Dance Legacies of Scotland compiles a collage of references portraying percussive Scottish dancing and explains what influenced a wide disappearance of hard-shoe steps from contemporary Scottish practices.
Mats Melin and Jennifer Schoonover explore the historical references describing percussive dancing to illustrate how widespread the practice was, giving some glimpses of what it looked and sounded like. The authors also explain what influenced a wide disappearance of hard-shoe steps from Scottish dancing practices. Their research draws together fieldwork, references from historical sources in English, Scots, and Scottish Gaelic, and insights drawn from the authors’ practical knowledge of dances. They portray the complex network of dance dialects that existed in parallel across Scotland, and share how remnants of this vibrant tradition have endured in Scotland and the Scottish diaspora to the present day.
This book will be of interest to scholars and students of Dance and Music and its relationship to the history and culture of Scotland.
Table of Contents
Introduction, 1. ‘I wish I had it in my power to describe to you’: introductory observations on Step dance and its place in Scotland, 2. From regional variations to standardisation of vernacular dance, 3. Na brògan dannsaidh/The dancing shoes: foot anatomy, footwear, and body posture, 4. Gaelic references and continental European connections, 5. From Hornpipes to High Dances: historical terms and overlapping usage, 6. Hyland step forward: eighteenth-century accounts, 7. A few more flings and shuffles: nineteenth-century accounts, 1800–1839, 8. Aberdeenshire to the Hebrides: nineteenth-century accounts, 1840–1899, 9. Breakdown: twentieth-century accounts, 10. An t-Seann Dùthaich: dancing in the Scottish diaspora, 11. First-hand Step dance encounters and recollections in Scotland from the 1980s to 2016 collected by Mats Melin, 12. Weaving the steps to the music, 13. Echoes and reflections
Mats Melin is a lecturer at University of Limerick, Ireland. He has worked and performed extensively in Angus, Sutherland, the Scottish Highlands, the Hebrides, Orkney, and Shetland, promoting Scottish traditional dance in schools and communities.
Jennifer Schoonover is a dancer and choreographer. She teaches movement principles, improvisation, dance pedagogy, and dance modalities including Cape Breton Step, Ceilidh, Highland, and Scottish Country dancing.
''This important and timely publication addresses intriguing and long-unanswered questions concerning
historical and recent practices of percussive stepdancing in Scotland. Co-authors Mats Melin and Jennifer Schoonover possess excellent credentials to pursue and interrogate legacies of dancing in Scotland. As scholar practitioners with long and extensive experience of Scottish dance forms, they bring complementary knowledge and authority to the subject. Details of embodied memories of step-dancing drawn from Mats Melin’s fieldwork conducted in Scotland from the 1980s to 2016 reveal vestiges of a once familiar practice that was submerged and often dismissed. In summary, this is an important contribution to dance scholarship and an accessible text for those interested in percussive dancing and in Scottish culture and history.'' Folk Music Journal, Theresa Jill Buckland, University of Roehampton, London