Teaching Scottish Country Dance

When a group of people get together to dance, it always helps if one of them knows what they are doing and can lead the rest…..in other words, teachers are absolutely central to dancers’ success and enjoyment!

Please see below for more information on teaching Scottish Country Dancing, as well links to resources that will help you arrange and develop classes.  

There is a huge range of variation in the classes that individual RSCDS Branches can offer. Some serve large urban areas and can draw in enough enthusiasts to offer a full range of classes, from children’s through adults’ to daytime sessions for retired folk, and beginners through intermediate to advanced, with maybe a demonstration team class on the side and regular courses for DAA and Medal Tests.

Dancing Achievement Award       Medal Tests

Others, spread over rural areas, or even whole countries, may operate many classes but in each location draw in only enough people to form a single class, thoroughly mixed in age and levels of experience.

Branch & Group Finder

The content of a class session will depend very much upon what the participants want but there are elements that are likely to appear regularly across the spectrum. These include step practice, since familiarity with the basic steps is essential to ensure that dancers develop rhythmical movement in time with the music. Good use of hands and arms, body posture, eye contact, phrasing and teamwork are likely to be constant refrains.

A grounding in the basic formations is another esssential, providing the patterns from which most dances are built up. More complex formations will be taught as and when they become appropriate; though many classes appear to be about learning dances, beneath the surface their participants are actually learning dancing.   

An invaluable aid for teachers is the Manual, giving detailed instructions on how to dance individual formations and steps, as well as providing excellent advice on music. The Society intends to put video material online to show not only how to dance certain steps and formations, but also how to teach them.

Other resources include Guidance Notes on Running an SCD Class, especially written to aid new teachers, and a Framework for teaching SCD to beginners.

Still under development is an online handbook that will give teachers access to a wealth of material that can assist them in their teaching.

The Manual of SCD

Each type of class presents its own challenges. Others have encountered the same problems, so there is a huge benefit in sharing and discussing experiences and ideas with other teachers and providing mutual support. A number of regions have teachers’ organisations that offer this, and the RSCDS intends in the future to develop a teachers’ forum where questions can be asked and debated.   

Teachers Organisations

Learn to teach SCD

Teachers are vital to the continuation and development of Scottish Country Dancing, so training teachers is a key part of the RSCDS’s work.

CPD for teachers

Explore the opportunities open to teachers: teaching a range of classes at home and abroad; extension learning; training and assessing dancers and future teachers.

School teachers

There’s plenty of support for those teaching SCD in schools, and exciting accreditation programmes for the children to take part in.

Resources for teachers

Explore our useful publications on dancing and teaching dance and our constantly growing library of dance videos, much appreciated by dancers as guidance.


Become a mentor so that you can offer advice and support to trainee teachers as they make their tentative attempt to teach a class.


If you are an experienced teacher, why not train as a tutor, so you can use your skills to teach others how to teach.

Music for teaching

To help teachers, the RSCDS has produced a set of teaching tracks for each of the Books 49-52 and for the Unit 2 Teaching Exam.


Check out the financial support the RSCDS offers that may help you attend schools or assist your Branch to hold teaching courses.

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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

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