Meet the amazing line up of talented teachers joining us for NZ Summer School 2024/25

Kate Gentles

Kate danced as a child in Northumberland, and then started attending regular classes as a student in Cambridge. She danced in London for several years, dancing with the London demonstration team and meeting her husband at social dancing at the Church of Scotland. After returning to Cambridge, she took her teaching certificate in 1997 with Susan Nedderman in Cambridge and now teaches the class that she learned with.

She has taught in Cambridge for over 25 years, at various levels with both the RSCDS branch and the university, including teaching for the Dancing Achievement Award.

More recently, she has organised teams from Cambridge for an annual dance festival/competition in Newcastle, which has been particularly valuable in giving students the opportunity to dance to an extremely high standard.

She also learned step dancing from Susan and ran a weekly Zoom step class throughout lockdown. She has taught both country dancing and step dancing at St Andrews and day schools, from beginners through to advanced. She particularly enjoys encouraging people to develop both their technique and their social dancing skills through a combination of old and new dances.

Diana Hastie

I was born in Aberdeen, but spent most of my childhood in Yorkshire before returning north of the border at 18 and getting hooked on SCD. I was a regular at St Andrews Summer School between 1997 and 2009, often dancing in the mixed country dancing, step dancing and Highland demonstrations at Younger Hall. I also danced with the International Team at the Newcastle Festival in 2007.

I moved to Australia in 2010 and now live in Sydney with my husband and 9 year old son. I completed my teacher training in New Zealand 2013-14. Since then, I have taught and helped organise various workshops, events and classes for Sydney branch and local clubs.

I have taught workshops in the Hunter Valley and Canberra as well as the Southern Fling weekend in Canberra, 2020. I have taught at the New Zealand Summer School (2018/19 senior JAMs) and at St Andrews Summer School (2019, returning 2024). I also presented in the Dance Scottish at Home lockdown lessons during COVID.

I have started to work on training new teachers (Unit 1, Basic Teaching Skills Course, Unit 5 shadow, CTI) and I will train as a tutor (candidate teacher trainer) in 2024. I also wear many “hats” in the background as Sydney branch secretary, Teachers’ Liaison Group (TLG) treasurer, Australian Teachers’ Alliance (ATA) secretary and recently Australian Winter School 2023 secretary!

I think warm ups and strength & balance exercises are very important and I enjoy devising and using skills exercises.

My favourite tunes are reels, and my favourite formations are Hello-Goodbye setting in reel time and the strathspey poussette right round. If I sit out either of these I’m probably injured!

Ruth Budden

Having started dancing as a teenager, I have now clocked up more than 50 years of strathspeys, reels and jigs.  I started dancing at Te Awamutu, and over the years danced at most clubs in the Waikato (Hamilton Scottish, Lochiel, Huntly, Tokoroa, Taumarunui) before moving to Auckland about 25 years ago.

I gained my teacher’s certificate in 1982, but most of my teaching has been in the last 25 years.  Many thanks to Esther Mackay at Waitemata, who gave me the opportunity to teach alongside her – and I learnt plenty!

Highlights in my teaching career include teaching four sets in a Senior JAM class at a Summer School; having a lot of fun with an Advanced Low Impact class, again at a Summer School;  and watching a young dancer who I taught as a very shy 7 year old gain her Gold Bar Medal.

I have attended at least 20 Summer Schools in New Zealand, and have lost count of the weekend and day schools.  In addition, I have danced at two TAC schools in Canada, three winter schools in Australia, and made it to St Andrews Summer School twice.  (That was an experience, as a newly qualified teacher, I was in a class with all those experienced teachers who I knew by name and reputation)

In recent years, I have also played fiddle for dancing in the Waikato-based band, Bourach Mor. I now look forward to the challenge of passing on my knowledge to the next generation of Scottish
Country Dance teachers in New Zealand, working with them in a collaborative way so they can achieve their potential.

Andrea Wells

I have been dancing for around 25 years now, having started as a child in England. After moving to New Zealand at the age of 10, I continued dancing at Eastbourne, Lower Hutt and Upper Hutt Clubs, before starting my teaching certificate in my early 20’s while finishing my University Degree.

During my dancing and teaching career I have attended and taught at Summer School, Weekend Schools and Day Schools around the country and am currently co-teaching at Lower Hutt Club in the Wellington region.

When I am not teaching dancing, I love to potter around in the garden and grow my own vegetables. I teach at a local preschool and have been doing this for the past ten years. I also enjoy Op. shopping most weekends, usually seeking out treasures for work.

Elizabeth Ferguson

Born to Scottish parents I have both a love of Scotland and a passion for teaching. I was introduced to Scottish Country Dancing at the age of 9 when my mother took me to dance at Linden Club. I took up a career in teaching and went on to gain my Dancing Teacher’s Certificate in 1981, while teaching the children’s class at Linden. After gaining my certificate, I taught at Plimmerton Club and during this time married Malcolm in 1986. We both attended numerous Summer and weekend schools together.

I have tutored classes at a number of Day Schools and Weekend Schools. I have been a tutor for Junior Classes as well as a club tutor at Lower Hutt for many years.

I have taught at many NZ Summer Schools and have had the privilege of having Kitty McLauchlan, Muriel Johnstone and Catherine Fraser play for my classes.

Recently, I have taken Region classes and Beginner Classes for our new club members. I am currently dancing at Lower Hutt.

Outside dancing, I’m an avid crafter especially patchwork and knitting, as well as gardening. I belong to Knox Church and I am involved in a number of community activities. I look forward to meeting you at the Wellington Summer School.

Susanna van der Gulik

Scottish dancing for me is a family activity! My parents both danced, and SCD has accompanied me through primary school, high school, JAM camps (as a JAM), university and my OE in Germany, back to NZ and the early years of marriage, more JAM camps (as a teacher), and now sharing this hobby with my own children (aged baby to teen).

I live and dance in Lower Hutt and have taught adult club nights, adult Region classes, ceilidh events, JAM camps, weekly JAM classes and school groups.

I’m looking forward to meeting and teaching a new group of JAMs at Summer School!

Wayne McConnel

My introduction to Scottish Country Dancing was as a reluctant spectator in 1995. When I was prised from my chair and joined in, there seemed to be much more going on than when watching. It was mentally demanding, the music infectious, it was social with constant interaction and cooperation with others and as physically challenging as you wanted to make it.

I have danced at Hamilton Scottish ever since and enjoy regularly attending dances, Weekend Schools and Summer Schools. With some encouragement along the way I passed my RSCDS Teaching Certificate in 2010. Armed with my certificate I have had the privilege of teaching day classes, at weekend schools in the North and South Islands and at NZ Summer School and Australian Winter School.

As a teacher I hope to help others enjoy their dancing. I look forward to seeing you in Wellington.

Katherine Uren

Katherine has spent most of her life with her fingers dancing on a cello, but discovered Scottish Country Dancing in 2011, and is thriving on the balance between the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, cello teaching, dancing, and taking the Innes Club (and its Young Unicorns) in Ellerslie, Auckland. Duets with her husband, Andrew Uren, equate to Poussettes, and Crossover Reels are like sorting the family transport!

Apart from sharing the fun of the dance, Katherine likes books and word games, and likes the challenge of Duolingo.