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History of the Red Thistle Dancers

The Red Thistle Dancers were created in 1973 as a new incarnation of a Scottish Country Dancing group previously led by C. Stewart Smith (who was instrumental in promoting Scottish Country Dancing in the San Francisco Bay Area in California during the 1960s and 1970s).  


Founding Artistic Director Jennifer Kelly was persuaded into leading the advanced technique class in the South Bay, and once that happened, people started asking for performances!  

The Red Thistle Dancers take their name from both the thistle, the national flower of Scotland which appears in many crests and coats of arms, and from a California native thistle, the Cobweb or Venus thistle, a strikingly colored red wildflower found on the coastal ranges.  Learn more about our namesake flower here.

Artistic Directors and Founders  Jennifer & John Kelly, c. 1979

The Red Thistle Dancers have performed at numerous fairs and festivals, at public and private celebrations, and at both national and international venues, and continue to share their love of Scottish Dance and music with the greater San Francisco Bay Area community and beyond.  


Scroll down to view the list of our performances over the decades.

The Red Thistle Dancers
- Scottish Dancing & Music  -

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