In early March Neil and I attended the 23rd Iberian Scottish Country Dancing Weekend, in the Hotel Senator Parque Central, Valencia Spain. Frank Thomson provided his usual excellent music with enthusiasm and good humour. Martha Harris from Aberdeen was our very patient teacher. About 130 dancers came from all over Europe.
The Iberian Weekend started 23 years ago to give Scottish Country Dancers throughout Spain and Portugal the chance to dance to live music and have a qualified RSCDS teacher. Most of the dance groups had enthusiastic but not qualified teachers, used recorded music and in some cases never had more than enough dancers to make one set. By attending an annual residential weekend with a technique class and live music they learn from each other and it is good fun. Nowadays it is not just Iberians who attend. There are dancers from France, Germany, Italy, Norway, as well as Scotland and England. Many regular visitors end up being associate members of the Spanish or Portuguese clubs; Neil and I are honorary Jerez members through our friendship with Douglas Bone, whom some of you have met in Dunfermline.
It is always good to meet up with old friends and we were pleased to see Andrea from Dunfermline this year although not her first Iberian experience.
Typically there was much partying after the dances into the early hours.
Valencia is a very interesting city and our visit coincided with Las Fallas, one of the city’s most famous festivals which involved a 10 minute fireworks display at 2pm every day – extremely noisy but so exciting to see.
I’d recommend an Iberian Weekend experience to anyone who wants to combine dancing with Iberian sunshine and visiting a new place. Next year it is being organised by one of the Lisbon clubs in the Algarve. Luke and Adam Brady are the musicians and the teacher is Antoine Rousseau. Hope to see you there.