1st Edition

Scottish Dance Beyond 1805 Reaction and Regulation

By Patricia Ballantyne Copyright 2020
    206 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    206 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Scottish Dance Beyond 1805 presents a history of Scottish music and dance over the last 200 years, with a focus on sources originating in Aberdeenshire, when steps could be adapted in any way the dancer pleased. The book explains the major changes in the way that dance was taught and performed by chronicling the shift from individual dancing masters to professional, licensed members of regulatory societies. This ethnographical study assesses how dances such as the Highland Fling have been altered and how standardisation has affected contemporary Highland dance and music, by examining the experience of dancers and pipers. It considers reactions to regulation and standardisation through the introduction to Scotland of percussive step dance and caller-facilitated ceilidh dancing.

    Today’s Highland dancing is a standardised and international form of dance. This book tells the story of what changed over the last 200 years and why. It unfolds through a series of colourful characters, through the dances they taught and the music they danced to and through the story of one dance in particular, the Highland Fling. It considers how Scottish dance reflected changes in Scottish society and culture.

    The book will be of interest to scholars and postgraduates in the fields of Dance History, Ethnomusicology, Ethnochoreology, Ethnology and Folklore, Cultural History, Scottish Studies and Scottish Traditional Music as well as to teachers, judges and practitioners of Highland dancing and to those interested in the history of Scottish dance, music and culture.

    PART I Historical context 1 Introduction 2 Francis Peacock: just a provincial eighteenth-century dancing master? 3 Francis Peacock: the significance of the music and dance of the Highlanders 4 How did they dance in the early nineteenth century? 5 Charlatans and simplifications 6 A successful provincial ‘Professor’: the early career of Adam ‘Cosmo’ Mitchell 7 Professionalising the professors: the later career of Adam ‘Cosmo’ Mitchell, and the transition from dancing master to dance teacher 8 From the Imperial Society of Dance Teachers to the Scottish Official Board of Highland Dancing: how dancing developed in Scotland between 1900 and 1955

    PART II Contemporary context 9 Rules and regulations: effects of standardisation on Highland dancing and piping in the late twentieth century 10 Bringing it full circle? Some reactions to regulation Appendix of tables


    Patricia H. Ballantyne is an Honorary Research Associate with the University of Aberdeen at the Elphinstone Institute, the University’s Centre for the study of Ethnology, Folklore and Ethnomusicology.

    Scottish Dance beyond 1805 provides the reader with a glimpse into Scottish society and culture over a 200-year period through the lens of Scottish dance. The richness of the book lies in its detail and its intensive research and documentation of the history of dancing in this one region, the North-East of Scotland. It makes an important contribution to Scottish dance studies and to ethnomusicological and ethnochoreological research. It will be of interest to scholars and others in these fields and related areas, but also to Scottish dancers who may wish to understand the history of the dances that they learn, teach, and perform.  

    Catherine E. Foley, University of Limerick - Folk Music Journal 


    Ballantyne's book is a wealth of research and food for thought. 

    Mara Shea - Ethnomusicology Forum