The ceilidh bug bit me at Riverside Club in Glasgow in 2002 and the world has never been quite the same after that. I went back to Riverside Ceilidhs as often as I could and when I finally came to stay in Estonia in 2004 and could not fly over to Scotland every other weekend I started to look for a way to write the dances down so that people in Estonia could get the feel of what I had experienced. I met with Angela Arraste, the head of Tallinn University Choreography Department and to my delight she gave me her dance group to try out the dances and I was encouraged to publish the dances in a book. It was not an easy task, studying the books written on ceilidh dances in Scotland and keeping the versions that were danced at Riverside club, but after more than a years work the book was as good as we thought it could get and the booklet of Scottish ceilidh dance descriptions (as danced at Riverside Club) in Estonian came out of print in spring 2006. We had also started with a regular ceilidhs – every second Friday of the month – May 2005 – Dec 2006. Hamish Dewar from Edinburgh being the first Scottish caller to call us a ceilidh and getting more people interested in this dance form. Vaiko Välli, another Estonian, who had been bitten by Scottish ceilidh bug somewhere else but around the same time, came to be my dancepartner and co-promoter all this time and i owe him a great deal for his enthusiasm and thinktank. This ceilidh series was a success and many people came to tell me later that they had had the time of their lives at our ceilidhs. Mike Scott from Scotland was so kind as to make us our first ceilidh list (where we had more than 100 people) and also a SCD list, by which we kept contact with our SCD group.
Sometime there in between the regular ceilidh goers had started to long for a more Scottish Dancing than just once a month and as I was also interested in SCD then my good friend Daniel MacClean sent me a video of Reel Scottish Dancing and Tallinn SCD group came together for a weekly class of Scottish dance – our first teacher being thus Alastair MacFadyen and the dancers from the video. 😉 It quickly came to be our favourite video of all times 🙂 By January of 2007 we had a Tallinn Scottish Dance group (14-15 people) well established and we were lucky to have visiting teachers every now and then who came and taught us in every 6 months in way of seminars – first ones taught by Pia Walker from Cupar. This we did in cooperation with Tallinn University.
I have later also received feedback that people have came across Scottish ceilidh dances at parties in various parts of Estonia, called by someone who had been in one of our seminars, so it seems that this form of dance has been gratefully received here and is here for the enjoyment of us all. We have not planned to start another public ceilidh series within near time – also owing to the lack of funding, but we are most happy to organize an off ceilidh every now and then when we get contacted by callers that travel and enjoy calling for the fun of it.
With best regards,