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Alexander Campbell: ‘Highland Dancing in the Olden Times’ from ‘Caledonia’ (1895)

The Collection's Dance Entries · Changing fashions · Francis Peacock
The Ball-Room Guide · ‘A Guide to Fashionable Dancing’
‘The People’s Ball Room Guide’ · Illustrated Guide to the National Dances of Scotland
‘Highland Dancing in the Olden Times’ · Dance Video Clips


Caledonia Title taken from JSS0328This essay discusses dances that were once performed throughout the Highlands but are now lost. It mentions the old dances of the Gaelic-speaking areas of Scotland, such as solo, duo, and trio dances as well as character and dramatic dance. Some dramatic dances, which have completely disappeared, are described:

  • Dannsa nam Boc (Goat Dance, JSS0333)
  • Dannsa an Chlesca (Cloak Dance, JSS0333)
  • Croit an Dreathan (Wren’s Croft, JSS0333-JSS0335) is fully described, including the narrative, or spoken section. Story telling through dance, especially dances relating to animals, is centuries-old tradition. In some countries, such as Romania, ancient animal dances are still performed today.

Pat Ballantyne


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