(a) to research the ballroom dances and quadrilles of the 18th-19th centuries in Europe and especially Scotland

b) to research the step/highland (solo/performance) and folk/traditional dances of Scotland

(c) to provide instruction in but not limited to material in the dance forms listed in (a) and (b) 

(d) to give public performances 

(e) to publish research material including, but not limited to, dance descriptions, sheet music, music sources, recorded dance music, video and catalogue of sources of dance and dance music information

(f) to develop new works

(g) to provide facilities as required for above

(h) to promote access to and participation in these arts


Ron Wallace

Ron Wallace

Some of my earliest memories include watching my parents performing Scottish dance at a Burns Night celebration in Mapleton, MN, where my mother grew up. The organization was started by her uncle and over the years twelve of my relatives were involved. Many of the Scots who settled this area arrived before the SCDS was formed. Their dance style had not evolved with the times as it did in Scotland. For example, dance pumps as we know them today were worn for performance, but not social dancing.

This was very fertile ground to “grow up with it” and produced dreams of teaching it. When my parents bought a restaurant and my mother could not continue teaching, I had the opportunity to take over. So, at an early age that’s exactly what I did. 52 years later I reflect on how little I knew then and how little I know now! The more I learn, the more I want to know.

In 1981, teaching Scottish dance and music became a full-time endeavor with classes in highland, step dance, Cape Breton step, country dance and piping. Teaching these forms has taken me around the world and provided many an adventure. What better life than to share traditions old and new with all who love to dance!

Gary Thomas

Gary Thomas

Dancing has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember.  It began in Sioux Falls, SD, with a lady who traveled from park to park with her little record player and stack of records that included children’s stories and dance music.  Suddenly, we were no longer children, but fierce tigers or magic elves, or pioneers dancing the Virginia Reel.  This continued into grade school where the best part of PE was dancing. So sad it is no longer part of the curriculum.

Although other forms of dance were added to my repertoire over the years and put to good use as a choreographer for musical theatre, it wasn’t until 1977, after moving to Minneapolis, MN, and meeting Ron that Scottish Country Dancing became the “new” craze for me.  What a wonderful community to be invited into. Then our exodus to California in 1989 provided a new venture when I started playing for dance classes and performances.

So, what started with the lady in the park sharing her passion for dance has travelled over the decades to this time when it is our turn to share the passion.

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