About the Dances

Highland dancing is both a sport and an art form, rich with Celtic tradition and history. The highland dances were originally done by the men to prepare themselves for battle in ancient times, while the feminine Aboyne dances were traditionally danced by the ladies. Highland dancing is an excellent form of exercise, as well as a skill that focuses on grace, coordination, and strength.

The Sword Dance

The Sword Dance (Gillie Callum) is danced over two crossed swords, that of the triumphant warrior and the fallen adversary. It was also danced prior to battle, and the legend was that if the warrior touched the crossed swords while he was dancing, he would fall in battle the following day.

The Highland Fling

Like the Sword Dance, the Highland Fling was a dance done by warriors to prepare for battle. The eve of the battle, the warriors would turn over their shields and dance atop them. The Highland Fling is the only dance that is stationary, and though it is often the first dance that beginners learn, it is rigorous and challenging, full of beauty. The grace of the dance, some say, was taken from the stag. The raised hands and arms are to be the antlers, while the precision and lightness of foot reflects the grace of a bounding stag.

The Seann Triubhas

‘Seann Triubhas’ is Scottish Gaelic for ‘Old Trousers.’ Back in 1745 when the speaking of the Gaelic, the playing of bagpipes, and the wearing of the kilt was banned, this dance was formed. The first steps of the dance show the dancer trying to shake off the hated English trousers, while the last step(s) shows the joy of the dancer of regaining their beloved kilt.

 

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