I have been doing Scottish Country Dance for almost 7 years now --my anniversary is the Monday after Thanksgiving. This means I've been doing it for over a quarter of my life, which is a whole different pile of awesome.
Part of dancing SCD has involved my gradual improvement, and invitation into more challenging or technically driven forms of the dance. There are advanced classes, there is the demonstration team, and there is reaching the point where one is encouraged to stop being a mere participant and become a teacher of the dance. I've reached that point, and for the last two months, have begun my Candidate Class.
An overview, for the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society is a creature comprised of red tape and buracracy: To become a fully certified teacher in the RSCDS, one must complete 5 units (comprising two levels). Level one is unit one, a written exam, unit two, proof of performance and technical accuracy, and unit three, proof of teaching skill. Level two doesn't start until a year after your level one certificate, and is comprised of unit four, a portfolio of lesson plans, and unit five, a more technically involved proof of teaching skill. It is all very official and impressive.
The upside of having all this is that the RSCDS can verify that its teachers really do know their stuff, and are committed to the goals of the Society. This is, first and foremost, a cultural preservation --Scottish Country Dance has roots as far back as the early 18th century, and being able to carry on this dance tradition is one of the core ideals of the Society.
The downside is that I'm giving up five hours of my life, every other Saturday, until early May in order to get my level one certificate. My unit one exam was two weeks ago (more about that in a separate post), which means for the next six months, I will live and breathe the twelve official dances I need to know for unit two, and the precise wording and pedagogy required for unit three.
I'm wonderfully happy with the situation.