Méaudre Reel

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Once upon a time there was a small village in the Vercors, in the Alps: Méaudre. One of the primary school teachers in the village, Sophie Marchand, arrived at the school in September 2005. With her class of CE2-CM1 pupils, she did traditional dances from October to December. The school’s “gymnasium” being a room with two big pillars in the middle and rather low ceilings, it was possible to dance there! In January, pupils usually go skiing (both downhill and cross country), so that there is no need to plan for PE classes around that time!

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Except that in January 2006, the snow just would not fall... So Sophie Marchand organised dancing classes once again. But rebellion threatened to erupt!!! So in order to calm them down (and hoping that it would snow in the meantime!) she offered to teach them Scottish country dances. To her amazement the pupils were very enthusiastic: order, rigour, symmetry, solid geometry... what could they possible like about it all?

The pupils asked if they could put on a big display for the parents, and the teacher said: “Why not!”, still hoping that it would start snowing... There was to be no snow that winter, and in their PE classes the pupils refused to do anything other than Scottish country dancing!

There was a big end of year display and the pupils asked if they could go on dancing the following year. No problem with that, but they were all moving on to the next form, so they were going to have a different teacher! Faced with their disappointment and repeated entreaties, Sophie Marchand asked the Méaudre Village Council for permission to use the sports hall in the lunch break so that the children could go on dancing.
The CD player cost 200 euros, she thought she was going to get just 10 little girls, so she asked for a membership fee of only 20 euros... and ended up with over 30 children, whom she split into two groups, coming either on week A or week B. With the money, a grandmother offered to make costumes – skirts for the girls and kilts for the boys.

The village canteen, the club des Enfants, helped as well: on the days dancing classes were held it provided two services, and the children were brought back by coach to the sports hall after their meal at the canteen.

As membership soared, the time came to set up a club: the Méaudre Reel was born on 10 June 2008.

Today the Méaudre Reel organises three different classes: one for primary school children, one for teenagers from the local high school (the children have grown up and want to go on dancing, so this additional slot was required!) and one for adults (the last class to have been set up, in September 2011).