Couple foot tapped their way to love
As the Tokoroa Scottish Country Dance Club prepares to celebrates its 40th anniversary there’s one story that’s perhaps more significant than the rest.
It’s that of founding members Graeme and Genny Hall.
Despite neither having strong Scottish roots or coming from dancing backgrounds, it was the original Tokoroa club, founded in 1955, that brought them together.
‘‘In 1955 there were a lot of Scottish fitters and turners who came to live in Tokoroa to establish Kinleith Mill and so the original club was started,’’ Genny said.
‘‘I left school in 1954 and it was in the winter of 1955 when I joined the club because there was a Scottish girl I was friendly with who dragged me along. It was just something to do.’’
‘‘It was a Scottish guy who dragged me along as well. We’ve been here from the start more or less,’’ Graeme added.
‘‘I was working out in the forest and he asked ‘have you ever done Scottish country dancing?’.’’
‘‘I went blank and said ‘I don’t know about dancing?’ but he said ‘nah nah come along, it’s great’ so I did and it was,’’ he laughed.
He said the club thrived in its early years but as contracts ended at the mill, many of the Scots began to leave town which saw the demise of the club.
‘‘When that happened there was nothing else to do so we thought let’s get married,’’ Graeme laughed.
But as their love blossomed they also kept their love of Scottish dancing alive.
It was their dancing at a Christmas social in 1977 that led to the club being reborn.
‘‘A pipe band player, who’d been dancing since she was four, came to live here and during the playing of a Gay Gordons at a Christmas social Graeme and I got up to dance and she watched us and said ‘oh you do Scottish dancing’,’’ Genny said.
‘‘She talked to the pipe band members and under that umbrella we started a new club which has been going ever since.’’
Now in their 80s they said they both still love dancing and have no plans to stop any time soon.
‘‘I think we’ll have to pass on when we’ll stop. The usual trick is you fall over or you die,’’ Graeme laughed.
A 40th anniversary dance will be held for past and present members on Saturday, August 12 from 5.30pm in the Catholic Hall in Mossop Rd. Adults $20, spectators and juniors $5.