The St. John's branch sponsors many activities related to Scottish country dancing. Classes are available for beginning and experienced dancers. Socials, with music provided by the branch band Corryvreckan, are held several times during the year to provide more formal occasions to enjoy Scottish country dancing. The members of the demonstration team perform at various festivals and functions throughout the year. To learn about our branch and activities check out the links at the bottom of the page.
Scottish country dancing is the social dancing of Scotland. It belongs to the family of dance forms which include English country, traditional Newfoundland and Square dancing. Scottish country dancing is characterised by the style of music and its attention to footwork.
The dancers arrange themselves in two parallel lines, partners facing each other, to form a longwise set of four or five couples. The dances are progressive; when the top couple complete a turn of the dance, they finish one place down The dance continues until all couples have danced from the top position. Country dances may also be danced in a square formation.
The dances are co-operative, each dancer assisting the others through the different formations of the dance. A variety of formations are arranged in different combinations for each dance. Once the basic steps and figures are learned, one is able to dance a large number of dances.
Dances are done to the traditional music of jigs, reels (quick-time) and strathspeys. Jigs and reels are found in the national dances of many countries, but the slower stately strathspey, with its distinctive rhythm, is unique to Scotland.
The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society (R.S.C.D.S.) is an international organisation of more than 20,000 members in 166 branches and 449 affiliated groups worldwide. Through the network of local branches, the RSCDS provides opportunities to learn and dance the country dances of Scotland. Founded in 1923, its primary aim is to practise and preserve country dances as danced in Scotland. Booklets containing music and instructions for dances are published regularly.
For a more detailed description, read "What Is Scottish Country Dancing, Anyway?" by Anselm Lingnau.
Bring a smile and a sense of fun! Scottish country dancing is great exercise for the mind as well as the body. Meet new people and make new friends. It is not necessary to bring a partner. The form of the dance provides an opportunity to dance with many partners during the evening. Wear clothing that is comfortable for dancing. Ghillies or ballet shoes are the preferred footwear, otherwise wear soft-soled, non-marking shoes. Won't you join the dance?
Ghillies may be ordered through The Music Collection and Dance Corner, 444 Torbay Road, St. John's; (709) 738-2982.