Elaine Brunken, Kansas City, MO
Born in Falkirk, a long time ago now, I moved to Uphall, West Lothian when I was four. I learned to dance in my mum’s class in a wee hall in Pumpherston, as I happily danced up and down the hall by myself, till I was tall enough to dance with the grown-ups. The accordionist didn’t read music, and just played the few tunes he knew…… ask me about that sometime……you won’t believe the tune I learned General Stuart’s Reel to!
I have been dancing for more than 50 years, teaching for 40 years, 30 years with my RSCDS certificate, tutoring for 25 years and examining for a few years now…………………I really need to get a life! This fabulous pastime has taken me to Australia, back to the UK, France, and all over North America. It has introduced me to many wonderful people, some who have become my dearest friends.
I was a PE teacher (Alastair Aitkenhead hired me out of college), focusing on dance, in Ayr for 4 years, prior to my emigration to the USA in 1978. (Yes I am THAT old!). I now work with banking mainframe systems and recently moved to Kansas City to begin a new job.
I have two adult children, whom many of my dancing friends have watched grow up, and though neither do SCD, they both love ceilidh dancing.
I enjoy a nice dry red wine, a nice cold G and T, a good book, a good sing song, good music, good conversation.......sounds like a dance weekend!
William Williamson, Amisfield, UK
A native of Dumfriesshire, he learned Scottish Highland and Country Dancing as a child. He also sang as a chorister at St. John’s Scottish Episcopal Church in Dumfries where he would become choirmaster after graduating.
William studied music at Napier College and Moray House College of Education in Edin-burgh and afterwards took up a teaching post at Moffat Academy. As the sole music teacher in this rural area, William also had responsibility for music in the three small
two-teacher schools in the Upper Annandale Valley.
Away from education, William was a freelance broadcaster with the local BBC radio station where he presented the early morning breakfast news programme Solway Report. He also produced and presented other programmes, some for the national station, including the popular Macgregor’s Gathering. He has been a guest on the BBC’s Saturday night dance music programme, Take The Floor.
Scottish Country Dancing has always played a large part in William’s life, and he performs and teaches in many parts of the world. In 1980 he danced for the Royal Family at Holy-rood Palace for the Queen Mother’s 80th birthday. He is a long time member of the Dum-fries Branch of The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society and has taught at the Society’s AGM, Winter School, Summer School and overseas.
William is a well known singer and has recordings of songs from Dumfries and Galloway, “My Bonnie Gallowa” and “The Folks Who Live On The Hill.” William conducted The Old Well Singers, a community choir he founded in the mid 1990’s. It was part of The Old Well Theatre in Moffat where he was music director for thirty years, retiring in 2014.
He enjoys singing the songs of Robert Burns and as a look-alike, he played the great man on the BBC’s famous children’s television programme Blue Peter. He has also played the part of his famous cousin, the African explorer Joseph Thomson, in “Dumfriesshire’s Afri-can Explorer.”
In the 1990s’, William joined Dumfries and Galloway Action’s first trip to Croatia, helping to deliver aid. He drove a van, as part of a convoy, across Europe and back. He was awarded a Young Scot of the Year Award for his charity and humanitarian work.
William lives in Amisfield with his wife, Linda, where they both teach Scottish Country Dancing. He is Chairman of the village hall committee, a trustee of the “Joseph Thomson Maasai Trust, and a member of the John Muir Trust. William enjoys walking in the hills and promoting the culture of Scotland.
Steven Rusche, North Wales, PA
Steven Rusche discovered Scottish Country Dancing in college and has never looked back. After dancing for three years in the Atlanta Branch and three years in the New Haven Branch, he settled down in the Philadelphia area, where he has danced with the Delaware Valley Branch ever since.
Steven received his preliminary teaching certificate at St. Andrews Summer School in 1992 and his full certificate in the Delaware Valley in 1997. He has taught workshops and classes up and down the East Coast of the US, as well as regular classes at all levels, from beginner to advanced. He currently leads the Delaware Valley demonstration team. Steven really enjoys the combination of the social and technical aspects of SCD that make it different than any other form of dancing.