I am an experienced ceilidh & folk dance caller and an Royal Scottish Country Dance Society (RSCDS) qualified Scottish Country Dance Teacher who can provide friendly, fun calling for all levels of dancers to make your dance event go with a swing!
Scottish Country Dancing has been part of my life since university. Since then I have been hooked and have become deeply involved in the folk dance scene in Birmingham and the West Midlands.
I have called at local folk dance clubs where the dancers enjoy my unique mix of Scottish, English and contra dances, as well as fun ceilidhs for birthdays, wedding and other celebrations.
I teach a weekly Scottish Country Dancing beginners class in Kings Heath in Birmingham, where dancers have the opportunity to improve their technique and learn some more challenging formations.
I have also written some Scottish dances, two of which have been published by the RSCDS (Royal Scottish Country Dance Society) in Book 50 (2016) and Book 52 (2018).
What is a Ceilidh?
It's a fun, active way to spend an evening, dancing and socialising!
In every dance, you have a partner (you can choose someone new for each dance!) and are in a set with at least 4 or 6 other people – You can't get much more sociable than that!
Not Highland Dancing
It's not quite such hard work as highland dancing - we have some steps to get the hang of, but it's more social than technical or competitive.
Contrary to expectations, we don't often dance to bagpipes (thankfully!) – music is usually provided by accordion and fiddle.
The dances I select for each event are specially chosen to be right for the people there on the night – whether straightforward crowd-pleasing dances for a birthday party or more intricate, challenging dances for experienced folk dancers. For me, the key criteria is that the dances are always fun!
I have a large collection of Scottish, Contra and Ceilidh music and my own sound system that I can bring along to events and folk clubs.
But it’s much nicer to have live music – it really adds to the atmosphere!
I have worked with many different local musicians and bands. I can help you to find the right music for your event – live music really adds to the atmosphere.
I am lucky to have shared a stage with many talented local musicians. Bands and musicians I have worked with include: John Dudley, Stradivarious, Meg Winters, Cole Valley Ceilidh Band, Brian McMinn, Chris and Julie Dewhurst, Narrow Escape, Cat’s Whiskers, Mad Moll, The Falconers, Nozzy, Vertical Expression, Vicki Swan & Jonny Dyer, the Burdock Ceilidh Band.
Please do be aware that some musicians have bookings more than a year in advance so to avoid disappointment, please get in touch early.
Future & Past Gigs
- May Heydays International Festival - Scottish dance workshops (May 2023)
- China Ceilidh - Birmingham Chinese Community Centre (4 July 2023)
- Whitby Folk Week (August 2023)
- Weymouth Scottish Dance weekend (October 2023)
- Willand Folk Dance Club Saturday dance (May 2024)
- Ruff Ceilidh, Cardiff (May 2024)
Here are a few examples of my recent gigs:
- Ceilidhs and barn dances for birthdays, hen parties, fundraisers and just for fun! Across the West Midlands and sometimes in Wales!
- Burns Night Suppers across the West Midlands with traditional Scottish Ceilidh Dancing to help the haggis down!
- Local folk dance clubs including Sytchampton, Friday Folk, Avoncroft, Friendly Folk, Rubery where I call a mixture of Scottish, English and Contra dances, both to live music and recorded music.
- Workshops at folk festivals including Eastbourne International Folk Festival, Lichfield Folk Festival and Great Alne Long Weekend.
- RSCDS Scottish dance workshops, where I take a more in-depth look at Scottish Country Dance technique and formations, including the RSCDS Birmingham Annual Workshop and RSCDS Bristol Residential weekend in 2018.
- Relaxed, gentle dancing for all ages, including seated dances, as in a recent session in Kings Heath.
- New Year’s Eve parties at black tie events at Pembroke College in Cambridge, with ceilidh dancing up until midnight (and beyond!)
- Scottish Country Dance classes around the West Midlands, where I teach dances, formations and steps, including Stourbridge Scottish Country Dance Club, Knowle Scottish Dance Club and the RSCDS Birmingham beginners and general classes.
I just wanted to say a massive thank you for making our night at the ball magical. Your lessons were fantastic and we have had great feedback from our guests about it.
Celestial Moments Fae Ball, November 2022
thank you for your friendly and efficient leadership in the dancing at our party on Saturday. We have received plenty of comments about what good fun our guests had; someone specifically referred to the "first class job" you did. We were especially pleased with your relaxed persuasiveness, which resulted in nearly all the more reluctant guests "giving it a go". You judged the occasion just right, helping us to do most steps right, but allowing enough challenge for us to enjoy going wrong now and then!
Peter and Sarah Russell, February 2019
I wanted to say that I have had a really great time at the dance classes and have enjoyed it very much…..thanks for being such a great teacher.
Karen Wright / RSCDS Tuesday Beginner Class / 2017
Nicola was absolutely fantastic!! The dances were great, lots of fun and laughs by everyone involved! Will definitely be booking again and recommending her to friends and family!!
Larna / ceilidh organiser / 2017
Thank you so much for your contribution to the supper last night. It was clearly great fun and went off very well. Everyone spoke very highly of the band and the caller.
Andy Arnott / Moseley Rugby Club / 2018
Thank you so much for leading the Scottish dance workshop at the Lichfield Folk Festival last weekend. We had record numbers for a Scottish workshop and it was very well received. Last Wednesday a couple from Durham contacted me especially to say how well they think it went.
Lichfield Folk Festival / 2015
I knew Nicola was good but last night was brilliant. One of the best nights ever. Hope Nicola will come again calling and dancing.
Sytchampton Folk Dance Club / 2015
Many thanks for last night. We all enjoyed it and I feel sure that the new members benefitted from your teaching of corners and reels.
Stourbridge Scottish Dance Club / 2014
I just want to thank you for all your hard work and energy. It's a real pleasure to be part of your class. Thanks for the weekly emails with links to the dances too. I've never looked forward to September with such enthusiasm!
Rebecca McGowan / RSCDS Tuesday Beginners Class / 2017
Your microphone technique is good with a clear, calm, confident voice. Your prompts showed good timing and clarity and you backed off perfectly for this experienced group of dancers. We thought you dealt well with questions from dancers demonstrating excellent knowledge of the 3rd dance. and had good rapport with them. Your walk-throughs were slick and you prompted the dancers well with good timing, clarity, and fun.
New Festival Callers Showcase, Eastbourne International Folkdance Festival, 2018