by Mats Melin and Jennifer Schoonover

ISBN 9780367489472     Published December 31, 2020 by Routledge     284 Pages 43 B/W Illustrations

Dance Legacies of Scotland compiles a collage of references portraying percussive Scottish dancing and explains what influenced a wide disappearance of hard-shoe steps from contemporary Scottish practices.

Mats Melin and Jennifer Schoonover explore the historical references describing percussive dancing to illustrate how widespread the practice was, giving some glimpses of what it looked and sounded like. The authors also explain what influenced a wide disappearance of hard-shoe steps from Scottish dancing practices. Their research draws together fieldwork, references from historical sources in English, Scots, and Scottish Gaelic, and insights drawn from the authors’ practical knowledge of dances. They portray the complex network of dance dialects that existed in parallel across Scotland, and share how remnants of this vibrant tradition have endured in Scotland and the Scottish diaspora to the present day.

This book will be of interest to scholars and students of Dance and Music and its relationship to the history and culture of Scotland.

Table of Contents

Introduction  1. ‘I wish I had it in my power to describe to you’: introductory observations on Step dance and its place in Scotland  2. From regional variations to standardisation of vernacular dance  3. Na brògan dannsaidh/The dancing shoes: foot anatomy, footwear, and body posture  4. Gaelic references and continental European connections  5. From Hornpipes to High Dances: historical terms and overlapping usage  6. Hyland step forward: eighteenth-century accounts  7. A few more flings and shuffles: nineteenth-century accounts, 1800–1839  8. Aberdeenshire to the Hebrides: nineteenth-century accounts, 1840–1899  9. Breakdown: twentieth-century accounts  10. An t-Seann Dùthaich: dancing in the Scottish diaspora  11. First-hand Step dance encounters and recollections in Scotland from the 1980s to 2016 collected by Mats Melin  12. Weaving the steps to the music  13. Echoes and reflections

Author Biographies

Mats Melin is a lecturer at University of Limerick, Ireland. He has worked and performed extensively in Angus, Sutherland, the Scottish Highlands, the Hebrides, Orkney, and Shetland, promoting Scottish traditional dance in schools and communities.

Jennifer Schoonover is a dancer and choreographer. She teaches movement principles, improvisation, dance pedagogy, and dance modalities including Cape Breton Step, Ceilidh, Highland, and Scottish Country dancing.