Improved Draws for Highland Dancing Championships

Randomization is a fundamental and time-tested principle of design that is used to reduce bias. Randomization is used in every scientific discipline and throughout the social sciences. Given the importance of randomization, it follows that the use of random draws ought to be preferred to the "first to enter - last to dance" procedure traditionally used in highland dancing championships.

However, draws (as often implemented in highland dancing championships) can be improved. There are two primary reasons why the highland draws available from this website are preferable to ordinary draws:

This website has been designed so that balanced random draws can be conveniently generated for use in highland dancing championships. The methodology has been well-tested and has been implemented in major championships including Interprov 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. In the interest of highland dance, you are welcome to use and promote the software. If you have any questions, I would be happy to help out - email If you do use the software, an acknowledgement would be appreciated. There are three options for the random generation of balanced draws:

OPTION 1: This option is applicable if you are specifically interested in generating balanced draws for blocked group championships and you want to generate the draw yourself. You will be required to enter the kilt numbers for each of the competitors. You can only use this software if the number of competitors ranges from 15 through 30 (as is the case at Interprov). To use Option 1, click here.

OPTION 2: Suppose that you are still interested in balanced draws for blocked group championships but you do not want to generate the draw yourself. This option provides draws when the number of competitors ranges from 12 through 50. To use Option 2, you will need to do a little reading - click here.

OPTION 3: Suppose that you do not have a blocked group structure and you are not concerned with recovery issues. You can then generate a balanced draw for any group of dancers that ranges in size from 1 through 99 by following the instructions below. Note that the purpose of the "seed" is to give the random number mechanism a starting value. Repeated use of the same seed will lead to the same draw. Therefore, you will probably want to use different seeds for different draws.

Enter the number of dancers (between 1 and 99):

Enter a four digit positive integer seed: