2 Popular Scottish Dances You Have to Learn

Scotland is known for its diverse culture and unique traditions. And when you’re in Scotland, you have to make sure you experience everything. Part of that everything is the Scottish dances you’ll enjoy seeing. These Scottish dances will make you laugh and want to jump to your feet and start swaying your hips.

Put on some music and get ready to learn some of these Scottish dances. If you don’t know any, that’s not a problem at all. Here are 2 you can start with.


In the 19th century, this type of dancing found its way to Scotland. It is an informal form of dancing developed from village dance halls in rural parts of Scotland. Ceilidh dancing is a popular form of dance in Scotland and has been a part of its culture for a long time now.


The Gay Gordons

The title of this dance refers to the Gordon Highlanders army regiment. It is also one of the most popular ceilidh dances in Scotland. It is a simple couple’s dance and there are many variations. Here’s one way to do it. Note that there are 2 counts per bar. And the music is the 4/4 or 6/8 Marches.


1 – 2: The couple joins hands over the lady’s shoulder and the man’s arm should be behind her back. During the first two bars of music, the couple should walk forward for four steps.

3 – 4: After turn on the spot but make sure the lady’s right hand is in front and you do not let go of your partner’s hands.

5 – 8: Take 4 steps backward and then repeat this but do it in the opposite direction.

9 – 12: Let go of your partner’s left hand and the lady should twirl on the spot for

13 – 16: For the last few steps, hop into ballroom hold and do the polka.

Taken from the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society
Highland Schottische

Introduced in the 1850s, the Highland Schottische is another fun Scottish dance to learn. The music used in this dance is the Schottische. And there are 4 counts per bar, unlike the first dance in this list.

Get into position. The couple should face each other in ballroom hold.


1: Once you’re in position, the men should point their left foot and the women should point their right foot in the direction of the line of dance. Bring said foot towards the instep of your supporting foot and repeat. Make sure to hop on your supporting foot on each of the 4 four counts.

2: In the next bar, the sequence goes step, close, step, hop. The men should start with the left foot and the woman with the right.

3 – 4: And then, for bars 3 to 4, repeat the first dance step but go in the opposite direction against the line of dance.

5: You’re nearly there! Repeat the steps from bar 2.

6: Repeat the steps from bar 5 but go in the opposite direction against the line of dance.

7: Finally, polka around the dance floor!

Taken from the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society


Dancing is a great way to express emotion and to destress. Add a bit of Scotland magic into your life by learning one of the dances we’ve listed above. We’re sure you’re going to enjoy your time greatly.