Attractions at the Games:
The Highland Dances performed today were all born of legend and are widely recognised as being amongst the most complex and sophisticated folk dances in the world.
THE HIGHLAND FLING
This is the most famous of the solo Highland Dances, said to derive from the antics of a courting stag on a Scottish hillside. The raised arms imitate the stag's antlers. There are no travelling steps in the Fling, the whole dance being performed on one spot. The stag does not like to run after his women; he expects them to come to him!
THE SWORD DANCE
In Gaelic this is known as the Gille Calum and is a martial dance said to have originated in 1054. Since then it has become a ritual before battle in which clansmen would dance as close as possible to the sword blades. This was a sign of daring because touching the blade was a bad omen for the next day.
This is a graceful dance, in Gaelic meaning 'old trousers', which starts slowly and increases in tempo on the final two steps. This dance recognised the repression after the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745 when both Bagpipes and Kilt were banned. Any dancing had to be done in trousers and the slow tempo represented the disgust at having to do so whilst the shaking movement represent the shaking off of the trews and the quick steps are a display of pleasure when the Scots were once more able to wear the kilt.
The Hullachan, to give it its Gaelic name, is a dance of four which is also called the Reel o'Tulloch as it was said to have originated on a wintry Sunday at the small village of Tulloch in Perthshire. The minister was late and the congregation, in order to keep warm, started to dance Reel steps and swing each other by the arms across the aisle. Although the dancers dance in fours, they are not judged as a team but individually.
Although not a Scottish dance, the hornpipe has formed part of the Games tradition for a long time. It is performed in stylised Navy uniform and simulates the various jobs of pulling ropes, manning the yardarm and splicing the mainbrace which seamen carried out in the days of sail.
Another popular import is the Jig, performed in a green and red outfit. The dance is a portrayal of anger as the man has donned a pair of clean leather breeches which have shrunk and so grip him uncomfortably. His resulting anger expressed at the washerwoman is returned by her in kind.
PRIZES & TROPHIES HIGHLAND DANCING
JEAN SWANSTON TROPHY
The Confined to Perthshire event is also the qualifier for dancers to represent Perth & Kinross in the Scottish Area Finals held each year in Oban. Two representatives and a reserve are selected in each of the three age groups.