In the late 1940s a group of Scottish ex-pats formed a Caledonian Society here in Hamburg. Whether at home or away the Scots like to follow tradition and celebrate their feast days, to name but two, the birthday of Scotland's national poet Robert Burns (1759-96), celebrated on 25 January, and the death of Scotland's patron saint St. Andrew, celebrated on 30 November.
At festivities like these, after enjoying the culinary delights, merrymaking will invariably continue in the form of dancing. The Scots are famous for this, to the extent that Scottish country dancing has spread widely and today is performed all over the world. Thus, with the formation of a Caledonian Society in Hamburg, was also the beginning of Scottish country dancing in the Hansestadt.
Scottish country dancing can be enjoyed by people of all ages. It has several different styles, much like ballroom dancing. The ballroom dancing danced on the postage-stamp-sized floor of the night club is long way from that learned at the local dancing school, and even the dancing there is yet a different style again from that of competition dancing seen on TV.
The Scottish Country Dancers of Hamburg (SCDH) might be compared to the local dancing school. We like to perform correctly, try to put our feet in the right positions and to do all the things you are supposed to do, but at the same time - and first and foremost, we like it to be fun.
We are a happy and friendly group of about 50 dancers of various ages and mixed abilities from several countries, some coming regularly, others occasionally. Newcomers are welcome with or without dancing experience, alone or accompanied.
Thursday evenings are Scottish Country Dance evenings at Albert-Schweitzer-Schule where, since 1999, we have been in the most fortunate position of having the use of its new sports hall with its wonderful resilient floor. (Click on to venue for address, etc.).
From time to time the SCDH perform in public; put on a Scottish country dance demonstration to show how it should be done. This means a lot of practice beforehand. The demonstrations usually go off well, but always cause the adrenaline to start flowing. Sometimes there are hitches, but these are there to be mastered. A nice bow and curtsey and everything looked fine.
The SCDH have performed in many places in Hamburg, to name a few: in the City Hall (das Rathaus) as well as on the square in front of it, in the CCH, the Schauspielhaus, the Musikhalle, the Auditorium Maximum, at 'Britfest / Hafengeburtstag' at various places along the river Elbe, in the Museum für Völkerkunde, and, last but not least, regularly at 'British Day' (now 'British Flair'), the annual, outdoor event which usually takes place at the end of August at the Polo Club in Klein Flottbek.