numbers, so the council rigs up bands, weather cover, food stalls etc so Hogmanay is transmogrifying into something more like a music festival especially in cities. Older locals shake their heads, stay away and stick to the old ways at home…or just go to bed.

Beginners’ Classes 2020

Join us at dancing in 2020

We welcome you to our Beginner’s Classes on 3, 10, 17 and 24 February, 7.30pm on Monday nights at Johnsonville Bowling Club, 34 Frankmoore Avenue (opposite Phillip Street), Johnsonville, Wellington.

Our classes suit all ages from teenagers and upwards.

First Class: Monday, 3 February

Doors open at 7.15pm. Come a little early the first night to register and be ready to dance at 7.30pm.

Our tutor Rod Downey will introduce the steps over the four weeks and you’ll be up and dancing during the first evening.

  • This is social dancing and we all dance together and help each other.
  • No partner is needed – come by yourself or with a friend
  • Wear soft shoes and light comfortable clothing
  • Just $5 for each class, or $15 for all four!

FREE for 2019 Johnsonville Scottish Country Dance Club members

Queries

If you have any queries phone Robert on 021 163 9649 or Rod/Kristin on 04 478 4948. Or contact us here

Download the Johnsonville Beginners Poster 2020

Click here for more about our club and Scottish Country Dancing

Ceilidh 2020: Summer fun for all!

We had perfect weather for our sixth annual summer ceilidh at Johnsonville Bowling Club on Saturday 25 January. Our event this year marks the first of many gatherings at the bowling club, as it is our new club night venue from 2020 onwards.

Attendance was the largest since we began our ‘bowling ceilidhs’ in 2015. Twenty-nine members and seventeen guests enjoyed a very warm afternoon of socialising, bowling, ceilidh dancing and items, followed by our potluck dinner in the cool of the downstairs eating area.

It’s always a pleasure to welcome family and friends to our social events, and this year we enjoyed having children and grandchildren of members joining us. Past treasurer Jenny also came along for the first time, introducing US husband David to his first experience of both lawn bowls and Scottish Country Dancing.

To start the afternoon we gathered on the bowling green where Dale and Frankie from the bowling club gave everyone expert instruction. With their guidance there was bowls fun for everyone, younger and older alike. It was good to see there were a few stars, but for most of us bowling is still a work in progress.

Following bowls, there was time for a snack and a drink, then it was ceilidh time. This year Rod brought us a fun programme of ceilidh and Scottish Country Dances with a North American theme.

Texas Progressive Threesome

We started with the Texas Progressive Threesome, followed by Loon Mountain Reel, and the Boston Two Step. The Scotsman in America was the only strathspey of the day, and it proved a little more challenging, but we made it through for A Trip to Sucker Bay, the Glyn-Garry Swing and finally Last Exit to Soquel.

Last Exit to Soquel

In between dances we cudgelled our brains to find answers to John M’s Scottish quiz questions, then relaxed to musical items from Malcolm and Samantha on the keyboard. We ran out of time for the group singalong, maybe next year?

The evening finished with our potluck dinner – as always a grand spread, catering to all tastes. Then it was clean up time, with plenty of helpers, including our guests.

Thanks to everyone who contributed in one way or another to making this such a successful, social event to start the 2020 dancing year.

See more of the fun in John Patterson and Loralee Hyde’s photos

Wellington Region Hogmanay 2019

A great welcome to 2020 organised by Johnsonville Club!

20 dancers attended Hogmanay for the very first time!

Despite a bit of a late start on the organisational side, Wellington Region Hogmanay at Crofton Downs Primary School hall came together as a fun and successful event attracting dancers from across the Region.

Johnsonville club members played a big part, with Rod as MC, Kristin as organiser and around 15 volunteers who helped make it such a good night.

Special thanks to Helen Simmers, John Gregory and Pat Reesby for the help and support they gave as previous organisers, and to Loralee Hyde for all her efforts in promoting the event.

Rod worked hard behind the lectern (with some forays onto the floor) to make sure we all had a great night’s dancing. He put a lot of thought into the programme to ensure it was suitable for both newer and more experienced dancers, and it paid off with plenty of chatter and smiling faces. Walking most dances made it an even more relaxed night for everyone, including at least 14 new dancers.

First year dancers Sarah and Jay enjoying The Dancing Bees

Band members Aileen Logie, Iain Matcham and Jason Morris were kind enough to make themselves available for the night, with Aileen missing Summer School to be there.

The band played into the night to bring us music which got us up and dancing even when we thought we were too tired to keep going. Our thanks to them all.

Between seven and eight sets of people attended, including almost a set of spectators. Dancers on the floor peaked at six sets, and there were still three sets dancing when it came time for The Eightsome Reel – a mighty fine effort.

It was fantastic to see nineteen Johnsonville members (as well as past members Anne Lord and Judy and Don Keats) amongst the crowd enjoying this very special night on the Scottish Country Dancing calendar. And it was really exciting to find that twenty of the Region’s dancers (10 with Johnsonville connections) were attending a Hogmanay celebration for the very first time.

Mandy arriving by motorcycle in a sidecar!

Congratulations to first year Johnsonville dancers who bravely attended – Catherine, Jay and Sarah Epps together with Emma Watson, Elizabeth Judge and her (pre-beginner) husband Ross

John Price also came along as a spectator. Mandy Clark made the most memorable entrance, arriving by motorbike in a sidecar.

The Crofton Downs School hall is light and airy, with a lovely feel and a good floor, and it was a perfect venue for Hogmanay.

The hall setup team (thank you all, you are too numerous to list) made sure Johnsonville’s tartan bunting, saltires, tartan rugs and tablecloths created a festive atmosphere. Aileen Homes added that extra touch with her floral creation, and Rod, the band and the dancers did the rest.

Supper with fruit salad (included by popular demand) revived us for the second half. Thanks to Joan Clayton for her work in the kitchen, together with Helen Simmers from Kelburn club and Mandy Clark assisting. Allison Kay was our door-person, and John Markham teamed up with John Gregory (Kelburn and Tawa clubs) to cut a dash as parking wardens in fluoro tops.

As midnight approached, dancing stopped and the singing began, led by Alastair McCarthy (Lower Hutt), John Gregory and John Markham. John G even ventured into a little Australiana, giving us a surprise rendition of Home Among the Gum Trees to acknowledge Rod and Kristin’s Aussie origins and their work organising Hogmanay.

Aline Homes as the Sweeper sweeping out the Old Year (John Homes)

Next it was time for Auld Lang Syne as Aline and John Homes slowly circled the floor with Aline (as Sweeper) sweeping out the Old Year (John).

As Big Ben’s chimes died away, Doug Sinclair filled the hall with pipe music as First Foot Jason Morris entered the hall.

Bringing coal (for warmth), shortbread (for sustenance), and a coin (for prosperity), Jason proposed a toast to the Region’s dancers, joined by Rod and Doug.

Then it was on to home-made shortbread (thanks to Anne Mackenzie, Elizabeth Judge and Jay Epps), a nip of whisky, sherry or orange juice and a chance to meet and greet, and wish all our dancing friends a happy new year. Revived once more, the hardier souls danced the final three dances of the night, before we all set to packing up and heading home.

It was a grand night. If you were there you have memories, if you weren’t you can see what it was all about thanks to photographers Loralee Hyde and John Patterson, and videographer Pat Reesby.

Photos

See John Patterson and Kristin Downey’s photos of getting ready for the evening

See Loralee Hyde and John Patterson’s photos of the dance

Videos

Click below to see Pat Reesby’s videos of the evening:

The Den O’Mains

Singing the Northern Lights of Aberdeen

Singing Auld Lang Syne as the Sweeper sweeps out the Old Year

Piping in the First Foot

Download the Wellington Region Hogmanay 2019 Programme

Kristin Downey: Leaving Johnsonville School

Memories of Johnsonville Club in 1991

 As many Wellington dancers will already be aware, Johnsonville Club is relocating, and will dance at Johnsonville Bowling Club in 2020.

We welcomed dancers from across Wellington to our final night of dancing at Johnsonville School hall

Our Tartan and Final night on November 25 this year, really was our FINAL night at Johnsonville School hall. It was a great night’s dancing, and it was fantastic to have so many dancers from across Wellington joining us on the night to mark the occasion.

Johnsonville Scottish Country Dance Club has a long history at Johnsonville School hall, moving there from the Union Church hall in Johnsonville Road in 1970/71.

The club has continued to dance there ever since, except for a year at Raroa School hall in 1974 and some time in 1978/79 at the Terrace Centre in Johnsonville.

Although I danced for a short time in Singapore in the early 1980s, I began my real Scottish country dancing journey at Johnsonville School hall after I moved to New Zealand.

My children also attended Johnsonville School, and l feel some sadness in losing that personal connection after 29 years. In recording my earliest memories of the club, I’m aiming to keep that time alive.

I started dancing at Johnsonville School hall as part of a beginner group of ten in 1991. I had considered joining a local square-dancing club, but they kept beginners separate from more experienced dancers for a whole year, and I didn’t like the sound of that!

Marjorie dancing at a Johnsonville Club social evening in 1993

Marjorie Crawford was club tutor, while Barbara Kent taught beginners in a separate room for the first ten weeks.

Barbara’s quiet patience, good humour, knowledge and precision came to the fore in her teaching, as did her model footwork. Following her excellent preparation, I felt equipped to join Marjorie and the experienced dancers, initially after supper and then later for the whole evening.

Marjorie took the beginners on with enthusiasm (and a somewhat impenetrable Glaswegian accent). I found her love and knowledge of both the dance and the music inspiring and exciting.

I also particularly remember Arthur and Margaret Elliott, Isla and Eric Norris, and Muriel Thompson for their warmth and enthusiasm, and for taking me under their wings as I transitioned into the main club.

Johnsonville club in 1991 was a bustling, vibrant club with 4 or 5 sets on the floor and regular guest tutors across the year. I have an abiding memory of Edith Campbell demonstrating graceful use of arms, with kerchiefs as props – I have only to picture her for my arms to rise to the occasion.

Rod and Kristin dancing at a Bad Taste Evening at Johnsonville in 1991!

My first dancing outing with Johnsonville Club was at a joint dance with Linden Club, on Easter Monday 1991.

My husband Rod came along to see what this Scottish country dancing business was all about, and then there was one more beginner at Johnsonville, a tutor in the making, and a need for a babysitter on Monday nights!

In June we joined the rest of the club at a midwinter Christmas dinner at the Fisherman’s Table at Paekakaraki, and in August it was time for our first Johnsonville annual dance.

My main recollection of that night is the sheer exhilaration of walking into Newlands College hall to the sight of a dance floor full of women in white dresses and tartan sashes, men in their Scottish regalia and rousing music by Peter Elmes’ band.

I have an assortment of other little memories from that year:

  • Never ever considering wearing trousers (!) to dancing
  • The invisible line down the middle of Johnsonville hall that was rarely crossed by those who sat on one side or the other. Once you’d put your shoe bag down, that was it, you were committed to dance only on that side of the hall.
  • Feeling so much more a member of the club once I’d bought a club badge for my tartan sash
  • Isla’s tartan tablecloths, and her friendly face behind the teapot.

Johnsonville Annual Dance 2001 – Margaret Elliott second from left. Isla and Eric Norris in the centre.

Many dancers have come and gone from Johnsonville since I started dancing. It is interesting to note that there are only four current members who danced at Johnsonville before 1991 and are still dancing with the club – Aline and John Homes, Elizabeth Rendell and John Markham.

Former member Catherine McCutcheon also maintains her club connection, as a regular guest tutor rather than a member. So I guess I have now become one of the old-timers.

If you have memories to share from your time dancing with Johnsonville Club, I would love to hear about them and add them to our club history. Please email me

From Kristin Downey

Originally published in Harbour City Happenings Volume 22 No. 4 December 2019

See Loralee Hyde’s photos of our final night of dancing at Johnsonville School

Wellington Region Hogmanay: Come along and celebrate!

Hogmanay is what Scots call New Year’s Eve. Marking the arrival of the new year on 31 December, the origins of Hogmanay hark back to the Vikings celebrating the winter solstice with wild parties.

The late Ross Edwards piping in First Foot Chris Totton at the 2010 Hogmanay

There’s great revelling throughout Scotland on Hogmanay. Here in New Zealand, we’re often fortunate we can celebrate at a local Hogmanay with Scottish Country Dancing.

We can dance the night away to toe-tapping live music, take part in a sing-along (including Auld Lang Syne where we join hands with old friends and new ones we’ve just met), and welcome a piper leading in a First Foot—the first person to come across the threshold in the new year, carrying gifts of coal for warmth, salt or money for wealth, shortbread for sustenance and whisky for good cheer.

My very first Hogmanay was in 1974 at a Nelson Summer School during a trip around the South Island on my motorbike. My friend Christine, who had talked me into starting to dance just a few months before, persuaded me to ride to the school (yes, in my evening wear!) for the dance. The fun I had at that evening convinced me Hogmanay was the only way to celebrate New Year’s Eve in future—anything else paled in comparison.

Since then, I’ve danced at Hogmanay at many Summer Schools throughout New Zealand, at Wellington Region events and once in Pitlochry in Perthshire in the heart of Scotland—where we danced Duke of Perth at least three times!

High-spirited turns to the music from Peter Elmes and his band in 2014

The Wellington Region organises a Hogmanay in the years when there’s not a Summer School nearby, which gives us a fine chance to celebrate.

I’ve enjoyed Hogmanay at various locations around Wellington including Onslow College in 2006, Newlands in 2010 and Ngaio in 2014.

With lots of smiles and laughter, Hogmanay is a relaxed and fun-filled evening with the lively music encouraging dancers on to the floor.

This year with music from Aileen Logie, Iain Matcham and Jason Morris, Hogmanay is on at 8:00pm, Tuesday 31 December at Crofton Downs Primary School Hall

With Rod Downey as MC, lots of popular and well-known dances on the programme and most dances walked, it’ll be a grand welcome to 2020. Come along and join in!

From Loralee Hyde

Download the 2019 Hogmanay programme and crib sheet here

Click here to see more of Loralee’s photos from Hogmanays from 2006-2018 in and about Wellington

Published in Harbour City Happenings Volume 22 No. 4 December 2019

Maureen Robson Tribute 2019

Maureen in the centre set dancing More than Friends – a dance she devised

A good number of Johnsonville dancers joined Tawa Club at a special dance on 7 December at Ngaio Town Hall to pay tribute to Maureen Robson who is retiring after teaching the Club for 38 years.

The eight sets on the floor, together with other friends and former dancers as spectators, enjoyed a programme of dances specially chosen by Maureen.

Some were dances she had devised, others were of special significance and one, The King of Spain’s Daughter, was devised for her by local devisor Iain Boyd.

Dancing Busy B

One of the dances of significance was Busy B, devised by Maureen for her granddaughter Brianna who was busy training to be a nurse.

The dance was the winner of the Scottish Country Dance Club of Canberra 2018 Scottish Country Dance Devisers’ competition and is published in The Second Canberra Book of Scottish Country Dances.

Special dancing friends of Maureen and fellow tutors, Philippa Pointon (Johnsonville Club President 2001-2003) and Melva Waite, briefed the dances while Hilary Ferral and Aileen Logie provided the music—which for dances from Maureen’s book From North to South included tunes composed by Peter Elmes and arranged by Aileen.

Melva and Désirée Patterson gave speeches of thanks to Maureen for her dedication to Tawa Club along with anecdotes of her dancing life. One outstanding feature was Maureen’s commitment to ‘theme nights’ at the Club, both for arranging programmes of relevant dances that were appropriate to the themes and for her marvellous costumes.

John Patterson copied photos Maureen had taken over her years of tenure at the Club. Désirée created posters of the photos which were displayed on the walls of the hall. John also developed a visual photo show which dancers could watch between dances.

Maureen with her Tribute from the Wellington Region. Barbara Kent, a former Johnsonville Tutor, is sitting next to Alan Robson.

Ann Oliver, RSCDS Wellington Region President, presented Maureen with a framed Tribute in appreciation of her support, commitment and dedication to all dancers, tutors and musicians of the Region.

Maureen and husband Alan are originally from Northumberland in England.

A highlight of the evening was A medley of tunes from North-East England … with some ‘different’ lyrics – by musicians and singers from Tawa Club.

The ‘different’ words to songs well-known in the North-East of England were written by Moggie Grayson, who both sings and plays guitar.

Click here to watch a video of the item filmed by John Patterson

One spectator particularly welcomed by Johnsonville dancers was Barbara Kent, a former tutor of Johnsonville Club.

Maureen and Alan were also Johnsonville Club members in years gone by, also tutoring and serving on the committee, so we too have benefited from their service to Scottish Country Dancing. See more about Maureen’s contribution to dancing

Thank you to Tawa Club for arranging such as special and happy evening as a tribute to Maureen’s contributions to Scottish Country Dancing.

Click here to see more of Loralee Hyde’s photos

See Pat Reesby’s videos of the evening below.

Salute to Mrs Mac

Marie’s Jig

Christmas lunch at Café Thyme 2019

Lovely food and coffee at Café Thyme

Twenty-one club members got together for this year’s Christmas lunch at Café Thyme on 5 December, a relaxing occasion full of chat and good cheer.

The weather was just a little too windy for the less staunch among us, so it was inside rather than out.

Thanks to Kristin, Liz H, Loralee, Mandy and Wendy who arrived early to ‘occupy’ inside tables as they became free, and scavenge extra chairs from here and there.

It was really nice to have newer dancers (Bruce, Elizabeth J, Helen T and Nancy) joining regular Christmas lunch attendees (Aline and John, Deborah S, Désirée and John, Janet, John M, Moira B and Pat). A pleasure also to catch up with Joan who’s not been able to dance this year, and to see Liz R and Sandra along for the first time.

As always, it was a great opportunity to find out a bit more about each other’s lives outside dancing, and to eat, drink and be merry. Loralee managed to get photos of pretty much all of us on the day, a great feat and much appreciated.

Click here to see Loralee’s photos of everyone

Thanks to café proprietors Jackie and Livi who looked after us and made us welcome, despite our taking over half the café and more than our fair share of the chairs!

If you couldn’t make it this time, we hope to see you next year.

Rod and Kristin Downey: Honorary Life Memberships

Rod and Kristin with their Honorary Life Membership certificates

To great acclaim from the nine sets of dancers at Johnsonville’s Tartan and Final Night on 25 November 2019, Club Tutor Rod Downey and President Kristin Downey were awarded Honorary Life Memberships of Johnsonville Scottish Country Dance Club.

Rod and Kristin both started dancing at Johnsonville in 1991. Club member Loralee Hyde (Club President 1998-2000) has known them since that time and she undertook considerable research to prepare extensive commendations for their Honorary Life Memberships—which she presented during the evening.

As well as detailing Rod and Kristin’s significant achievements during their time at Johnsonville, the commendations provide a comprehensive history of the activities and the essence of our very successful Club over the last few decades.

Rod Downey: Tutor

Within a couple of  years of starting dancing, Rod began training as a tutor. He got his full RSCDS certificate in 1996 and very soon after that, Rod took over from Marjorie Crawford as Club Tutor at Johnsonville.

For 23 years now, Rod has dedicated considerable time and energy to develop dancers at Johnsonville and contribute to Scottish Country Dancing in the Wellington Region, New Zealand and internationally.

In a piece Rod wrote in 2016 about what he most enjoys about Scottish Country Dancing, he said:

  • The wonderful music, the rare instances where you are completely in sync with the music as a dancer, and the flow of formations of a really well constructed dance, together with the technical challenge of making less well constructed dances work
  • Teaching and seeing people happy and improving in their dancing
  • Seeing the club develop into a supportive and caring environment with the necessary sense of humour.

This year, in his paper Mathematics, Computer Science and Scottish Country Dancing, Rod said, “To me the music is the core of Scottish Country Dancing… As a dancer I love a great set of tunes… As a teacher, I consider the musical structure of my programmes for social dances as a key element.”

As tutor, Rod endeavours to help members understand and master phrasing to enable the flow of the dance from one figure to the next (and thereby increase their happiness and improve their dancing).

Rod works hard to give all dancers a good time, no matter the level of dancing experience. He brings energy, enthusiasm, experience and great music to beginners’ classes, Club nights, and social events.

As a bonus, Club members are also privileged to dance the ‘world premieres’ of his new dances and progressions. Thank you Rod, for all you bring to the Club.

Download the Rod Downey Honorary Life Membership Commendation

Kristin Downey: President

Rod and Kristin with Loralee

Kristin has always loved dancing of any sort, and things Scottish—the pipes, the music, the song and dance—so Scottish Country Dancing was a natural choice of activity.

Once she began, Kristin was hooked, loving the sheer joy of dancing, of working hard physically, of learning new things and how to do them well.

Along with her love of the dance, the music and the laughter and the spirit that is Scottish Country Dancing, Kristin has dedicated many years of service to the Club. She was Acting Secretary in her early years, served as Secretary for three years, Treasurer for three years and President since 2009.

Over her terms as President, Kristin has kept the Club aim of ‘fun, fitness and friendship’ to the fore while implementing innovative and appealing activities that help build Club membership and community spirit.

And it is important to note that at all times, Kristin credits the committed teams working with her (including the tutor, office bearers, committee members, supper team and many other volunteers) for the success of a wide range of endeavours.

In her 2018 paper, Recruitment and Retention of New Dancers at Johnsonville, Kristin detailed an extensive array of strategies she and the Committee and tutor have put in place since 2012 to actively recruit new dancers each year and retain experienced dancers.

Results speak for themselves—the Club has increased membership from 23 dancers in 2012 to 78 this year.

Johnsonville Club’s underlying philosophy is one of good humour, having fun, and increasing participation with a goal of building an inclusive community of dancers.

Kristin’s significant contributions have helped ensure the Club community spirit continues to shine through, growing stronger every year. Thank you, Kristin for the great impact you have made.

Download the Kristin Downey Honorary Life Membership Commendation

Click here for more of Loralee’s photos of the evening