What is Scottish Country Dancing and why does the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society (RSCDS) promote it so widely as offering fun, fitness and friendship for those who attend classes around the world?
Scottish country dancing is a very social form of dance not only because you dance with seven or more people at once instead of just one, but also because smiles and eye contact are almost mandatory! In a non-threatening manner, more experienced dancers always help newcomers complete the dance formations.
Leg strength, stamina, agility, fitness and dynamic balance are all secondary benefits of a fun night of dancing. What more could you ask for in an enjoyable social setting for seven dollars?
Our class is great fun for several reasons: you can come on your own; we laugh a lot; it is a way of keeping fit; our minds are challenged to remember different formations and combinations of sequences within each dance. Memory is sharpened both in the short term i.e. “what did the teacher say to do next?” and in the long term i.e. “we did that dance last week but I’ve forgotten half of it”. The music is fantastic. It is not bagpipe music but rather fiddle, keyboard and piano accordion, with the occasional double bass. CDs are used in class but throughout the year there are dances held on a grander scale with live music, men in kilts and ladies looking their best with a touch of tartan showing.
Our teacher is most encouraging towards all people, regardless of their level of ability. Steps are taught and demonstrated but the focus is to move through the formations and patterns and derive pleasure from the feel of the dance without being put off by fancy footwork. Soft comfortable shoes are the basic requirement. We break for a cup of tea and a chat during the evening and at some stage everyone lends a hand in the kitchen.
The RSCDS was formed in Edinburgh in 1923 and is still based there. Earlier than that, people were endeavouring to collect and preserve the traditional dances of the 19th and 20th centuries. The organisation was founded in order to standardise steps, formations and devise newer dances in the same vein. It has succeeded in making Scottish country dancing very popular around the world. There are many videos available on YouTube and the RSCDS website. We also have our own website: www.boxhillscottishsociety.com
By: Judith Bailie