Bonn This weekend around 300 dancers from 25 countries got together for the first time in Bonn at the BTHV hockey hall for the “Spring Fling/Spring Fringe”
Japanese and Americans side-by-side, Russians together with Ukrainians, Australians and Argentinians: Scottish country dancing brings nations and cultures together. “You can meet new people and make new friends,” says Jette Rossen from Denmark, who first got to know the dance in Brussels. She loves the music, the atmosphere and above all the international aspect: “I pack my dancing shoes in my case and dance all over the world”. Often young people have learnt these dances at Scottish universities and brought them back to their home countries. “For instance, I know there is a group in Budapest which was formed like this”, says Rossen. Scottish dancing is also popular in Kuala Lumpur, explains Angelika Schmidkonz, one of the German organisers. “There is even a group in Mongolia”.
The event, which is divided into ‘Spring Fringe’ for people over 36 and ‘Spring Fling’, for younger dancers, took place over the whole weekend. During the day, there were workshops taking place in the halls, which Bonn council had made available, and in the evenings the participants danced to live music in the hockey hall.
The spring get-together was initiated by the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society. It takes place once a year in different locations. After Lyon, London and Edinburgh, now it was Bonn’s turn. The city is centrally located and near to several airports, explained Uta Hasekamp and Joana Stausberg from the Bonn group Skua Dubh, who dance on Mondays from 7.30pm in the gymnasium at Karlschule in Dorotheenstraße. The group were responsible for organising the event and did a really goood job, said Marylin Watson and Anne McArthur from the Society.
Marylin is 76 years old and has been dancing for 50 years. “Scottish country dancing helps to keep me fit and young and my brain active”. The dance is good for the brain because the steps have to be learnt and remembered. This is a great dance for all age groups – at the weekend the ages of the participants ranged from seven to over eighty.
For the half-Scotsman Max Murphy, it is not all about the dancing. “I find the people interesting”, says the 35-year-old, who is wearing a kilt, like many of the other men here. “When you dance, you meet loads of interesting people”. He has been dancing since childhood. “In Scotland, everybody dances”.
A dance partner is not necessary, as the dances are in a group with everyone taking part. That’s the reason why Rossen has come on her own. “My husband is visiting some friends in Bonn while I am here,” she explains.
(Original text: Stefan Knopp, Translation: Caroline Payne)