Teachers for the TAC Summer School 2023
 
Sharon Barker - Calgary, Alberta   Gary Coull - Aberdeen, Scotland  
Alan Twhigg - San Jose, California   Ron Wallace - Santa Rosa, California

 


     Class Teachers Summer School 2023

Sharon Barker

Calgary, Alberta

   

 

Sharon was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, and moved to Calgary with her family when she was young. She started Scottish country dancing at the age of 7 and has been a part of many of the classes and demonstration teams in the Calgary area. She has over 45 years of dancing experience.

Sharon started teaching SCD to beginners at one of the local groups in Calgary in 1994. She received her preliminary certificate from the RSCDS in 1998 and her full certificate in 2002. Since then, she has been teaching classes in Southern Alberta on a weekly basis. She has also taught at many day and weekend workshops across North America. Recently, she has taken up tutoring and loves sharing her passion for Scottish country dance with others. In addition to teaching, Sharon has held several board positions with Calgary Branch and Teachers’ Association (Canada).

Sharon is also interested in other forms of Scottish and Irish dance. These include Irish ceili dancing, highland dancing, and Scottish step dancing.

 Gary Coull

Aberdeen, Scotland

   

 

Gary began dancing at age 10 in Dufftown, Scotland, with Jessie Stuart as his teacher and gained his full teaching certificate in 2013. Gary, who is currently the RSCDS Chair-Elect, has taught at various weekend and day schools in Scotland, Europe, and North America, including RSCDS Summer School, the 40th anniversary weekend of the Stockholm Branch, TAC Summer School in Vancouver, and the Munich Scottish Association Dance Weekend.

Gary dances with the RSCDS Aberdeen demonstration team, loves a good birl, enjoys dancing strathspeys (especially ones with the poussette), and thinks the most important thing about Scottish country dancing is having fun! 

By day Gary works for the University of Aberdeen, is married to Joanna, and has 2 children, Bess and Flora.

Alan Twhigg

Santa Rosa, California

 

 

   

With Scottish heritage on both sides of his family, Alan developed a love for traditional music at an early age. His parents danced with the Reel & Strathspey Club that preceded the formation of the San Francisco Branch of the RSCDS and often took him to Highland Games and pipe-band concerts as a child.

Alan discovered Scottish country dancing as a college student, amongst other dance forms such as ballroom and international folk. The music resonated with some early memories, and the intricate patterns of SCD stood out from the other styles. He soon sought out a weekly class, then two . . .

Alan passed both the RSCDS teaching exams at St. Andrews in the 1980s and has taught regular weekly classes at various levels ever since. He has served as a guest instructor at weekend workshops across North America and tutored candidates for teaching exams. He also continues to participate in SCD performances, chiefly with the Red Thistle Dancers. Favorite memories include choreographing and performing a sword dance for the San Francisco Opera and teaching and performing in Norway, the Czech Republic, and Russia.

“SCD is a great activity for keeping body and mind engaged, for sociability, and for responding physically to the wealth and variety of music in the Scottish tradition. It has helped me connect with diverse people worldwide, leading to experiences and long-term friendships I never expected.”

 

Ron Wallace

Santa Rosa, California

   

Some of my earliest memories include watching my parents performing Scottish dance at a Burns Night celebration in Mapleton, Minnesota, where my mother grew up. Her uncle started the organization, and twelve of my relatives were involved over the years. Many Scots who settled in this area arrived before the SCDS was formed. Their dance style hadn’t evolved with the times as it did in Scotland. For example, dance pumps as we know them today were worn for performance, but not social dancing.

This was a very fertile ground to “grow up with it” and produced dreams of teaching it. When my parents bought a restaurant, and my mother couldn’t continue teaching, I had the opportunity to take over. So, at a very early age, that’s exactly what I did. 54 years later, I reflect on how little I knew then and how little I know now! The more I learn, the more I want to know.

In 1981, teaching Scottish dance and music became a full-time endeavor with classes in highland, step dance, Cape Breton step, country dance, and piping. Teaching these forms has taken me around the world and provided many an adventure. What better life than to share traditions, old and new, with all who love to dance!