Performance Participation Policy and Guidelines

While RSCDS-TC branch tends to perform frequently, performing is not our main purpose. Rather it is a way recruit new members, make some money to help with expenses, and generally share the joy of Scottish country dancing. Our goal is to make performances (a.k.a. “demonstrations” in the SCD world) as fun and inclusive as possible for our members. All dancers who would like to dance with the branch, whether at the Renaissance Festival or other performances, are expected to know the dances in the current performance repertoire, which is taught at performance repertoire rehearsals, typically held on Mondays and Fridays from early July to mid-August.

Basic Policy for Standard/Informal Situations

Most Branch performances are informal; this includes the Minnesota Renaissance Festival and Big Island.

Participation in the Renaissance Festival is the beginning of the Twin Cities Branch performance season. The performance repertoire to be used during the following twelve months is learned in rehearsals prior to the Renaissance Festival. A dancer who wishes to dance with the Branch during the following year is expected to attend these sessions during which the repertoire is taught. However, participation as a dancer in performances is ultimately at the discretion of the rehearsal director(s). Dancers hoping to participate for the first time are urged to speak to the rehearsal director(s) as soon as possible about their readiness for performances. Basic criteria for readiness are as follows:

  • At a minimum, dancers must be able to be in the right place at the right time, recover well from mistakes, and move rhythmically and in such a way as to not be a visual distraction to the audience.
  • Although footwork need not be perfect, it must be a close approximation and should not stand out to an audience.
  • Before rehearsals begin, all dancers are expect to be able to dance the basic formations without prompting.
  • By the time of the performance, dancers must be able to perform all dances in the repertoire without relying heavily on other dancers for help.
  • Dancers are expected to agree to dance with any partner they may be assigned.
  • Performers are generally expected to be current, dues-paid members of the branch. Exceptions may be made at the discretion of the board.

For Branch members who wish to participate in the Renaissance Festival but are unable to do so as a dancer, there are other opportunities available.

Rehearsal Attendance Policy

  • Dancers who are first-year performers with the branch must attend all rehearsals, unless excused with prior approval from a Renaissance Festival rehearsal teacher.
  • Other dancers are strongly encouraged to attend as many rehearsals as they can. All dancers should keep in mind that attending rehearsals is not just about learning the dances as individuals, but learning how to perform them as a group. You will be held responsible for everything announced, taught, or discussed at the rehearsals you miss.

Policy for Formal Situations

Formal situations are defined as those where the dancers will appear upon a stage, such as the Festival of Nations, or at events such as weddings where a high standard of performance is desired.

Dancers must meet the requirements outlined in the basic policy for standard/informal performances (above). The following are additional requirements. It is typical for dancers to achieve this level of skill after having done Scottish country dancing for several years.

  • Dancers must be able to perform strathspey, reel, and jig traveling and setting steps to a high standard.
  • Dancers must be able to comfortably perform difficult transitions of footwork and direction of movement.
  • Dancers must understand phrasing, teamwork, and covering, and be able to demonstrate them to a high standard while doing all the dances in the current year’s performance repertoire. At the same time they should appear relaxed, happy, comfortable, and graceful (and charming!).
  • It is assumed that dancers participating in formal situations will have a willingness to be critiqued, and will act on the suggestions of teachers and performance facilitators.
  • Dancers are expected to be physically capable and have the endurance to perform the entire suite of dances planned for the event.

Non-Dancer Participation

Our goal is to encourage and include all our members who wish to be involved with performances to do so, particularly at the Renaissance Festival. In reality, we recognize this is not always going to be possible; some are not interested in performing for an audience and some have not had enough experience. Branch members who are not dancing are encouraged to explore the option of participating in our performances as a non-dancer helper. Non-dancer helpers can add to the performance by interacting with the audience and joining audience participation dances. At venues like the Renaissance Festival, they can march in the parade and assist with carrying banners, getting water for the piper, etc. Please contact the FOD (facilitator of the day) for the performance in question to find out more.


Performance participants must provide their own costumes, which should fall reasonably within the branch costume guidelines. All costumes are subject to approval by the branch Wardrobe Master.


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