Scottish country dancers got back into full swing in Perth this weekend for the first time since before the pandemic.
The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society (RSCDS) kicked off its Autumn Gathering on Friday and will conclude the event on Sunday.
Around 300 participants, mostly from across the UK, gathered at the Fair City’s Bell’s Sports Centre after more than 18 months of missing out on their usual in-person meetings.
They attended classes, the AGM and the ball on Saturday night, with further classes taking place on Sunday.
And they were all delighted to be back to, once again, catch up with their dancing and each other in person.
From Paris to Perth
Despite there being far fewer international attendees this year, some did still manage to come from abroad.
Nicolas Jeannerod and Aymeric Fromherz came from Paris specifically to attend the event.
Despite the “challenges” of getting their vaccination statuses and ensuring they were aware of the differences between Scottish and English restrictions, the duo were delighted to be at the gathering.
“It has been dearly missed,” Aymeric said. “Having people around you instead of being in your living room.”
Nicolas added: “It is amazing seeing all the new and old faces.”
Meanwhile, the event also brought members from elsewhere in Britain to the Fair City.
Joan Nesbitt from Oxford attended her fourth RSCDS event this year, while Alison Smith from Banffshire has attended around a dozen times over the past 20 years.
“It’s fantastic,” they said.
“The thing about the dancing community is it is one big international family.”
And as part of this year’s AGM, St Andrew’s 1999 graduate Lizzy Conder is “excited” to have taken over as Treasurer.
It is a role she will hold for the next three years.
She said: “It is a bit daunting as we are coming out of a pandemic and we are trying to keep up membership.
“But it’s really nice (to be back). It’s great to see people coming.”
Fun, fitness and friendship
The RSCDS promotes fun, fitness and friendship for its 10,000 members worldwide through its annual events and classes.
Despite not being able to meet in person, members kept in touch through virtual classes, dances and musical events throughout Covid.
Chairperson Lorna Ogilvie said: “I am proud to be RSCDS Chairman as it approaches its centenary year.
“Dancers come to this weekend to attend the AGM and also to dance with old friends from across Scotland and further afield.
“Many make new friends, and all have the opportunity to enjoy classes from teachers whose personal touch and inspiration make learning both challenging and fun.”
But the event it not just about the dancing, with music also playing an important part.
Music Director Luke Brady believes being unable to dance in person for so long allowed members to further appreciate the music they dance to.
He said: “Music has seen the RSCDS through Covid-19.
“We couldn’t dance but we could listen to the music.”