A Spring Fling first-timer

Spring Fling 2023 Toronto Artwork


Read Kayla Cannon's review of her experience attending Spring Fling 2023 Toronto for the first time:

How to describe the hours just before a long-awaited dream becomes real? I had danced Scottish Country in the Delaware Valley for almost two years—with a long gap for the events of 2020—and in Scotland for one, but the courage to attend a dance weekend had only come to me a few months before the Spring Fling. On Friday, May 26th, two friends and I drove through the green Appalachians toward Canada, singing folk songs, reviewing the Welcome Dance programme, and soaking in the thrumming, shimmering delight that it was truly happening!

Rowan, the Youth Branch mascot, greeted us at check-in. We had just enough time to drop our bags in our rooms, freshen up, and grab some dinner before the Welcome Dance in the spacious (and excellently-floored—not too slippery nor too sticky) gym at Glendon. As the sets formed, I was overwhelmed by the number of young dancers. So many people close to my own age who loved Scottish Country dance and kept it in their post-university lives! It was a strongly multi-generational dance, with everyone from grandparents to elementary schoolers contributing to the room’s buoyant energy.

On Saturday morning, I had the thrilling realization that the day ahead held four dances—three workshops and the evening ball. In the advanced classes, Fiona Mackie challenged us with a reel figure that hinged on an odd-numbered bar, while Linda Henderson invited us to experience a dance done in strathspey and then in quicktime. I left with a new perspective on the role that music plays in dances and a better understanding of how to coordinate with it. Gavin Keachie, in Dances with a Canadian Flair, introduced a floral-themed dance that tied together three figures inspired by flowers, a piece of creativity that made me excited for the time I design my own dances. Between the workshops, I met dancers from Florida, Vancouver, and Cambridge, UK, and we picnicked in the perfect spring weather that held sway over campus all weekend.

The first rousing bars from Don Bartlett and the Scottish Heirs at the Spring Fling/Fringe Ball were as irresistible as the tunes of the Pied Piper of Hamilton. What a glorious ball it was! The hours passed like minutes, a whirl of lively motion and cheerful laughter.

I admit that I walked most of the combined class the next morning, which gave some quiet amusement to some of the older dancers, who knew how to pace themselves and were still dancing beautifully. I did dance my heart out for “Deil Among the Tailors,” a vivacious finale to an exuberant Spring Fling. As I packed for the trip home, I treasured a long list of dances that I’m eager to introduce to my friends in the Delaware Valley, the names of fellow dancers I hope to meet at future events, and memories that will inspire my practice for months to come. A thousand thanks to everyone who made Spring Fling Toronto a reality!

Antlers up,

Kayla Cannon

Delaware Valley Branch of the RSCDS

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