Scottish Country dance
is a form of social dance involving groups of couples of dancers tracing progressive patterns according to a predetermined choreography. Country dancing is sometimes mistaken for a type of folk dancing, but it is actually the ballroom dance form of Scotland, as its original base of dancers was from the more educated and wealthy classes of the Renaissance.
When it first became popular around the 18th century it was as a shorter, quicker form of dance[that was a light relief from the more courtly dances normally danced. Derived from early British forms of Country dancing, SCD is related to English country dancing, contra dancing, cèilidh dancing, Old time dancing and Irish set dancing due to the combination of some of these dance forms in early Country dance forms and later cross-over introduced by their overlapping influences via dancers and dance masters.
Scottish country dancing (a social form of dance with two or more couples of dancers) should not be confused with Scottish highland dance (a solo form of dance). There is a certain amount of cross-over, in that there are Scottish country dances that include highland elements as well as highland-style performance dances which use formations otherwise seen in country dances, but these are relatively few when the two dance forms are considered each as a whole.
Scottish Highland Dancing
Highland dancing is a competitive and technical dance form requiring technique, stamina, and strength, and is recognised as a sport by the Sport Council of Scotland.
In Highland dancing, the dancers dance on the balls of the feet. Highland dancing is a form of solo step dancing, from which it evolved, but while some forms of step dancing are purely percussive in nature, Highland dancing involves not only a combination of steps but also some integral upper body, arm, and hand movements.
Some Highland dances do derive from traditional social dances, however. An example is the Highland Reel, also known as the Foursome Reel, in which groups of four dancers alternate between solo steps facing one another and a figure-of-eight style with intertwining progressive movement. Even so, in competitions, the Highland Reel dancers are judged individually. Most Highland dances are danced solo.