The National Dances are more modern than the Highland Dances and were developed so women could participate. The costume worn by women is called the Aboyne dress named in honor of the Aboyne Highland Games in Scotland where women were forbidden to wear the traditional Highland outfit. The National Dances are much more rhythmic and balletic; however, they still require quick and precise movements. Several National Dances are performed in the kilt since they were originally men's dances such as The Highland Laddie, and Wilt Thou Go to the Barracks, Johnny? Men, of course, perform these dances, but they wear the traditional Highland outfit.
It is said that the women danced the Blue Bonnets as a farewell to departing soldiers wearing their Blue Glengarry bonnets.
The Earl of Errol...
Behind this dance is the story of Flora MacDonald. She was born on the island of Vist in Scotland and when she lost her parents at an early age, she was taken to the mansion of the clan Ranald to be educated. She showed musical talent. When Flora visited Benbucula in 1746 she met Bonnie Prince Charlie. Legend has it that Flora was the subject of this flirting dance now known as the Flora MacDonald's Fancy. In the dance the lady tries to impress her lover which folklore claims to be Bonnie Prince Charlie. Flora MacDonald is said to help the Prince escape from Scotland after his defeat at the battle of Cullodon. Flora ends up marrying Allen MacDonald and she has five children. They moved to North Carolina as many other Scots at that time. During the American Revolution, they joined loyalists and moved to Windsor in Nova Scotia. But in her older days she returned to Scotland in 1779, where she died on March 4, 1790. On her tombstone are the words, "Her name shall be mentioned in history, and if courage and fidelity be virtue, mentioned with honor".
The Highland Laddie originates as an invitation from a fine, handsome lad to a lassie to go with him for a stroll in the Highlands.
The Scottish Measure...
The Scottish Lilt in its present form is a rather soft and relaxed dance with flowing ballet-like grace. The Scottish Lilt is claimed by both the Hebrides and Perthshire. It was a very dance different when danced to its original 9/8 jig tune but nowadays it is danced to a tune called "The Battle of the Somme" dating from the time of the First World War. That tune has a completely different speed and rhythm.
The Village Maid is a flirtatious dance allegedly first performed on a table by a young serving woman in a pub.
According to oral history the Barracks Johnny is an army recruitment dance. It is danced to the tune "Wilt Thou Go to the Barracks, Johnny?" and performed out side the Barracks to entice new recruits to sign up for the army. The dance shows the vigor, agility, and strength that is suppose to be the outcome of military training.
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