Sandy Furrer

Sandy Furrer

Folk Arts
Central Region
Little Rock, Arkansas
501-821-4746
[email protected]


Although many Arkansans are proud of their Scottish heritage, few of them have seen or had the opportunity to dance a reel, jig, hornpipe or experience the grace and elegance of a strathspey. Individuals, whether children or adults, who participate in this AIE Program will learn the basic footwork and formations commonly used in dancing traditional and modern Scottish reels, jigs, and strathspeys. The level of involvement can be tailored to meet any teacher or group leader's needs. This program is well suited for Physical Education or Fine Arts curriculum for elementary and junior high students. Scottish Country Dance helps to develop one's physical and mental agility, it promotes positive social skills and team interaction for students of all ages, and it is just plain fun.Ms. Furrer is available to conduct teacher workshops.

Background

Fact: Scottish country dancing is appropriate for children, youth and adults of all ages, races, and nationalities. One does not need a single drop of Scottish blood to participate in Scottish country dancing.

Fact: Scottish country dancing is not the same as Highland dancing or Irish step dancing. Scottish country dancing is a form of social or recreational dancing usually done in small groups or "sets" of 6 to 8 dancers who use skip change of step, pas de basque, or strathspey footwork while dancing various patterns or formations with other members of the set.  Everyone in the set gets an opportunity to dance the dance both as a dancing couple and as a supporting couple. Emphasis is placed on learning how to dance instead of learning dances. On the other hand, Highland dancing and Irish step dancing typically involve a solo dancer and emphasis is placed the performance of precise dance routines and steps.

Fact: There are many benefits to Scottish country dancing. In addition to being a fun way to get exercise, it also offers students a unique cultural experience, it promotes positive peer relationships through teamwork, it helps improve concentration and sequential learning skills, it helps reduce stress, anxiety and depression, and it helps improve agility and coordination.

Sandy Furrer discovered Scottish country dancing in the 1980's when the Scottish dance group in Little Rock, Arkansas ran a newspaper ad offering a 10 week series of lessons.  Immediately she was hooked. Through the years she has received extensive training from nationally and internationally renowned dance teachers, the Thistle School of Scottish Country Dance and the Teacher Association of Canada. Ms. Furrer is a long term member of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society, whose headquarters are located in Edinburgh, Scotland, and she is a Certified Teacher with this organization.  Ms. Furrer is a founding member of the Arkansas Scottish Country Dance Society, a not for profit organization established in 1985, and she has served as President of the organization in the past. She and members of ASCDS have performed at Riverfest, the Ozark Folk Center, Historic Arkansas Museum, Lyon College's Scottish Arts Festival, the Arkansas Art Center, Reynolds Performing Art Center at the University of Central Arkansas and the South Arkansas Art Center to name a few.  In addition, she is a Master Gardener, former Social Studies Teacher, and Licensed Master Social Worker who retired in 2008 after working 32 years for the Arkansas Department of Human Services and Arkansas Senate.

AIE Program

Preferred Age Level: Elementary; Middle/Junior High; Senior High
Geographic Availability: statewide
Time Availability: open
Special Needs: large, open room for dancing; access to electrical outlets; a table; chairs or benches for students to rest; access to water fountain and restrooms