Scottish Highland Dance
Act of Proscription: A law in the 1700s that said Scots could not wear any part of the traditional Highland clothing, including the kilt and tartan.
Do you know what type of dance is part of your region’s folklife? Do you know any traditional dances from your ancestors’ regions?
Is there a special activity that you do with one or both of your parents? Is it something that they did with their parents?
In the photos on the Heather Highland Dancers’ Traditions page, both dancers are wearing kilts. What is different about the rest of their outfits? What is the same?
Robert Burns is Scotland’s national poet. The The Official Robert Burns Site offers his complete works on line, including a glossary for English/Scots dialect translations. The Robert Burns Club of Milwaukee meets regularly to celebrate the poet.
Visit the Heather Highland Dancers’ website. You can see lots of photos showing the dancers in action, and learn about other dances they perform.
Have you ever sung “Auld Lang Syne” on New Year’s Eve? Then you have sung a Robert Burns song, with words in the Scots dialect! Read the original lyrics and their English translation on this page from The World Burns Club, Robert Burns Federation.
Want to hear three poems of Robert Burns’ read in Scots dialect? Go to The Poetry of Robert Burns. You can hear “To a Mouse,” “Willie Wastle,” and “A Man’s a Man for A’ That.”
Have you ever eaten haggis? Want to see what it looks like? Go to Address
to a Haggis. Scroll down the page to find a photo. Scroll further and you’ll find the Burns poem, “Address to a Haggis” that is read at each Burns Dinner. This version has a translation too.
There are thousands of different patterns for tartans! View just a few of them at Am Breachdan, the Tartan.
Want to do historical research on Scottish Wisconsinites using primary documents? Visit the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Library archives. Use the materials in the Catherine Campbell Papers. Catherine was an active member of Milwaukee’s St. Andrew’s Society and participated in Highland Games as a dancer during the first half of the 20th century.
Text written by Jamie Yuenger and Anne Pryor.
Sources consulted include fieldwork with the Heather Highland Dancer by Jamie Yuenger (11/19/02) and by Anne Pryor (9/16/96); phone interviews with Carrie Marlette by Jamie Yuenger (7/3/02) and with Susan Jeffrey by Anne Pryor (2/8/03); the Scottish Official Board of Highland Dance pamphlet, “What it is and What it does;” and the website Minnesota Scottish Celtic Dance Association.