Global 24-hour Ceilidh

After much anticipation, the Commonwealth Ceilidh began in New Zealand at 7.30pm local time on Saturday 21 June and then moved westward, crossing time zones, with the epic event ending in Hawaii 24 hours later. It has been calculated that the Commonwealth Ceilidh travelled an impressive 18,250 miles across the world over the course of 24 hours!

The Ceilidh encompassed 73 events across Australasia, Asia, Africa, Europe and North America as part of an event which was open to everyone. In village halls at the heart of rural communities and in bustling city centre venues, Commonwealth Ceilidhs were held in locations as far afield and diverse as Tasmania, Sydney, Cape Town, St Petersburg and Jamaica. Closer to home, Ceilidhs were held in London, Belfast and various Scottish towns and cities including flagship events in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Well done to everyone who took part!

The Commonwealth Ceilidh was produced by RSCDS and Get Scotland Dancing as part of the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme and funded by Creative Scotland through National Lottery funding.

Commonwealth Ceilidh Dances
The Gay Gordons
The dancing gets off to a great start with The Gay Gordons, the well known march from the First World War. Named for The Gordon Highlanders, this dance remains very popular and is danced to any 4/4 march. However, the original tune composed by Pipe Major George S McLennan, entitled The Gordon Highlanders March is played most often. The dance is performed in couples, in what is known as a “round the room” dance. Click here for the dance instructions.

The Gay Gordons from Creative Scotland on Vimeo.

The Dashing White Sergeant
The Dashing White Sergeant is the first of the “reels”. Again, very popular, the dance origins are unknown, but thought to originate from a song of similar name, telling the story of a girl who wishes to dress as a soldier to follow her loved one on to the battlefield. Another round the room dance, this one is performed by groups of three (two ‘As’ /one ‘B’, or two ‘Bs’/one ‘A’) two of which join together to form dancing sets of six. Fast, furious and fun.... Click here for the dance instructions.

The Dashing White Sergeant from Creative Scotland on Vimeo.

The St Bernards Waltz
The St Bernard’s Waltz, the most popular ceilidh dance, slows the tempo a little, when everyone usually takes the floor with a partner for a simple waltz. The origins of the dance name are unknown, but participants require only two legs and no tail! Click here for the dance instructions.

The St Bernards Waltz from Creative Scotland on Vimeo.

The Radical Road
The Radical Road is a reel devised to reflect the worldwide connections established and renewed in the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. Rich in Scottish and Indian music and dance, this reel is named after the Radical Road in Edinburgh which was built in the 18th century to bolster local trade and which served subsequently to inspire philosophers and scientists by its scenic beauty. Click here for the dance instructions.

The Radical Road Reel from Creative Scotland on Vimeo.

The Virginia Reel
The Virginia Reel, the first “set dance” of the evening, speeds things up and brings an international feel to the proceedings. This dance is performed in sets of four couples (eight people per set) to prepare for a hoe down, and is normally danced in reel time to American folk tunes such as Turkey in the Straw. Click here for the dance instructions.

The Virginia Reel from Creative Scotland on Vimeo.

The Military Two Step
The Military Two Step is the first “two step” of the evening. A well known favourite, it is danced, as the name suggests, to a two step in a 6/8 rhythm. Click here for the dance instructions.

The Military Two Step from Creative Scotland on Vimeo.

The Posties Jig
After the interval, the Posties Jig is the first “jig” of the evening. Becoming increasingly popular at ceilidhs, this jig is danced in four couple sets to the original tune of Lassie come and dance wi’ me. Click here for the dance instructions.

The Posties Jig from Creative Scotland on Vimeo.

The Granite City Reel
The Granite City Reel (named after the City of Aberdeen) is a reel devised to reflect the agility of the athletes competing in the Games. Danced to the specially composed music of the same name, this reel provides individual dancers with the opportunity to shine, be creative and make their own contribution in a dance requiring speed and endurance. Click here for the dance instructions.

The Granite City Reel from Creative Scotland on Vimeo.

The Canadian Barn Dance
The feel of the popular Canadian Barn Dance is great, starting with a simple format of one, two, three kick, back two three and a hand clap, to get everyone going. This round the room dance is performed in couples, normally to pipe marches in 2/4 time. Click here for the dance instructions.

The Canadian Barn Dance from Creative Scotland on Vimeo.

The Reel of the 51st Division
The Reel of the 51st Division, devised during the Second World War, is danced in sets of four couples (eight people per set) and is another dance to get everyone on the floor. Click here for the dance instructions.

Reel of the 51st Division from Creative Scotland on Vimeo.

The Britannia Two Step
The Britannia Two Step, a round the room dance with a twist, is danced in groups of three (usually two ‘As’/one ‘B’) normally to two step music in 6/8 time, but any good march or song tune will do and this dance always notches the ceilidh up a gear. Click here for the dance instructions.

The Britannia Two Step from Creative Scotland on Vimeo.

The Clydeside Reel
The Clydeside Reel is a reel devised to reflect the warmth of the welcome and the sense of inclusion all visitors and competitors to the Commonwealth Games can expect to receive from the City of Glasgow. Danced to the tune entitled Controlled Abandon, this reel can be performed by people of all ages and all abilities; all guaranteed a place at the heart of this great sporting event. Click here for the dance instructions.

The Clydeside Reel from Creative Scotland on Vimeo.

The Eightsome Reel
The Eightsome Reel requires no introduction. A great dance, performed in sets of eight people, this reel gives everyone the chance to perform solo in the middle of the set. The original tune is a very well known traditional reel called The Deil amang the Tailors. Click here for the dance instructions.

The Eightsome Reel from Creative Scotland on Vimeo.

The Pride of Erin Waltz
The penultimate dance of the evening is the long term favourite and well loved, The Pride of Erin Waltz when again everyone usually takes the floor with a partner for a round the room waltz. This dance originated in Leith, Edinburgh, devised in 1911 by Charles Wood. Click here for the dance instructions.

The Pride of Erin Waltz from Creative Scotland on Vimeo.

Strip the Willow
Strip the Willow is the final dance of the evening and by far the most popular dance to be requested at ceilidhs, parties and weddings. A fast and furious jig, to get you “birrlin” and turning your partner, this dance was performed originally in sets of four couples in 9/8 time. It is now more commonly danced in 6/8 time and can involve one giant set stretching the full length of the hall.... not for the faint hearted! Click here for the dance instructions.

Strip the Willow from Creative Scotland on Vimeo.