The Teaching Staff

The Mountain View class has an excellent teaching staff. Each of our teachers has a deep and abiding love for Scottish country dance and enjoyment of the dance is the chief goal of the Mountain View class. All of the teachers hold certificates from the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society (headquarters in Edinburgh, Scotland). The certification process is quite rigorous and assures that instructors are both accomplished dancers and thoroughly grounded in style, technique, and teaching skills.

Armin Busse

Armin Busse

Armin Busse started his dancing, and then teaching, in Germany with international folk dancing, Scottish Country Dancing and German folk dancing. Other forms of dancing followed suit. He has both attended and taught at workshops throughout Europe, which brought him in contact with the more global scene of Scottish Country Dancers.

Since moving to the Bay Area, Armin has been enjoying teaching together with the other teachers of the Mountain View class for over 10 years--though being asked how long he has been teaching, he might simply say "a few years," even though "a few decades" would be more accurate. Armin's teaching philosophy is that "dancing is more about having fun and dancing better (i.e. having more fun) through improved technique."

In addition to teaching the Mountain View class, Armin is also a regular teacher of the Campbell class (currently also located in San Jose) and recently co-tutored the successful teacher candidates class for the RSCDS San Francisco Branch. Along with his teaching schedule, Armin is also a longtime member of the Red Thistle Dancers, with whom he has performed extensively and toured both the Czech Republic and Skandinavia, and enjoys playing rhythm with a Scottish Country Dance band in San Jose.

Outside of dancing, Armin enjoys his work and believes that a successful work life provides additional experience and training to be a better community member.

Paula Jacobson

Paula Jacobson

It was in 1991, that Paula came across a little notice in the newspaper which read: Come Scottish Country Dancing, Thursday nights in Santa Cruz. She went to that class, and on the very first night, knew she had found her passion in life. A few months later, she enrolled in the Mountain View Class, dancing in both classes for four years. She has been performing with the Red Thistle Dancers since 1995, including tours to Norway in 1998, and the Czech Republic in 2002. She passed her preliminary test for teaching SCD in 1996, and gained her full certificate in 1999, both in St. Andrews, Scotland. She co-taught the Soquel Class with Bob McMurtry from its inception in 1996 until its demise in 2007, and now teaches regular classes in Santa Cruz, San Jose, and Mountain view. She started the Santa Cruz Youth Class in January 2008, and, with Lin Pettengill, teaches the Devisor Showcase class.

Describing her love for SCD, Paula says: "There is as much challenge in it as anyone could want, yet dancers of a wide range of ability are welcome in the set. The people are friendly, supportive, and accepting. The music is superb. The dances are exciting, elegant, powerful, and evocative. The social aspects are full of fun. What more could one possibly ask?"

In her everyday life, she worked for nearly 30 years in broadcasting as a Master Control Operator, primarily for PBS. She is now retired from television, and works as a sound technician for the San Francisco Branch, while continuing her teaching of Scottish Country Dancing to all who will.

Lin Pettengill

Lin Pettengill

Lin briefly encountered Scottish Country Dancing whilst at Liverpool University, but attended her first real SCD class in Miami when she and her husband Don moved to the U.S. in 1974. She has never looked back and has been an avid Scottish country dancer ever since, obtaining her Full Teaching Certificate in 1997.

For most of the years since 1975 Lin and her family have lived in the San Francisco Bay area. She has been an active San Francisco branch teacher since 1998 teaching the San Jose and San Mateo classes and permanently joining the Mountain View class teaching rotation in 2008. She enjoys teaching all levels of classes from the basics with beginners to the finer points with more advanced dancers and has a particular fondness for high energy dances with lots of pas de basque.

Lin has been a San Francisco branch member since 1977 and a performance dancer with Red Thistle Dancers for more than 40 years. She loves participating in small performances for community groups as well as full fledged stage shows. Lin dances everywhere she goes and very much enjoys the friendships and camaraderie of Scottish Country Dancing. Dancing has taken her to many far flung places, from Indonesia to the Czech Republic and to lots of different cities in the UK, Canada and U.S.

In her non-dancing life, Lin enjoys community theatre and musicals, visits to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, walking, hiking, reading all sorts of books, spending time with her husband and visiting their three grown children in Oregon. And now, with her recent retirement from her day job, she hopes to be able to squeeze in even more Scottish dancing!

Alan Twhigg

Alan Twhigg

Alan's involvement in Scottish Country Dancing goes back to the late 1970's and he's been a Mountain View class teacher since 1987. Scottish country dance first caught his interest in college; but the seeds were planted much earlier. When he was a youngster, his parents were Scottish country dancers and often took him to bagpipe concerts and Highland Games. (Perhaps the Scottish music, imprinted at so early an age, stimulated the MacNeil and MacGregor genes in his heritage?)

In addition to Scottish country dancing, Alan is an accomplished Highland dancer and performs frequently in public. He does both Scottish country dance and Highland dance with the Red Thistle Dancers, a performance group based in Palo Alto. Alan frequently travels to Scotland to attend dance training schools, and broaden his knowledge of the culture.

Alan has also taught the San Jose and Stanford classes and he's a frequent guest instructor with other Bay Area groups. His experience includes teaching Scottish country dance at workshops across the Western US and Canada.

Elsewhere in life Alan works as an information developer in the computer networking industry. Other interests include foreign languages, literature, travel, and history.

Rachel Pusey

Rachel Pusey

In addition to the rigor and technical challenges that RSCDS classes offer, Rachel enjoys the distinct charms of English Country Dance (ECD) and contra, and loves introducing people to the fun and sociability of folk dance at ceilidhs. The Bay Area has a wealth of opportunities for everyone to find their 'dancing home'. Rachel looks forward to teaching in Mountain View and San Jose this year. She is also excited to have joined the Red Thistles performance group recently.

Rachel went to barn dances in her teens, then discovered ECD as an undergraduate (think Jane Austen, but with less witty repartee). It was disappointing to find no English group back home in Oxford, but a friend persuaded her to overcome her prejudices and give Scottish Country Dance (SCD) a try and it took. She danced with the student group for several years, where she met her husband, Dilip. On moving to St Louis, MO they danced twice a month with the Highland Mist group, but that just didn't feel like enough dancing so they started an additional session on the off-weeks."

A career move to Seattle was perfectly timed to allow Rachel to join the RSCDS teacher training program in 2006, and she taught a beginner class for a year as part of her training. At the time there wasn't a class in Seattle itself, so she began exploring options and ended up starting a class in the University district that is still running. Although not specifically aimed at students, the relatively high energy class has attracted younger dancers over the years. Rachel tends to think that one's early 20's is a great age to take up this energetic dance form, but acknowledges that she's biased by her own experience and is delighted to share the joys of dancing with all ages! "It was inspiring when I started SCD to see that I could look forward to dancing throughout my life."

By day she is an accountant; her math background probably also explains her love of the patterns and symmetry in SCD. From the age of 10 she followed her father into English-style change bellringing (that's the big bells, not the little ones) which is a great excuse for visiting English villages (and pubs). Javanese gamelan music took her further afield, including two years at an arts institute in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.