Ladies’ Step Dance

A.K.A. “Scottish Step”

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First of all: What the heck is Ladies’ Step dance?

It is definitely NOT clogging or Cape Breton-style step dancing. It is soft and delicate, as is the music danced to.

It is a hybrid, falling somewhere between Scottish Country dance and Highland dance, with elements of both. Far from the fashion shifts of mainland Scotland, dwellers of the Hebridean Islands preserved a wide variety of dance steps and unique versions of solo dances. It was traditionally done by ladies awaiting their husbands’ return from the sea — hence the name “Ladies’ Step” though a few brave men give it a go as well and now we prefer: Scottish Step.

The heyday of step dancing in Scotland was from about 1750 for roughly 100 years.  Dancing masters would compose dances for their pupils to perform, usually at balls, to demonstrate their skills.  The tradition continues and there are also modern step dances.

A step dance requires the dancer to execute a defined sequence of foot movements. Scottish country dancers will be familiar with some steps (for example, Pas de Basque, Pas de Basque Coupé, Glasgow Highlanders). Highland dancers will be familiar with shedding, and rocking step. Ballet dancers will know bourré, balinée and several other commonly used steps.


Second:  Intro to Scottish Step Dancing ~ Saturdays @ 2pm - 3:00

This was previously known as Ladies Step Dancing, although men are welcome to join. The dances are traditional dances of Scotland, performed in a gentle balletic style.

The dances are mainly solo dances so they work well in a Zoom format.

Highland steps used in some Scottish Country Dances are also taught.

Classes are by Zoom, Saturday afternoons from 2:00 to 3:00 pm.

There is no cost.

For information contact Alma Smith at

Meanwhile:  Here’s a YouTube Channel that may be a Scottish Step in the right direction.

Merry Meghan

The video clip below shows a Ladies’ Step demo in Younger Hall at the 2013 St Andrews RSCDS Summer School. The dancers had just a few afternoons to learn this dance and present it. Two of the dancers you may recognize — Jinny Thomson and Nancy White are RSCDS Toronto Members. The others are from various countries.