What is a Ceilidh?
It’s a party! Ceilidh (the Irish call it a ceili) is a Scottish word for a party. You can read more in Wikipedia or just read on for the basics. It’s pronounced “kay-lee” and can be a night of song & dance, friends putting on their “party pieces” to entertain each other or a beer-filled brawling night in a Glasgow pub. Our ceilidhs are dance nights.
What happens at a ceilidh?
Dance! Scots on The Rocks ceilidh nights are filled with energetic dances that (almost) anyone can do. Our MC will warm you up, then talk and walk you through each dance. At our regular “Chaotic” ceilidhs you will be greeted with an Irn Bru – Scotland ‘s national energy drink – and fed a hearty supper at half-time (not necessarily haggis).
Most dances involve taking a partner and forming a line (or “set”) down the length of the hall. If you have been to a bush dance or seen movies such as “Four Weddings and a Funeral” you have seen something similar. The men face the ladies and move through a set of “figures” – weaving in and out, chasing, turning and moving to the “foot” of the set while a new couple starts the dance. There are always experienced dancers on hand to make it easier.
People are encouraged to dance with a new partner for each dance. In the nineteenth century an invitation to dance was the only way a young Scotsman could approach a lady – they had a few short minutes to dance, flirt and chat away from their chaperones. Scottish Country dancing preceded speed dating by a good two centuries.
There are no swords. We leave that to the highland dancers.
Want to find out more about Scottish Country Dancing (SCD)? Check out our SCD Demystified guide.
What do I wear?
Dress for comfort. The dances are energetic and you may find that tight trousers or skirts are a bit too restrictive. Shorts, skirts and loose trousers are ideal. Kilts are not mandatory, although many men choose to dress for the night and we encourage a touch of tartan. On more formal evenings we recommend kilts or lounge suits for the gentlemen.
You should bring or wear a pair of flat soled shoes. Sneakers work well and stiletto heels are not recommended. It is easier to dance when you are able to feel the floor beneath you so, the thinner the sole, the better.