Beginners Page

Scottish Country Dancing consists of a number of different formations and is performed in sets of 8 - 10 people. Each dance is walked through in stages so everyone knows what to do and where to go. Don't worry if it seems strange at first. We have all been beginners and we will help you.
Some basic terms you will hear at a dance class:

Turn by the right/left - Full turn with partner

Right/left hands across - Like a star

Cast off - Dance down behind the line.

Cast up - Dance up behind the line.

4 or 6 hands round - 4 or 6 people circle.

Cross by the right/left - Cross set giving hands.

Cross down - Cross down the set giving hands.

Back to back - Dance round partner (dos -i dos)

Set - 2 pas de basque steps (fast)

Set - 2 strathspey steps (slow)

Skip change of step - Hop, step, close step.

Slip step - Step, close, step, close sideways.

Lead down/up - Dance with partner R hand in R hand.

Dance/down/up - Dance with partner nearer hands joined.

Advance/retire - Dance forward to meet partner and back.

Rights & lefts - Cross set giving R hand, change L hand on the side, then repeat back to original place.

Grand chain - Pass partner giving R hand and next person by the L hand and continue.

For more detals on footwork. hand positions and formations, follow this link:
Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary