Scottish Highland dancing is an ancient sport and artform, which originated as a way for Scottish warriors to stay fit during the winter and learn the complicated footwork necessary for fighting. As such, many of the traditional dances we do have military origin stories - the Highland Fling was a victory dance, the Sword Dance was an omen of good (or bad) luck prior to battle, and the Seann Triubhas tells the story of the Jacobite Rebellion. In the 19th Century, Scottish National dances were introduced in order for women to participate. Dances such as the Scottish Lilt, Flora MacDonald's Fancy, and the Village Maid are notable for their grace and balletic influence. Today, both men and women do both the Highland and Scottish National styles, in addition to character dances such as the Sailor's Hornpipe and the Scottish Version of the Irish Jig.
OTHER STYLES OF CELTIC DANCING
- Starting in 2022, on Sundays in the Highland Dance tent you can now find a wide variety of performances of many different styles of Scottish and Celtic Dancing, in addition to more Highland Dancing, including but not limited to…
- Scottish Country Dancing
- Scottish Step Dancing - a mix between Scottish Country Dancing and Highland Dancing’s Scottish National Dances, for solo dancers or groups. Step Dances also originate from 18th and 19th century dancing masters and have both French and Irish influences. These dances are not as standardized as Highland dances, and can vary greatly from region to region.
- Irish Dancing - characterized by the rigid upper body and intricate footwork of its performers, Irish step dancing falls into two broad categories based on the shoes worn: 'hard shoe' and 'soft shoe' dances.
- Appalachian Clogging - a uniquely American style of dancing, it originates from the percussive step dancing brought over by Scottish and Irish immigrants in the 18th Century. It has also been influenced by traditional American Indian dances, African American buck dancing, and more recently, hip hop and ballet.