First Footing Dance Residency

First Footing is a new tailor-made residency with international, percussive dance artist and dance researcher Nic Gareiss, delivered by the Traditional Dance Forum of Scotland in partnership with the University of Edinburgh – Institute for Sport, Physical Education & Health Sciences, Moray House School of Education & School of Scottish Studies.


In Scottish folklore, First Footing is the custom of the first person to enter a household on New Year’s Day, seen as a bringer of good fortune for the coming year.


Rooted in collaboration across dance and music communities, traditional and contemporary practices, the residency spans arts organisation, educational institutions and community groups to foster deeper levels of engagement, connectivity and new support for traditional dance in Scotland.

Nic will engage with communities through partner facilitated dialogue, dance research, high-profile and community performances, workshops, masterclasses, knowledge and pedagogical exchange. Scroll down to view engagement and professional development opportunities for dancers and musicians.


First Footing is supported by Creative Scotland.

First Footing Artist's Blog Now Live

The Artist

One of Dance Magazine’s 2019 “25 to Watch,” dancer and dance researcher Nic Gareiss has been hailed by the New York Times for his “dexterous melding of Irish and Appalachian dance” and called “the most inventive and expressive step dancer on the scene” by the Boston Herald.

His work re-imagines movement as a musical practice, recasting dance as medium that appeals to both eyes and ears.

He draws from many percussive dance traditions to weave together a dance technique facilitating his love of improvisation, traditional footwork vocabulary and musical collaboration.

Michigan-born, Gareiss holds degrees in anthropology and music from Central Michigan University and recently earned his MA in Ethnochoreology at the University of Limerick. His MA thesis, based upon ethnographic work with LGTBQ competitive step dancers, was the first piece of scholarship to query the experience of sexual minorities within Irish dance.

Gareiss’ essay, ‘An Buachaillín Bán: Reflections on One Queer’s Performance within Traditional Irish Music & Dance‘ appears in the book Queer Dance: Meanings and Makings edited by Clare Croft (Oxford University Press).

Visit Nic's Website

Opportunities for Dancers & Musicians

A rolling programme of opportunities for dancers and musicians will be posted here throughout residency and First Footing will continue to partner with organisations and groups across the country to bring activity to local communities.

        • 26 Jan, Glasgow: Celtic Connections
          Dance the Tune Workshop
        • 26 Jan, Glasgow: Kelvingrove Dancers
          Appalachian Clogging and Flatfooting Workshop
        • 27 Jan, Glasgow: Celtic Connections
          Dance the Tune Workshop
        • 27 Jan, Glasgow: Kelvingrove Dancers
          Step Dance Technique & Improvisation Workshop
        • 27 Jan, Glasgow: Celtic Connections
          Alasdair Fraser Quintet, New World Assembly
        • 29 Jan, Glasgow: Celtic Connections
          DuoDuo Concert
        • 2 Feb, Glasgow: Celtic Connections
          LGBT+ Voices in Conversation
        • 3 Feb, Glasgow: Celtic Connections
          LGBT+ Voices in Folk
        • 5 Feb, Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh
          Chinese New Year (Solo Concert)
        • 7 Feb, Glasgow: Kelvingrove Dancers
          Step Dance Workshop 
        • 9 Feb, Fort William: Fèis Lochabair
          Step Dance Workshop & Ceilidh
        • 22 Feb, Edinburgh: Queen’s Hall
          Mairi Campbell & The Pendulum Band
        • 24 Feb, Perth:
          Step Dance Education in Scotland
          Day of Conversation & Professional Development for Step Dance Teachers.
        • 2-3 Mar, Aberdeen: Feerochie
          Weekend of Percussive Dance with Feerochie, Kae Sakurai, Aneta Dortova, Toby Bennett & Nic Gareiss
        • 4 Mar, Edinburgh: Queens Hall
          Homecoming 2 – Return of Mackay’s Memoirs
        • 7 Mar, Glasgow: Kelvingrove Dancers
          Step Dance Workshop (for dancers with percussive dance experience) 
        • 21 Mar, Edinburgh: St. Leonard’s Close
          First Footing Sharing of Work in Progress
        • 28-31 Mar, Lismore Island: Sound of Dance Project
          Dance & Music Residential Weekend with Nic Gareiss & Mairi Campbell
        • 4 Apr, Edinburgh: St. Leonard’s Close
          First Footing Sharing of Work in Progress
        • 6 Apr, Edinburgh: Storytelling Centre
          Playing for Dance Workshop for Musicians
        • 7 Apr, Edinburgh: Dance Base
          Percussive Dance Lab
        • 8-12 Apr, Isle of Skye: Sabhal Mòr Ostaig
          Step Dance with Nic Gareiss – The Art of Treepling
        • 9 Apr, Isle of Skye: Seall
          Easter Concert & Ceilidh with Hamish Napier, John Somerville, Ross Martin & Eilidh Shaw
        • 13 Apr, Inverness: Fèis a Bhaile
          Step Dance Workshop
        • 14 Apr, Edinburgh
          Step Dance Workshop
        • 18 Apr, Glasgow: Kelvingrove Dancers
          Step Dance Workshop (for dancers with percussive dance experience)
        • 27 Apr, Dumfries: Fèis an Iar Dheas
          Step Dance Workshop & Performance (free, donations welcome)
        • 28 Apr, Glasgow: The Work Room
          Percussive Dance Workshop & Dance Research Laboratory
        • 4-5 May, South Uist: Ceolas
          Moladh Uibhist, Song & Dance Conference
        • 6 June, Glasgow: Kelvingrove Dancers
          Step Dance Workshop
        • 7-9 Jun, Edinburgh
          The Art of Treepling mini festival culminating the First Footing residency


For more information or to discuss the project:

Contact Michelle Brady, Dance Network Co-ordinator
0131 558 8137

Email Michelle