Dancing for victory

Discover the history of one of your favourite Scottish country dances


The story of a group of Scottish soldiers creating the dance The Reel of the 51st Division whilst incarcerated in a German Prisoner of War camp during World War Two is one of defiance and hope.

Though already well-known within Scottish country dance circles, not so often mentioned is the tale of the missing tune, the dance’s debut at a grand Halloween Ball, or how integral Mary Hamilton Hunter was to developing the dance and teaching it to others.

Curated by the RSCDS (a collaboration between our in-house team and the RSCDS Archivist), as part of the BBC #DancePassion project, we worked with the BBC Rewind Team to create this visually exciting re-telling of the story, complete with a how-to video and film of the reel being danced at The Newcastle Festival this year - discover a new perspective on this unique dance!

If you have any questions about the story please contact Katherine Butler or Alan Macpherson for information.

Sign up for the RSCDS eNewsletter

Sign up to:

  • Keep up to date with RSCDS events 
  • Join a worldwide community of Scottish country dance and music

Join an RSCDS Branch & receive member benefits

There are 159 RSCDS Branches and over 300 Affiliated Groups in more than 50 countries around the world, located on all continents (except Antarctica).

They organise and run classes, dances and other social events in their own areas and are committed to helping develop Scottish Dance and Music for future generations.

We encourage you to try Scottish Country Dancing for yourself to see just how much fun it can be, so please come along and learn how to 'Dance Scottish'. 

Wherever you are in the world there is most likely Scottish Country Dancing.

Find my nearest branch

  • Copyright © 2020 Royal Scottish Country Dance Society
  • Registered Charity No. SC 016085
  • Company No. SC 480530
  • 12 Coates Crescent, Edinburgh, EH3 7AF