GOSS9@telefonica.net March 7, 2006, 7:32 a.m. (Message 44522)
Re: SD before the 19th century/SD cafe fear NC-Great Awakening?
It is always amazing how a linguistic error even though admitted, affects our language. This comes from the shift between the RSCDS language from the original 1920´s "Country dancing as danced in Scotland" and the 1940´s "Scottish Country Dancing". To repeat, again, there was no such thing as a unique dance form called "SCD" until the Society was over 10 years old. It is bad history to apply a modern invention backwards into history, and then be surprised it did not exist. With the exception of Highland dancing mentioned below. All of what we call SCD and Ceilidh dancing were simply European forms of dancing prior to the 20c, and their certainly was no dancing border between England and Scotland. So Scots who originally settled the Americas, and later immigrants brought with them the European dancing they knew at home. Given, there were stylistic differences, but these were such that they simply merged with those of the other European communities in the New World. When it came to the later origins of what we call ceilidh dancing, these are primarily schottisches that spread out from Germany. A popular folk dance here on Mallorca, is called the "polka" (not it is obviously a schottische done to music that seems Irish and of piping origin), virtually everyone knows it as a common round the "room" (don´t know what word to use since the dancing here is mostly outside, so perhaps a "cercaplaça") finishing dance. We know it as "Gay Gordons". The evidence of this is found in its opposites. No identifiable Scottish dancing, but Gaelic survived in the Americas, as did hundreds of identifiably Scottish tunes, which have become so American to Americans that most of them would not even consider them Scottish. The fact is that they did bring their dances, which simply merged and whatever differences that might have been considered Scottish simply disappeared. Highland dancing was not even standardized until the late 40´s and early 50´s (the SOBHD is about 25 years younger then the RSCDS. I suspect that many aspects of step dancing that are of Scottish origin did come to America, but then got merged into various "pan British" dance forms namely the jig and the hormpipe, which passed on to the American tap dancing tradition. In this case there was a reverse connection in that there are historicly identified American tunes that went back to the U.K. where they are known as of American origin. This historical, or linguistic, error is common in Scotland and with SC dancers because of the Society, and is not heard in EFDSS circles, in that they acknowledge no border of their dancing when it comes to Scotland.