What is Scottish Country Dancing?
If you are wondering why you might want to dance “Scottish”, well, consider –
Firstly, we’re not talking about Highland dancing – that highly energetic, technical, but solo style of dancing – no, we’re talking about the warm, social, country style of dancing. Dancing in sets of six, eight, well almost any number really – 32 if the party’s wild enough. Dancing to some wonderfully lifting music – reels, jigs and strathspeys played on accordion, fiddle, keyboard and drums, etc. And dancing too, in steps and formations of every type, a great range of dances dating from the 18th century to the present day! Scottish Country Dancing has everything to exercise the body; the mind and the social graces.
Scottish Country Dancing is enjoyed by many thousands of people both in Canada & across the globe. There’s probably a set lining up, somewhere around the world, every minute of the day. You don’t need to be Scottish to join in nor do you have to be able to dance – all you need is to take a pleasure in dancing and in meeting and mixing with other people.
It is, without doubt, a most sociable form of dancing. Not just because you dance with seven or so other people, all at the same time, but with smiles and eye and hand contact being mandatory you cannot help but be friends with those around you. People can come as couples or as singles; you don’t need to bring a partner – there will always be enough other folks around to be sure you dance all evening. Mixing is the name of the game. It’s sometimes elegant; often very lively; but always, always, lots of fun.
(thanks to Tom Busby of Harpenden SCD)
Do I need a partner?
No! We welcome couples and singles alike. It is customary to change dance partners frequently throughout the evening. We consider that to be more sociable, and you will learn faster as you have an opportunity to dance with other, possibly more experienced, dancers. So bring your spouse, bring a friend, or come on your own.
Do I need those funny shoes?
No again! Just bring a pair of comfortable, low-heeled and soft-soled shoes with rubber soles so that you won’t slip. A pair of light running shoes would be perfect. By the way, we call those funny shoes ghillies. They are worn by both men and women, although many of the women wear “pumps” (like ballet slippers, but with either a full sole or a short sole with a pleated toe). Some dancers (men and women) wear a soft jazz shoe for a little more support. If you decide to stay with the dancing and want to invest in a pair of dance shoes, we will help you decide what is best for you and provide information about where you can purchase them.
What should I wear?
Some men wear the kilt to class. They find it comfortable to dance in, and enjoy any occasion to wear it and show off their legs! However, many men wear comfortable slacks, and that is what we suggest for you. The women are most comfortable in a full skirt (you will need room to move) or again, some women wear light slacks. Make sure they are not too long!
Do I need previous dance experience?
Absolutely not! Obviously, with previous dance experience you may catch on more quickly and be doing more advanced dances sooner. But all you really need is a love of the music, and to enjoy moving to music with others. Our teachers are trained to help you learn, and the other dancers will help you too. Our dancing appeals to people from many walks of life because of the music, the energy, the patterns, and the sociability – the opportunity to interact with our partners and with the 4 to 8 other people in the set while we dance… Why don’t you come along and give it a try?