Introduction

The dance season starts in September. We usually start the season with an Open House at which everyone is welcome. See the Class Schedule for place and time of the Introductory class. And remember, you don't need a partner.

Scottish Country Dancing - a Brief Introduction

circle Scottish Country Dancing (SCD) is a sociable form of dance and is not to be confused with Highland Dancing. It has its roots in contra dancing in which dancers form a longwise set of usually 3 or 4 couples with couples facing each other across the set. A couple consists of a man and his opposite lady, and the couples are numbered from first to fourth from the top of the set. When the music starts it may be a jig, a reel, a strathspey, or, sometimes, a hornpipe or minuet.

Prior to dancing, an instructor will brief the dance, i.e. give the sequence of patterns and other instructions in the dance. Each couple will have the opportunity to be dancing couple and the others in the set supporting couples. If you hear the dance described as 'eight times thirty two', it means it is a 32 bar dance repeated 8 times, twice for each dancing couple in a 4 couple set. Now, playing the same tune 8 times through would get pretty monotonous after the first few repetitions. So, the music for a dance will be several tunes strung together.

balance Socials are held several times during the year and members have the opportunity to meet and dance with other members of the Branch. Socials feature live music by our band Scotch Measure and are topped off at the end of the evening with delicious food. Take a look at the Events Schedule to see what is happening during the year.

To hear a sample of a jig, a strathspey, and a reel played by Scotch Measure, click the play button.
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We all know the benefits of regular exercise, and SCD is a moderate exercise with plenty of hopping and skipping to increase your heart rate and help you burn those calories. But do you know that SCD may also help to improve your bone strength? Read on for more health information.

Health Benefits of SCD

Strengthening Bones
"Osteoporosis is a condition in which bone strength is reduced because of a change in bone quality and a reduction in the amount of bone material present. It is thought to affect 1 in 3 older (post menopausal) women and 1 in 12 older men."
It has been shown that low impact exercise such as that provided by Scottish Country Dancing can improve bone strength. In a study reported in Scottish Country Dancer, April 2009, the pas de bas step measured higher on the Impact Force scale then marching, sidestepping, or walking and measured almost twice the bodyweight.
"It would be sensible to propose that Scottish country dance should now be added to the list of recommended activities for women who wish to maintain bone health"
Scottish Country Dancing and Health
Scottish Country Dancer, April 2009

Improving the Brain, and Other Things
"According to recent research, all that Scottish reeling and jigging is the best tonic there is for our physical and mental health."
A study reported in Men's Health covered the areas of Dressing Up, Exercise, Mental and Overall Health, Communality, and Sexual Interaction.
As far as the brain is concerned, it reported "More mental benefits come from the new brain structures dancing creates, adds Dr. Forte. ‘Rehearsing and learning the profile of movements builds new pathways in the brain – vitally important when you remember that after the age of 18 we lose 100,000 brain cells every day.’"
Happiness is .... a kilt and a pirouette
Men's Health
October 2002

Other Physical and Psychosocial Benefits
Seventy women between the ages of 60 and 85 years of age were assessed on their strength, stamina, flexibility, and balance. Half the women were SC dancers, the others participated in activities such as swimming, walking, golf and keep fit classes.
They all compared favourable to the average fitness level for their age range, but the SC dancers had more agility, stronger legs, and were able to walk more briskly than the others.
Proof: SCD is good for you
Scottish Country Dancer, October 2010

In Conclusion
There are other many other studies reporting the benefits of SCD — the workload of a typical SCD session results in an aerobic value above average for a typical adult; heart rate responses are within the training zone for a cardiovascular training effect; SCD is an effective component of a physical activity regimen because it is perceived as play, not work.
But the overriding benefit of SCD is fun. It is social. It is inclusive.

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Commonly Asked Questions