This in from Anselm Lingnau (originally posted to the strathspey.org list):
Here's a quotation especially for those people who believe that SCD today has become too technical and has stopped being fun/representing »the tradition«:
Hugh Foss said this in his pamphlet »Notes on Evolution in Scottish Country Dancing« (published in 1973). "
Some people grumble that the Society has over-emphasised technique (the steps, that is) and made the dances so precious and difficult that they are no longer the joyful romps they always used to be (always, in this instance, meaning, say, 1890-1920). In other words they complain because the Society has changed the second-best dances into best ones. But where else are the best dances today? When you had courtly corantos, you might like to relax in a Playford romp. When you were tired of very decorous waltzes or very difficult highland step-dances you might prefer to do the country dances without pointing your toes. But now there are no courtly (perhaps not even any decorous) dances to relax from. If you want the best dances the Society has them. I hope they won't become second-best for a long time yet.
The Society does not suggest that all dancers must have perfect technique before they can be let loose on a dance. It is quite easy for anyone -- or almost anyone -- to pick up enough about the steps to be able to enjoy the dances at the first class they attend. They don't have to learn the minuet first. (p.26f.)
The golden age of Scottish Country Dancing, by the way, is now. (p.26)