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 Artist’s Blog Now Live



The Artist

Nic Gareiss is a percussive dance artist, musician and dance researcher. 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. Described by the Irish Times as “the human epitome of the unbearable lightness of being,” and “the most inventive and expressive step dancer on the scene” by the Boston Herald.

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 on 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. Read more.


27 JAN, GLASGOW: Celtic Connections,

Dance the Tune Workshop. Read more.


27 JAN, GLASGOW: Celtic Connections,

Alasdair Fraser Quintet, New World Assembly.

Read more.


29 JAN, GLASGOW: Celtic Connections,

DuoDuo Concert. Read more.


2 FEB, GLASGOW: Celtic Connections,

LGBT+ Voices in Conversation. Read more.


3 FEB, GLASGOW: Celtic Connections,

LGBT+ Voices in Folk. Read more.


28-31 MAR, LISMORE ISLAND: Sound of Dance Project, 

Dance & Music Residential Weekend lead by Nic Gareiss and Mairi Campbell

Email: info [at] kelvingrovedancers [dot] co [dot] uk


8-12 APR, ISLE OF SKYE: Sabhal Mòr Ostaig

“The Art of Treepling” Residential Weekend. Read more.



First Footing Closing Weekend

Further details coming soon…



For more information or to discuss the project:

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

Email Michelle