Elinor Mackenzie Vandegrift



Elinor Mackenzie Vandegrift 2007


Elinor Mackenzie Vandegrift was born in Assam, India, of Scottish perents. She began Scottish Country Dancing (SCD) while at school in Chester, then expanded her dance background to include a wider international range at Bedford College of Physical Education.

She became more involved with SCD on emigration to the Los Angeles area in 1967. After six months in Los Angeles, she worked with the Booklyn Y.W.C.A. as Health / Physical Education / Recreation Director for two years. In New York, she became involved with a small Scottish song group who specialized in a Gaelic repertoire.

Afer a year spent working and dancing her way round the world, Elinor returned to live in Santa Monica in 1971. She moved to the Pacific Northwest in 1976 after her marriage. She teaches adaptive Physical Education in a school for multiple-handicapped children.

After teaching at the San Diego State University Folk Dance Conference in 1982, Elinor left for a year in England. Her husband, David, had a Fulbright teaching exchange at a school in Guildford, Serrey, England, where he taught fourth graders. The couple enjoyed both English and Scottish country dancing while in Britain, and especially enjoyed the accessibility of live music for dancing.

She attended the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society's annual summer school at St. Andrews University in 1983. It was there that she learned the dances that she presented at the Folk Dance Conference on her return. Those dances are part of a collection published by the R.S.C.D.S. to celebrate its Diamond Jubilee in 1983.

Elinor holds the teaching certificate of the R.S.C.D.S. and has been Director of Instruction for both the Los Angeles and Seattle Branches of the society. She has danced with demonstration teams in Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, and Scotland and conducted teacher candidate classes in Los Angeles and Seattle. She has taught workshops in Canada and the United States.

She has taught in Australia at over 14 different halls including the Adelaide Winter School. She also has taught at the R.S.C.D.S. workshop in Fort Worden State Park on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington. She received the R.S.C.D.S. Scroll of Honor Award in 2007.

Elinor was asked to substitute for C. Stewart Smith at the San Diego State University Folk Dance Conference when he fell ill, saying, "What an honor that was. That was one of the most wonderful teaching and dancing experiences I had had by that time."

Dances Elinor has taught include Autumn in Appin, Clutha, Diamond Jubilee, Earl of Mansfield, Highlandman's Umbrella, Ian Powrie's Farewll to Auchterarder, Let's Have a Ceiledh, Old Nick's Lumber Room, Polka Country Dance, Reel of the Royal Scots, Rothesay Rant, Shiftin' Bobbins, Staffin Harvest, Trip to Glasgow, and Waltz Country Dance.