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.
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.
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.
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.