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Highland - General
The History of Highland Dancing (karma: 4)
By highlandrebelmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 1138, member since Fri Jul 06, 2007
On Fri Mar 14, 2008 06:20 PM
Edited by highlandrebel (182229) on 2008-03-14 18:25:03
Edited by highlandrebel (182229) on 2008-03-14 18:38:07
Edited by highlandrebel (182229) on 2008-03-14 18:42:04
Made sticky by Theresa (28613) on 2008-03-21 21:49:02

The History of Scottish Highland Dancing


Scottish Highland dancing is one of the oldest forms of dance, it is thought to date back to the 11th century. Highland Dancing is the traditional solo dancing of Scotland, and should not be confused with Scottish country dancing—the social dance of the country. Both modern ballet and square dancing can trace their roots back to the Highlands.

Unfortunately, the origins of Highland Dancing are shrouded in antiquity and legend. Little academic research has been undertaken into this beautiful and important art form—in part, because very little was recorded,
as Highland culture was largely an oral culture, with song and traditions passed down by word of mouth. As a result, numerous stories abound regarding the source of the dances, and many are in conflict with each
other. I will therefore give both the ‘history’, which is commonly accepted among teachers and judges, as well as some of the legends and stories with which I grew up—in order that more information is not lost. Many of the legends are beautiful and inspiring to young dancers, and should be recorded for the future.
Highland Dancing is said to have been created by a young boy, when he was out hunting deer. The boy watched a buck jumping around in a field the sight was so beautiful he could not bring himself to kill the deer. So he returned home with no food. When asked why he had nothing for his family to eat, the boy could not find the words to describe how beautiful the stag had been so he danced instead, his hands held aloft like the stags antlered head.

According to tradition, the old kings and chiefs of Scotland, used Highland dancing as a way of choosing men for their retinue and men at arms. Dancing was one of the ways men were tested on agility, strength, stamina and accuracy. Scottish regiments used Highland Dancing as exercise to keep the troops in shape, and ready for battle. The dances are indeed excellent exercise; for example, in a typical six-step Highland Fling, a dancer will jump vertically 192 times (the equivalent of running a mile), while performing complicated and intricate footwork, and using the muscles from head to toe. Highland dancing is therefore akin to sprinting, with dancers using fast-twitch muscle, which is also required by soldiers. The regiments did not just dance six steps they danced upwards of 20 steps in one dance! The leaps were said to be used to leap over a sword trust at their heart.

Originally only men were allowed to do these dances. In the late 19th century a young woman named Jenny Douglas decided to enter a Highland dance competition. As this was not expressly forbidden, she was allowed to enter. Later during the World Wars, women began dancing more often wanting to preserve their rich culture and history, while the men were defending their homeland. Since then the number of females participating in the sport has increased until today in excess of 95% of all dancers are female.



THE HIGHLAND DANCES

The Highland Fling-

As with the Sword Dance, this is probably the oldest of the traditional dances of Scotland - signifying victory following a battle. It was danced on a targe, a circular shield of wood with the front covered in tough hide, and the back in deer or sheepskin. The targe weighed approximately five pounds, and was strong enough to withstand the thrust of a bayonet.
The front of the shield was decorated with brass studs and plates, and had a long spike in the centre around which the dancer would dance flicking of the feet, jumping and careful stepping supposedly to drive evil spirits away. Agility, nimble footwork, and strength allowed the dancer to avoid the sharp spike, which often projected five to six inches upwards. It was also said to have been practiced on tree stumps and fence posts. Thus the Fling is danced in one place.
www.youtube.com . . .

The Sword Dance-

The Sword Dance is mentioned in documents going back to the reign of Malcolm III, King of Scots in the eleventh century. Known in Gaelic as "Canmore", "Great Head", he allegedly danced over his bloody claymore, (the ancient two-handed sword of Scotland), crossed with the sword of his defeated enemy (or perhaps even over the severed head of his foe).
After this the Sword dance was traditional danced by warriors on the eve of battle, if the dancer touched the sword he would be wounded the next day, but if a dancer kicked the sword, he would be killed, if many dancers touched their swords the clan would lose the battle. Following this tradition today, if a dancer touches a sword (but not displaces it in competition), the dancer loses five marks. However, if the dancer displaces the sword, s/he is disqualified. The clap at close to the end of the dance tells the piper to speed up the tempo, showing off the dancers endurance and mettle.
youtube.com . . .
www.youtube.com . . .


Seann Truibhas-

Seann Truibhas, pronounced ‘Shawn Trewes’, is Gaelic for ‘Old Trousers’. It is largely believed that the dance developed after the 1745 Jacobite Rising, when Charles Edward Stuart (more affectionately known as Bonnie Prince Charlie) came to Scotland (from France) to win back the crown.
Initially the uprising was a staggering success; the Jacobite army rapidly broke out of the Highlands, captured Edinburgh, and advanced as far south as Derby in England. Unfortunately, the army lacked the necessary French support, and so retreated back to their stronghold in the Highlands, where it was finally defeated at Culloden Moor near Inverness in 1746.
Afterwards, the government decided to end once and for all the Jacobite military threat. Jacobites were rounded up, imprisoned or executed. Estates were snatched, the clan system dismantled, and their kilt and plaids, pipes, and weaponry outlawed.
Some therefore suggest that the dance was created when the above Act of Proscription was repealed in 1783, and Highlanders were once again allowed to wear their kilts. The first part of the dance depicts a man trying to shake off the hated trousers and the quick-time is thought to reflect the Highlander’s joy at regaining the freedom of their native kilts.
www.youtube.com . . .


The Reels-

There are several types of ‘group’ dances performed by Highland Dancers. They include:
1. Hullachan (Gaelic for "party")
2. Strathspey and Half Tulloch
3. Strathspey and Highland Reel
4. Strathspey and Highland Reel and Half Tulloch.
A Strathspey is performed by four dancers (in competition all dancers are judged separately), initially beginning in a line, and dancing a ‘figure of eight’. A quicker Highland Reel (using the same formation) or Tulloch (with dancers taking turns doing steps and turning with linked arms) follows the Strathspey.
The Reel is thought to have originated in the Churchyard, where on a cold winter's Sunday a Minister was late for his service-- parishioners tried to keep warm by clapping their hands and stamping their feet. Another version tells of the churchgoers in the aisle between the pews to keep warm before the service started.

Strathspey and Highland Reel and Half Tulloch.
youtube.com . . .
Strathspey and Half Tulloch
www.youtube.com . . .
Strathspey and Highland Reel
youtube.com . . .





NATIONAL DANCES

The National Dances include Blue Bonnets, Flora MacDonald's Fancy, Hielan' Laddie, Scotch Measure, Scottish Lilt, The Earl of Errol, The Village Maid, and Wilt Thou go to the Barracks Johnnie?
These dances vary considerably in character. Only two of the above dances are performed in a kilt, ‘Barracks’ and ‘Laddie’. The remainder of the dances were created by dancing masters in the 19th century to be danced by women, as females were not originally allowed to dance the strong Highland Dances, or even wear the kilt.
The National Dances are more balletic, ‘lady-like’, and softer—although they require tremendous skill to execute correctly, as the rhythms and technique are often more complicated than in the conventional Highland Dances. The costume worn by women is called ‘Aboyne’ named after the Aboyne Highland Games where to this day the wearing of the kilt by females is strictly forbidden. Males have the option of wearing tartan ‘trewes’ or a kilt for the National Dances.

Blue Bonnets-

This dance depicts a young woman trying to flirt and catch the attention of a "blue bonnet". "Blue bonnets" was slang for Scotsmen, so named because of the blue hats they wore.
youtube.com . . .


Flora Macdonald’s Fancy-

The ‘Flora’ is a pretty dance said to be choreographed in honor of Flora MacDonald. After the massacre at Culloden in 1746, Bonnie Prince Charlie had a high price on his head, and Flora helped him escape to Skye by disguising him as her maid, Betty Burke.
The crossing was short but dangerous, as the small boat weathered both bullets from the shore, and storms. Both survived, and the Prince escaped to France, never to return.
Flora was later arrested when her part in the escape became known. However, her courage, ingenuity, and popular appeal meant that she was well treated, and was later released from the Tower.
One legend is that Flora loved Bonnie Prince Charlie, and that she performed the dance high on a hill, as he sailed for France. Another says that this dance was originated by her and danced for the Royal Prince in the light of the rebel campfire.
youtube.com . . .



Earl of Errol-

This was originally a dance performed in hard shoes. It was choreographed for the Earl of Errol. Errol is a small town in Aberdeenshire.
www.youtube.com . . .


Scotch Measure-

This can either be danced as a solo dance or with two people in which case it is called a "Twa Some". It is supposed to depict the Scottish dating ritual.
Scotch Measure
www.youtube.com . . .
Twa-some
youtube.com . . .

Village Maid-

Of all the dances, this dance is most heavily influenced by ballet. The dance is unusual in that there is very little hopping, which is so characteristic of Highland Dancing, and the dancer steps flat onto the foot-- most of the other dances require that the dancer be on the ball of the supporting foot. The dance shows a young barmaid dancing on the table to entertain her clients.
youtube.com . . .



Wilt Thou go to the Barracks Johnnie?-

The ‘Barracks’ is thought to have been a recruiting dance for the army. A recruiting officer would use a dancer to attract people to his recruiting station or use the dancer for entertainment while in a village.
Another story says that if a Highlander could complete this physically demanding dance without tiring he was fit enough to fight in battle.
youtube.com . . .

The Highland Laddie-

This dance was devised by soldiers in the First World War I. It is always danced to the famous tune of the same name. This dance is also a tribute to the Highland Laddie, Bonnie Prince Charlie.
www.youtube.com . . .

The Scottish Lilt-

The ‘Lilt’ or ‘Scottish Jig’ is another pretty dance; it is unusual in that the counting is in sixes rather than eights, which is the norm. I haven’t been able to find a story behind this dance.
youtube.com . . .


IRISH JIG AND SAILOR’S HORNPIPE

The Irish Jig-

The Scottish version of the Irish Jig is a parody dance depicting an Irish washer woman who is yelling and shaking her fists at her husband who came home late from the pub after spending all his money. Other versions include the Irish washerwoman chasing away the kids or pigs that ran through her clean laundry. The male version of the dance tells of the husband mad at the washerwoman for shrinking his pants.
youtube.com . . .
youtube.com . . .
youtube.com . . .

Sailor’s Hornpipe-

Hornpipe dancing was fairly widespread throughout the British Isles during the 18th and 19th centuries. The Hornpipe likely developed as a means of exercise for sailors (much like the Highland Dances for soldiers) who were aboard ships for long periods of time, and as a means to relieve boredom and discontent. It is in fact believed that the Royal Navy Captain James Cook (1728-1779) thought dancing was most useful to keep his men in good health during a voyage.
The dance recreates the many chores of a sailor on board his ship including, hauling, hoisting, looking out to sea, waving the farewell flag and getting a little tipsy. The step-close during the break signifies the sailor stepping forward crisply to receive his pay.
www.youtube.com . . .
youtube.com . . .
youtube.com . . .

OTHER DANCES

Cake Walk-

This dance originates in the Southern states of America where domestic servants would gather together in the evenings and amuse themselves by making dances that impersonated their masters' ways! The winner would receive a cake - hence, the Cake Walk! The dance is always performed by two dancers.
www.youtube.com . . .
www.youtube.com . . .

Broadsword-

A version of the Sword Dance, the Broadsword is of military origins and was commonly taught to those in the Scottish regiments of the army. This dance is usually performed by four dancers around four highland broadswords placed to make a cross with their points in the centre.
www.youtube.com . . .
www.youtube.com . . .

66 Replies to The History of Highland Dancing

re: The History of Highland Dancing
By Hannahmom Comments: 1090, member since Sat Apr 01, 2006
On Fri Mar 14, 2008 07:24 PM
Wonderful post!!!!! Thankyou very much!!! :) Margaret
re: The History of Highland Dancing
By Jennys_mum Comments: 1940, member since Mon Mar 26, 2007
On Fri Mar 14, 2008 08:24 PM
very enteresting thanks for posting.
re: The History of Highland Dancing
By macthistle Comments: 181, member since Fri Apr 28, 2006
On Sat Mar 15, 2008 10:53 PM
SUPER JOB!!!!! Highland rebel
re: The History of Highland Dancing (karma: 1)
By HIGHLAND_JnK Comments: 731, member since Sat Nov 03, 2007
On Mon Mar 17, 2008 11:12 AM
Hi Highlandrebel
I might just be able to help a bit with the Lilt. I have been doing a little digging on the Lilt and have come up with a few bits and bobs, but like you I have found nothing really resembling a cohesive story. I suppose the closest I have to one is that the dance was created in a response to growing female participation in dancing at highland games.

“The Scottish Lilt, one of the National Dances, is a gentle flowing dance. It was invented for female competitors at the Aboyne Highland Games, which prohibits female competitors from wearing the kilt. The Aboyne dress is a shortened version of a popular 17th century plaid Highland dress”
( www.neflgames.com . . . )

“The ‘Lilt’ or ‘Scottish Jig’ is another pretty dance; it is unusual in that the counting is in sixes rather than eights, which is the norm. The dance is commonly performed to 'Drops O Brandy' or the 'Battle of the Somme', a spirited tune, which belies the tragedy of the battle it commemorates. The forces of most Commonwealth countries were present at this battle”
( www.electricscotland.com . . . ).

“Some of the earliest records of solo dancing in Scotland also refer to females dancing to entertain Dukes and other gentry. It is recorded that the Scottish Lilt originated in Perthshire some time after 1746 and is one of the earliest recorded solo women’s dances”
( www.sqrchdi.com . . . ).

More generally, searching for references to 'Scottish Jig' brought up some conflicting evidence if the Lilt and Scottish Jig are one and the same. These excerpts date the Scottish Jig as a musical style over 100 years earlier than the emergence of the lilt as a dedicated female dance.

“It is probable that Scottish jigs were derived from the European Gigue style. There have been jigs in Scotland since at least the 16th century and some Scottish jigs were known in England and France at this time, so it may be that the jig form originated in Scotland. At that time in England the jig was described as a representative type of Scottish music and the style considered difficult for English composers to write. Jigs were very popular in Scotland in the 17th century … many from the bagpipe repertoire, but in the past slow jigs were also played”
( www.scotlandsmusic.com . . . ).

Standing Stones.com quotes Henry George Farmer ("A History of Music in Scotland". London, 1947 pp. 231-233) as saying :

“Neither can the dance forms be ignored, for it was these that produced the more extensive rhythmic variety in these days, and it was in their measures that the great composers, Byrd, Robert Johnson, Bull and Farnaby, wrote most of their music. Among the Scottish national dance forms of the 17th century were the hornpipe, jig, reel and lilt. The hornpipe or sean triubhas may have been a relic of an old Celtic dance. [ … ] “
( www.standingstones.com . . . )

I'll see if I can add anything further to the other dances

Mike
re: The History of Highland Dancing
By menziegirl Comments: 21, member since Tue May 31, 2005
On Mon Mar 17, 2008 11:53 AM
Thank you highlandrebel for the information. I love going on YouTube anyway. I've always found interesting stuff on anything Scottish there.
re: The History of Highland Dancing
By HIGHLAND_JnK Comments: 731, member since Sat Nov 03, 2007
On Thu Mar 20, 2008 06:49 AM
Edited by HIGHLAND_JnK (187737) on 2008-03-20 06:51:15
Hi All,

I have just been looking round for snippits of info on the history behind the Barracks Johnny, and have come accross an article by Mats Melin in 'Dance On' in which (IMO) he exhaustively examines the possible origions of the dance.

If you like the old backstory of the recruiting sergent and regimental dancer or the pretty girl and regimental parrade in the town square, I urge you NOT to read Mats' article. But, if like me, you would rather have a bigger picture it is truely a facinating insight into how Highland Dance might evolve over time.

I'll leave the choice of whether to read it up to you and just post the link to his article.

danceon.co.uk . . .

And to his website Taigh Dannsa' which is similarly engaging. I suspect the sections most of interest would be Hebridean, Orkney and Step Dancing Under the Dance info headding .

www.matsmelin.com

Enjoy
Mike
re: The History of Highland Dancing
By dragonlady1 Comments: 39, member since Wed Jun 06, 2007
On Thu Mar 20, 2008 02:06 PM
Have a look at highlanddancinghistory.org

I think that is the website...
re: The History of Highland Dancing
By dancin3 Comments: 481, member since Mon Oct 17, 2005
On Fri Mar 21, 2008 12:55 PM
I think this thread should be made a sticky. It would encourage people to read and watch clips about the history of highland dance and inspire others to add on!

Does anyone have any "Funtak" or "Sticky tape?" Maybe it would just be easier to press the Mod button!
re: The History of Highland Dancing
By Ruthmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 2564, member since Tue Apr 03, 2007
On Fri Mar 21, 2008 01:27 PM
Thank-you for posting this :)

It was very interesting to read

Ruth :D
re: The History of Highland Dancing
By HIGHLAND_JnK Comments: 731, member since Sat Nov 03, 2007
On Tue Mar 25, 2008 07:47 AM
Hi All,

I've been digging around in the dust again and found a snippet on the Heilan' Laddie which I thought I'd share with you all. This snippet is reported in an article by Lorrraine Ritchie on an Exchange she had with Mats Merlin (dated 2000). While Mats' comments do not refute in any way that the Highland Laddie was popular among the soldiers of the First World War they do mean that the dance the soldies enjoyed must, by default, be a related but earlier version than the one danced today. Mats' comments shed some light on the origins of both the 'original' and 'newer' forms of the Laddie.

At the very end of the exchange between Lorraine and Mats (incidently reporting on his time teaching in New Zealand, Thanks Dargonlady1 for your link - most interesting-) was the following quote from Mats.


"Regarding the Highland Laddie, the tune is very old. Known in Medieval lute manuscripts. The Hebridean version of the solo dance is from about 1850-60. The one adopted by the SOBHD is DG MacLennan's (Whose brother DH MacLennan emigrated to New Zealand and taught dancing there) version. He saw a Highland Laddie in South Uist when judging the Askernish Games in about 1925, and later modified it to the version you see today. The original is a very nice dance indeed".
re: The History of Highland Dancing
By wiccawillow Comments: 116, member since Thu Jul 14, 2005
On Tue Mar 25, 2008 09:21 AM
Maybe it`s about time for some academic study. It`s nice to read the different stories everybody has on some of the dances.
I don`t think modern ballet comes from Highland Dancing though..
Some of the national dances are quite young in origin and we have different stories about them.
The Blue Bonnets,is about the scotsmen raiding the northern Borders of England.
The Earl of Errol , i doubt this dance was made for a man, to delicate,we were told is was made for the wife/lady of errol with the showing of the ankles being nearly not done.
According to my former teacher the jig was a leftover from the variety shows.
The hornpipe was taught by the dancemasters in the 19th century(late)but then again nearly every country has a hornpipe version, in holland it`s the horlepiep.
I have a bit of an issue with the cakewalk, the history of slaves dancing over a pie/cake makes me think twice,nasty and difficult piece of history.Altough its one of the funnier dances and you do it with someone instead of dancing solo.

But these are some of my views, you don`t have to agree with them.t
there are still loads of national dances around, these were once in the sdta booklet and some are in the UKA booklet.
re: The History of Highland Dancing
By luv2dancecalgary Comments: 2, member since Sun Mar 23, 2008
On Thu Mar 27, 2008 10:14 PM
Really intersesting post. Its great to know the history of the dances. Thanks!
re: The History of Highland Dancing
By highlandgirl11 Comments: 129, member since Sun Mar 23, 2008
On Mon Mar 31, 2008 07:57 PM
Thanks for the info... it was great!
re: The History of Highland Dancing
By Ruthmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 2564, member since Tue Apr 03, 2007
On Sat Apr 05, 2008 02:46 AM
Just some interesting little bits of information I have found:

Swords – originally the competitors brought their own sword to competitions, later swords were supplied by the organiser and consisted of whatever the competition organiser had available. Each dancer on the stage could be dancing over a different set of swords. Eventually, with increased supplies of swords and the need for all dancers to have the same degree of difficulty/advantage in equipment, all swords supplied for competitions became standard in design and use. Currently all competitions and championships should supply double hilts of the standard design.

Jig Shoes – Once the Jig would have been performed in black gillie hard-soled shoes, character shoes or Irish hard shoes with buckles - sometimes with toes pieces covered with nails, sometimes taps or jinglers. In 1985 red, green, black and white was permitted. However the current instructions from SOBHD are now quite definite and the standardised Jig shoe can be red, green, or black in colour, the shoes should have no taps but can have jinglers.

Hornpipe Hats – in the early years in Australia, dancers wore navy or white sailors’ hats. Many dancers procured actual Australian Navy ribbons with the ship’s name. Eventually some competitors printed the name of their dancing studio or personal name on the ribbon, which was deemed unethical for the judges to observe at competitions. After some complaints this practice was banned. SOBHD current instructions are for all dancers to wear a Cap: Regulation white or navy with circular crown (SOBHD, 1985).


Ruth Image hotlink - 'http://i215.photobucket.com/albums/cc316/R-Gumby/smileys/jumping0051.gif'
re: The History of Highland Dancing
By Dutch_Fling Comments: 62, member since Thu Apr 24, 2008
On Fri May 02, 2008 04:25 PM
Wow it's really interesting to read all these posts about the history of highland dancing! I already knew something about the history of Highland dancing, because I made a schoolassignment about it :D !!! But I think that the history of highland dancing goes way back, and is really interesting1 I would love to learn more! My former teacher first began telling us the history of a dance before learning it to us... Her doing this made us realise the meaning of most of the steps! It has been really usefull!

Greetings!:D
re: The History of Highland Dancing
By highlandSK Comments: 76, member since Sat May 12, 2007
On Fri May 09, 2008 05:45 PM
Edited by highlandSK (179034) on 2008-05-09 17:50:02
Highlandrebel, that was an awsome post. I have been dancing for nine or so years and I knew the basic stories of the dances but your post qlarified the stories for me. I really give Jenny Douglas credit for being one of the first women to do the Scottish dancing and I think she is a huge role model for all us female dancers. Thanks again. :)
-HighlandSK
re: The History of Highland Dancing
By Wee_FootedDancer Comments: 91, member since Fri May 02, 2008
On Wed May 14, 2008 09:08 AM
Wow! that is a wonderful post!
I really enjoyed reading it!
re: The History of Highland Dancing
By HIGHLAND_JnK Comments: 731, member since Sat Nov 03, 2007
On Wed May 14, 2008 09:55 AM
I've been meaning to link this up for a while now but here is a link to a bundle of historic stuff about the jig.

www.dance.net . . .

Also the link from that thread to a picture (coloured in photo dated 1906) of the 'Irish jig' which is so much closer to the jig we dance than I would have thought possible

www.gettyimages.com . . .

Also a link to the origins of the shillelaigh, which is very interesting in its own right and explains why male jig dancers carry one in the parody.

books.google.co.uk . . .

Just didn't want all this to drop off the end of the page.

Mike
re: The History of Highland Dancing
By Lexis_mom Comments: 22, member since Tue Apr 22, 2008
On Wed May 14, 2008 10:28 AM
Thank you all so much for your research! I cant wait for my daughter to get home so we can get into some of these stories!
re: The History of Highland Dancing
By eilidhstout Comments: 56, member since Sat May 24, 2008
On Sat May 24, 2008 11:29 AM
hey thanks for posting such a great topic even my mum liked reading it!
re: The History of Highland Dancing
By HIGHLAND_JnK Comments: 731, member since Sat Nov 03, 2007
On Wed May 28, 2008 01:08 PM
Following on from Highlandrebel's post on her teacher's Youtube links for her teacher dancing with the Wicked Tinkers one of the comments on a related link

youtube.com . . .

caught my eye.

If you enjoy reading about the history of the dances you will love this article featuring quotes from none other than Adam Smith (the 18th century Scottish Enlightenment essayist) and which describes amongst other fascinating dramatic jigs one called 'Cailleach an Dudain' (variously the 'Old Lady of the Mill' or the 'Hag of the Mill' - depending on the source).

Dramatic Jigs in Scotland, J. F. Flett and T. M. Flett,
Folklore, Vol. 67, No. 2 (Jun., 1956), pp. 84-96 (article consists of 13 pages) Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. on behalf of Folklore Enterprises, Ltd.


www.jstor.org . . .

In addition, within these thirteen pages we can just possibly see the providence behind the Wicked Tinkers' tune 'Whollop!' in one description of an otter hunt, altough there are variations on this theme.

The descriptions of some of these jigs are not for the faint of heart though as there are several mentions of violent themes . Also there are suggestions that some some versions are danced as a stick fight between man and woman resulting in the death of the woman and her subsequent resurection.

Some sources go so far as to suggest though that the 'Cailleach an Dudain' was a pagan ritual dance performed to represent the turning of the seasons from harvest through winter to the rebirth of spring. That I leave up to you to decide, it is utterly fascinating none the less and I hope you will read it through to the end.
Mike
re: The History of Highland Dancing
By HIGHLAND_JnK Comments: 731, member since Sat Nov 03, 2007
On Thu May 29, 2008 06:50 AM
Edited by HIGHLAND_JnK (187737) on 2008-05-29 06:57:34
OK first a quick apology as I'll have to say that many of you won't be able to see the full Jstor article I posted above. Access is limited in many cases to academic establishments like universities.

However I can post another link for you all to see which is a lecture by Joan Flett on the ethnographic collection of traditional dance in Britain.

What that actually means is that Joan and her husband would travel to isolated communities and document the old dances they found there, either from the local peoples' memory or from various written record.

If you can't get at the Jstor article above I'd suggest you take a look at this link as there is quite a bit of reference to highland dance as was in the 17th and 18th centuries - and up to as late as the 1950s too.

In total the video is about 50 mins long and covers lots of different forms of dance - from ballroom to ceilidh and morris to Scottish Country

-Enjoy and please let me know what you think

Mike

video.google.com . . .
re: The History of Highland Dancing
By Seanmhair Comments: 42, member since Thu May 08, 2008
On Thu May 29, 2008 06:04 PM
So much great information! I am in awe of all your research...thank you! I believe that in order to truly appreciate the dances and our cultural heritage we should be familiar with the history they represent. As a Cape Bretoner I truly appreciate our Scottish heritage ! Other Capers will know what I mean...
re: The History of Highland Dancing - The Hornpipe
By HIGHLAND_JnK Comments: 731, member since Sat Nov 03, 2007
On Wed Jun 25, 2008 09:50 AM
Edited by HIGHLAND_JnK (187737) on 2008-06-25 10:07:22 And another thing....
OK so now I'm pretty busy at work all of a sudden, I'm not able to hang around on the board much just now.

That said I thought I'd just drop this in to the History thread. It's from a discussion board called thesession.org frequented by musicians many with an interest in folk music and its history. The Discussion in question looks at the Hornpipe in relation to it's origin and development. I found it most interesting

www.thesession.org . . .

Oh and another thing...

Here is a page from a conference held on the Hornpipe back in 1993.
I've not worked my way through from start to finish yet but again very interesting indeed from the point of view of the identification of the early Highland Games performances of the Sailors Hornpipe incorporated into the Highland Gathering at Luss, in Dumbartonshire, in 1893

chrisbrady.itgo.com . . .

Cheers all ... will pop back from time to time when I can

Mike
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