Repeat, Having Passed a Couple


Text by Sergey Alferov.

Photos by Polina Vatagina.

What can bring Russians, Belarusians and the English residing in Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, Cheboksary, Yaroslavl, Saint Petersburg and Minsk together? The answer is simple, if a bit unexpected: their passion for Scottish country dancing!

On 28 March 2015 Moscow St. Andrew’s Anglican Church hosted the Spring Scottish country dance ball, which was organised by the Shady Glen dance school, together with the Moscow Branch of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society. Kilted men in white shirts and ladies in smart dresses indulged in Scottish jigs, reels and strathspeys accompanied by Anatoly Isaev (Scottish button accordion) and Vladimir Volkov (fiddle).

As the dancers had been preparing to the event beforehand, in most cases they only needed a brief reminder (‘recap’) of what was to follow right before each dance. This quick recap was provided in English by Sergey Alferov, the MC of the night.

By the look of it, this might have been happening in Edinburgh, Vancouver, Sydney, Singapore or Tokyo: Scottish country dancing found its way into the globalised multicultural milieu in the second half of the previous century thanks to the energy and enthusiasm of members of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society.

Nowadays, Scottish country dancing attracts people of various ages and dance backgrounds from around the globe. Russia is no exception. What is exceptional, though, is the age of most Russian dancers. It ranges from early 20s to late 30s and is some 30-40 years lower than the age of most Scottish country dancers elsewhere in the world.

So, if you want a unique hobby allowing you to find a welcoming local community and get a sense of belonging wherever you go, Scottish country dancing may be just the thing! There are several groups to join in Moscow, one of them being an interest group of the International Women’s Club (IWC).