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  • Writer's pictureSOHDA


Updated: Jul 8, 2023

The Highland Fling is the oldest of the traditional dances dating back to the 17th century. One legend tells a story of a little boy that followed his grandfather up a mountainside one morning. It was cold and little Donald had trouble keeping up with his grandfather who was stepping out swiftly, but oh so quietly.

They were stalking a beautiful mountain stag and it was so exciting. Donald was so pleased his grandfather had allowed him to share this great adventure. “Quiet now, Donald,” whispered grandfather, “he will soon have to break cover”.

Suddenly the beautiful big red stag appeared on the rock across the hollow from where they were hiding. Its noble head was raised and the wide antlers were clear and proud against the blue sky.

The stag was restless and sensed it was being watched. Its front and back legs were lifting, just like the beautiful curvette of circus horses.

“He is dancing,” whispered Donald! He tried to imitate the stag with his arms and fingers held aloft and curved like the antlers and holding his head proudly as he hopped up and down on the spot as the stag had done on the rock.

According to tradition the Fling was later performed as a war dance that soldiers would execute on a small round shield or targe that they had carried into battle after a victory, hence the reason the Fling is danced on the spot.

Today the Highland Fling is still performed at competitions by all ages and abilities with many different step combinations. To help you dance the Highland Fling, draw a circle on the floor with a smaller circle in the centre. Try to keep your supporting foot in the little circle every time you hop and try to stretch your working foot to the extremes of the larger circle.

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