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What is Scottish Country Dancing?


Scottish country dancing is social dancing. It is usually danced in groups of two, three or four couples, facing each other in lines or squares.

It has its roots in the Highland Reels of Scotland and the 17th century dances of Europe. Together with its English counterpart, Scottish country dance has helped to spawn ceilidh dancing, contra and square dancing.

Quick-time jigs and reels will be familiar to many people. These dances involve a light skipping step, where the dancers move through a series of "figures" - Crossing, circling, reeling and turning in a pattern variously involving the "dancing couple" or their set. Unique to Scottish dance is the Strathspey - a slow reel which uses an elegant style of step. Scottish country dancing can vary from the energetic to the flirtatious.

Scottish country dance is more than "country" dancing. It is a dance for the ballroom, dance hall, village square or local inn. It has been popular amongst gentry, royalty and the common folk for well over 200 years. In Australia we dance in schools and church halls, clubs and pubs, as well as each other's back yards and lounge rooms.

The best way to picture it is, of course, in the flesh. All classes welcome visitors and many of the clubs around the country are active participants in display events. Don't be fooled by their energy or their precision - anybody can enjoy it.

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