Scottish country dancing is really sociable. It's one of the few types of dancing where lots of people dance together. In ballroom, ceroc and jive you dance as a couple. In Scottish country dancing you dance with a set of about eight people. In addition, you change sets and partners for each dance. By the end of the evening you will have danced with most of the people in the hall.
Unlike disco, it's ideal for the reluctant dancer. Everybody gets up right from the start. There's no crowd of nervous watchers hovering on the edge of the dance floor. No-one feels self-conscious because everyone else is joining in.
It’s also very friendly and quite physical (in a polite way). Dancers take hold to spin, circle, promenade, etc, and they smile at each other and make eye contact.
And finally, it’s great exercise! An evening's Scottish country dancing is at least as aerobic as the most vigorous session at the gym and is a lot less boring than the treadmill.
So how do I start?
Why not come along to a Wimbledon Reels to see what we do? You can be sure of a friendly welcome.
All our dances are walked through and called so that eveone can join in and we deliberately limit ourselves to a small range of dances so that newcomers can pick them up very quickly.
If you enjoy it we can also recommend some classes where you can go to learn more about the steps and formations.
A lot of myths grow up around any form of dancing. Here are the answers to some frequently-asked questions which should set the record straight:
- Do you dance round swords?
No - that's Highland dancing - An excellent form of dancing, but quite different.
- Do you have to be Scottish?
No - Scottish country dancing is one of the many gifts that the people of Scotland have bestowed on the world. It's now practised by people of every nationality worldwide.
- All that dressing up and dancing round in circles looks very strange to an outsider. Isn't it a hobby for eccentrics?
Generally most people don't dress up, though it is nice to see some kilts and other Caledonian flourishes for special occasions.
The dancing is a lot less complicated than it looks. Once you have been introduced to the basic formations you will be surprised by how simple it is.
It's fun for all the reasons stated above.
...and not an eccentric in sight!
- I've got two left feet and no sense of rhythm. How on earth could I do it?
Fear of dancing is quite common. In fact, there's almost no-one who can't do Scottish country dancing.
If you've got the manual dexterity to walk down a crowded street, you can learn to dance. It's a lot simpler and less scary than learning to drive a car.
- Do you need a kilt?
No - some dancers do wear kilts - and splendid they look in them! But you certainly don't need to and most people won't be wearing one.
- Do you need any special clothes?
No - but it's best to wear flat shoes and clothes you can move in easily.
High heels and hobble skirts are a bit of a disadvantage.
- Does it matter how old you are?
No - Scottish country dancing is for all ages.
At Wimbledon Reels we have a mix of people from every age group from 20s to 70s.
- Do you need to come with a partner?
No - most dancers turn up on their own and those who come as couples don't dance together most of the time.
You will generally have a different partner for each dance throughout the evening.
- I don't want to dance every week - can I still come occasionally?
Yes - you're welcome whether you want to dance weekly, monthly or quarterly.
We stick to a relatively limited repertoire of dances and walk through and call them, so you should have no difficulty joining in however infrequently you come.
- Do you run classes?
Wimbledon Reels doesn't run classes but the London Branch of the RSCDS runs excellent classes for beginners on Wednesdays nights in Chelsea. Click here for details.
- Can I get a taster?
Yes - you can drop in on any Social Dance night to see what it's like. You can be sure of a friendly welcome.
- How long will it take to learn?
We deliberately limit ourselves to a small range of dances so that newcomers can pick them up very quickly. If you come regularly you’ll find that you become familiar with the formations and dances after a few weeks. In addition you can enrol in one of the RSCDS London Branch classes for a term to learn more about the footwork and timing of the dances.