Alex Ritchie, B.Eng, M.Eng, P.Eng.
Professor of Civil Engineering, Retired
58 Oakdale Crescent
Dartmouth, N.S. B3A 2L8
(902) 469-1492 e-mail email@example.com
Alex learned to Square Dance with Caller Bennie and Norma Slade in 1973-74 and in 1974-75 he, together with his dance partner Bernice Thurber, were taught the beginners' basics of Round Dancing by Lionel and Janet Crowe. He continued dancing with the "Stardusters" Square Dance Club and with the "Rebel Roundabouts" Round Dance Club for the rest of the Seventies.
In 1979-81 he was President of the Square & Round Dance Federation of Nova Scotia and was responsible for creating that Federation's logo and its publications "Calendar of Events" and "Between Tips". He was also instrumental in having the Federation make plans for starting the biennial Federation Festival.
When John Essex, who called for the Stardusters after Bennie Slade, left the Stardusters, Alex began cueing Round Dances at that club for two years until the new callers could take over. When Lionel and Janet Crowe decided to retire as Round Dance Leaders, Alex and Bernice started the Rag Rounds dance club.
As a teacher of Round Dance Alex draws on his experience and training as an University Professor, stage actor, Scout Leader, and trainer of Scout Leaders and Leader Trainers. Alex has taught Round Dancing since the early eighties and has graduated many into the fellowship and enjoyment of round dancing. "If it's worth learning, it's worth learning it properly", is something Alex has often told his students. To that end Alex takes and studies Ballroom dancing from Jane Edgett both for knowledge and self improvement. In addition to teaching Round Dance Alex also teaches Line Dance and Square Dance to those who can't quite keep pace with the regular groups, i.e. to the blind, to the deaf, and as exercise to seniors. He has helped start and given exposure to new Round Dance leaders and has given private lessons to Square Dance Callers and their spouses on the art of cueing Rounds.
Alex was the leader and teacher (Now retired) for the Rag Rounds Dance Club, the Dancing Shadows Club, the Golden Squares and Rounds. He was the dance leader for the Waltzaway Round Dance Club and travelled to Debert weekly for many years; now some of those dancers travel to Dartmouth weekly to dance with Dancing Shadows. He was active as guest Cuer at many Special Square and Round Dances. He was the Round and Line Dance Leader for the annual "Teepee Camperee" started by John Essex, and together with the other "Camperee" Callers puts on the annual New Year's Ball in Truro. Together with his dance partner Bernice Thurber he organized the annual Rag Rounds Shindig Dance which consists of eighty percent Rounds and twenty percent Squares. He occasionally is able to fulfil requests for fun night of dance by church and community groups.
Since 1980 Alex has Cued and/or taught at most of the Square and Round Dance Festivals and Conventions held in the Maritimes such as the Nova Scotia Festivals of Rounds, the Federation Festivals, the National Conventions (1982, 1994, 1998, & 2002), and the Maritime MCCA Conventions. He also sponsored and held many Provincial "Gettogether Dances" for the purpose of bringing dancers together and letting new Cuers and teachers work with a larger group. He has choreographed several round dance routines, two of which he presented and taught at the 1998 National Square and Round Convention in Ottawa, two at the 2002 Convention in Saint John, and another in 1994 when the National Convention was in Halifax.
Alex is a 31 year member of Roundalab which is the International Association of Round Dance Teachers committed to standardization and improvement of round dancing. He is a graduate of the three year DANS Leadership Course coordinated by John Essex. He is also a graduate of the Alguire Memorial Callers School. He is a member of the Universal Round Dance Council, Association of Nova Scotia Square and Round Dance Teachers, Maritime Callers and Cuers Association, Dixie Round Dance Council, Dancesport Atlantic Association, Canadian Dance Teachers Association, and Dance Nova Scotia.
He has served on the Board of Dance Nova Scotia and has been Treasurer, Secretary, and Chairman. He has been Treasurer and President of the Nova Scotia Drama League, President of the Square and Round Dance Federation of Nova Scotia, Secretary and Round Dance Coordinator for the Association of Nova Scotia Square and Round Dance Teachers, President and Secretary of Maritime Callers and Cuers Association and their Round Dance Coordinator for several conventions. He is also currently Treasurer for Dance Nova Scotia and for The Alguire Callers Memorial Fund. He has participated in the Scout Movement since he was a youth and has been a Scout Leader, a Trainer I, II, & III, and he is currently a member of the BP Guild and 1st Centennial Group. Alex is an active Church member and has served on the Board of Stewards and is currently a member of the Session.
Alex has received Best Actor Awards for his acting and he was honoured with the Governors' Shield for significant contribution to theatre in Nova Scotia for his work with stage lighting, and he is an honourary life member of the Nova Scotia Drama League (now "Theatre Nova Scotia"). He has received the Medal of Merit from Scouts Canada for his work in leadership training and development of syllabuses for Train the Trainer courses. From Dance Nova Scotia, Alex has received the DANS Chairman's Award and has received a DANS Award recognizing his contribution to the Square & Round Dance Federation of Nova Scotia. In August of 1999 Alex was honoured with the "DANS AWARD", Dance Nova Scotia's highest honour, presented "as merited, not necessary annually, to an individual who has given exceptional service to dance at the provincial, national and/or international level." In the fall of 2004 both Alex and Bernice were presented with the "MAYFLOWER AWARD" of excellence from the Square & Round Federation of Nova Scotia. Bernice passed away on April 19, 2005. In 2006 Alex was presented with the Canadian Square and Round Dance Society's prestigious "LONG SERVICE AWARD".
Alex and his wife, Gaylan, have been married for forty-eight years and are proud of their four sons,
grandson and twin granddaughters. Together they enjoyed the Theatre, the Symphony, family and each other.
Multiple sclerosis kept Gaylan off the dance floor, but she had many other activities and pursuits,
and it was her lifelong interest in live theatre that got Alex originally involved.
Gaylan passed away on March 10, 2005 and Alex wrote:
Dearest Gaylan May (Rutledge) Ritchie,
I love you dearly, deeply, and completely.
You are my protagonist, my inspiration.
You are my rock, my source of strength.
You are the reason for my existence.
Much of who you are, your essence,
has seeped into my being and although
our physical connection has been severed,
You shall continue to be a driving force in my life.
Your devoted partner, companion, and lover.
Robert Alexander Gaston Ritchie.
On August 5, 2006 Alex married his Highschool Sweetheart, Kathleen McDerby, who also lost her spouse in 2005.
Between then and now there was 53 years of no contact.