Home   News   Article

Respected Huntly-based teacher of Highland Dancing Alison Milne has her Golden anniversary celebrated at Dufftown


By Pat Scott

Easier access to your trusted, local news. Have a look at our digital subscription packages!



Dance teacher Alison Gordon (Milne), with some of the pupils who joined in her 50th anniversary celebration. Picture: Daniel Forsyth.
Dance teacher Alison Gordon (Milne), with some of the pupils who joined in her 50th anniversary celebration. Picture: Daniel Forsyth.

The red carpet was rolled out last Friday to honour a woman who has taught Highland Dancing to hundreds of youngsters over the past 50 years.

Alison Milne (67) runs the Alison Gordon School of dance which draws it pupils to classes in Dufftown and Aberlour from all over Moray as far as Tomintoul.

From Huntly, Alison's dancing career began as a nine year old when, with sister Brenda she began classes taught by the late Betty Jessiman.

The sisters became highly accomplished dancers and travelled to competitions across Scotland and beyond – usually with their mum, Anna by their side.

Dance teacher Alison Gordon (Milne), with family members who all share her passion for Highland Dancing. Picture: Daniel Forsyth.
Dance teacher Alison Gordon (Milne), with family members who all share her passion for Highland Dancing. Picture: Daniel Forsyth.

In a hectic couple of months in 1971, Mrs Milne, met her husband to be, Sandy, passed her driving test and the exams to become a dance teacher.

Some of her original pupils attended a surprise presentation at Dufftown FC's ground last Friday.

Dance teacher Alison Gordon (Milne), with some of the women who were pupils in the early days of her 50 year career. Picture: Daniel Forsyth.
Dance teacher Alison Gordon (Milne), with some of the women who were pupils in the early days of her 50 year career. Picture: Daniel Forsyth.

Alison's daughter Viv, who also teaches dancing, led the tributes.

She said: "Whatever was happening – births or illness – the dancing always kept going.

"You have put through so many folk.

"You give everyone a good grounding whether it be steps, when they weren't grasped first time, but with theory especially.

"You just don't allow dancers to go in for an exam unless they are well prepared and examiners have commented on the ability of your pupils at their theory."

In perfect step, Vivienne McIntosh with mum Alison Gordon (Milne). Picture: Daniel Forsyth.
In perfect step, Vivienne McIntosh with mum Alison Gordon (Milne). Picture: Daniel Forsyth.

Dancing has taken Mrs Milne overseas and she coordinated dance groups for trips with Huntly Pipe Band.

A perfect pose from one of the dancers at the 50th anniversary celebration for Alison Gordon (Milne). Picture: Daniel Forsyth.
A perfect pose from one of the dancers at the 50th anniversary celebration for Alison Gordon (Milne). Picture: Daniel Forsyth.

Alison organised dancing for the first ever Highland Games in Moscow, has twice travelled to China with dance groups and has taken her own pupils to a dance extravaganza at Disneyland Paris.

She qualified to be a judge in 1977 and travelled all over Scotland from Arbroath to Halkirk to championship events.

But with a wide circle of family members now competing, she often has to decline invitations to judge.

Rain was not allowed to get in the way of the Surprise presentation to Alison Gordon (Milne). Picture: Daniel Forsyth.
Rain was not allowed to get in the way of the Surprise presentation to Alison Gordon (Milne). Picture: Daniel Forsyth.

Yet she still organises the dancing at Highland Games in Dufftown, Aberlour, Tomintoul and Gordon Castle.

Since 2004 she has also co-ordinated the Walkers Shortbread Grampian games.

At the presentation Alison stated that she would continue to dance until she dropped.

She said: "I started to compete in my 20s and have been a judge for 44 years and an examiner for 20 years.

"I have enjoyed every minute of it and I would not change a thing - it's my hobby and my job and I love it.

"I have made such a lot of friends all over the place.

"It's a great hobby to have.

"You don't realise the impact you are having on folk by teaching them such a skill.

"There have been a lot of challenges during lockdown but we managed to keep going."

One of the dancers at the 50th anniversary celebration for Alison Gordon (Milne). Picture: Daniel Forsyth.
One of the dancers at the 50th anniversary celebration for Alison Gordon (Milne). Picture: Daniel Forsyth.

Some of the women who were in the first classes taught by Alison reflected on happy times spent in her classes.

Pauline Ryrie, said: "She never got mad I have never met such a calm person and we tried her patience."

Andrea Bruce recalled: "She slapped us on our knees to get us to do the dance right and counted out the rhythms to us.

"But it was all done in a gentle persuasive way."

Happy smiles from this dancer. Picture: Daniel Forsyth.
Happy smiles from this dancer. Picture: Daniel Forsyth.

Dufftown pupil Shona Taylor said that Alison's patience was sorely tried and she could remember getting into bother for popping out to the shop for a sweet during a lesson.

Shona added: "She was a great teacher though and we have a lot of happy memories."

As well as teaching Highland Dancing, Alison leads an Old Time dance group in Aberlour and instructed at the Tea Dance in Huntly prior to lockdown.

Lilian Grant and Alison Cumming who attend that group said they looked forward to it resuming.

Lillian said: "We have learned such a lot of very different steps to common dances.

"She's just such a good teacher."


Do you want to respond to this article? If so, click here to submit your thoughts and they may be published in print.



This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More