The differences between ceilidh dancing and SCD are primarily ones of style
and dance repertoire.. There are a few dances that cross over between the
styles( Strip The Willow, Eightsome Reel, Duke of Perth etc ) but even then
the style of performance differs.
For further background on ceilidh dancing ( and other forms of Scottish
dancing) see "Scotland's Dances" - a review of the 1994 Conference on the
Diversity of Scottish Dance - published by The Scottish Arts Council.
Andrew Aitchison writes on the difference between ceilidh and SCD
>>I fear the definition is largely practice; .......The best distinction >>is that alcohol is present at Ceilidhs, but not SCD,
Not true. There are ceilidhs (ceilidh dances ?) where alcohol is not
served. Equally, there are SC dances(including some RSCDS branch dances)
where alcohol is available
The term ceilidh dancing is fairly modern. I would be interested in any
(provable) use of the term prior to the late 1970s. (The type of dancing
and dances that are now accepted as being ceilidh dances obviously existed
long before then - it is the expression which is modern, not the
The word ceilidh as used by the Scottish Gaels did not generally include
dance as part of the understanding of the word, and indeed some of my
gaelic speaking friends take exception to the term ceilidh dancing. It is
however part of every day usage now.