The Scottish Dancing Season Is Upon Us
Winter is well and truly upon us and unless you’re a particular fan of the cold, most of your hobbies will have moved indoors. And with the winter comes the reeling season and people all over Great Britain (not just in Scotland I’d like to point out) dust off their tartan kilts and their black tie to go reeling.
Reeling also goes by the name of Scottish Country Dancing and is a type of dance done in sets of 6-16 people (you must always have an even number of dancers) which has specific steps to learn. Rather than try to picture a description I could give you, take a look at this video to get an idea of it.
Before you draw any conclusions, there are actually a lot of young people who go reeling and once you’ve got the hang of it then it’s really good fun.
I’m no expert on what goes on in Scoltand, where I imagine you can barely move for all the reelers dancing around you, but in England the main hub of reeling balls is London, and people from surrounding counties travel up to London to attend them, some of which, like the Royal Caledonian Ball for example, have been going for centuries.
Having just moved to London I’ve quickly found that there’s plenty of reeling around: at Pont Street, at Parson’s Green and at the prestigious Hurlingham Club. But don’t be put off if you’ve never done it before – there are usually walk-throughs of each dance at each practice session (though not at the balls) and the dances are easy to memorise for anyone with an ounce of intelligence. As you dance in pairs, and tend to swap partners for most dances, it’s a fantastic way to meet people and the balls are a good excuse to get all dressed up in black tie.
Supposedly only true Scotsmen are allowed to wear the traditional kilt although plenty of descendants of Scots also don their family’s tartan, the knee-high wool socks and a Sporran (the pouch worn over the kilt). Non-Scotsmen wear black tie, many also sport a cummerbund, and the women normally wear dresses to below the knee, and some also wear a tartan sash over one shoulder.
There is even a Royal Scottish Country Dance Society which has been teaching people to dance since 1923. They even run a Summer School in July & August in the picturesque St Andrews, apparently attended by around 1,000 dancers from all over the world. Prices range from £525-£720 for a 1-week course, accommodation and food included. There’s also a discount of £100 for those between 16-25-years-old. I don’t personally know anyone who has attended this, but I’ve heard reports that it’s a fun week for groups of friends all attending together.
So before you draw any conclusions, there are actually a lot of young people who go reeling and once you’ve got the hang of it then it’s really good fun.