SD before the 19th century/SD cafe fear NC-Great Awakening?
MacdonaldBall March 7, 2006, 1:53 a.m. (Message 44520)
yes, interesting article. I have ALWAYS been surprised that there is virtually NO form of Scottish Social Dancing... ceilidh or otherwise among the Scots who settled in the Cape Fear River area of the Carolinas... So many Scots Settled there in the mid to late 1700's (not the least of which was Flora Macdonald and husband Alan). Of course this was WAY before RSCD as we know it today but you would have thought there would have been Scottish ceilidh dances handed down among families...or some type of Scottish Social dance.... I've often wondered if it was influenced by the "great awakening" movement in the US..... and perhaps thought of as simply vulgar..and thus discouraged.... It strikes me that these Scots would have danced before coming to America. But maybe not. Girls often did highland dancing in competitions and for May Day celebrations.... but again no social dancing. Gaitley New York City Originally from North Carolina
GOSS9@telefonica.net March 7, 2006, 7:32 a.m. (Message 44522, in reply to message 44520)
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.
Anselm Lingnau March 7, 2006, 9:10 a.m. (Message 44523, in reply to message 44522)
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 -- Anselm Lingnau, Frankfurt, Germany ..................... firstname.lastname@example.org You can measure a programmer's perspective by noting his attitude on the continuing viability of FORTRAN. -- Alan J. Perlis
GOSS9@telefonica.net March 7, 2006, 2:08 p.m. (Message 44525, in reply to message 44520)
Adding to my previous post, a lot of what we call "ladies´ Highland" came from Belgium where it was learned by a Catholic Scot, who was a university drop out and retuned to the highlands to teach. So who is to say what part of what we call Highland is Scottish and not urban European through his teaching. This came to mind because last week we had a "national" (Baleares) holiday, that included three days of choirs, dem teams, poetry, etc. from other parts of Spain. Each region of Spain has the equivalent of "Casa de [name of region]", and these all have teams of sorts. My comments here cover some material in several previous strathspey threads. Someone posted that folk costumes are very uniform, I felt that this was not true at the time because of a recent experience with a visting Serbian team, yes, similar pattern, but no more uniform then the cross section of all the kids at a modern high school. Here is the pattern I discovered. Yes, all the dance teams had uniform costumes, or nearly so, however if one tossed their fans and bands into the mix, the uniformness disappears, though the relative age of the costume stayed the same. Remember that these teams are made up of expats, who, themselves are foregners here. This would be the same as say an Edinburgh dance team designing a dem costume, based on some notion of traditional dress. The one group that was definitely not in uniform was the only one that actually came from outside the island. Everything in each of their costumes, including shoes were different, within a range of similarity. The interesting thing is that in choosing their style of dance and costume, even though the traditional costume of Menorca has exact parallels in Mallorca, they chose costumes based on the urban upper class, instead of rural peasants. If you saw this costume anywhere else in Europe, it would be no different from that found from Spain across to Eastern Europe, Croatia, and up to Scotland. E.g.: Men´s black heeled shoes with silver buckles, white socks, black "kneebundhosen", white shirts, and waistcoats. Women´s black heeled dancing shoes (character shoes in the catalogues I have seen), bloomers with white socks, textured skirt (sometimes brocade), white blouse, with an "Aboyne" type "drindle". Their dancing is also dead among the "folk" in that they are choosing for a style, similar to the RSCDS, a balletic high cultural style more typical of the aristocrats than the people (note, that their ancestors were under British rule during the hay day of country dancing in Scotland). Of the three basic types of music, their featured one is the "fandango", as opposed to the bolero and jota, all of which they perform in the fandango style, and often in longways formation, even with progression and minor sets. Here on Mallorca (as hosts not represented on thios occasion (see below), we also dance the same three forms, but not in the cultured aristocratic style, though it comes through in our fandango which is derivitive of a court dance. Another differences, is the fact that the Menorquí dancers uses steps similar to both Irish and Scottish step dancing, and even with turnout and on their toes. Whereas the "strangers" got Friday night to Sunday night for their performances, only the Basques actually danced socially off the stage, including lving steps that one might call "pasos de vascos", that we would recognize (no costumes, just folks dancing. The Mallorquí dance offering was an entire evening (other regions got 30 minutes each), in the street with a band, spectators at any given moment outnumbering dancers. The dance, as per usual, lasted 2 hours, with nonstop music (musicians rotated in and out when they needed a drink, or wanted to dance). But then, unlike SCD, and other modern forms of folk dancing, this is a currently living tradition of the folk, not members of some club isolated from the general culture.