By CHRIS GRAEME
BRITISH COUNCIL teachers and students enjoyed various aspects of a good old-fashioned British Christmas in Lisbon on Saturday.
The Portuguese children of all ages had dropped into the Ribeira das Naus Auditorium of the Lisbon Port Authority at Cais do Sodré to sing Christmas carols, take part in a Christmas play and make Christmas crackers and spiced oranges.
The afternoon’s activities required a little more energy and effort with some Scottish Country Dancing which looked a gracefully gentle activity but in fact, with a number of complicated steps and manoeuvres was anything but.
The dancing lessons were organised by veteran Scottish country dancers Roger Picken and Sue Willdig, who have been running a Scottish Country Dancing Club at Carnide in Greater Lisbon.
“I started off Scottish dancing here in Portugal about 20 years ago in Carcavelos and then in 2004 we started a group in Lisbon where we have about 20 people who take part on a regular basis, almost all of which are Portuguese,” said Roger Picken of the Discover Scottish Country Dancing Club (SCD).
The energetic partnered and group dancing activities were all fuelled by traditional British mince pies and cheered on by a clapping audience to the strains of traditional highland jigs.
“This was my first time at Scottish dancing since I was at school in Scotland when I went through several kayleighs in my time,” said Deputy Director of the British Council Portugal, Fiona Mitchell.
“I think the performance was pretty impressive considering most of the participants had never seen or done Scottish Country Dancing before,” she added.
“We organised lots of events and in the morning, we bussed in lots of our own students and they did a play, various songs, and activities and at the same time we had all kinds of typical Christmas party activities and crafts such as cracker making and making reindeers, all from recyclable materials such as toilet roll tubes and old cardboard boxes, which proved really popular with quite old teenagers mucking in.”
There was also a Christmas Competition Raffle ongoing that day in collaboration with British Airways which offered two free return flights to London for next year as well as the British Council offering a free Summer English Course.
If you would like to know more about Scottish Country Dancing, please contact Roger or Sue on 212 383 737 or visit their website http://telheiras.scd.googlepages.com