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  • Anselm Lingnau

    Anselm Lingnau March 7, 2006, 9:10 a.m. (Message 44523)

    Re: SD before the 19th century/SD cafe fear NC-Great Awakening?

    Richard Goss wrote:
    > 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.
    This is all true, but what of those Scots who emigrated before country dancing 
    reached them during the 19th century? The article talks about country dancing 
    being taken up in Scotland during the 18th century, but that applies mostly 
    to the big cities in the South and the surrounding countryside. Country 
    dancing took much longer in reaching the Highlands, and many of those who 
    emigrated subscribed to older forms of dancing which were not well-known (let 
    alone recently imported from) somewhere else. In consequence, in Cape Breton, 
    which was settled by highland Scots in the 18th century, we find very little 
    country dancing but much material which has evolved from older, »more« 
    Scottish dance forms (and influenced by other types of dance which other 
    immigrants brought to the area).
    The article cited by Eric, in particular, refers to one Topham, who I presume 
    is the Major Topham who visited Edinburgh in the 18c and was impressed with 
    the vigour the Scots exhibited when dancing Scottish reels (not country 
    dances). Reels and country dances co-existed for a long time and dancing 
    masters were expected to teach both.
    I have two points to make about the article cited by Eric: First, »De'il stick 
    the minister« is alive and well if not as popular in this gentile age as it 
    once may have been. Second, I don't buy the paragraph entitled »Penny 
    Wedding«. For one, it does not talk about penny weddings at all. Secondly, 
    the »perform'd in Scotland« does not mean anything; it is probably just 
    marketing talk. For example, publishers of dance books as well as dance 
    teachers not just in Scotland but all over Britain would be quick to 
    advertise that their material was based on personal experience with the 
    newest styles current in fashionable places like Paris, when they had in fact 
    never even been close enough to Dover to smell the sea air. In the old days, 
    to most people in the civilised South, Scotland was an exotic place (a modern 
    equivalent would be the Amazonas basin) and dances purportedly from there 
    would carry a certain appeal even if they were otherwise no different from 
    what people would come up with elsewhere. It was also usual to call a dance 
    Scottish if the music was Scottish, the music could possibly be construed to 
    perhaps have originated in Scotland, or the music had a vaguely 
    Scottish-sounding title. A dance itself did not have to have anything to do 
    with Scotland at all, and in fact, discernable »Scottish« notions did not 
    creep into country dancing, »as done in Scotland«, until much closer towards 
    the end of the 18th century. And as Goss points out, it took until the 20th 
    century for the dance form to be called *Scottish* country dancing.
    Anselm Lingnau, Frankfurt, Germany .....................
    You can measure a programmer's perspective by noting his attitude on the
    continuing viability of FORTRAN.                             -- Alan J. Perlis

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