ANNOUNCEMENT: GRAND REOPENING: 14th September 2021. Please see our Classes page for more details.
In the meantime, check out our Distance Learning page, with simple strengthening exercises for you to do at home, useful "how to" guides and some quizzes.
Welcome to the RSCDS Manchester Branch website. We are a volunteer-run group who enjoy this lively and entertaining form of dancing. We run two classes:
- Beginners/Improvers on Tuesdays September - June;
- Intermediate/Advanced on alternate Wednesdays September - March.
Please see our Classes page for more details.
We also have two social dances per year, in November and February. The beginner's classes will help prepare you for these. Please see our Social Dances page for more details.
Occasionally we are able to perform demonstrations or run Ceilidhs for a small fee, subject to availability. Due to the size of the group, we request at least three months notice. More details can be found on our Displays and Demonstrations page.
What is Scottish Country Dancing?
Scottish country dancing is a form of social or group dancing similar to ceilidh dancing, and not to be confused with Highland or other forms of "folk" dancing. Dances usually involve between 4 and 10 dancers, with each pair of dancers taking a turn in the spotlight, supported by the other dancers in the group. Dances follow patterns made up of a sequence of discrete movements called "formations". Whilst there is some footwork to be learned, the emphasis is on the patterns made around the dance hall and the fun and friendly atmosphere. It is not necessary to memorise whole dances, only the component formations. Having mastered the basics, a dancer should be able to confidently participate at ceilidhs and other social dances.
There are three types of Scottish Country Dancing: Jigs, Reels and Strathspeys. Jigs and reels are faster dances, whereas Strathspeys are uniquely Scottish with a very slow and sedate tempo. All three tempos are taught at our classes.
You are never too old (or too young) to start. Scottish dancing has a very wide age range, with participants globally ranging from 4-5 years up to people in their 80’s and 90’s! However, RSCDS Manchester Branch are currently unable to offer a children's class.
An example of a Scottish Country Dance is shown here. See our FAQ page for more details.
Dancing and Mental Health
Dancing is an excellent way of keeping active, improving mental health and reducing stress levels. It is suitable for all ages, fitness and ability levels. Dancing is an ideal way of meeting people and making new friends. Scottish country dancing is also very good at improving memory as the dance form requires you to remember short sequences of dance figures, which will be repeated several times throughout the dance.
About The RSCDS
The Scottish Country Dance Society was formed in Glasgow in 1923 with the aim of preserving country dances as danced in Scotland. The society received its "Royal" status in 1951 and has expanded to over 170 branches in the UK and worldwide. The Manchester branch was founded in 1935 and continues to hold classes and dances suitable for all levels of dancer.
More about the RSCDS can be found here.
Class Venue: Ladybarn Community Hub, Royle Street, Ladybarn, M14 6RN. Parking is available, with public transport also nearby.
New/Prospective Dancers: please email us at least 48 hours prior to your first class to book your place. This is so we can track numbers for classes and plan accordingly. Likewise, please let us know if you are unable to come to a class so we can free up space.
Our Beginner / Improver class is for those who have never tried Scottish dancing/Ceilidh before, or who are returning to dancing from a long break. The lessons get progressively harder each week, therefore we recommend beginners start within the first 1-3 weeks of the term and commit to the whole term.
Our Intermediate/Advanced class is for anyone who has been dancing at least two years, has good knowledge of footwork and basic figures, and an interest in complex or unusual dances.
Our summer term classes are "General / Mixed Level" social dance classes with visiting teachers.
Unfortunately we are currently unable to offer a children's class. Teenagers may attend the adult's classes provided they are accompanied by a parent or guardian for the whole lesson. Please email us for more information.
All our classes start at 7.30pm prompt and last for two hours (please arrive early!). Wear ordinary loose, comfortable clothing and flat shoes or trainers. Bring a re-usable bottle of water to class.
Your first class with us is free. £6 per class thereafter, (£5 for RSCDS members, 25% discount for under 25's. Payment by cash or cheque).
Beginner / Improvers
Autumn Term 2021
(Tuesdays 7.30-9.30 pm)
Beginner / Improvers
Spring Term 2022
(Tuesdays 7.30-9.30 pm)
Summer Mixed Ability
Summer Term 2022
(Tuesdays 7.30-9.30 pm)
Intermediate / Advanced Class
(Wednesdays 7.30-9.30 pm)
Our Social Dances
Below are the dates, programmes and crib sheets for our social dances.
The venue for all our social dances is: St Matthews Hall, Chapel Lane, Stretford, M32 9AJ. Parking is available at the venue, or on local side-streets.
Our dances start at 7.30 pm prompt. Please arrive 10 minutes early to change shoes, warm up etc.
Dances for our social programmes are practiced in our Beginner/Improver classes in the 4-5 weeks immediately prior to the dance. Some Scottish dance experience is required to be able to participate. If you haven't danced before, or your only experience is Ceilidh dancing, please come to our classes for at least a term before trying your hand at a social dance.
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Displays and Demonstrations
Our main commitment is to our own classes and dances. However, occasionally we are able to facilitate ceilidhs, or do demonstrations and displays to advertise Scottish Country Dancing for a small fee.
If you wish to arrange for a demonstration or ceilidh please contact us via our email address at least three months in advance of your proposed date. Please note that since we are a small volunteer group with other commitments, it is not possible for us to facilitate events outside of evenings and weekends, or on dates which clash with our own classes and dances.
In recent years we have had a stall and/or display at both the "Manley Park Celebrate Festival" and the "Ladybarn Park Fun Day". This is something we hope to continue doing each year to advertise our classes. Feel free to come along and chat to us at the next event. If you think we might make a good addition to your summer fair or fun day, please let us know via our email address at least three months in advance.
How To Contact Us
For all enquiries, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org. We will endeavour to respond to your email within 7 days.
Newcomers/Prospective dancers: please email email@example.com at least 48 hours prior to the Tuesday Class to book a place. This is so we can track numbers for classes and plan accordingly. Likewise, please let us know if you are unable to come to a class so we can free up space.
Members of other RSCDS branches and Scottish Country Dance Groups wishing to send us information about your upcoming events, please email details/flyers to: firstname.lastname@example.org or give flyers to a comittee member in person. We display event flyers on our noticeboard at classes. Thank you.
You can also keep up to date with us via our facebook group
For A list of other local clubs and groups, please see our Useful Links page
RSCDS Manchester is a registered charity, No. 1082107.
GDPR Statement: By contacting us you agree that we may from time to time send you details of our classes and events. We will not use your details for any other purpose than this or administering your membership and will not give your details to third parties. If you no longer wish to be contacted, please email us stating you wish to opt-out of future communications.
Our venue for all classes is: Ladybarn Community Hub, Royle Street, Ladybarn, M14 6RN Park in the car park or on the quiet side street outside.
Our venue for our Social Dances is: St Matthews Hall, Chapel Lane, Stretford, M32 9AJ Park in the car park or local side streets.
This is a collection of some of our recent photos and videos.
If you have any videos or photos taken at any of our recent events and would like them displayed on our website, please send them to us via the branch email address.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I wear and bring to class
- Flat, lightweight shoes or trainers are ideal for your first few lessons. Do not be tempted to wear heels or heavy boots since others around you are wearing thin dance shoes and don't want to be trampled! After 4-6 weeks of lessons, we recommend you invest in the proper shoes. See Useful Links tab for more details.
- Wear comfortable, loose clothing with at least one layer you can take off easily, as you will get quite warm during the class - particularly in the winter where venues may start off quite cold.
- A (reusable) bottle of water/juice.
- Weekly class fee (in cash or cheque)
- Plenty of enthusiasm!
Do I need to bring a partner?
No. Unlike ballroom & latin dancing, no-one has a permanent dance partner and you are expected to change partners after every dance, so everyone will get to participate. Experienced dancers will naturally try to dance with less experienced dancers in order to aid their learning & development. Dancing with the same person to the exclusion of others is actively discouraged!
However, the more the merrier - so feel free to bring a friend!
When should I start dancing
You are never too old (or too young) to start. Scottish dancing has a very wide age range, with participants globally ranging from 4-5 years up to people in their 80’s and 90’s! However, RSCDS Manchester Branch are currently unable to accommodate Under-12s. Teenagers should be accompanied by a parent or guardian for the whole class.
Our classes are open to complete beginners in September and January each year and those with more experience at any time. There is no requirement to start on the first class of the term/year, although to allow progression, the earlier you start and the more classes you can commit to, the better. If you have to miss one or two classes it isn’t a problem.
Anyone with long-term hip, knee or ankle injuries are advised to consult their GP or Physio. for general advice before starting lessons.
What is the difference between Scottish Country Dancing (SCD) and Ceilidh Dancing?
The short answer: Ceilidh Dancing is the less formal, more drunken variant of Scottish Dancing typically seen at Weddings and Hogmanay (Scottish New Year).
The longer answer: The basic concept of both Ceilidh and SCD is the same, with very similar music (reels/jigs) and basic formations. However, SCD also incorporates a wider range of more complex formations, a third tempo (strathspey) and some basic footwork. This makes the number of possible dances much greater. Most SCD gatherings (classes or social dances) are also teetotal.
What is the class format?
Classes last 2 hours and include a warm-up, 15 minutes of step and figure practice and approximately 90 minutes of dance-walkthroughs and dancing. There is usually also a 5-10 minute rest-break after the first hour
The objective of each lesson is to learn and practice the figures/formations, footwork and dance etiquette rather than remember whole dances. Above all, the aim is to have fun and meet new people.
How big are the classes?
Typical class sizes are between 8 and 24 people. Due to the nature of Scottish dancing as a form of social dance, at least 6 people are needed for a class to go ahead. If there is an odd number of people, some of the more experienced dancers will take it in turns to sit out to give other dancers a chance (and to have a well-deserved rest!) This is perfectly normal for this dance form, so please don’t feel you’ve intruded into a select group. No-one has an established/ permanent dance partner and you are expected to change partners after every dance, so everyone will get to participate.
How quickly will I progress? Are there any festivals, displays or competitions I can enter?
Typically, anyone who has been dancing less than a year is considered a beginner. Those who have been dancing 1-2 years are "improvers". After which, progression is at an individual's own pace, which will depend on age, ability and enthusiasm.
The majority of dancers do so for pleasure and the social aspect. Adult Dance Achievement Awards (DAA) Intermediate, Advanced and Very Advanced Certificates and Teaching Certificate Qualifications are available through the Headquarters of the RSCDS. Please speak to your teacher for advice if you wish to take one of these certificates - these are not held locally. Further information is available here.
The RSCDS Leeds branch runs the "White Rose Festival" - a day of "en-mass" dancing each July. All Intermediate and above dancers are invited to participate, either by submitting a team or by asking to join the Leeds teams. Note that this is not a competition and dancers are not marked or graded for their performance. Please see the RSCDS Leeds Branch Website for further details.
RSCDS Manchester branch from time to time run displays of Scottish Country Dancing as part of their advertising at local fetes and fairs. All branch members and associates are encouranged to help out at these events, either by dancing or by helping to run the stall.
Our Comittee and Teachers
RSCDS Manchester Branch is organized, run and taught by volunteers. The committee is elected each May at our AGM by Branch members.
Persons wishing to stand for committee must be RSCDS and branch members (see Here for more details), and are requested to make themselves known to the secretary at the earliest opportunity by email or phone.
The 2021 - 2022 Committee is as follows:
- Chairman: Dave
- Hon. President: Barbara H.
- Hon. Life Vice-Presidents: Joan and Val
- Hon. Secretary / Membership Secretary: Rob K.
- Hon. Treasurer: Nora
- Advertising and Media: Heather
- General Comittee Members: Carol & Ishbel
The Beginner/Improver Class teachers are: Heather and Dave
The Advanced Class teachers are: Barbara H. and Pam D.
The Beginner/Improver Class musicians are: Ishbel, Rob and Barbara D.
Class fees are priced on a per-class basis (see our Classes page for details) and you do not have to be a member of the RSCDS to enjoy dancing at RSCDS Manchester Branch classes or dances.
Membership of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society (RSCDS) entitles you to:
- A £1 discount at all RSCDS Manchester classes (per lesson).
- A £1 discount at RSCDS Manchester branch dances.
- Discounts at other RSCDS events elsewhere in the UK.
- The ability to have a say in how your branch is run, including voting on or joining the comittee at the Branch AGM
- A twice-yearly magazine subscription from the RSCDS Headquarters.
- A weekly email e-newsletter (DSAH) with news, podcasts, and dancing-related puzzles from the RSCDS.
- Priority booking at RSCDS Residential Schools and Events.
- Membership of the world's largest Scottish Country Dance network.
- The satisfaction of knowing that your membership makes a difference by helping preserve and revitalize an important part of Scottish culture.
The RSCDS membership fee is £25/year. This is due in September each year & is payable by bank transfer, in class (cash/cheque) or by post (cheque). Please ask in class for an application form.
Half-yearly membership is available for those joining in January-June. A Manchester Branch-only subscription is available for those who already have full RSCDS membership with another branch.
The branch receives a portion of the RSCDS membership fee, which goes towards our overheads such as public & musician's liability insurance and administering your membership. Weekly class and dance fees cover the cost of venues, musicians and any advertising costs incurred.
COVID Policy and Risk Assessment
- All events are subject to alteration/cancellation at short notice if venues’ Risk Assessments, or Government Guidelines change.
- All participants are strongly discouraged from coming to classes if they are feeling unwell - this includes with mild cold/flu symptoms as well as with symptoms of COVID. A cover teacher will be arranged if the main teacher is unable to attend.
- Hand sanitiser will be provided at each class and at our social dances. Dancers are requested to wash/sanitise their hands at the start of the class/dance and between each dance.
- All participants are required to sign the register at the start of the class/dance. This register will be used in the event that a participant becomes ill with COVID and contact-tracing is required.
- Any participant who becomes ill with COVID is required to inform a committee member at the earliest opportunity. This will enable the committee to inform all other participants to self-isolate if applicable.
Distance Learning - Useful Guides, Quizzes and Further Reading
This section of the website hosts some useful guides for various aspects of SCD which are not easy to teach in class. These guides are intended for the enthusiastic dancer of any level, who wishes to self-study. Please click on the titles below to download.
Anyone wishing to contribute material, suggest topics or submit a correction, please let us know either on our facebook page or via the branch email address.
"At-Home" Practical Exercises
A selection of strengthening exercises and dance-related practice movements which can be done at home.
- Basic Strengthening and Foot Position Exercises (1)
- Beginner's Guide: Jig, Reel or Strathspey? A guide for the Non-Musician
"How To" Guides
A selection of dance-related generic guidance for home-reading.
- Beginner's Guide: How_To_Choose_And_Maintain_Shoes
- Beginner's Guide: How to "Cast" and different types of "Casting"
- Beginner's Guide: How to Find Your Corners (A Guide to Set Notation)
- Beginner's Guide: How To Read Dance Cribs
- Beginner's Guide: How To Prepare For A Social Dance
- Social Dance Etiquette: A guide for All
Click on the titles to download the file. Answers are also presented in a separate file, have fun!