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Highland - General
Highland Dancing FAQ (karma: 17)  en>fr fr>en
By SeniorLadyPremium member Comments: 8103, member since Sun Aug 24, 2003
On Sat May 01, 2004 12:30 PM
Edited by SeniorLady (72324) on 2004-05-01 13:27:22 very inappropriate typo - oops!!!
Edited by SeniorLady (72324) on 2004-05-01 13:29:40 very inappropriate typo - oops!!!
Made sticky by MIClogger (28613) on 2004-05-02 11:19:50
Made sticky by hylndlas (107168) on 2007-11-13 10:36:28
Made unsticky by hylndlas (107168) on 2007-11-13 10:37:15

I couldn't find our old sticky, so I took the liberty of making us a new one. Please feel free to add on, correct, throw melons at, etc. anything that you read below. If the old sticky is found, maybe we can combine them. If someone could add a bit about costuming, and the cost of getting some outfits, that'd be really appreciated. I haven't got a clue about how much things cost ... not that I have money for anything anyway!

What is Highland Dancing?

Highland dancing is a form of dance that originated in Scotland. In can be classified as a national dance, meaning that it is specific to a country and culture. Originally, Highland Dancing was restricted to men only; as such, its movements characterise the dancer's athleticism, power, and strength. Today, female dancers greatly outnumber their male counterparts, and a series of ladies' dances have been created for them, comprised of Balletic movements and softer choreography.

For threads discussing the similarities and differences between Irish and Highland (it’s a common misconception that those styles are the same), click here or here.

What are the Highland dances?

There are 4 Highland dances, all of which were originally for men only. Today, they are at the basis of all major championships. These dances are the Fling, Sword, Seann Truibhas, and Reels. Each dance is made up of a series of set steps, and dancers can choose to compete with whichever steps they prefer, provided that they're not competing at a championship (where steps are pre-determined at the start of the competitive season).

The Highland Fling is generally the first dance that a student learns. Folklore has it that the Fling was performed after battle as a victory dance on top of a shield, which is why the dance is performed on the spot (unless you’re like me, and need about an acre to dance it because you can’t keep still). Another rumour says that a boy had been wandering the Scottish Highlands when he saw a deer leaping around the fields. He was so enthralled by its beauty that he started mimicking its movements. As such, the arms depict the antlers of a deer.

The Sword Dance is my personal favourite (you care, right? :)) but isn’t for many, because it’s rather challenging. As the name suggests, this dance is performed over and around a pair of swords. The most common story behind this dance is that, after his defeat of MacBeth at Dunsinane, Malcolm Canmore laid his opponent’s sword on the ground, placed his own on top of it, and danced over them in victory. Soldiers later adopted this as a pre-battle tradition: if you stepped on your swords, then you would be injured in battle, but if you kicked them, then you would be killed. Jolly, eh?

After the defeat of Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1746, the English banned anything even remotely Scottish, including the wearing of the kilt. The movements of the Seann Truibhas, the third Highland dance, involve the shedding of the trousers (truibhas = trews) in favour of the kilts, using movements like brushes and shakes. The quicktime represents a livelier time when the trousers were shed and so forth.

Reels were supposedly created one morning when parishioners in the village of Tulloch headed to their Church service only to find that the minister wasn’t there. Since it was a very cold morning, as they usually are when you’re waiting outside for someone, the villagers decided to warm up by dancing. Reels are always performed in a group, even though the dancers are judged individually.

What are the National dances?

The national dances are a series of dances that were added later on. Some are ladies’ dances (e.g., the Scottish Lilt, Flora MacDonald’s Fancy, and the Village Maid, etc.), while others are men’s dances (Highland Laddie and Wilt Thou Go to Barracks, Johnnie? and so on).

The ladies’ dances are generally softer and more Balletic, whereas the men’s are reminiscent of the 4 Highland dances.

What are the Character dances?

The Irish Jig and the Sailor’s Hornpipe are usually grouped in with the nationals (as far as I know), but I like to refer to them as character dances because you have to do a bit of acting and adopt a character when you dance them. In the Irish Jig, the dancer pretends to be an angry Irish Washerwoman whose laundry has been trampled by naughty children. She shakes her fists at them, flounces her skirt, stamps her feet, etc. In the hornpipe, dancers pretend to be sailors, and mimic movements the sailors do on a ship.

Here is a bit more info on several dances.

Where can I see Highland Dancing?

Local schools sometimes put on end-of-year recitals, or perform in concerts and dance outs. Check with the schools to see whether they have anything coming up. Another way to see Highland dancing is to go to competitions. Scotdance Canada has an extensive listing of Canadian competitions; alternatively, the Federation of United States Teachers and Adjudicators has a similar listing for events in the US.

Where / how can I learn Highland Dancing?

Check the yellow pages for local teachers or schools offering classes. You can also try browsing the web: regional associations, such as the Ottawa Highland Dancing Asociation, frequently list area teachers. HighlandNet also has a worldwide listing of teachers.

How old does a child have to be to start?

This depends on the teacher. Check with them to see if your child is ready to start. Children cannot compete before the age of 4; as such, teachers generally take students ages 4 and up.

Is it possible for adults to take Highland Dancing?

It definitely is; however, you’ll want to check with the school or teacher. Some teachers are very pro-adults, while others only take in children and teenagers.

How much will classes cost?

There’s no exact answer for this one, because each school has its own rates. Check out sample fees here (all fees are in Canadian currency).

Do I have to compete or take tests and exams? What are those, anyway?

No. While exams, tests, and competitions are fun, they aren’t necessary. Most teachers will encourage you to participate in them, however, but the choice should remain your own to make at the end of the day.

Competitions are a great way to put your skills to the test, meet new friends, and earn medals. They’re great for goal-setting, but they’re not for everyone. Some dancers don’t respond well to the pressure of competing against others; as such, they may be better suited to medal tests or exams. Teaching organisations have exam/test structures where the dancer demonstrates knowledge in the Highland dances, in the national dances, in the jig and hornpipe, and in theory. They aren’t judged against others, so the atmosphere is a bit different from competition, and you can still earn some medals.

Here is an example of a competition sign-up sheet, and here is an example of a medal test structure (with SDTA).

What are the organisations?

The two main organisations are the Scottish Official Board of Highland Dancing (the SOBHD) and the Scottish Official Highland Dancing Association (the SOHDA). There are a few others as well. The role of these organisations is to govern their members. The SOBHD is the largest organisation, and is the one that governs the yearly World Championships. They have worldwide affiliates.

In addition to the governing bodies, there are also several teaching organisations, including the British Association of Teachers of Dancing (BATD) and the Scottish Dance Teachers’ Alliance (SDTA). There are few differences between the teachers’ organisations; all teachers, despite their certification, must affiliate themselves with a governing body.

45 Replies to Highland Dancing FAQ

re: Highland Dancing FAQ en>fr fr>en
By highlandchic Comments: 2130, member since Sun Oct 05, 2003
On Sat May 01, 2004 12:44 PM
Awesome job SeniorLady, Karma to you :)
re: Highland Dancing FAQ en>fr fr>en
By highland_QT29member has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 3197, member since Thu Jan 09, 2003
On Sat May 01, 2004 12:45 PM
Hey
Thats awesome! Thanks for all the info! karma for you! :)

Chantelle
Highland Dancing FAQ en>fr fr>en
By highland_wawa Comments: 66, member since Wed Apr 21, 2004
On Sun May 02, 2004 01:03 PM
Awesome Job SeniorLady!! Karma to you (--what does Karma even mean?) Sorry this might sound like a dumb question.

Highland_Wawa :) ;)
re: Highland Dancing FAQ en>fr fr>en
By luv2dance6689 Comments: 24, member since Sun Apr 25, 2004
On Sun May 02, 2004 07:52 PM
Thank you for tellinmg me what it was! I defiantly did not mean to be rude and I didnt know anyone would take it offensivley! I'm sry but now I know! r u mad at me
re: Highland Dancing FAQ en>fr fr>en
By dance_deva Comments: 4347, member since Mon Apr 14, 2003
On Tue May 04, 2004 01:21 AM
Thanks for that post, it was very well explained and very clear to understand. Karma to you!
re: Highland Dancing FAQ en>fr fr>en
By GonnaBeAStar Comments: 3928, member since Wed Feb 20, 2002
On Fri May 07, 2004 09:33 AM
Woohoo!! :D
*Claps enthusiastically*
(then goes and learns how to spell enthusiastically.... ;) )

Go SeniorLady! That musta taken you ages!! Very informative and will hopefully stop the 'what is hgihland dance' posts once and for all! :)
re: Highland Dancing FAQ en>fr fr>en
By SeniorLadyPremium member Comments: 8103, member since Sun Aug 24, 2003
On Fri May 07, 2004 03:59 PM
Yeah, it took a while, but we all know how I'm wasting away my education on Highland dancing anyway, so I didn't mind writing that, lol. :D
re: Highland Dancing FAQ en>fr fr>en
By highlandlassie Comments: 2862, member since Wed Feb 18, 2004
On Mon May 10, 2004 05:39 PM
I just wanted to bring this sticky up to the top again, as we seem to have more questions.
re: Highland Dancing FAQ en>fr fr>en
By Cadbury_Eatermember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 7574, member since Sat Jan 04, 2003
On Sun May 16, 2004 07:49 PM
Thanks for this!
re: Highland Dancing FAQ en>fr fr>en
By lexi_k Comments: 270, member since Sat May 15, 2004
On Sat May 22, 2004 05:33 PM
Wow, very thorough! I liked that you didn't ignore talking about competitions or exams, and that you gave quite a few links.
re: Highland Dancing FAQ (karma: 8)  en>fr fr>en
By dancergirl10member has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 1418, member since Fri Dec 12, 2003
On Sun May 23, 2004 07:11 PM
Edited by dancergirl10 (79845) on 2004-05-23 19:14:09
Edited by dancergirl10 (79845) on 2004-05-23 19:31:32
Edited by dancergirl10 (79845) on 2004-05-23 19:32:10
What is the average Cost For a Kilt outfit?

Kilts and accesories can range in costs quite a bit, depending on what tartan you use, and what business makes it for you. You can even buy the material, and make it yourself. ( Most seamstresses wont make kilts - they're hard! same goes for jackets.)

KILTS:

Tartantown-

5 Yard Kilt:
Made in Scotland
Made with
Tartan List 1
Suitable for dancers with a
30" hip or less.
$525 Canadian dollars.

7 Yard Kilt:
Made in Scotland
Made with
Tartan List 2
Suitable for dancers with a
37" hip or more.
$675 Canadian Dollars

MacIsaac Kilt Makers-

Dancer's Kilt - 5 Yards, Canadian produced tartans
Price: $345 Canadian Dollars

Dancer's Kilt - 5 Yards, Tartan imported from Scotland
Price: $445 Canadian Dollars

Dancer's Kilt - 7 Yards, Canadian produced tartans
Price: $395 Canadian Dollars

Dancer's Kilt - 7 Yards, Tartan imported from Scotland
Price: $495 Canadian Dollars


HOSE (socks):

Tartantown-

Full Fashioned Hose:
Wool, deluxe
Up to 10" calf.
Available in all tartans.
$169.00 US
$229.00 CDN


Full Fashioned Hose:
Wool, deluxe
Up to 16.5" calf.
Available in all tartans.
$199.00 US
$269.00 CDN



MacIsaac Kiltmakers-

Wool Tartan Hose - Full Fashioned Split Diamond
Price: $245 Canadian dollars

Wool Tartan Hose - Full Fashioned Whole Diamond
Price: $215 Canadian Dollars


VESTS and JACKETS:

Marg's Highland Dance Wear-

Highland Vests - $115.00 - $190.00


Mac Isaac Kilt Makers-

Velvet Highland Vest - Child
Price: $175 Canadian Dollars

Velvet Highland Vest - Adult
Price: $225 Canadian Dollars

Velvet Jacket - Child
Price: $245 Canadian Dollars

Velvet Jacket - Adult
Price: $295 Canadian Dollars



What About the National Costumes?

Generally, the white dress will cost much less then an aboyne outfit. Aboyne Skirts and sashes are generally easy to make, but the vest can be difficult with the boning and lining.


Skirt and Plaid:

MacIsaac KiltMakers -

Child's Aboyne Skirt and Plaidie, Poly/Viscose Plaid
Price: $75 Canadian Dollars

Adult's Aboyne Skirt and Plaidie, Poly/Viscose Plaid
Price: $95 Canadian Dollars

Marg's Highland Dance Wear-

Aboyne Outfits (Skirt & Shawl) $75.00 - $219.00 (Price Depends on Fabric)

ABOYNE VESTS:

MacIsaac Kiltmakers-

Velvet Aboyne Vest - Child
Price: $125 Canadian Dollars

Velvet Aboyne Vest - Adult
Price: $ 150 Canadian Dollars


Marg's Highland Dance Wear-

Aboyne Vests $90.00 - $140.00


SLIPS:

Marg's Highland Dance Wear-

Slips $19.75 - $27.00

MacIsaac Kiltmakers-

Child's Underskirt ( ADULT IS SAME PRICE), Poly/Cotton with Eyelet Trim
Price: $49.99 Canadian Dollars


WHITE DRESS:

MacIsaac Kiltmakers-

Child's White Dress, Poly/Cotton, Gathered Skirt
Price: $ 80 Canadian Dollars

Adult's White Dress, Poly/Cotton, Gathered Skirt
Price: $95 Canadian Dollars


Marg's Highland Dance Wear-

White Lilt Dresses, Red & Green Jig Dresses - $47.75 - $56.00

Shawls $21.50 - $65.00



What Are the Prices For Jig and Hornpipe Costumes?

Jig and Hornpipe costumes are fiarly easy to make, if you have any knowledge of sewing. My grandma made both of mine.


JIG DRESS AND ACCESORIES :

Marg's Highland Dance Wear [/b]

White Lilt Dresses, Red & Green Jig Dresses - $47.75 - $56.00

Jig Aprons $23.00 - $25.00

Jig Shoes $75.00


[i] MacIsaac Kiltmakers:


Child's Jig Dress, Red or Green, Poly/Cotton
Price: $80 Canadian Dollars

Adult's Jig Dress, Red or Green, Poly/Cotton
Price: $95 Canadian Dollars

Jig Apron - Cotton Eyelet
Price: $25 Canadian Dollars

Red and Green Leather Angelo Luzio Jig Shoes #290 with Clickers
Price: $93.95 Canadian Dollars


HORNPIPE OUTFITS AND HATS:

MacIsaac Kiltmakers-

Hornpipe Hat
Price: $64.99 Canadian Collars

Hornpipe, Poly Stretch Gabardine, White or Navy
Price: $150 Canadian Dollars


Marg's Highland Dance Wear-

Hornpipe Suits $100.00 - $130.00
Hornpipe Hats $49.95




all prices were taken from:

www.margshighlanddancewear.com

www.mackilts.com

www.tartantown.com




Hope i Included everyhting, If i Didn't please tell me!

re: Highland Dancing FAQ en>fr fr>en
By SeniorLadyPremium member Comments: 8103, member since Sun Aug 24, 2003
On Mon May 24, 2004 05:58 AM
*starts saving the pennies under her couch*
re: Highland Dancing FAQ en>fr fr>en
By GonnaBeAStar Comments: 3928, member since Wed Feb 20, 2002
On Mon May 24, 2004 11:34 AM
Thanks dacergilr10, that was really informative!!

Lol Seniorlady, I know what you mean!! Though don't worry, you can get costumes much cheaper than that second hand!! :]
re: Highland Dancing FAQ en>fr fr>en
By dancergirl10member has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 1418, member since Fri Dec 12, 2003
On Mon May 24, 2004 11:44 AM
lol after i spent like 45 mins typing that out, I was almost scared to hit enter, Becuase i was like thinking. i wonder how many people are gonna get pissed off that wanna start dancicng, adn wont ebcuase of the cost?



Gonna be a star- You're right, second hand is SOOO much cheaper.
re: Highland Dancing FAQ en>fr fr>en
By batd_teacherPremium member Comments: 2551, member since Mon Feb 23, 2004
On Wed Jun 02, 2004 07:05 AM
At first glance, Highland dancing does seem to be really expensive. But in the long term it isn't. (Except if you travel for comps.) Outfits last more than one year. Lessons are comparable with other extra curricular activities. And, if you take the tests, you can eventually become a teacher or judge.
Cost of Highland Dancing en>fr fr>en
By FourDancersDad Comments: 137, member since Tue Jun 29, 2004
On Wed Jun 30, 2004 08:32 AM
Yes, I agree that getting "new" costs a lot, but then I compared it to the family next door with 3 boys in hockey or to the families who are really into soccer or baseball. It is quite inexpensive compared to most other events - even the cost of comps isn't bad. And worth every penny.

We've cut costs by making kilts (3 so far), vests (1 plus 5 for a pipe band) and blouses.

I guess I need to learn to knit to knock down the next most expensive item - tartan hose.
Cost of Highland Dancing en>fr fr>en
By swingingkiltsmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 1525, member since Sat May 08, 2004
On Wed Jun 30, 2004 12:56 PM
that is so true. Highland is worth every penny. My daughter plays soccer in summer when dance is over, my 2 boys play soccer as well. Then come fall both boys play hockey from first week of oct. til may. Then comes Lacrosse. All 3 will be in lacrosse next year. had one one in it this year. its a short season due to baseball and soccer. But with highland we also have events going on all summer! And she loves it. If it makes them happy and they love their Dance or sport, go for it! they are only young once! Canadian Winters are so long, so dance and hockey make things so much nicer.
Good Luck to you and the girls! :)
re: Highland Dancing FAQ en>fr fr>en
By dancin_pdc89member has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 432, member since Sat Jun 26, 2004
On Thu Jul 01, 2004 10:20 PM
Very informative! Great post!
re: Highland Dancing FAQ en>fr fr>en
By quietfool Comments: 1, member since Sun Mar 14, 2004
On Tue Jul 06, 2004 03:03 PM
I have a question about dress tartans...sorry, I didn't know where to post it. I'm new.

Anyway, here's my question:

Most of the tartans I see in these pictures have a lot of white on them. I have a black-and-red dress tartan. Do I have to have one with lots of white, or can I just use the one I already have?
re: Highland Dancing FAQ en>fr fr>en
By FourDancersDad Comments: 137, member since Tue Jun 29, 2004
On Thu Jul 08, 2004 09:34 AM
The SOBHD rules say that any recognized tartan can be worn. I haven't seen non-dress/non-special dance tartans in any line-up save for primary and beginner in along time.
re: Highland Dancing FAQ en>fr fr>en
By lovin_the_dance Comments: 300, member since Tue Apr 06, 2004
On Mon Jul 12, 2004 09:02 AM
WOW!!!

karma to SeniorLady and dancergirl10. very informative (hope i spelled it right!)

**ashley**
re: Highland Dancing FAQ en>fr fr>en
By Inspirationalmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 1117, member since Sun Jul 11, 2004
On Mon Jul 12, 2004 03:48 PM
Edited by Inspirational (99401) on 2004-07-12 15:49:03
Very imformative. Excellent job SeniorLady and Dancergirl10.
Sorry that this question might sound weird and dumb, but I am new to dance.net and was wondering what 'karma' was?

Great post~ :)

~ :D Happy Dancing :D ~
re: Highland Dancing FAQ en>fr fr>en
By SeniorLadyPremium member Comments: 8103, member since Sun Aug 24, 2003
On Mon Jul 12, 2004 04:23 PM
If there's a post you particularly enjoy / find informative / etc., you can click the "rate +" button and give that poster karma. I've yet to figure out what it does though ...
Re.FAQ en>fr fr>en
By TheHighlander Comments: 228, member since Tue Apr 06, 2004
On Mon Jul 19, 2004 06:17 PM
That is an awsome summary of what Highland dancing is, Great job!
TheHighlander's Mom
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