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What's been happening

We started this page to keep track of what we've been doing each Zoom session. and now and then, an occasional real event, with the notes written by various members. You can find a more concise summary of what dances were taught which nights, with links to available videos, at Dances-taught-on-zoom-2020-2021. The videos used during the sessions can be found on this YouTube Zoom Dance Demos Playlist.

April 13, 2022, notes from Wendy

We tried out a hybrid live/zoom dance on a Wednesday when we could not be at our usual venue. We met at the Danish Church nearby, Gammel Dansk played for real live dancers, And Randall Peterman looked after the zoom session from his home. Once we set up a second camera so people could see the musicians and could also see the dancers, we think it went well.

We have been doing live dances now, so far without zoom except for our session just described.

February 23, 2022, notes from Wendy

We have kept up with our twice a month zoom dances, even though we have not kept up with the blog notes. Janet Gabites has been leading the zoom sessions, but on February 23, Ross Schipper filled in for her, from his new home in Australia. The new dance for the evening was Heel and Toe  Polka, a Norwegian dance that has made it over to Australia as a bush dance. Here are some links to Treklappdans from Norway:

and here are two videos of the Australian bush dance version of Heel and Toe Polka (each a little different):

We also talked about a stylistic point we've seen recently in Sønderhoning videos, with a dip on the second beat - when the leads are on both feet (easy) and the follows are on their right foot (painful, in my opinion). Here is a video:

November 24, 2021, notes from Wendy

Wendy reviewed Stabbe ringlender.

October  13, 2021, notes from Wendy

Mostly the same great tunes from last time. Wendy reviewed Royal Empress Tango.

September  15, 2021, notes from Wendy

It looks like we're doing the programming director's favourites now, with the occasional review. If you want to teach a dance, or have a dance reviewed, or want to hear a particular tune or type of dance, let Janet know: jgabites@telus.net

September  8, 2021, notes from Wendy

We have no word regarding where in the moving process Soren and Ross are, but we're continuing here without them. :(

Things were fine, though. There was no featured dance tonight, but several dances were reviewed, and Janet Gabites played some wonderful music from her own collection.

August 25, 2021, notes from Lisa

Lisa Brooks taught two Zweifachers that were new to us, and reviewed the ones she taught previously:

Alte Kath WWPP

Eisenkeilnest (PPWW)x2 PW PW PPWW

Nudeli PPWW Mary Lea CD Cascade of Tears https://dancefiddler.com/mp3s/5_Nudeli.mp3

Wirt vo Stoa (WPP)x2 WW

August 11, 2021, notes from Wendy

I taught Royal Empress Tango, which I had just learned from Richard Powers two weeks ago at the online Stockton Folk Dance Camp. Richard learned it in 1976, but it had first been taught at Stockton by Lucile Czarnowski in 1950. It is an English ballroom dance, choreographed by H.A. Clifton in 1922. The tune of the same name was composed that year by Harry Wood, arranged for orchestra and also for solo piano: Royal Empress Tango - YouTube. You can find the piano sheet music at Royal Empress Tango (libraryofdance.org). The dance, however, can be done to any tango music that has regular 16-bar phrasing, for instance, here is one sung in Swedish: A Swedish tango with dedication ! - YouTube. It has an 8-bar intro.

The page at Library of Dance - Royal Empress Tango has the dance description and a video of two of Richard Powers's students doing one sequence.

July 28, 2021, notes from Soren

This is the third time I’ve sat down to write a blog post, so I’m hoping I’ll actually complete this one so that Wendy and Judith don’t think I’m a complete flake! One would think that one would be less busy upon completion of a graduate program during a pandemic, but it somehow turns out to be the opposite (!?).

This season has been a bittersweet mix of sorrow and joy for our Scandinavian dance community. We mourn the loss of Pascal Peterson, Bart Brashers, and other family, friends, or acquaintances that perhaps we could not even properly say goodbye to because of travel restrictions. We’ve had strict Covid19 lockdowns while looking on at people on other parts of the continent with envy as they reunited with family, threw large parties, dined out without worry… Meanwhile we (and many other parts of the world) still didn’t have access to enough vaccines. We’ve had unprecedented heatwaves. Our flora and fauna in the coastal waters fried. Now wildfire season has started early and fires are proliferating rapidly close to home. Our beautiful forests and meadows are burning, our neighbors to the nearby North have already lost homes (and even an entire town) or are being evacuated as I type. The rest of us any day now will be closing windows and switching on air purifiers. [Most of us don’t have AC in the Pacific Northwest.]

Yet despite these plagues, we’ve still been able to maintain our sense of community. Zoom meetings have actually made it easier to attend “dances” regularly by cutting down on the commute and making it possible to be in two distant places at once. It’s also allowed some of us to attend dance camps that we might ordinarily not have easy access to because of cost, time commitment, or location. We’ve had quite a few successful virtual camps this summer including Scandia Camp Mendocino, Nordic Fiddles and Feet, and HFAA.

It’s been super to reconnect with Seattle and Portland people whom I had been out of touch with for a few years (one downside of grad school) and to make new friends from Victoria and Calgary, and even Hawaii, California, and the middle of the continent – People whom I may never have had the opportunity to meet if we didn’t have virtual dance sessions. It’s been wonderful seeing all of you sporadically or regularly, getting to know you and dance with you without even leaving the living room or having to choose between my job or social time.

Even if our paths fork in different directions now that borders are opening up and life is getting “back to normal” in Canada and the United States, I hope our paths overlap again in the future. I look forward to meeting you in person someday whether I’m traveling through your part of the world, you are traveling through my part of the world, or we’re attending the same dance camp together. Stay in touch, come visit!

I look forward to our last few remote dance sessions as we weather the final heat of summer before we start meeting in person again and the commute gets significantly longer for some of us. This week we taught the basic Rørospols pattern for solo dancer. The 2nd Wednesday in August we will do a review of “pandemic dance highlights.” [Edited: this has been delayed - Wendy Cutler will teach Royal Empress Tango]. Lisa Brooks has kindly agreed to teach Zweifacher on the 4th Wednesday in August, an apt transition into the fall Oktoberfest season!
Stay safe, and be well. We’re almost there!

blog_SorenHuber_20210727_HuldraHeads.jpg  blog_SorenHuber_20210727_ManningHeatherTrailView.jpg 
Beautiful British Columbia. “Huldra Heads” glowing in the sunset, purple southern British Columbia and Washington Cascades. Burning British Columbia. Garrison Lake wildfire view from E.C. Manning Heather trail near Kicking Horse camp.

July 14, 2021

Ross Schipper presented a Bingsjö Polska for One that included the steps for both the lead and the follow as a single dance.

June 23, 2021, notes from Wendy

Sigrid Felland taught Electric Slide. I had no idea this dance had a name. I've been doing it for years at the swing dances at the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes in Port Townsend. When an appropriate tune comes along, the dance floor fills with people keen to get to groove without a partner. I did it last Wednesday to music for several Scandinavian dances, including humppa and some of those fancy Norwegian dances. I changed the timing a bit - an advantage of dancing on one's own in one's living room.

June 16, 2021

We had an extra session for our Annual General Meeting. To make sure we'd have people there, Ross arranged for Loretta Kelley and Andrea Hoag to each play a set. Best. Meeting. Ever.

June 9, 2021

Soren put on a Finnish evening, demonstrating some dances that can be done to the tunes in the first set. She began the evening with a beautiful tune by Bart Brashers, Viksta 4, which she recorded on recorder, playing the melody and harmony.

Here is the playlist for the evening:

Humppa : Mot Barrikaderna : Norrlåtar
Humppa : Vodka Bag & Västerås : Jussi Marttinen
Tango : Satumaa : Reijo Taipale
Tango : Kotiseutuni : Seppo Hovi
Tokyo Polka : Ieva’s Polka : Loituma
Raatikko (Finnish Polkka) : Stakkars Per : Tre Begrædelige Piger
Jenkka : Sirkkojen Tanssi : Aarno Raninen
Jenkka : Jätkäen Jenkka : Al Reko & Oren Tikkanen
Valssi : Metsäkukkia : The Smilin’ Scandinavians
Valssi : Lapin Valssi : Lasse Hoikka & Souvarit

Hambo : Hambo från Gästrikland : Hoag, Kelley, Pilzer
Halling : Fanitullen : Johannes Sundsvalen
Bingsjö : Eklundapolskan : Josefina Paulson
Schottis : Norsk Schottis : Matit Ja Maijat
Orsa : Polska från Orsa : Wallmans Polskekvartett
Sønderhoning : Aben hedder Jocko : Kristian Bugge et al
Åtabaks : Föllingers Sista Komposition : Mats, Nils, Ulf
Reinlender : Over Stok og Steen : Frekke Fyrer
Vals : Sølvbrura : Ulens Kvintett

May 26, 2021

Soren taught Boda Polska for one.

Here is a link to a demo by the people she learned it from:

Polska från Orsa - YouTube

May 12, 2021, notes from Pia Christensen

Sønderhoning comes from the small village of Sønderho (current population about 200), at the south end of the island of Fanø off the SW coast of Denmark.

It’s a living tradition, at least 300 years. Ib Nielsen tells me it’s not known what came first - the music or the dance. It was a seafaring community in the days of sailing ships, so sailors brought musical influences from many places, which became incorporated into the local tradition

There are about 90 traditional tunes, almost all in 2/4 time. As the turning step is in 3 beats, the dance crosses the bars

Because it’s a living tradition, it’s not as prescribed as many folk dances have become. The people of the community go to the dances, young, old and in between, and do their thing.

Here are 4 videos - the first one is from a dance at the Sønderho Community Hall in the 70’s - all sorts of people from the community dancing


The second one is from Sønderho Days, the annual festival, showing a ‘bridal’ couple dancing the 3 Bridal Pieces.


They are doing a swooping sort of style, which makes me think of waves, fitting as it was a seafaring community for centuries
Also showing this stye, this video is from Peter Uhrbrand : Danmarks Rigsspillemænds Festconcert 2015


The fourth one is from a recent class at the Community Hall in Sønderho, very different style, so even in ‘official’ events, there is a variation


We’ll try both these styles. The difference is in the svikt

first - like the young couple in the hall, Svikt on every beat

Promenade - soft knees, generally quite short steps, M’s R hand over back of W’s L, but many of us were taught in the past M’s R on W’s wrist. Generally on opposite feet, but!!

NOTE : in the video he starts on parallel feet the first time, opposite feet the second time

M’s turn : L, Both, R W’s turn : Both, R, L

Transition to turn : M steps back on L, then R, L ,both - NOTE both is with feet about a foot apart for M and W (in video, she doesn’t do this, so they are not too fussy about details) This class was held just before Sønderho Days, when the organizers are trying to get as many people as possible ready to participate in the festival.

W waits 3 counts, start with R when M is on Both (This was emphasized in the class in Sønderho in 2015)

HOLD During the transition, M brings R arm holding W’s L arm onto her back moving his hand to her wrist, W’s R hand on M’s shoulder blade, M takes W’s L hand in his L behind her back

NOTE body position - not close, slightly curved away

Turn in first style (as seen in the video of the class) - svikt on every beat : M - L, Both, R W - Both, R, L

Swooping style as seen in the Sønderho Days video and in the Riksspellemænds concert

Deep svikt on Lead’s both, Follow’s R

Note : Begin and end the promenade and turn at will

Laine Ruus, who used to dance with us in Vancouver and run our teaching, has a website with a lot of Scandinavian dance descriptions, mostly in English:

Folkdansbeskrivningar, översättningar, m m (utoronto.ca)

April 28, 2021

Soren taught “Finnskogs pols for One.”

Mel Klassen recommended a great video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1e-Pz9gTmxI, of a couple dancing Finnskog pols to "ordinary" fiddle (really, it was a cello) at the master-concert at the closing day of the "national championship in folk music" in 2009 at Geilo. They were winners in that class. Mel was there! Between Mel and Tom Sears, we have dancers names as Bjorn Sverre Hol Haugen and the EQUAL partner Veslemøy Nordset (Mel says to check her footwork on the clockwise turns). Ea Karlsson was the cellist. Tom also recommended Norwegian Folkdancing - YouTube with Audun Gruner-Hegge and Anbjorg Bergwitz, filmed on Feb.13, 2013 by Oyvind Refsnes, with four dances including Finnskogspols.  

April 14, 2021

Soren taught "Åtapprox Polska,” a modified version of the common Swedish couple dance, “Åtabaks Polska.”

March 24, 2021

Soren and Ross taught Halling, some basic steps.

March 10, 2021

Review of Dances Recently Presented during Zoom sessions

Dance  - Date presented
Munkedal Mazurka - Oct 28
Seattle Polka - Nov 11
Kørsdans - Nov 25
Salty Dog Rag - Dec 9
Easy Does It Hambo - Jan 27
Tokyo Polka - Feb 10
Easy Does It Boda Polska - Feb 24

February 24, 2021

Harry Khamis taught "Easy Does It Boda Polska"

February 10, 2021, notes from Wendy

Roo Lester taught us Tokyo Polka, a dance choreographed by Richard Powers, a big name in the vintage dance scene, world-wide, I think. Roo mentioned this dance to me a few months ago, and it seemed like fun but hard to learn when I watched the videos, but the teaching must have been pretty good, because it turned out to be easy. The steps really do flow nicely. I think Roo said Richard created the dance for a workshop in Tokyo, hence the name, which I guess you could say went viral.

On the video of Richard Powers's class doing it (that's Richard in the olive-coloured tshirt at the left front), it has the music as
"Ievan Polkka" by Hatsune Miku; ok here it is. It has 7 million views on YouTube:
Hatsune Miku - Ievan Polkka cover by 美女一首《甩葱歌》 - YouTube
BTW, that's an upper case i, not an L, first character of the name of the polka. EE-YAY-VAN, Eva's Polka.
It seems this is the Finnish group that first sang it, and sang it on this video last year for a 50th birthday party, although they are not together any more:
LOITUMA: IEVAN POLKKA (November 2019) - YouTube
I have found the original by them, posted in 2008, 26 million views; it was recorded in 1996.
Loituma - Ievan Polkka - YouTube. I think this is the version Roo used, originally with a few extra beats of vamping, which she had edited out for the dancing.
Their lyrics in Finnish and English: Loituma - Ievan Polkka Lyrics (lyricsmania.com)
This cat vibing video seems to be a popular meme (over 38 million hits): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUYvbT6vTPs
There is quite a bit about it at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ievan_polkka, including its similarity to Savitaipaleen polkka. Here is the Loituma Girl Leekspin video they mention:

Mel Klassen has sent along some additional notes:

If you have too much time during your self-quarantined life, YouTube is an endless source of _good_ videos for Ievan Polkka:
From YLE (Finnish TV) Lumberjack Band 1952 (physical comedy during each refrain): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8fW2n_ma9Y
When robots take over the world, only this polka will survive: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6fefs9rOBY
Two acoustic guitars: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ic0KvIIrR2A
Blind street-drummer Billal Goregen (this is the "no vibing cat" superimposed version) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njIVLEq4Sig
Värttinä: (Studio recording 2020) [kantele? voice & accordion): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ny_JkZBocg
Classical-guitar arrangement by Giuseppe Torrisi: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMGAE5BIQAU
If that is not enough, you could also search for "LEVAN POLKA" on YouTube -- the "ell" versus "eye" mix-up.
YouTube wants to "auto-correct" from LEVAN to IEVAN, so be careful when you search.

Enjoy this "ear-worm". :-)

Here also is a page with an English translation of the lyrics:
Ievan Polka (English) lyrics by Loituma, 3 meanings. Ievan Polka (English) explained, official 2021 song lyrics | LyricsMode.com

January 27, 2021, notes from Wendy

Harry Khamis taught his Easy Does It Hambo. Harry developed this modification of the classic Hambo which transforms the popular Swedish gammaldans into a perfect non-partner dance for a small space on a less-than-ideal surface. An added benefit to learning this dance is that it teaches everyone both the lead's and the follow's step.

We had a call for our pet attendees to make a group appearance.



January 13, 2021, notes from Wendy

ScandZoom_2021-01-13_21-49-19.jpgHappy New Year, y'all. Soren Huber, our
Dancing Queen,
gave us a
Dance (a mile) Through Scandinavia set,
20 minutes of dance steps to a compilation of Scandinavian tunes, including Abba's apt tune. Presumably, having completed that, we'd be recovered from our holiday indulgences and be back in shape for more dancing.


There's lots more room here, so I'll use it to thank Ross Schipper for organizing these dances.








December 9, 2020, notes from Wendy

Before I write so much that you never get to the bottom, I would like to mention two upcoming events we would highly recommend:

1. Travel virtually to Portland, OR on Monday, December 14th, 7 PM PST to attend the
Norske Runddansere Virtual SnoBall 2020 via Zoom
To RSVP (required for non-members), send an email to postmaster@norskerunddansere.org with the following information:
Subject: Request to Attend virtual SnoBall for [your name]
Text: I learned about the NR Virtual Snowball 2020 from a Scandinavian Dancers of Vancouver webpage. I’d like to attend. Please send the Zoom link.

2. Travel virtually to Seattle, WA on Wednesday, December 23rd, 7 PM PST to attend the
MDR (Movement and Dance Retention) Holiday Party via Zoom
To RSVP (required for non-members), send an email no later than Sunday, December 20 to MDR@Skandia-folkdance.org with the following information:
Subject: Request to Attend for [your name]
Text: I’d like to attend the MDR Holiday Party. Please send the Zoom link.

green leaves

It never occurred to me to wonder where Salty Dog Rag came from, but Salty Dog Rag - Wikipedia has a lot to say about it, with some excellent links. This link in particular, Salty Dog Rag (USA) | Folk Dance Musings, has the dance description, lyrics, links to sheet music, several videos and links to other pages.

Here is an abbreviated video of the Ostende, the dance that started it all: The Ostende (1910) - YouTube. It’s pretty much a less-animated version of the first step and the chorus of the Salty Dog Rag, but done without repeats. Leland and Frankie Lee Lawson seem to have added the alternate A part when they came up with the dance specifically for Rod Foley’s 1952 recording of Salty Dog Rag. You can watch the Teens N Twenties Social Dance group from Portland, Oregon dancing to that recording, at TNTPD - Salty Dog Rag.wmv - YouTube. The swing dance version link is on the Wikipedia page, but here it is: Salty Dog Rag - YouTube.

The schottis (actually Reiländer) I played is from a video at MP3 live at Ransäterstämman 2008 - YouTube. The name is ”Stuff-Stuff”, played by a Mia Gustafsson’s trio MP3 with two guest musicians, one of whom is Mikael Marin, whom she later married and performed with as Marin/Marin; she is no longer married to him, and she has changed her name to Mia Marine.
Another tune I would have liked to play is Schottis efter Hakberg, as played by Anna Lindblad. Here is a video: Schottis efter Hakberg - YouTube.

Now I’m getting off topic. Here is trailer video for a concert given by Marin/Marin, with dancers Petra Eriksson and Anton Schneider! Blidström - trailer för Konsert och dansföreställning - YouTube; the hour-long concert is at Blidström - Musik och dansföreställning - YouTube. In the trailer, the dancers start with a Slängpolska and then switch to a minuet.

There was a request for the list of music played last night, which Ross has kindly provided:

We hope you have a wonderful holiday season. There will be no Zoom session of the SDV (Scandinavian Dancers of Vancouver) on Wednesday, December 23.

November 25, 2020, notes from Wendy

I want to preface my very short notes with a comment about the photos on this Virtual Dance Blog page. I've been hanging out on Facebook so much that I have the idea everyone is eager to have their photo displayed everywhere possible, and indeed, it has always seemed that our dancers were keen to see theirs and others' photos on our website and photo site. But I have been hearing rumblings that some people think that some other people feel differently about Zoom screen prints. I have posted screen prints from our sessions because I think it gives a little personal touch to these events at which for many of us there is no personal touch at all. I have used my best judgement to not post any unflattering photos. But if you object to your appearance in any photo, please let me know and I will remove it, or will remove your appearance from it. I can be reached at wlcutler@gmail.com. Also, if in general, you do not want to appear in these screen prints, let me know and I will keep a list and keep your visage off this page.

Roo Lester generously offered to teach Kørsdans at our November 25 zoom session - a dance that fits perfectly into any size living room or den or whatever room you're using to watch other people dancing. And it goes nowhere - you could hardly claim to not have room to do this dance. You can make your own drama too, based on what you choose to use as the cross on the floor. And it was done to wonderful music that our performance group has danced to, however many years ago.I decided to use the step for this dance to replace the turns in the hambo, and I was very pleased by how well I thought that worked.


November 11, 2020, notes by Wendy

 I taught Seattle Polka on November 11, a variation of the Norwegian Pariser Polka or the Danish Reinlender Polka, in which the distinguishing features are a stamp and a double clap in the first part of the dance. I encouraged people to make little changes if they are craving a bit of variety - polka steps instead of the walk or pivots in the second half. At one time, a specific tune called "Seattle Polka" was used for this, but there is no reason it can't be done to any polkett; I played the energizing Abba tune "Super Trouper" to prove my point. You can find the video of the teaching at Seattle Polka - Quarantine Version on YouTube.




October 28, 2020, notes from Judith

We enjoyed a bone-clacking preamble to Halloween on Wednesday 28 October. In the Zoom session, -- led by Ross and Soren disguised as talking X-ray skeletons -- we reviewed the living-room repertoire we've learned so far during the pandemic period. The review included two line dances suitable for reinlender music -- Linerender (chor. Alix Cordray) and Boot Scootin Boogie. These Texas-style line dances make the most of the living room as you turn toward all four walls. Compass Minuet (chor. Pia Christensen) goes one step further, with minuet steps swaying through both the four main compass points and the ones in between (SW, NE, etc.) as well. Annas Visa and Odinas Bakmes are fun for waltz music, while Riitta's Tango, also works fine as for solo or couple as you relish the classic Finnish tango tune Satumaa. I was really pleased that Janet revived Munkedals (Malmö) Mazurka, which we had done for performance many years ago. Incredibly, the brain connections were still there for this tricky dance, and it's a bit more forgiving when you do it solo rather than in a line! A couple of mind-expanding dances completed the lot –Bugg Line Dance (a Swedish relative of swing) was an opportunity to ham it up, while Eisenkeilnest Zwiefacher from Bavaria pulled in our reins with its unexpected mixture of 2-beat and 3-beat bars.

Thanks to Ross Schipper, Soren Huber, Riitta Huttunen, Sigrid Felland, Janet Gabites, Lisa Brooks, and Pia Christensen for all the hard work of teaching and reviewing the dances -- online instruction presents many challenges! We have all learned a lot, and the enthusiastic attendance at the Zoom sessions speaks for their success.


October 14, 2020, notes from Soren

Hi SDV friends,

Hoping you are out enjoying sunshine, blue skies, and fall festivities this week.

20131021-attach1_Soren.png 20131021-attach2_Soren.png 20131021-attach3_Soren.png

Before I report on last week’s zoom session, I’d like to thank you all for the beautiful congratulations card that Lynn painted, and for the wonderful community you have provided me with over the past 3 years during my degree program at UBC. I will be sticking around Vancouver for at least 5 more months, hopefully longer, working in the UBC herbarium. I’m looking forward to continuing to see you around virtually or otherwise if it is COVID safe.

Loretta Kelley was a huge hit last week bringing in over 45 zoom visitors from across the continent including 3 other people in the 40- age group, two of which were under 35. We deviated from the typical zoom live music “concert format” as Loretta explained some Norwegian music basics, shared stories and background about tunes, and engaged in dialogue with her audience. We also briefly discussed the differences between three of the common basic springar step patterns that may be danced around one’s house.


I’m looking forward to seeing you (in costume hopefully?) and your cats next week for our Halloween dance…Which I’ve missed in previous years because of school work, but can finally make virtually this time J





September 23, 2020, screen print from Wendy

We really did get up and dance Zwiefacher, taught by Lisa Brooks.


September 9, 2020, we have two blog submissions for this week!


September 9, 2020 Mind your Hands! Notes by Judith

We don't generally do much fancy with our hands in Scandinavian folk dancing, so some of us find that even the simplest hand or arm motions can be challenging in a dance. But our creative and cultural horizons are opening up under pandemic restrictions. As part of that expansion, Ross and Soren taught a delightful swing/bugg solo dance at the Zoom session on 9 September. The steps were amusing and swingy, and the style included expressive hand gestures as well. It was a good reminder that our upper limbs can be part of the dance fun, too.

Please mark your calendars for the special Zoom dance session coming up on Wednesday, 14 October. Generously sponsored by Ross and Soren, the music that evening will be provided by Loretta Kelley, one of North America's most accomplished Hardanger fiddle players. Don't miss this great opportunity to welcome Loretta and her music to your living room!

Here's a link to my latest offering of dance scenes from Norwegian literature – excerpts from Kristin Lavransdatter, the medieval masterpiece of Nobel Prize author Sigrid Undset. This excerpt is rich with with hands, arms, and gestures as Kristin dances into a fateful love affair.

September 9, 2020 The ZOOM-alypse, notes by Ross

The ZOOM-alypse
(or How I Failed ZOOM-ology 101)

Wednesday, September 9 was the eighth virtual Zoom session of the Scandinavian Dancers of Vancouver. In all our previous sessions, Zoom had worked flawlessly. But not this time. Yikes!!!

The Zoom session was scheduled to begin at 7:30 pm. As the host, I fired up Zoom just before 7:00 to check out the sound and video. Soren then clicked the link to play the role of a typical guest, but she immediately got an “invalid ID error” message and her sign in failed.

OMG, what were we going to do? Folks would begin the enter the “virtual” dance room in a half hour. Talk about stress.

So 7:30 arrived and we still hadn’t resolved the technical problem. We don’t know how many folks tried to sign into the Zoom session and gave up, but a few did manage to sign on. We asked them what they did. Apparently, you could copy the URL and manually paste it into a browser, and that worked. We ended up with 25 on the virtual dance floor. Smaller than the usual number, but still enough for a very enjoyable evening.

Soren taught the Swedish Bugg Line Dance. Bugg is a totally Swedish swing dance form and is very popular on Swedish dancefloors when dance bands play. This line dance had been presented by David and Mikael Eriksson at Scandia Camp Mendocino in 2014. The line dance was built around a tune Känslan från Igår by the Swedish dance band, Streaplers, but can be danced to other Bugg dance tunes (e.g. Dit vägarna bär by Donnez) or even perhaps a Halling.

She introduced the dance as having a Verse and a Chorus. Using some mnemonic terminology Soren invented, the Verse is 16 measures long and consists of Crab to the right, Crab to the left, Scarecrow, and Skater (each 4 measures long). The Chorus, also 16 measures long, consists of a 2-measure CCW turn followed by a 2-measure improvisation, this being repeated four times.

Here is a link to Soren teaching Crab to the right, Crab to the left, Scarecrow, Skater, and CCW Turn:

And here is a link to Soren demonstrating the Swedish Bugg Line Dance to a slowed down version of Känslan från Igår:

Happy Dancing and Stay Safe,



September 4, 2020 Pandemic Party on the Deck, notes by Judith

During the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, we have enjoyed biweekly Zoom dance sessions, organized by Ross and Soren. The Zoom meetings are fun -- they keep us dancing and in touch, as well as bringing in welcome new faces from all over the map.

However, we love getting together in person as well, even if we can't dance as we normally do. Deborah and Ib have helped to fill the void by organizing a couple of work sessions in the garden on the Scandinavian Centre's berm. But finally, for the first time since March, we got together for a real social event on the perfect late-summer evening of Friday, September 4. Organized by Pia, Inge, and Riitta, we set out properly-spaced tables with properly-spaced chairs on the deck at the Scandinavian Centre. Twenty-four people attended and the pandemic bureaucracy proved unobtrusive, requiring only contact information and a few health questions. We all brought our own food and behaved ourselves, talking and laughing in the outdoor air, avoiding hugs and close proximity.

The deck's new railing and festively-lit arched covering made the venue seem especially cozy as twilight turned to dark – and no mosquitoes crashed the party. Gammel Dansk brought out their instruments and played a fine set. Some people danced alone or as "bubble-couples". Others just enjoyed the music, which included many old favourites. We even dared to sing in the open air -- "Happy Birthday" to Bob Knudsen, and our goodnight song at the end.
A few members were unable to attend, unfortunately. We hope the pandemic situation will improve soon, so everyone can be comfortable with appropriately distanced events from time to time.

To sign off, I offer another historic dance story from Norwegian literature. In the civilized Hedmark dance scenes that I posted previously, the most shocking events included a guy loitering with his hands in his pockets and a girl traipsing off to an itinerant camp. In contrast, Johan Bojer, in his 1942 novel Den Siste Viking, describes a wild and woolly Lofoten dance evening. If you ever wondered why religious authorities disapproved of dancing, here's your answer. Bojer den siste Viking wild dance PDF

August 26, 2020, screen prints from Wendy


This was a zoom dance evening; the featured dance was MALMÖ MAZURKA taught by Janet Gabites. No notes were submitted, so here are some screen prints.


ScandZoom_2020-08-26_20-31-10.jpg ScandZoom_2020-08-26_20-44-22.jpg ScandZoom_2020-08-26_21-43-35.jpg

ScandZoom_2020-08-26_21-22-11.jpg ScandZoom_2020-08-26_21-40-38.jpg ScandZoom_2020-08-26_21-43-01.jpg


August 12, 2020, notes by Judith

Scandinavian Dancers of Vancouver Zoom Newsletter
Submitted by Judith Anderson, 14 August, 2020

Wednesday, 12 August, 2020. At our Zoom dance session, the evening's virtual tour ranged from Texas to Bavaria. Sigrid Felland taught us aspiring cowpunchers an energetic line dance to "Boot Scootin' Boogie", the Texas honky-tonk tune that got the whole line dance craze going back in 1990. We practiced the dance to several Scandinavian tunes as well, including "Hestekaren" (Horseman) schottis. Thanks to Randall and Ross for the teaching video production!

Later, Lisa Brooks presented the Bavarian dance "Zwiefacher" (Two Times), which alternates between waltz steps and pivots. The dance can be traced back to the 1500s. The traditional tune "Alte Kath" - perfect for an old-fashioned oompah band - tells the story of Old Katharine, who wants a man and gets one – he is cross-eyed and limps a little, but he'll do! No wonder he limps, given the wonky rhythm of the dance... For more info on Zwiefacher, see Dance a While: A Handbook for Folk, Square, Contra, and Social Dance, by A. M. Pittman, M. S. Waller, C. L. Dark.

For the rest of the evening, we mostly hung around Scandinavia. Ross spiced up the music with a swing/bugg tune, a devilish halling with a surprise inside, and the lovely Bluegrass-style "Lover's Waltz" composed by Jay Ungar and Molly Mason.

Thanks to all who attended, with special appreciation for Ross and Soren, who organized and MCed the whole evening, and Sigrid and Lisa, who grappled so successfully with the challenges of online teaching! We'll meet again on Wednesday, 26 August -- Janet Gabites will teach Malmö Masurka.

For those who want to review, here are the written instructions for Sigrid's Boot Scootin' Boogie

And the teaching video by Sigrid for Boot Scootin' Boogie

Finally, I have been having fun collecting various passages from Norwegian literature that describe entertaining dance scenes. Here's a link to several tableaus from Farlig Ung Man [Dangerous Young Man] by the popular 20th century novelist "Anitra". Set in 1930s Hedmark, the scenes tell a cautionary tale of dance, danger, and downfall – leading off with a young lady's startling choice to ... dance alone. Enjoy!
Dance in Hedmark in the 1930's.






July 30, 2020, notes by Soren

I hope you are all up to some safe summer fun whether it is physical or virtual.  Given how we were unable to meet in person the last few months of our dance season, some of us have been gathering via zoom throughout the summer to catch up and get some exercise to beautiful traditional Scandinavian music, and some “different” music we’ve been throwing in for fun.  We understand that virtual dancing isn’t everyone’s cup of tea or that people are busy doing other things, and so we wanted to find some alternative ways of staying connected as a group, until it is safe to resume physical dancing again.  Towards this end, we thought we would try taking turns writing semi-regular letters or mini newsletters to the group just to say hi, report recent events, send links to teaching videos, etc.  I get to go first!

Last week Riitta (aided by Ron) gave the most outstanding zoom dance lesson I’ve seen anywhere yet. It was broken down into easily digestible steps that were super clear and easy to follow.  After 3 years of fumbling and fudging the steps, thanks to this lesson, I’ve finally got the pattern down solid for Riita’s tango!  If you are like me and you haven’t learned this dance, or need a refresher, it can be easily done solo in your living room or kitchen, to the video Ron and Riita made.  Rainy days when we can’t get out hiking or into the yard, are the perfect opportunity to learn or review steps and patterns so we can hit the ground dancing as soon as it is safe to gather in person again.  (Actually, I can’t wait to pull Riitta’s tango out of my back pocket at the next wedding reception I attend:-)

On the personal front, I’m still working on my thesis and am feeling very fortunate to be “stuck” writing in Canada right now, with an amazing dance community. I’ve been trying to get out to sparsely populated trails or social distance car camping off of remote fire service roads as frequently as thesis allows.  I look forward to comparing covid summer adventures with all of you, whether they are backyard or backroad adventures.

Links to Riitta’s Tango instruction:

Riitta’s Tango Full Dance

Riitta’s Tango First Part: Box step

Riitta’s Tango Second Part: Grapevine


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