My dances

I enjoy devising new Scottish country dances - here are some of my favourites!

A Trip to Applecross


This dance was inspired by a trip to the Applecross peninsula on the west coast of Scotland. It has been published by RSCDS and is available in Book 50.


The crib for 'A Trip to Applecross' is on the Strathspey Server.


The video for 'A Trip to Applecross' is on YouTube.


The Haka


I devised 'The Haka' especially for a Burns Night Supper and Ceilidh at Essington Rugby Club in 2015, inspired by the pre-match ritual performed by the New Zealand All Blacks.

I have included the crib below:

The Haka (32 reel for couple facing couple around the room)

1-8: Circle left and back.

9-12: Face opposite. Clap three times on own thighs, clap hands three times, clap hands with opposite three times and then shout 'roar'!

13-16: Repeat with partner.

17-24: All take two hands with partners and gallop around the room and back to place.

25-32: Forward and back with this couple. Couple facing clockwise makes arch as others dive through to meet a new couple.


City Lights


This dance was inspired by the classic Charlie Chaplin film, 'City Lights'!

I have included the crib below. The dance has been published by the RSCDS Book 52 in 2018.

City Lights (32 bar jig for 3 couples in a 4 couple set)

1-8: 1s turn RH, cast 1 place (2s step up on 3+4) and turn LH to finish to facing 1st corners.

9-12: 1s dance RSh round 1st corner positions WHILE 1st corners dance, giving RH, lady turns under mans arm and faces back to her own position. He retires while she dances back to place and stays facing out.

13-16: All 4 corners chase halfway clockwise while 1s turn LH one and a half in the middle to finish facing 2nd corner positions.

17-20: Repeat bars 9-12 with second corners.

21-24: All 4 corners chase halfway clockwise WHILE 1s turn LH one and a half to finish in the middle Lsh to Lsh, ready for RH across, 1L with the 2s, 1M with the 3s.

25-28: 1L with the 2s, 1M with the 3s dance RH across.

29-32: All 3 couples turn right hands once round (or birl). 



I was inspired to write this dance having taught Peter Hasting's dance, Aarhus Festival, at a dance weekend in Dawlish - I like the snowball chase figure which he attributes to Mel Briscoe. I hope you enjoy my effort!

I have included the crib below:

Dawlish Weekend (32 reel for three couples)

1-8: 1s dance a long cast into 2nd place. All three couples dance up to top place and 'cast to invert the set'. Finish in the order 3 1 2.

9-16: Ladies dance the Snowball Chase. 2nd lady (in bottom place) passes her partner right shoulder, dances up behind the men and back down the ladies side back to place. 1st lady (in middle place) begins on bar 11 by passing her partner right shoulder and following 2nd lady. 3rd lady (in top place) begins on bar 13.

17-24: Men dance the Snowball Chase. 3rd man (in top place) begins by passing his partner right shoulder, dancing down behind the ladies and back up the men's side to place. 1st man and 2nd man begin on bars 19 and 21 respectively.

25-32: All three couples do-si-do with partner. Right hand turn partner (or swing).

Around the Fire


This dance was devised to introduce set and petronella in a big circle dance, before learning Back to the Fireside

Around the Fire (32 reel danced in a circle)

1-8: Ladies advance to the centre, clap, retire. All set and petronella one place to the right in the circle.

9-16: Men advance to the centre, clap, return. All set and petronella one place to the right in the circle, finish facing current partner.

17-24: Grand chain, two bars per hand. Finish facing the 5th person

25-32: Right-hand turn for 4 bars. All clap, then left-hand turn for 4 bars. Ladies finish facing in ready to advance to the centre.

It's Nicola's Round!


I have devised this easy starter dance for the RSCDS Birmingham Summer Social 2019.


It's Nicola's Round - a round-the-room dance (32 bar jigs) - couples facing clockwise are 1st couples

1-8: 1s and 2s circle and back


9-16: 1s dance half figure of eight through 2s. On the diagonal, 1s and 2s advance and retire (optional hand clap with opposite!).


17-24: 2s dance half figure of eight through 1s. On the diagonal, 1s and 2s advance and retire.


25-32: With nearer hands joined with partner, set to opposites. Turn about (towards partner) to face couple who were behind and set to them. With new opposites, dance half rights and lefts (men finish with a polite turn).




I devised 'Road to China' to be performed at a ceilidh celebrating China West Midlands 2020 -

I have included the crib below:

The Road to China  – 32 bar strathspey for 3 couples in a 3 couple set
1-4          1s turn right hand once and a half whilst moving down, finishing ready for left hands across.  2s step up (not too far) on 3 & 4.
5-8          1L with 2M and 3M, 1M with 2L and 3L, dance LH across about halfway and then chase (with 1s leading) back to own sides – finish in the order 1 2 3 on men’s side and 2 3 1 on ladies side.
9-16       3 couple bourrel.  On bars 15 and 16, 1/2 turn partner two hands and finish with the 3s at the top facing down (3M leading), 1s in the middle facing up (1L leading) and 2s at the bottom facing up (2L leading).
17-24    ‘Dolphin reel’ – each couple dancing in tandem, dance a reel of three up and down the middle of the set – changing priority at the ends.  At the end of the reel, curve in to face partner (RSh at top, LSh at bottom, LSh in middle ).
25-32 All set to the right and then shorter step to the left to finish left shoulder to left shoulder with partner, then 3M followed by other men cast to their right down the ladies’ side and up men’s side (to finish in order 3 1 2)
Likewise 2L followed by other ladies cast to the right up men’s side and down ladies’ side also to finish in the order 3 1 2


Scottish Country Dancing teaching videos


I have started to produce videos to help newcomers to Scottish Country Dancing to learn the steps.

Click here for my first video of the pas de basque step on Youtube.

Click here for my second video to help dancers to learn the strathspey setting step.


The Pancake Dance


This dance was devised to have a fun dance available for Shrove Tuesday, to celebrate pancakes!

Around the Fire (32 jigs, round-the-room dance, couple facing couple. 1s are facing ACW)

1-8: 1s+2s circle L. 1s+2s LH star.

9-16: 1s+2s RH star. 1s+2s circle R (finish in original places) (first 16 bars are making the batter mix)

17-24: 1s dance NHJ between 2s, turn 2H once round and dance back thru 2s to place. (this is tossing the pancake!)

25-32: 2s dance NHJ between 1s, turn 2H once round and dance on to a new couple. (and popping the pancake on the plate!)