Frequently Asked Questions regarding Scottish Country Dancing

What is Scottish Country Dancing?

Scottish Country Dancing (SCD) is social dancing generally done in organised formations referred to as sets. Sets usually consist of three or four couples, but some dances call for larger sets of five, six or even more couples. Couples are usually mixed, but women will dance with women or men with men depending on the make-up of the assembly. Scottish country dances are categorised as reels, jigs and strathspeys according to the type of music to which they are danced.

Why learn to dance?

For starters, it is a lot of fun! Fun aside, dancing has so much more to offer than just a good time. Exercise, stress relief, self-confidence, social poise, and a creative outlet are amongst the many benefits you can receive from dancing.

Do I need a partner?

No. You can come along by yourself, with a partner or in a group. People are encouraged to change partners every dance, to enhance the social aspect of the dance and this means that you get an opportunity to meet and dance with lots of people. You certainly won't be left sitting on the sidelines.

Where can I go and dance?

There are clubs and groups throughout the Cape Town area. Further information as to when and where classes are held is listed on the clubs page.

How much does it cost?

Classes cost R20-R25 per night. Most classes can be paid for on a nightly basis however there will typically be a significant saving if you pay the class fee at the beginning of the year.

What should I wear? Do I need special clothes?

No. Any light clothing that facilitates movement can be worn. For classes you dance in whatever feels comfortable to you. For balls, which are usually semi-formal, men can wear a suit and women a dress. No kilts or tartan skirts are required, but those who have them are encouraged to wear them!

Do I need special shoes?

No again! Just bring a pair of comfortable, low-heeled and soft-soled shoes with rubber soles so that you won't slip. A pair of light running shoes would be perfect. Ghillies are worn by both men and women, although many of the women wear pumps (like ballet slippers, but with either a full sole or a short sole with a pleated toe). Some dancers wear a soft jazz shoe for a little more support. If you decide to stay with the dancing and want to invest in a pair of dance shoes, we will help you decide what is best for you and provide information about where you can purchase them. (Teplov Shoes who are located in Somerset West can supply you with Ghillies and ballet pumps).

Do I have to be in good physical shape?

Like most types of dancing, Scottish Country Dancing can be quite a workout but you don't have to dance every dance! We encourage warming up before class and stretching afterwards. If you are looking for an easy and fun way to get in shape, try Scottish Country Dancing!

Is there an age limit?

As long as you are willing to have a good time, there is no restriction on age.

Do I have to be a Scot or of Scottish descent?

No, Scottish Country Dancing is enjoyed the world over from New Zealand to Ghana. It is not ethnic dancing, it is ballroom dancing that was popular during medieval times. Most dancers are not Scottish, just lovers of dance!

Is Scottish Country Dancing the same as Highland Dancing?

No. Although the two forms of dancing have some common origins, share some music and some aspects of technique, the two types of dancing are quite different today. Highland Dancing is generally a solo form of dance for adjudication, performed to specific tunes on the pipes. Scottish Country Dancing is social dancing in sets of multiple dancers, with different movements incorporated into a wide variety of dances. Scottish Country Dancing is a social, group activity.

Is Scottish Country Dancing the same as Ceilidh dancing?

Scottish ceilidh dancing would be similar to the reels and jigs of Scottish Country Dancing. Ceilidh dances tend to be simpler and performing the proper steps is not so important.

Is this exercise or fun?

It's both! Our classes focus on fun. We are all there for the enjoyment of the dance. You can experience the thrill of dancing your very first reel simply by investing a bit of time, some effort and lots of enthusiasm!

Do I need previous dance experience?

Definitely not! Obviously, with previous dance experience you may catch on more quickly and be doing more advanced dances sooner. All you really need is a love of the music, and to enjoy moving to music with others. Our teachers are trained to help you learn, and the other dancers will help you too. Why don't you come along and give it a try?

We hope this information helps. If you have any other questions contact us at: info@scd.za.net