FAQs about Scottish Country Dancing

Do I need to be Scottish to attend?

Not at all! Scottish Country Dancing is open to everyone and is enjoyed the world over, across Europe and North America to Australasia and Japan, wherever people love to dance. 


Do I need a partner?

No. Usually in Scottish Country Dancing, dancers take a different partner for each dance. This adds to the social nature of the dancing, and means that you get an opportunity to meet and dance with lots of different people.

Nearly all Scottish country dances need at least six people to dance together. Anyone can ask anyone else to dance.

If you do have a partner bring them along; it is a great way to get fit and have fun together.

Do I need special clothes or shoes to dance?

Yes and no. For ladies, it is more comfortable to wear a wide skirt or stretchy leggings (so that you can move easily). Some men often wear the kilt for dancing, but again it is not essential, and for classes most men wear a comfortable pair of trousers.

After a few dance evenings most people decide to buy a pair of dancing shoes designed specifically for Scottish Country Dancing, soft leather pumps or ghillies, but beginners should wear any comfortable shoes with a soft non-slip sole, such as jazz or ballet shoes.  Trainers or walking shoes will work but you will likely feel more comfortable in something else.

Is Scottish Country Dancing good exercise?

Like most types of dancing, Scottish Country Dancing is an excellent, healthy exercise, and the fitter you are the easier it will be to learn.

Dancing is very good for your heart and lungs and will also improve your balance and bone density. Scottish country dancers have better agility, stronger legs, and walk more briskly than other people.

Is there an age limit?

No way! As long as you are willing to have a good time there is no upper limit on age. Most RSCDS Branches are qualified to teach anyone aged 6 to 90+, and all you need is to enjoy dancing.

Classes can be aimed at certain age groups, but most classes are based on skill level. At social events and in many classes, you will find people aged 18 dancing with people aged 75. Dancing brings everyone together!

Do I have to learn the dances by heart?

Not at all, but if you did, we would be very impressed as there are a lot of them! You don't have to learn any of them by heart if you don't want to, although you should try and learn the steps and formations, which are found in most dances.

Programmes for balls and social dances are published well in advance and weekly classes aim to practise the dances from forthcoming programmes. Also, at the event itself dances are always recapped or even walked through before the music starts.

In addition, at social dances and formal balls you can typically find a programme with cribs or diagrams to help you understand the dance. You are always more than welcome to bring your own dance sheets and carry them on to the dance floor.

Do I have to study for years before I can attend a social dance or ball?

No. There will be a variety of dances, although the formations can be a little more complex in some which may not be suitable for beginning dancers, but the basic steps and various formations can be learned at our weekly classes, a local day long dance workshop or dance weekends organised by your local Branch or another Branch or Group. 

Whether it is your first time or you are a seasoned veteran, dancers welcome you to the floor and will gladly help you through the dances. Remember, it's all about fun!