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Title: The Scottish Highland dancing tradition
Author: Scott, Catriona Mairi
ISNI:       0000 0004 2708 8321
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2006
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The primary objective of this thesis is to inyestigate the development of and changes within the practice of Scottish competitive solo Highland dancing. Although this activity has been inherited through strong oral and military traditions, and is currently practised by over fifty thousand people world-wide. this theoretical and empirical work is the first in-depth study of its kind in the field. The focus of research is the extent to which the impact of regulation on a previously unregulated tradition has contributed to the usurping of creativity by technicality. Five dances have formed the principal competith'e repertoire since the nineteenth century. Their beginnings and early accounts are traced through oral, visual and literary sources, using an historical approach. Two dominant organisational bodies were established around 1950 and letters, minutes and other unpublished material pertaining to the circumstances surrounding their formation are interrogated. Interviews with dancers, teachers, judges and examiners offer insights into the construction of this governance, and the impact of its policing of the dancing community, from practitioners' perspec ti v es. A written ethnography of a contemporary Highland dancing championship reveals procedures at such an event. This is illustrated by a video ethnography. Interviews with contemporary dancers and teachers form a narrative in which attitudes towards the management of a Ii ying tradition are foregrounded. Personal testimonies of competitions yield qualitatiye data tilwhich there are three dominant themes: aesthetic judgements. dancers' musicality, and dancing as sport. Matters of gender and identity also emerge The analysis shows that the content and conduct of competitions has not altered much in the last half century. However, there are significant diffcrenccs between pre-regulated and post-regulated positions, gestures and steps. Extensive comparisons are made between components using Labanotation. Such standardisation is indicative of a climate of control which has led to a continual narrowing of style and an emphasis on technique. The thesis proposes that this pioneering study leads the way for future investigation into the Scottish Highland dancing tradition
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available