Nov 26

the Birthday of the RSCDS in 1923

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Scottish Country Dancing
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"Dance Scottish!"

The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society (RSCDS) exists to promote and develop Scottish country dancing worldwide for the benefit of present and future generations. There are approximately 160 branches in countries around the world that organise and run classes, dances and other social events in their own areas. A meeting held at the Athenaeum in Glasgow this day in 1923 marked the formation of the Scottish Country Dance Society. Attendees included Miss Lillian Ross, Mr Michael Diack, Mr F H Bisset and most importantly, Mrs Ysobel Stewart and Miss Jean Milligan. These two women were the driving force behind the establishment of the Society and its evolution into today's organisation. Ysobel Stewart had been taught the country dances as a young girl, participating in dances and events across the Argyllshire social scene. Jean Milligan’s interest lay in traditional dance, music and movement - the country dances were a major feature of her work at Jordanhill Training College. Mrs Stewart as the first secretary of the Society built the solid administrative foundation on which the Society grew, and Miss Milligan laid down the principles of teaching, technique and style for the dance which continue to the present day. The title ‘Royal’ was conferred upon the Society in 1951 and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II became its Patron in 1952. If you are a dancer, you may enjoy this companion entertainment site and facebook page, Scottish Country Dance of the Day!

Post World War I, Mrs Ysobel Stewart of Fasnacloich and Miss Jean Milligan (a teacher of physical education at Jordanhill Teachers’ Training College) started an effort to restore the old social dances of Scotland and their music. 


These two ladies researched and collected dances from friends and family and, assisted by Patersons Publications, published their first book.  After placing an advertisement in a Glasgow newspaper, a meeting was held Monday, the 26th November 1923 and the Scottish Country Dance Society was formed. 

In 1947, HRH Princess Elizabeth became the Patron of the Scottish Country Dance Society (the title "Royal" having been bestowed on her succession to the throne).

The Society exists to promote and develop Scottish country dancing worldwide for the benefit of present and future generations.   

This tartan was designed in 2006 by David Normand-Harris, past member of the RSCDS Executive Committee and the San Francisco Branch, which combines  the “Royal” and “Scottish” elements of the name – red and gold from the Scottish Royal Standard, and blue and white from the Saltire. 

Today the RSCDS numbers some 12.000 members all over the world, served from the headquarters in Edinburgh.

To learn more, click the dancers to visit the main website and find a branch or class near you!

Officially registered tartan graphics on this site courtesy of The Scottish Tartans Authority.  Other tartans from talented tartan artists may also be featured.

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