Spectacular Athenaeum Celebration for RSCDS Centenary

RSCDS Athenaeum event


The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society Marks its 100th Year with a Spectacular Athenaeum Celebration

by Sebastian Wanless, Chair of Glasgow Branch

The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society, founded in 1923, has been promoting traditional Scottish country dancing for the past 100 years and to mark this momentous occasion, the Society hosted a grand Centenary celebration in Glasgow at the iconic Athenaeum, now the Hard Rock Cafe. This famous venue set the stage for a spectacular display of dancing, music and celebration of Scottish culture. The event was enriched by the presence of the Scottish Minister for Culture, The Lord Provost of Glasgow and the MP for Central Glasgow, all enthusiasts of Scottish country dancing.

Inside the Hard Rock Café, the atmosphere was buzzing with excitement as the Society’s guests, dancers and unsuspecting diners gathered. Following a spirited introduction on the accordion by the talented Màrtainn Skene, a dance demonstration by skilled performers, showcased the energy and graceful movements of Scottish country dancing. The audience were in awe of the artistry.


Moving outside onto a thronged Buchanan Street, the historic event was marked by a plaque unveiling by the Society’s Chairman, William Williamson and the Minister for Culture, Christina McKelvie. They opened an elegant curtain created from the Society’s emblematic tartan by Tamara Wanless, wife of the Chairman of the Glasgow Branch of the Society, to reveal a handsome plaque commemorating the exact date of the Society’s launch 100 years ago on the 26th. of November 1923.


Before you knew it, accordion music filled the air again and a flash mob dance of the Dashing White Sergeant erupted, bringing the joy of Scottish country dancing to the heart of Glasgow. The Minister for Culture joined in with a burgeoning crowd of enthusiastic members of the public, inspired by the lively and irresistible music.

For a century now, the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society has been at the forefront of preserving and promoting the vibrant tradition of Scottish country dancing. Over the years, the society has witnessed numerous milestones and achievements, from the founding meeting at the Athenaeum attended by interested parties including Mrs Ysobel Stewart, Miss Jean Milligan, Michael Diack and Francis Bisset to becoming a social phenomenon that transcends age, gender, and nationality. The Society's first chairman was Lord James Stewart Murray.  We were delighted that Michael Diack's great grandson, John Hutchinson was present for the plaque unveiling on 26th November 2023.

The Centenary Celebration at the Athenaeum was a tribute to the dedication and passion of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society over the last 100 years. Now that the Society has reached its centenary, we can reflect on the next hundred years. We have our traditions, rooted in Scottish culture and an abundance of dances, as well as awesome music. But above all we represent a unique social phenomenon. The Society aims to build on that, bringing diverse populations together from all walks of life to enjoy the energy and verve of a dance form that can be accessible to all. With a century of accomplishments and contributions under their belt, there is no doubt that the Society will continue to make an impact on Scottish culture for years to come.

You can view more photos from the event on our Photo Gallery and watch the video below.

Photo Gallery



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