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Archiver > Scotch-Irish > 1998-02 > 0886366576

From: Bonnie M Fountain< >
Subject: Re: Highland /Lowland Ritual
Date: Sun, 01 Feb 1998 15:56:16 EST

On Sun, 1 Feb 1998 13:35:15 -0500 John Giacoletti
<> writes:
>Bonnie wrote:
>Can you say when the sword dance changed so drastically..... from a
dangerous dance of dexterity to one of comparative ease?
>Careful Bonnie. You need to see the Black Watch on tour. Check out
>regimental dancers. The sword dance is not a dance of "comparative
> Go to any Highland competition. Even for most of the dancers these
>in this country who are prepubescent girls, the sword dance is
>demanding and above all a dance of dexterity.
Agreed. But can you deny that tripping around amongst crossed swords is
not "comparative ease," when you consider the previous art, as you say,
of leaping over the upright points of the sword blades? The key word is
"comparative." Not "ease." Wouldn't insult a Highlander, dancer, or
otherwise, for all the Glayva in Scotland!

>>>> My grandpa always told me that when he danced that dance in
>Scotland, 1895-1900, it was dangerous and a dance of supreme skill.
>Perhaps it's a good thing for me that he was somewhat proficient
>at it....
>Your grandpa told it like it is.
>In some styles of Arabic belly dances, eunichs perform with swords.
>In the Scottish court and in the Scottish Clans, a virile male was
>preferred. The sword dance is a vigorous warrior's dance.
>>>>>" I had the impression that the swords were actually held by the
>dancers and whipped rapidly 'round their heads. Wrong?
>Yep. Wrong. There are some eerie and very powerful pagan dances done
>in the Scottish Lowlands and north of England where swords are
>brandished and then locked at the hilt performed by about 6-8 dancers,
>apparently a Celtic or Druid beheading procedure.
>The Highland and Lowland cultures are quite different as shown by the
>dancing differences.

Well my grandpa was Lowland, so do you suppose those pagan dances you
mention were the ones he was referring to? I wouldn't stake my life on
it, but I seem to recall him telling me that the dancers brandished their
swords! Beheading procedure, eh? Maybe that's why HE left Scotland.
Beats horse thieving in the race for Most Infamous...

Glad you're such a keen and knowledgeable historian. Kudos.

Bonnie M. Fountain

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