RSCDS Calgary Branch

About Us

Fancy a birl? Scottish Country Dance
What is Scottish Country Dancing?

SCD is a distinctively Scottish form of social dance that has existed for hundreds of years and is now danced world-wide.

Dancers are grouped into sets 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 leaves each couple in a new position in the line, and the dance repeating enough times to find them back to their original positions, with each couple dancing each position in turn.

There are faster dances called jigs or reels and also slower ones called strathspeys.

What about the music?

Scottish Country Dancing is accompanied by uplifting, rhythmic Celtic music, typically played by a band with various combinations that can include accordion, fiddle, piano, drums, recorder, guitar, flute and cello. From the first chord to the final bow or curtsey, dancers are inspired by the driving reels, jaunty jigs, snappy strathspeys or lilting slow airs.

What will I learn in a class?

When attending a class you will find that a “walk through” is done before each dance, to familiarize dancers with the formations involved. This way you can focus on learning how to do everything else first. This learning involves how to dance the various types of steps, and the names and patterns of the different types of formations. 

I need to get fit!

A study from the University of Strathclyde, in 2010, showed SCD to be superior to other forms of physical activity in building levels of fitness. The social aspect of SCD develops a sense of community and enjoyment, which encourages continued participation, and long term involvement, and is linked with good health, a positive attitude and longevity.

What do I wear?

No special clothing is needed but loose comfortable clothing is advised as classes are very active! Wear shoes with soft, flexible soles. Dancing shoes are not essential for beginners, but after a few classes you may wish to get some. “Gillies” are traditional for males and ballet training shoes for females. Kilts aren’t needed but always welcome!

Do I need a partner?

You do not need to bring a partner, it is usual for dancers to take a new partner for each dance. This adds to the friendly aspect of the dance and also gives you the opportunity to meet and dance with lots of people. SCD is an easy way to keep active while connecting with new people and making friends.

Am I too old or young to start?

As long as you are willing to have a good time, there is no restriction on age.

What else is there besides classes?

We have many events in the Calgary area that feature SCD. From casual ceilidhs to formal balls you will have the chance to use your new skills to participate in a large number of cultural occasions in Calgary, Alberta and beyond!