Madge Laing Obituary

Madge began her dancing career in her native Aberdeen. In 1957 Madge and her family emigrated to New Zealand travelling by boat, the longest six weeks she had ever experienced. Madge once told me it took her 40 years to consider New Zealand her home, she enjoyed her life in Hastings although the summer at times were a little too warm.

Madge had a great passion for Scottish country dancing and the knowledge she imparted was excellent. She inspired many and any who found the time for discussions about SCD would learn something new. She was the best mentor a dancer could have with her in-depth knowledge of both dance and music and her practical approach to any challenge.

Madge served the New Zealand Branch by holding several offices over the years and was awarded the RSCDS Scroll for Meritorious Service in 1992.

She had been the New Zealand Branch President, North Island Vice President, New Zealand Examiner, Member of Technical Committee, Hawke’s Bay/East Coast Region Representative, Hastings Club Tutor and the first tutor of a Scottish country dance group in Taradale, this shortly after she had arrived from Aberdeen. She upheld the Society’s objectives faithfully during a dancing career that spanned well over 60 years and set an outstanding example for dancers throughout New Zealand as she taught at Day, Weekend and Summer Schools. Her classes were well attended and her teaching skills were unequalled.

Madge had many stories she could relate when teaching a dance, one in particular involved ‘The Montgomeries Rant’. She was attempting to gain a place in a demonstration team in Aberdeen and had been asked to partner a gentleman wearing a beautiful shirt adorned with lace, she was so fascinated by it as they crossed giving left hands that instead of casting up, she cast down and so that was the end of her chance to be part of the demonstration team. She said ‘he was fair dripping wi’ lace I was mesmerized.’

Madge will be greatly missed by all members of the Hastings Club and indeed by many dancers throughout New Zealand. Madge gave much of her life to dancing and we are the richer for it – thank you for sharing it with us.

Dancers owe a debt of gratitude to Madge’s family for the time she spent away from them especially during the Christmas/New Year as she prepared for Summer Schools when examinations were held.

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From “60 Years of Scottish Country Dancing”, compiled by Glenys Kelly, 2011


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