Executive Summary:

Classes and socials (in-person) canceled until further notice
Delaware Ball and Hogmanay will NOT be held in person this year
Membership: Please join the branch!
Plans are evolving for online events and socials to start this fall

Read on for a letter from Chairperson Katherine Giacoletti with more on branch membership, upcoming events, and how we can stay connected in our DVB community.

Dear DVB Dancers & Friends,

I hope you’ve enjoyed this summer and found some relaxation in it, strange and distanced as it has been. As we look ahead to the fall and winter, I’m sad to say that we do not yet know when we will be able to be together again to dance. In addition to the obvious cancellation of all classes and monthly in-person socials until further notice, we will not hold the Delaware Ball or Hogmanay as in-person events this year. Although it is with heavy hearts that we cancel these events, the decision to keep dancers and musicians safe and healthy was clear. In light of this, the Executive Committee is working on plans to bring us together virtually in the upcoming months.

A note about membership: https://www.delvalscottishdance.org/membership We ask that you still join the branch this year if you are able to. Your membership dues will be used to support musicians (e.g. for their time and talents for online gatherings), to support some of our dance locations (currently we are helping St. Stephen’s so that they are able to remain open), possibly to pay for technology needed to support our online community, and to pay our dues to RSCDS headquarters (each branch pays HQ for each member). We suggest a membership without classes (if we are able to resume sometime before the end of the membership year, we will address that then). If you are able to donate beyond that to support the branch, we thank you, and there is also a low income option to be aware of.

If you’re only interested in what we are planning for virtual connectedness, skip to the bottom of the message, but if you have a moment, I want to share some thoughts with you, gleaned from many online discussions some of us on Executive Committee have been attending with leaders from various dance organizations (CDSS, SOBHD/ScotDance USA, etc.).

We don’t know when we will be able to dance in person together again, and so instead of focusing on the loss and staying in emotional limbo until things resume (at the risk of putting a song in your head …), let it go. That is, hold onto and stay involved in our dance community (and other communities that you cherish) in the new ways that you are able, but try to let go of the sense of just waiting. We could be waiting a long time and emotionally it is tiring to keep holding onto that “maybe next month” feeling. So instead, let’s work together to be creative and be with each other through technology, focusing on the aspects of our community that are well-suited to virtual gathering. More on that below.

Reach out! This may seem odd to say, but we can and should keep inviting new people to join our community. We may, in fact, reach people who we might not have before – and indeed, I have heard anecdotal hints of this already. For some people, it may actually be easier to try out a new group remotely than in person. They may be more comfortable that way, or may just have more time than before, or find themselves with time available at the right times. As we shift our focus to Scottish dance and music topics and activities that can be enjoyed online, think about who you know who might be interested in joining us, and invite them!

Virtual Connectedness: While we can’t be together in person in the foreseeable future, the Executive Committee has taken some initial steps to bring our community together virtually. Much remains far from normal, but as we traditionally take the summer off and reconvene in the fall, I want to let you know some of what we have planned:

Monthly Socials: We will organize online socials two Saturdays a month (similar to our regular dancing schedule), for about 30-45 minutes. These will be times to gather and socialize. Bring your own tea item and chat with others in the community. Details to follow.

Presentations: Teachers and musicians in the branch are working on presentations and discussions on topics related to Scottish dance & music. Examples: History of the RSCDS, all you ever wanted to know about bagpipes, what are Pillings/diagrams and how to read them, SCD music topics for dancers, how SCD, ECD, contra, highland, step are related, etc. More information to come (and suggestions welcome!).

Hogmanay: We hope to have a celebratory evening even though we won’t have a ball, including Auld Lang Syne at midnight. BYOH (bring your own haggis). More details to follow!

Online events beyond DVB: As I’m sure you’ve experienced in personal and work lives, one of the few benefits of doing so much online is that we don’t have to let geography constrain whose events we attend! RSCDS headquarters and numerous branches and affiliates have regular online classes and concerts. Here are a few links (below), and if you find others that you think branch members would enjoy, please feel free to share them with an EC member and we will pass them on.

As always, we welcome your feedback and suggestions. These are the things we have lined up to try, and we will add to/change/stop them based on what we hear from you. The DVB community is ours to shape and foster, and so please if you have suggestions, let someone on the Executive Committee know. In the meantime, stay safe and healthy.

Katherine Giacoletti