The origins of traditional Highland Dance have been lost in the mists of time, but it is thought that the infamous Sword Dance was used to celebrate victory over foes, or to predict the fate of a warrior as he prepared for battle. Sean Triubhas, or ‘Old Trousers’, is said to have originated after an anti-Jacobite Act, banning the kilt, was repealed. The Highland Fling is also thought to be a victory dance, though other theorists suggest that the dancer mimics the stag, symbol of fertility. According to one story, the Hullachan Reel was invented by a group of people attempting to keep warm as they waited outside on a traditional Scottish winter’s day. Whatever the myths, there can be no doubt that Highland Dancing is an art that requires extraordinary skill, stamina and strength. Dancers need to work every muscle in the body to perform intricate steps whilst in mid-air. Such is the intensity of exercise that soldiers practiced Highland Dancing and customarily, only men danced.

Judges at the Oban Games will be looking for technique and timing as well as the competitor’s deportment and their interpretation of the dance. As a spectator you will be able to witness the most exciting local, national and international talent, as the dancers brush, leap and high-cut their way to a medal.

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