How is Scottish Country Dancing (SCD) different from Ceilidh or Barn Dancing?

At Ceilidh or Barn Dances, you can just get up and dance to the instructions given by the caller, even if you’ve never danced before.  SCD is more precise with a greater emphasis on footwork and phrasing, it also has a much larger repertoire of dances and, as a consequence, needs to be learnt, but it is just as much fun, if not more so, as Ceilidh or Barn Dancing.

Is it difficult to learn?

Like all skills it takes time and practice to get the hang of it.  Our Tuesday class for new dancers will help you build the necessary basic skills, across a three-month period, to ready you for your first formal dance at the end of it.  Along the way, you will be joining club members for more relaxed social dancing in the second half of Tuesday evenings.  Further classes to take you to higher levels of skill are a weekly feature of club life.

Is it good for you?

Recent research has shown dancing in all its forms to be life enhancing in a number of ways.  There are the obvious fitness benefits that come from participating in a physical activity.  Dancing to music in a team works the little grey cells and has proven to be a major contributor to the avoidance of age-related dementia.  SCD, above all else, is a social activity that makes you many a new friend.  Fun, Fitness and Friendship is what it’s all about.

Where can I do it?

We dance in Potten End a village close to Berkhamsted, Tring and Hemel Hempstead.  Not too far away, there are other clubs in Watford, Wendover, Gerrards Cross and Harpenden, as well as London Branch of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society.  SCD is popular all over the world and there are clubs and RSCDS Branches in France, Germany, Portugal, Russia, North America, Japan, Australia and New Zealand to name but a few

Do I have to be Scottish?

No, most of our club members have little, if any, connection to Scotland; they just love Scottish dancing.  The few Scots among us are definitely in the minority.

How can I get started?

If you already dance Scottish, come along to one of our Tuesday club nights and take it from there – you’ll find us very welcoming.  If you’re new to SCD contact our Secretary (secretary@berkhamstedreelclub.org) and sign up to our Tuesday night beginners’ class.  It’s best if you can start the class in September or February, but enthusiasm makes up for many a missed class and, if you’re prepared to accept it might initially be a bit more difficult, you can join at most other times.

Do I need special shoes?

Initially, just a pair of light, flexible shoes will suffice, but as you become more experienced you will want to acquire a pair of specialist shoes.  Men dance in what are known as ‘Ghillies’.  Although some women also choose them, most wear dance ‘pumps’, which are similar, but not the same as ballet shoes.

Do I need special clothing? (Do I need to wear a kilt?)

Men; no, you don’t need to wear a kilt and many men don’t bother for club night social dancing, but we can more or less guarantee that if you get the bug, you’ll want one.  For the most part, light clothing is the order of the day.  Dancing is a physical activity and by the end of an evening you can be sure to be ‘glowing’.  Many women prefer to dance in skirts rather than trousers, but it’s not compulsory for social dancing.  Our most formal event, the Highland Ball, is a black-tie affair.

Is it expensive?

Our current membership subscription is £32 for the year, for which you get 39 nights of social dancing, including a Christmas Party, a Ceilidh, a Burns’ Night Dance, a Tea Dance and Garden Dances in the summer at no extra charge.  Tickets for our more formal dances range from £10 to £25 for our Highland Ball.  Classes on Mondays and the Beginners on Tuesdays are £5 a session; for beginners your first class is free.

How do I join your club?

Easy, just contact the club Secretary (secretary@berkhamstedreelclub.org) to set the ball rolling.

What do you offer experienced dancers?

Do have a trawl through our website to see the full range of what’s on offer, but in brief: lots of social dancing, Garden Dances in the summer, a Charity Dance, a Themed Dance, weekly classes at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels, a demonstration team, a Day School, a Nice & Easy Dance, a really splendid Highland Ball and a Spring Dance.  What are you waiting for?  Come join us!