About the Portland RSCDS Branch

What is Scottish Country Dancing?

Scottish Country Dancing (SCD) is the social dance form of Scotland. Dances are typically performed with 3-5 couples, and generally in two lines or in a square. The dancers work together to perform a sequence of formations which eventually bring them back to their starting positions, each couple having danced as the head couple at least once. Musicians play lively music in quick time and dramatic music for passionate dances at events small and large. The Royal Scottish Dance Society (RSCDS) has standardized, reconstructed, and collects new dances for everyone to enjoy.

Scottish Country Dance is very sociable – it is common to dance with many different partners during a night of dancing, and many dancers in the Pacific Northwest circulate around the area to the larger functions of the nearby branches. Thanks to the standardization efforts of the RSCDS, it is very easy to dance with other RSCDS groups all over the world, even in the absence of a common spoken language.


The history of the Portland Oregon Branch started in the late 1970’s when Don Gertz first encountered Scottish Country Dancing as part of an International folk dance class. He went to Seattle, where there was a flourishing SCD community, to learn more and there he met Noel Lillie, a veteran dancer and teacher with the Seattle Branch, and asked for his assistance in starting classes in Portland. Noel graciously agreed to travel to Portland to help Don teach classes, which began in 1979 with six dancers. In 1980 Don traveled to St. Andrews to study for, and take, his Preliminary Certificate examination, which he passed. By 1981 there were enough dancers to form two sets, and the Portland Scottish Country Dance Club was formed as an affiliate group of RSCDS.

The Club held its first Annual Workshop and Ball in 1979 and formed a demonstration team in 1981; these activities continue to this day. In 1987 the Club had 56 RSCDS members and 3 fully certificated teachers, and applied to become a Branch. Branch status was granted in April 1988. We also maintain close contact with the Southwest Washington State branch.


Holly Gibson
Holly Gibson, Chairman
Martin MacKenzie
Martin MacKenzie,
Janice Taylor
Janice Taylor, Secretary
Pat Taylor
Pat Taylor, Co-Treasurer
Sally Palmer
Sally Palmer, Co-Treasurer
Don Gertz
Don Gertz, Teacher/Coordinator
Darrick J. Wong
Darrick J. Wong, Webmaster