The Schottische

(The Schottisch, German Schottische)

Contemporary Description

This is the mid-19th century version of the Schottische.

The Position

Waltz position throughout.

The Footwork

Begin with the Lead facing forward LOD and the Follow facing against LOD.

1-2-3-4: Slow polka step (slide-close-slide-hop) toward the center of the room, no turning.

5-6-7-8: Slow polka step toward the outside wall, turning 180° clockwise to prepare for the Lead to back in front of the Follow, across LOD, on count 9.

9-10: Hopped pivot step (step-hop) with the Lead backing across LOD. Placement of the feet on the step is the same as in the first count of rotary waltz (p. 59).

11-12: Hopped pivot step (step-hop) with the Follow backing across LOD. Placement of the feet on the step is the same as in the fourth count of rotary waltz.

13-14: Hopped pivot step (step-hop) with the Lead backing across LOD.

15-16: Hopped step (step-hop) with the Follow backing across LOD, stopping the rotation in position to begin again, i.e., when the Lead is facing forward LOD, Follow against LOD.

Repeat from the beginning.

The Music

Schottische music, in 4/4 time, with paired phrases of eight counts.

Contemporary Schottische Variations

Contemporary variations of the Schottische can be found on the Schottische page.

© 2015 Nick Enge

(Click to expand)

Historical Descriptions

The Schottisch (Hillgrove, 1857):

Music in Four-Four Time.

Of all the new dances that have been introduced within the last few years, there is none that appears to be a more general favorite than the Schottisch. But although it ranks among the new dances with us, it is a dance of immemorial antiquity, with a tradition from olden times like the Polka, the origin of which seems to be totally unknown to the profession, and is in fact a German peasant dance.

The Schottisch is now become quite universal. It does not require so much practice as many of the other dances, and when properly danced it is a very elegant and pleasing movement. As it is a combination of two movements, a polka and a circular hop, the two combined make up a most agreeable variety.

The step is very easy, but the double movement requires much more care and attention than the Polka, that it becomes more difficult for the gentleman to guide his partner through the mazes of the Schottisch without encountering many of those awkward mishaps, such as treading upon toes and dresses, to which unskilful dancers are constantly subject.

It is chiefly in the circular or hop movement that the difficulty is experienced; for, if the time be not precisely kept, so as to make the two hops perfectly simultaneous, a collision is perfectly inevitable, and a solemn pause immediately follows, to the great disappointment of both parties, but especially of the gentleman, on whom the chief responsibility lies. It is perhaps unfortunate for the cultivation of the art of dancing that the gentleman's part is really more difficult, and requires greater practice, while gentlemen in general devote less time and attention than ladies to the acquisition of the accomplishment.

The Step of the Schottisch.

The gentleman holds the lady-in the same manner as in the polka. He commences with his left foot, merely sliding it forward; then he brings up the right foot to the place of the left foot, again sliding the left foot forward, then be springs or hops on the left or forward, foot. He repeats this movement to the right, beginning with the right foot, sliding it forward, bringing up the left foot to the place of the right, and sliding the right forward again, then hopping on the right.

Immediately after this, the movement changes into a series of double hops and a double rotation. Spring twice on the left foot, turning half round-twice on the right foot, turning half round-twice again on the left foot, turning half round-and then twice again on the right foot, turning half round; then begin again, and proceed as at first. The lady's step is the counterpart of the gentleman's, she beginning with the right foot.

The Schottisch, like other round dances, may be varied by means of the reverse turn, or even by going in a direct line round the room. You may also double each part by giving four bars to the first part, and four bars to the second or circular movement. The gentleman is expected to regulate all these matters according to circumstances, sometimes for variety, sometimes to avoid collision in a crowded room, and it is only necessary for him to apprise his partner of his intentions, by saying "double," or "four bars," and she repeats the sliding step instead of proceeding to the hop.

Some introduce the Deux Temps step into the circular part, but this destroys the character of the dance, and confounds two dances together.

The Schottisch is easily acquired. The time is the same as the Polka, but much slower, although it is now danced much faster than it was originally.

German Schottische (Skinner, 1898):

This is a simple round dance, very suitable for juveniles. It can be taught in a few minutes.

The gentleman performs the first Scotch step to each side, thus:—1, 2, 3, hop, back to right side, counting eight. He then turns his partner round twice, counting 1, 2, 3, 4—5, 7, 7, 8, or 1 hop, 2 hop, 3 hop, 4 hop.

The lady executes the same step, beginning with the right.

The fashion is now to imitate the Waltz step in place of the hops.

This dance is seldom seen in fashionable circles.

For more dance descriptions, see our three books on dancing:
The Book of Mixers: 100 Easy-Teach Dances for Getting Acquainted (2022) by Richard Powers and Nick & Melissa Enge,
Cross-Step Waltz: A Dancer's Guide (2019) by Richard Powers and Nick & Melissa Enge, and
Waltzing: A Manual for Dancing and Living (2013) by Richard Powers and Nick Enge.

For full-length teaching videos, visit: University of Dance.

For help crafting a life you love, visit: Project Quartz.

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