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Scottish Highland Dancing is a celebration of the Scottish spirit. The dances are a spectacular combination of strength, agility, movement, music, and costume. Unlike other dance mediums, Highland dances are generally danced solo and in competition. Dancers typically dance to traditional Scottish music such as Strathspeys, Reels, Hornpipes and Jigs all played by an accompanying bagpiper. The dances are made up of different parts, called steps and there are usually four or six steps to a dance. The dances are great fun and anyone, not just those with a Scottish heritage, who thrills to the sound of the bagpipe can join in and learn the dances.
Highland dancing was traditionally performed by men but is now performed by men and women. It is one of few arenas where men and women compete equally. In most competitions, the number of women competing far exceeds the number of men.
Highland Dancing is a healthy workout for adults and for children. It is a great way to develop good coordination, posture and overall muscle tone, not to mention aerobic capacity and strength. One study showed that a half hour of dance was equal to a game of soccer.
Ambitious new students develop self-discipline and confidence as they learn to tackle the physical demands of Highland dancing. Indeed, the tremendous strength, stamina, and technical precision that accomplished dancers exhibit on stage comes from years of independent training and collaboration with experienced teachers.
In addition to perpetuating a great cultural tradition, highland dancers appreciate the athletic challenges, competitive goals, performance opportunities as well as the opportunity to meet and become lifelong friends with dancers from other areas, both nationally and internationally, that participation in this ethnic art form/sport affords them.
There are two styles of Highland Dances: the traditional Highland Dances and the graceful National Dances.
Citation: Farrar, Bruce, and Bill Weaver. “Fusta – Highland Dancing & the Dances.” Fusta – Highland Dancing & the Dances. FUSTA, n.d. Web. 07 Oct. 2013.