Scottish Highland Dance dates back to the military traditions in Scotland as early as 1054, and is an extremely physical style of dance which was once performed only by men in the early centuries. In these times, Highland Dance was incorporated into military training for soldiers ~ as a way to improve stamina, agility and discipline. Due to the fact that most early information regarding the beginnings of this dance form has been lost, there are many stories and myths that have been passed down through generations to explain the significance of the movements and steps.
Highland Dance is highly competitive today, dominated by women, and focuses on technique, strength, flexibility and presentation. There is a training process involved, starting from a very young age ~ and development of the dancer evolves over years of instruction and practice. There are over 20 dances, including Traditional Highland Dances, National Dances of the ladies, and the character dances ~ the Irish Jig, Sailor’s Hornpipe and the Cakewalk. The students progress through level, learning more complicated steps, rhythms and dances with time and experience.
With long standing traditions, and a true strength within our Cape Breton cultural community, Highland Dance will continue only through instruction and performance. It is truly unique in form, and one of the toughest styles of dance to master. It is definitely ‘Survival of the Fittest’.