FSCDC Dance Teachers Over The Years
*16th November 1914 †5th October 2004
Franziska was a co-founder of the FSCDC and served as a substitute teacher. She was born and died in Frankfurt-Sachsenhausen and worked in various offices for 44 years. Apart from (Scottish) dancing her second great passion was travel: Already very early Franziska went alone to remote countries like Russia and Australia (once, e.g., for 10 weeks). She travelled through Brazil alone from south to north for three months, went to China three times, and also saw Africa and other parts of the world.
Franziska came to folk dancing as the leader of a Catholic youth group and found this fascinating. She debuted as a (folk) dance teacher, without preparation, at a 110-strong folk dancing workshop in Eltville where she had to stand in for the actual teacher, who had fallen ill, with only a few hours’ warning, and stood her ground to “frenetic ovations” without a microphone and with a pianist who was just as inexperienced as herself.
She was a member of the Frankfurter Tanzkreis since 1936 and managed the FSCDC for many years together with the respective dance teachers, arranged for the gymnasium of the Herderschule as the dance venue, helped beginners alongside the regular Tuesday classes for several decades, and later babysat Hannelore Mansky’s daughter so Hannelore could go dancing. Franziska also supported the club financially (e.g., by donating a new tape/CD player in 1998).
†20th February 2002
David co-founded the FSCDC with Franziska, but taught in Frankfurt only for a few months before he moved to the Stuttgart area with his mother and James Alexander took over the Frankfurt class.
David started out as a lecturer, then later as professor of English literature at the Goethe university in Frankfurt, and could therefore arrange for a room in the university basement and inspire students to try SCD. In his classes, however, he spoke only English, which out of the six initial dancers only Franziska understood. When teaching SCD, David never danced himself, but he would dance when others were teaching.
*20th May 1929 †10th April 2011
James Alexander taught in Frankfurt approximately between 1963 and 1981. He was a printer with Stars and Stripes, married (to Ursula), and had two children (a boy and a girl). He liked Mozart and didn’t enjoy speaking German. He spent his retirement in Oban, Scotland.
Since at the time it was difficult to buy teaching materials such as SCD music and dance descriptions in Germany, James always taught off self-typed pieces of paper. Since 1966 he regularly visited the RSCDS summer school in St. Andrews (legend has it that he once had a difference of opionion with Miss Milligan). From 1974 he taught SCD in Frankfurt and Darmstadt, and led the Darmstadt SCD group from 1981 until the 1990s. James didn’t have an RSCDS teacher’s certificate, but he was an experienced, good teacher and favoured the “Edinburgh style”.
*10th December 1945 †24th October 2002
Jack taught in Frankfurt from 1982 until he slowly started pulling back from leading the club in the second half of the 1990s, for professional reasons.
Jack came from Pennsylvania (USA) and was a high-school language teacher by training (he spoke German, Spanish, Russian, Italian, …). But he had a grandfather of Scottish extraction who lived in South Tyrol. Later on he worked as an aerobics instructor in Frankfurt and director of education and honorary president of the Deutscher Aerobicverband (German Aerobics Federation, now DFAV), which he had co-founded. In addition, he served as a competition judge and presenter at aerobics world championships. He became known beyond SCD circles through his collaboration on the TV sports series, Tele-Gym, of the BR (Bavarian local broadcaster). There he led stretching classes and also appeared on some of the other series.
On his only free evening during the week Jack taught SCD in Frankfurt, and he was also sought after as a workshop teacher. For example, he collaborated for years on folk-dance teacher instruction in Lower Saxony. His non-chalant manner and his charisma remain unforgotten, just as his modesty; for example, he was asked several times to teach at the high-profile SCD summer course in Pinewoods (Massachusetts), but he kept declining this because he believed he wasn’t good enough. His way of MCing the Frankfurt Spring Ball remains unsurpassed. Jack held the RSCDS Teacher’s Certificate, invented new dances, and also taught Highland dancing (his combination Highland-dance-and-aerobics workshops were particularly popular).
*12th March 1966
Anselm has taught in Frankfurt since Jack retired – first as a substitute and later as the main teacher. He holds a master’s degree in computer science, works as a software developer on Linux-based security software, and not only teaches SCD, but also plays SCD music on the piano, arranges and composes music, and devises dances. He obtained the RSCDS Teacher’s Certificate in the summer of 2000, and in the same year was awarded the RSCDS Scroll of Honour for establishing and operating the “Strathspey” mailing list and web server on the Internet.
As a choreographer Anselm led not just various FSCDC performances on the “Frankfurt Stage” at Frankfurt’s annual Museumsuferfest (Museum Embankment Festival) and elsewhere, but also twice (2012 and 2013) took responsibility for the “German Team” display at the renowned Newcastle Festival. He plays the piano at workshops – not least at the RSCDS Summer School in St. Andrews – and social events (often as a duo with Christine Moos, the awesome fiddler from Freiburg im Breisgau) and teaches dance workshops; Anselm’s highlights as a teacher so far have been weekends in Tallinn (Estonia) in 2014 and St Petersburg (Russia) in 2015. (A planned appearance as a pianist at the RSCDS “Spring Fling” in St Petersburg 2020 unfortunately fell through due to the COVID-19 pandemic.)
In Society governance Anselm served from 2013 to 2016 as a member and from 2016 to 2019 as convenor of the Membership Services Committee, which mainly deals with publishing dance books and CDs, and was significantly involved in putting together Book 50, Book 51, and Book 52, as well as some new editions and reissues of out-of-print books such as the Graded Book and A5 compiled editions of dance books. In addition, he was the technical project lead on the RSCDS web site relaunch which took place between 2016 and 2018.
In Frankfurt, Anselm focuses on putting on additional events beyond the weekly dance classes, such as the annual tea dance, the fugues workshop, or taster workshops. He also enjoys training teachers, e.g., through workshops like “Basic Teaching Techniques” or “SCD Music for dancers and teachers”. As a Unit 4 mentor Anselm has accompanied a number of prospective teachers on their way to the Teacher’s Certificate, and currently (August 2022) he is one of three accredited trainers for the RSCDS “Core Training for Instructors” (CTI) in Germany.
Other Dance Teachers
Apart from these teachers “in charge”, a number of others have taught at the FSCDC (or are still teaching there), including:
- Dagmar Suhm
- With a master’s degree in education and as a holder of the Teacher’s Certificate the current “Number Two” on the FSCDC teaching staff. She likes to stand in when Anselm can’t make it for some reason, and teaches with spirit and enjoyment which she also passes on convincingly.
- Ulrike Köppler
- Actually James Alexander's successor in the Darmstadt SCD club, “On Your Toes”, but also active in Frankfurt when both Anselm and Dagmar are detained (which fortunately happens rarely). Also RSCDS certified and a very experienced dancer and teacher!
- Ralf Bolte
- Like Ulrike at times teaching in Darmstadt, and a regular visitor and occasional substitute for Anselm and Dagmar.
- Johanna Leithoff
- Long-standing Frankfurt dancer and substitute teacher and after a stint as an RSCDS-certified teacher with the “Narhalla Dancers” in Mainz now resident in Erfurt.
- Norbert Benz
- Erstwhile school teacher at one of the last “one-room schools” in the state of Hesse, in Kerbersdorf near Bad Soden-Salmünster, and a passionate folk dancer, he used to help out during Jack’s time.
- Hannelore Mansky
- Like Norbert, Hannelore supported Jack Campbell during the 1980s and 1990s – mostly with the administration of the club, but occasionally also as a dance teacher. Passed the “preliminary test” for the Teacher’s Certificate of the RSCDS.
We also shouldn’t forget the occasional visits of internationally renowned dance teachers to Frankfurt. These include, for example, Duncan Keppie (Nova Scotia, Canada), Rod Downey (New Zealand, multiple times), and Ron Wallace (California, USA).