What is Highland Dance?

Scottish Highland dancing is one of the oldest forms of folk dancing, and both modern ballet and square dancing can trace their roots back to the Highlands. Dating back to the 11th or 12th century, the Highland dances of Scotland tended to be highly athletic, male celebratory dances of triumph or joy, or warriors dances performed over swords and spiked shields. According to tradition, the old kings and chiefs of Scotland, used Highland dancing as a way of choosing men for their retinue and men at arms. Dancing was one of the ways men were tested on agility, strength, stamina and accuracy. Competitive Highland Dancing started during the Highland revival of Victorian Britain, and was for men only. Ladies did not begin competing until the turn of the century. Over the years, the dancing style has become more refined and now shares many elements from classical ballet. Although historically Highland dancing was restricted to men, today the majority of dancers are female. No matter who dances them, Highland dances require both athletic and artistic skill.

Highland dance is where dancers of all ages have the opportunity to make friends, travel far and wide to competitions, listen to great music, experience the thrill of competition and performance and build strength and endurance.

Highland dancing is a solo dance. In terms of its technical requirements and the training required for its performance, Highland dance takes stamina and arm and leg strength, no matter how old the dancer is.

As the Highland dances are created to be performed individually, any dancer unable to or not interested in attending a performance, competition or exam may do so without affecting the group. Dancers are able to perform and compete to their own personal abilities or desired levels.

The love of the sport is built through a fun and exciting class structure, supportive teachers and fellow students and the social atmosphere that comes from meeting dancers and teachers from all corners of the globe and being a part of something with a rich, beautiful history. Competitive Highland Dancers from CELTIC STEPS School of Highland Dance have traveled throughout Canada and the USA...they have traveled to Scotland and Northern Ireland and we have had dancers compete as far away as Australia for Highland Dance competitions.

Why Dance?

Dance is an art that anyone can do. It allows you to express yourself through movement, either for fitness or for a deeper personal meaning. It exercises the mind, the body and the connection with the soul.

  • Develops strength and poise
  • Strengthens/ aligns feet/leg problems
  • Maintains a healthy posture
  • Develops self-confidence
  • Builds self-esteem
  • Encourages self-discipline and commitment
  • Combines positive reinforcement with constructive criticism
  • Dance is a lifetime creative activity for the mind & body
  • Encourages a positive interest and life-time appreciation for the arts
  • Dance is fun!
  • Health Benefit...check the importance and levels of physical activity recommended for children on the PARTICIPACTION Canada website.