A Mid-Winter Summer Social

It’s not easy to dress for ‘Summer’ in the middle of winter, but that’s what we asked members to do for this year’s mid-winter social event.

You can blame Covid for this topsy-turvy seasonality. The club’s January Summer Ceilidh was cancelled due to Covid, so why not instead enjoy those Summer-themed dances in the middle of winter?

Beach towels and sarongs round the walls set the scene, together with bright yellow paper suns and summer images. Members and their guests dressed in primary colours and bright florals, adding summer colour to the dance floor.

Some of us hedged our bets with multiple layers, others bravely turned up sleeveless or in shorts, and it was the perfect opportunity for all those Hawaiian and batik shirts to emerge from the wardrobe.

Our summer revellers!

We started with nibbles and chit-chat and Allison Kay’s wonderful mulled wine to get us in the mood for a relaxing night. Then it was on to our first bracket of dances.

Tutor Rod Downey gave us a fun night of (mostly) easy-ish dances with a summer theme, starting with his round-the-room dance Summer Waltz Mixer. Once he and I had finally come to a shared understanding of the sequence for our demonstration (!), people picked it up and off we went.

We eventually got the hang of dancing Summer Waltz Mixer!

A Hot Summer’s Day gave non-dancing partners a go at a simple Scottish Country Dance, followed by The Camp of Pleasure – one of Rod’s exam dances, its meaning re-cast for the occasion to be all about summer camp (rather than camp followers).

Enjoying the strathspey The Camp of Pleasure

Dancing worked up a good appetite, but we were no match for the amazing spread of food laid out in the kitchen. With Elizabeth Ngan at the helm, our many kitchen volunteers did a fantastic job of setting up the cornucopia of potluck dishes.

We have potluck co-ordinator Maureen Sullivan to thank for ensuring all bases were covered – curries, pie, stew, veges galore, salads and more. And although some may disagree, it was absolutely the case that 13 desserts really would have been too many for 34 people!

Our members brought along a fabulous array of food for our potluck dinner

A little weighed-down by desserts, we returned to the dance floor. The Canadian Barn Dance (actually a polka), Teddy Bear’s Picnic and Salute to Summer*, readied us for the next round of eating, with a clean kitchen and a delicious array of desserts on offer.

Three more dances beckoned, but instead we were delighted by a surprise offer of a song from last year’s new dancer Anna Carter (nee Macdonald), who was to have sung for us at our cancelled Summer Ceilidh.

Instead the Mid-Year Summer celebration was the perfect replacement occasion. Anna gave a beautiful a cappella performance of the song she wrote about her trip to Scotland, and the emotion attached to visiting the place of her ancestors.

Anna treated us to an a cappella performance of a song she wrote

Back to the dance floor, and despite the challenges of running step, The Haymakers was a crowd favourite. Next was Summer on the Beach, energetic and full of beach imagery, leading into The De’il Amang the Tailors* to finish the night.

It was a fantastic event, with everyone turning their hand to something to help the night run smoothly for the enjoyment all. Thank you all.

Club photographer Loralee Hyde was on hand to record this convivial winter gathering of dancing friends. You can enjoy re-living our Mid-Year Summer festivities through Loralee’s collection of photos in the gallery below.

*No videos were taken on the night, but a couple of the links above show Johnsonville dancers at other occasions.

Kristin Downey

13 July 2022

Photos: Loralee Hyde

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