Highland Dance Styles
Highland Dancing is broken up into three disciplines: Traditional (highland) dances, National Dances and Choreography. Most beginners will start their dancing with the traditional dances and move on through to national dances and choreography.
The first dance you’re likely to learn is called Pas de Basque and consists of performing 16 pas de basque movements in a series springing from one foot to the other. A video of this is available in our Guides section.
The most famous of all dances is the Ghillie Callum ( Sword Dance) which is performed over two claymores with the dancer displaying intricate footwork between the swords as the tempo and difficulty increases.
Modern Highland Dancing developed around the 19th Century and is the most traditional of our dance forms. The Highland Fling, Sword Dance and Seann Truibhas can be seen at Highland Games around the world entertaining audiences, including the Royal Family at Braemar, with its intricate footwork, gracefulness, dexterity and strength.
Although Highland Dances were historically only performed by males, they are now enjoyed by everyone.
Scottish Nationals are newer additions to Highland Dancing comprising softer dances such as Blue Bonnets and Lilt alongside lively character dances such as Hornpipe and Scottish Jig. These dances, which compliment our transitional ones, provide additional challenges for students, learning new movements and dancing to unusual time signatures.
Male dancers will often change into Trews or tartan trousers for national dances with females wearing their Aboyne costume.
Scottish choreography is a dynamic modern twist on Highland Dancing, delivering intense energetic solo and team performances to modern Scottish and Celtic music and beats. Highland Dancers have performed choreography at many high profile events including the opening of the Scottish Parliament and International sporting occasions.
Scottish Choreography is a highlight on the world famous Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo with the Tattoo Dance Company performing to sell-out crowds on the iconic esplanade of Edinburgh Castle each year.
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