Michigan Highland Dance Instruction

Welcome to the World of Highland Dance

Dancers Wanted!

                                                                                                             
Mindy Hamilton is a certified Highland Dance instructor through the British Association of Teachers of Dancing (BATD). Mindy has been involved with Highland Dancing since 1990. She was a competitive dancer for several years before passing the BATD members examination in 2006. Their daughter is also a Highland Dancer, and has competed across the country. After recently moving back to Michigan, Mindy is looking for new students.
 
Highland Dance is an inspiring art form and an excellent aerobic exercise. Students will learn the Scottish Highland Dances and develop balance, posture and strength. Students will also develop confidence and determination as they achieve their goals. Each student will have the opportunity to compete, as well as perform at different venues. Highland Dance brings families, friends and the love of dance together. The world of Highland Dance can bring a lifetime of enjoyment and reward. If you are interested in lessons or learning more, please contact Mindy:
 
Mindy Hamilton
 
231-242-0202
 
 
 
So what exactly is Highland Dancing ?
 
As a traditional dance form, Highland Dance is an expression of Scottish culture. Historically, Highland Dancing originated in Scotland. Today, there are Highland Games all around the country, including Michigan, where Highland Dance competitions are held. Depending on a person's age, a beginner dancer can begin dancing competitively in the Primary or Beginner category, and than progress to Novice, Intermediate and finally Premier. There are some 18 Highland dances, which can be divided in two categories: Highland Dances and National Dances. The dances are not just a reflection of Scottish culture, but a reflection of Scottish history as well. Here is a little bit of the history and legend surrounding a few of these wonderful dances.
 
Highland Fling (Highland Dance)
 
This is probably the most well know of all the dances, and usually the first dance most dancers learn. Traditionally, this dance was said to be a battle victory dance. The dance took place on a “targe” or battle shield, which had a sharp point projecting from its center. Fortunately, the targe is no longer used in the dance, which surely makes it a little more enjoyable.
 
Seann Triubhas (Highland Dance)
 
In 1745, the English put down the Scottish Jacobite uprising. In an attempt to suppress Scottish culture, the English enacted the Disarming Act. This act prohibited many Scottish cultural practices, such as the wearing of the kilt and the playing of Bagpipes. As kilts were outlawed, Highlanders were forced to wear pants. In Scotland, pants are called Triubhas (pronounced Trews). This dance commemorates the repeal of the Disarming Act. In the dance, there are steps with a kicking of the leg, which is said to be symbolic of kicking off the Truibhas in liberation. The dance also ends with a leap, perhaps a leap of joy.
 
The Sword Dance or Gillie Cullum (Highland Dance)
 
This dance is danced over a pair of crossed swords, or sword and scabbard. This dance is also said to be a victory dance. Some stories say that this dance was performed over the opponents crossed swords. It has also been said that this dance served as a stamina builder for “Gillies” or Scottish Clan foot soldiers. Last we heard, Scottish Regiments still required that soldiers learn the steps to the Gillie Callum
 
Flora MacDonald’s Fancy (National Dance)
 
The story goes that “Bonnie Prince Charlie”, the leader of the Jacobite cause, was fleeing from the English troops. Flora MacDonald helped the Prince escape, dressing the Prince in woman’s clothes, and rowing him across to the Isle of Skye.
 
Other National Dances include the Jig and Sailors Hornpipe. The jig is a Scottish version of the Irish Jig, and danced with anger and attitude at the challenges of the Irish Washerwoman. The dance includes stern faces, shaking fists and clicking heels. The Sailors Hornpipe is danced in an English Sailor like uniform and cap. The dance steps are meant to imitate things like swabbing the deck, flag signaling and pulling in rope. It may also include steps like “the crab walk” and ends with a salute.

 

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