History of Dances

Highland dancing probably originated in the Highlands of Scotland in the 11th century. Traditionally, the dances were only done by men. In the 1930s, women also began to compete.

Today, Highland dances are generally danced solo, and in competition, dancers typically perform accompanied by a live bagpiper. Dances fall into one of three categories: Highland dances, in which the dancer wears a kilt; National dances, which are more ballet-like in nature and are danced in a full skirt and petticoat (male dancers may wear tartan trousers); and the two Character dances, in which the dancer acts out a story in the costume of the character. All of the dances have a story behind them.

Click on the images to the right for information on each type of dance.

link to history of highland dances
link to history of national dances
link to history of character dances
link to choreography