What is Scottish Country Dancing?

Scottish Country Dancing (SCD) is a sociable dance form with roots stretching back for centuries. Participants are grouped into sets, typically of 3, 4, or 5 couples arranged either in two lines (men facing ladies) or in a square, and work together to dance a series of formations. This will leave them in a new order, and the dance is repeated enough times to bring them back to their starting positions, with everyone dancing each position in turn. Faster dances are called jigs or reels but there are also slower paced dances called strathspeys.


SCD is mainly danced socially, for the pure pleasure and enjoyment, but many groups also perform. Although the basic steps and formations are easy to pick up, the technique is being honed continuously and at its highest level is performed as an extremely athletic and graceful dance form. New dances are being written all the time and dances vary considerably in complexity and ease of dancing. Careful selection of dances for a program can cater for beginners with a couple of months experience, or challenge and interest the most experienced dancers, or (as more usually happens) provide a range over the evening to suit most tastes.