Frequently asked questions

Below is a list of the most frequently asked questions we have received. If you have a question that is not on the list please get in touch with the RSCDS Office and we will reply within 72 hours. 

If you believe there should be an addition to this page please let us know. 


Some basic questions about Scottish Country Dancing (SCD) to help you make that first step out on to the dance floor.

No. Usually in Scottish Country Dancing, dancers take a different partner for each dance. This adds to the social nature of the dancing, and means that you get an opportunity to meet and dance with lots of different people.

Nearly all Scottish country dances need at least six people to dance together. Anyone can ask anyone else to dance.

If you do have a partner bring them along; its a great way to get fit and have fun together.

Like most types of dancing, Scottish Country Dancing is an excellent, healthy exercise, and the fitter you are the easier it will be to learn.

Dancing is very good for your heart and lungs and will also improve your balance and bone density. Scottish country dancers have better agility, stronger legs, and walk more briskly than other people. To read more on the health benefits of Scottish Country Dancing please visit the health page.

Health Benefits of Dancing

We encourage warming up before class and stretching afterwards and most, if not all, classes begin with warm up exercises. But it's not just exercise to keep you fit - you can dance to to great music and have fun at the same time.

No way! As long as you are willing to have a good time there is no upper limit on age. Most RSCDS Branches are qualified to teach anyone aged 6 to 90+, and all you need is to enjoy dancing.

Classes can be aimed at a certain age groups, but most classes are based on skill level. At social events and in many classes, you will find people aged 18 dancing with people aged 75. Dancing brings everyone together!

Yes and no. For ladies, it is more comfortable to wear a wide skirt or stretchy leggings (so that you can move easily). Some men often wear the kilt for dancing, but again it is not essential, and for classes a lot of men wear a comfortable pair of trousers.

After a few dance evenings most people decide to buy a pair of dancing shoes designed specifically for Scottish Country Dancing, soft leather pumps or ghillies, but beginners should wear any comfortable shoes with a soft non-slip sole, such as jazz or ballet shoes or canvas plimsolls.

No. There is more emphasis on steps (footwork) than in Ceilidh dancing, and the formations can be a little more complex, but the basic technique can be learned at our weekly classes, a local day - or weekend dance workshop or dance weekends organised by your local Branch or the Society. 

Whether it is your first time or you are a seasoned veteran, dancers welcome you to the floor and will gladly help you through the dances. Remember, it's all about fun!

Not at all, but if you did, we would be very impressed as there are a lot of them! You don't have to learn any of them by heart if you don't want to, although you should try and learn the steps and formations, which are found in most dances.

Programmes for balls and social dances are published well in advance and weekly classes aim to practise the dances from forthcoming programmes. Also, at the event itself dances are often recapped (always recapped at our Branch dances) or even walked through before the music starts.

In addition, at social dances and formal balls you can typically find a programme with cribs or diagrams to help you understand the dance. You are always more than welcome to bring your own dance sheets and carry them on to the dance floor.

No. Men who are used to wearing a kilt find it comfortable for dancing, but many men dance in trousers for several years before investing in a kilt and some always dance in trousers. Women and men should wear clothes in which they feel comfortable and can move easily.

Dances and balls however can be formal and attendees are expected to dress their best. Men can wear a suit, trews or a kilt. Women usually wear a smart dress.

Not at all! Scottish Country Dancing is open to everyone and is enjoyed the world over, across Europe and North America to Australasia and Japan, wherever people love to dance. 


Below are some questions we have received about joining the RSCDS. To learn more about membership and the many different options, please visit our membership page.

Most members join the RSCDS through their local Branch. Alternatively, you can become a Coates Crescent (Former Headquarter) member, an International Branch Member or a Youth Branch Member. 

We encourage you to find your closest Branch and get in touch to learn more about membership. Every Branch offers membership, and they are more than happy to help answer all your questions regarding membership and provide the appropriate form to fill out. 

To find the closest Branch please use our Branch & Group Finder.

RSCDS Membership

Annual membership to the RSCDS starts at £26

Branches add their own fee on top of the £26 to help them pay for events, classes and various projects. Please check with the Branch of your choosing to find out more.

Coates Crescent (Headquarters) membership starts at £39.00.

We do offer discounts for couples, young dancers and Half Year Membership. We encourage you to visit the membership page.

RSCDS Membership

Each Branch has their own method of paying for membership and this can be discussed when applying for membership. If you would like to become a Headquarters member, we accept all forms of payment (excluding American Express).

That is completely fine! We encourage all potential members to join their local Branch as there are many benefits you can enjoy from being part of a local dance community, but if that is not possible, there are a few options you can explore.

Joining a different Branch

If there is no local Branch, then you are welcome to join another Branch of your choosing. For example, if you live in Edinburgh, you could join the Edinburgh Branch, or you could join the Dundee Branch. Living in a certain area does not mean you have to join that particular Branch.

International Branch

The International Branch has members from around the world and no central location. Many members who are part of a Branch already join the International Branch to be part of their community. To learn more about the Branch and how to join please visit their website.

International Branch

Youth Branch

Similar to the International Branch but aimed primarily at young dancers. If you are aged 24 and under we encourage you to learn more about the Youth Branch and check out their website.


Coates Crescent Office (formerly known as Headquarter) Membership

If you do not wish to join via the Branch options then perhaps Headquarters membership is for you! There are more benefits being part of a Branch or Group, but Headquarters members do receive many of the same benefits as Branch members.

To learn more about membership options head to our membership page.

RSCDS Membership

Yes! We call this 'additional' membership.

Your primary membership is the one through which you pay your annual RSCDS fee. Additional membership is where you would pay only the Branch fee.

For example, I am a primary member of Edinburgh Branch and an additional member of both Glasgow and Dundee Branches. I pay my RSCDS annual membership fee through Edinburgh (as well as their Branch fee), and then I pay only the Branch fee to both the Glasgow and Dundee Branches to be a member with each.

Being an additional member means you would receive their Branch newsletter, mailings, and perhaps receive discounts to classes and events. This is quite common with the International Branch, as many primary members have an additional membership through the International Branch.

We encourage you to speak with the Branch to learn more about membership options.

General questions

Some basic information about the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society (RSCDS). 

The RSCDS Office, is conveniently located in the heart of Edinburgh, just down from Princes Street and Shandwick Place:

12 Coates Crescent, Edinburgh, EH3 7AF 

Though there are Branches and Groups located around the world, the RSCDS office is the only physical location. All of our Branches and Groups are run by dedicated volunteers and have no set office. If you would like to get in touch with a Branch or Group, please use the finder in our menu.

The RSCDS Office operates from Monday to Friday and our phone lines are open from 10am - 12pm plus 2pm - 4pm UK time.




The closest airport is Edinburgh airport, with Glasgow being the second closest. To get to the office from Edinburgh airport you can either use a taxi, the Edinburgh tram, or the 100 bus that takes you right by the office. 


The closest train station to the office is Haymarket. Exit from the station and walk along Atholl Place towards Princes St, which turns in to Shandwick Place. 12 Coates Crescent is situated on the left-hand side.


The Edinburgh Tram, which departs from Edinburgh Airport and takes you right through town, stops just outside of Coates Crescent. Get off at the stop right after Haymarket.


Services 3, 4, 12, 18, 25, 26, 31, 33, 44 N3, N31, X31 and X70 all run by Coates Crescent, with stops situated within a short walk. In addition to these stops, if you are travelling by MegaBus or CityLink, services 900 from Glasgow and 909 from Dunblane go by Coates Crescent. Exit at the stop after Haymarket. Alternatively, the 100 Bus Service from the airport will take you past the office and the closest stop is only a short walk.

If you have a general inquiry, or would like to provide us with feedback, we encourage you to send an email to:

Members of the Management Board and Committees can be contacted through the RSCDS Office, so please get in touch and let us know who you would like to reach and we can assist.

Please note that Management Board & Committee members do not work out of the RSCDS Office.

If you would like to get in touch with a member or dancer, we can help. It is our policy though to not send out personal information, so we ask that you contact us with your query and we will pass it on to the person you are looking for and ask them to reply directly.

You can easily sign up to receive our eNewsletter through your RSCDS account. Go to "My RSCDS" in the top right corner and login. Choose to "Edit my profile" and check the box to receive the eNewsletter. You should receive an email from us to confirm your subscription.

Alternatively, you can subscribe here.

Members that have opt-in to receive digital communication, will automatically receive the Dance Together and Teachers newsletters.

Logging into the RSCDS website

Only RSCDS members or registered users can log in to the website. If you are a member of the RSCDS you can login to the website by clicking on 'My RSCDS' at the top right hand side of the website. Your branch will have given you an Activation Code to register to the website. If not, please revert to your Branch Membership Secretary.

Once logged in you will have access to special benefits and be able to view pages specifically for members.

Interested in becoming a member? Visit the membership page for more information.

To login to the website please click on the ‘My RSCDS’ button at the top right-hand corner of the website. You will then be taken to the My RSCDS page where you will see two tabs; Login and Register.

If you are already an RSCDS member then we have transferred over your details from our previous website to this one, so all you need to do now is set up a new password. For privacy reasons the RSCDS does not keep any passwords on records, so you will need to create a new one.

Please follow the instructions in the orange box and click on the link to create a new password

You will need to type in the email address that was registered on the old website and click submit. An email will then be sent to this email address with instructions and a link you will need to click.

Once you have clicked this link you will be taken back to our website where it will ask you to create a new password. After you have done this you will then be logged in to our website!

Please make a note of this new password and keep it in a safe place.

All of the above instructions are available in this written walkthrough, which we encourage you to download and read:

You can also watch this helpful video that will explain the login process.

If you are a new member, then welcome! We are glad to have you with us! 

Members who joined through a Branch will need to speak with their Branch Secretary. The Secretary will have created a membership record for you in our database. When they have created your record then your email address will be registered and you can then go on to the My RSCDS page and create a new password (please see the first tab above).

All members and registered users of the website must have a unique e-mail address. If you do not have a personal e-mail address, then you will not be able to login to our website.

The RSCDS has changed the login process so that going forward, if you would like to login to the website, you must have an email address. We will no longer be allowing members to use their membership number to login to the website.

If you previously used your membership number to login to the website, we suggest you create an email address through one of the many providers (i.e. Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc.) and then get in touch with your Branch Secretary so they can update your profile (for HQ members please get in touch with the RSCDS office). 

Once your profile is updated you will then be able to use the password reset function and create your own password to be able to login to the website. 

The staff at the RSCDS office do not have the ability to reset your password. If you forget your password at any time, please go to the My RSCDS page and use the password reset function. The system will then send an email to your inbox with a link to changing your password.


Read through some of our frequently asked questions regarding the RSCDS shop. The RSCDS has a physical shop at our office, and on-site at events.

RSCDS CD on Demand Shop

The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society is now making more music titles available to you through an environmentally friendly, print-on-demand service . We have teamed-up with  The Digital Publishing Center who will print and deliver it directly to you..

Each item is printed on demand. Members or Branch discount not applicable.

RSCDS Limited Edition Teemill

We've chosen to work with Teemill on this exciting new development because they believe in using ethically and sustainably produced organic cotton, with products manufactured in the UK using renewable energy and shipped using plastic-free packaging.

Each item is printed on demand. Members or Branch discount not applicable.

A percentage of each sale supports the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society so by purchasing our limited edition design clothing and accessories you are also contributing to the development of the Society.


Head to the shop section of our website, take a look around and if you spot something you would like, add it to your basket! Your digital basket will be updated to reflect your choice and you can then proceed to the checkout area to pay.

You can always access your basket by clicking the basket tool at the top right hand corner of the website.

Once you have paid and we receive notification here at the office, we will process the order and ship it out to you as soon as we can. *Please visit the RSCDS Shop for up to date details on shipping.

Simple! Before heading to the shop you just need to log in to the website and your discount will be applied automatically when you go through the checkout process.  *Please note - if you have logged in to our website for the first time, please log out and back in again before placing your order. This refreshes our membership database and ensures your discount is correctly applied*

If you are already in the checkout process, you will be asked to log in before you check out, and your discount will automatically be applied. If you forget your login details please get in touch with the offic

Navigate to your basket and look for a small box on the bottom left hand side, beside a button titled ‘apply coupon’; here you can input the voucher code. Once you have done that click on the button 'apply coupon' and your basket will update with the new total amount.

As well, if you continue on with your purchase past the basket page you will have another chance to apply a voucher code before you checkout.

When going through the shop your order will automatically be saved, and you can then come back to the website at any point in the future to view your basket.

There is no "save" feature, your basket will continually update and save as you place items in it.

If you go in to the checkout process and then close the window, turn off the computer, leave the website, etc. your order will not be processed, however, your basket will be saved, so you can return later to continue the checkout process. 

The RSCDS operates in Pounds Sterling (£). When paying for an item please be aware of the current exchange rates in your country. 

We accept all forms of credit/debit card except American Express.

We also accept cheque and bank transfer.

Please note: when sending a bank transfer to the RSCDS you need to include your reference and/or invoice number so we can process the transfer accordingly. We would also appreciate it if you could include your name and membership number (this can all be added in the notes section).

RSCDS general account details for bank transfer:

  • Bank: Triodos Bank
  • Branch: Edinburgh
  • Name of Account: The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society
  • Account Number: 20614195
  • Sort Code: 16-58-10
International bank transfers
  • Bank Name: HSBC
  • Address: 82-84 High Street, Perth, PH1 5TH
  • Sort Code: 40-22-64
  • Swift/BIC: HBUKGB4B
  • IBAN: GB53HBUK40226490143685

Yes! All transactions made on the RSCDS website are safe and secure. We use 3D Secure as a fraud prevention measure, as it provides an additional security layer for online purchases made with credit and debit cards.  The online shop handles many orders from around the world every day, and to ensure standards are met, the RSCDS does not hold any credit card information on-site. To comply with the current legislation, we no longer accept credit card numbers via email or post.

The RSCDS accepts payment by cash in person, by credit card over the phone or by cheque.

If you ordered an electronic publication from the shop and completed your purchase with a credit/debit card or bank transfer, the publication will be sent to your registered email address automatically via a download link in an email. It will also be available for download after you have successfully gone through the payment process.

Please note that it may take five or ten minutes. If it does not arrive in 24 hours please contact the RSCDS office.

Your order will take 3 to 12 working days. to reach you. Delivery time quoted from when we receive your order.

EU Orders: From 1st January 2021 the UK is no longer part of the EU. As such any orders placed outside of the UK may also incur customs and import VAT charges for your delivery which we can’t take responsibility for. For more information, you should contact your local customs office. 


We offer a 14 days return policy on proof of purchase.


Find out more about our dance and music publications

Occasionally the RSCDS does publish books of dances when members are asked to submit new dances with specific criteria. These dances go through a trialling process with dancers around the world before selection and subsequent publication. We can have hundreds of dances submitted but will only publish a small number.


Yes, you do need to be or become a member of the RSCDS if you wish your dance to be considered for publication.

Our updates are kept in the Resources for Dancers. Click on link below to view the updates.

publication updates

Although the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society promotes dance and music, it does not manage a national archive of Scottish Dances.


Find out more about the RSCDS Archive project and how you can start your own Archive to ensure future generations have access to material.


The Archive houses all types of information from throughout the history of the RSCDS. Our resident Archivist Alan Macpherson ensures everything is maintained and stored properly. 

We welcome any and all material and encourage you to get in touch!

Learn About The Archive

The Archive is located at our Central Office where all of the physical material is securely kept and stored. 

In recent years, through a generous grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund, we have begun digitising all material and uploading it to our online Archive that is freely accessible to all users.

Digital Archive

This catalogue is a searchable database of descriptions and digital images of our archives. Our collections comprise of records of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society and its Branches, as well personal papers of members; including published books, manuscripts, minute books, correspondence, photographs and audio recordings. 

To access the Archive please navigate to the footer of the website and click Explore the Archives.

Yes! We invite anyone to send us material and we welcome donations.

Please download the form below and include your name, Branch (if applicable), and any notes that we may find useful.

All donations are kept at the RSCDS office unless otherwise stated. 

Please contact to arrange a suitable appointment time if you wish to drop off any physical items to the RSCDS Office.

If you have any questions, please email our Honorary Archivist, Alan Macpherson at

RSCDS examination system

Please visit the examination FAQ page for more details, including information on pricing.

Exam FAQ and Fees

Music FAQs

To view a list of FAQ's regarding music please visit our Music Resources section.

Music FAQ Page

Sign up for the RSCDS eNewsletter

Sign up to:

  • Keep up to date with RSCDS events 
  • Join a worldwide community of Scottish country dance and music

Join an RSCDS Branch & receive member benefits

There are 159 RSCDS Branches and over 300 Affiliated Groups in more than 50 countries around the world, located on all continents (except Antarctica).

They organise and run classes, dances and other social events in their own areas and are committed to helping develop Scottish Dance and Music for future generations.

We encourage you to try Scottish Country Dancing for yourself to see just how much fun it can be, so please come along and learn how to 'Dance Scottish'. 

Wherever you are in the world there is most likely Scottish Country Dancing.

Find my nearest branch

  • © 2024 The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society
  • Registered Charity No. SC 016085
  • Company No. SC 480530
  • 12 Coates Crescent, Edinburgh, EH3 7AF