What is Scottish Country Dancing (SCD)


Scottish Country Dancing (SCD) is a type of dancing performed by groups of couples in set (usually of 3, 4 or 5 couples).  The dances typically consist of a sequence of formations, many of which are common to a lot of different dances, and in the majority of dances each couple takes turns at being the leading couple.

SCD shares its origins and some features of English County Dancing, but the two have diverged in the course of two centuries and different basic steps are used.

There are different styles of SCD, which apply in particular to the way steps and hand-holds are performed, and to the dances in the repertoire.  At the Guildford Scottish Dance Club, we dance according to the practices of The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society (RSCDS) which was founded in 1923, and which has over 11000 members worldwide. The Society has published over one thousand different dances, and with its branches and affiliated groups (and other individuals), have altogether published many thousands in total.

SCD should not be confused with Highland Dancing (where the dancers perform as individuals using intricate and energetic steps, as in the Highland Fling), or Ceilidh Dancing (which is a mixture of some basic country dances, with a variety of styles, and is often seen at weddings and social gatherings).  An alternative style, referred to as Reeling, is also popular in the UK - this has a limited repertoire of dances, and is rather more physical than SCD, with a lot of clapping, stamping and twirling of partners.