Sword Dance is the ancient traditional dance in Scotland associated with the war of the Scottish Gael and is said to date back to King Malcolm Canmore. The legend is that the Scottish Sword Dance is named after Ghillie Callum who was a victorious Celtic prince in the mortal combat against one of MacBeth’s Chiefs at the Battle of Dunsinane in 1054. After the victory, he crossed his sword over the blasted sword of the defeated Chief and danced around in jubilance and delight. After this, this dance was become the symbol of the Scottish pride among the highland warriors who used to dance in the same way in triumph after beating their enemies. Another legend is that in 1573, Scottish mercenaries performed a Scottish Sword dance before the Swedish King, John III at a banquet held in Stockholm Castle. In 1589, a gathering was held for greeting Anne of Denmark and the Sword dances were performed. Similarly, a same acrobatic performance was presented before James VI in 1617 and again for Charles I in 1633, by the incorporation of Skinners and Glovers of Perth.
The sword dance in Scotland was evolved with the passage of time and many variations and techniques were introduced with the passage of time. Many traditional sword dances that were performed with different and unique Scottish weapons are now disappeared and only few dances are survived.
Usually, the traditional sword dance of Scotland which is considered as the symbol of national pride is performed over or around crossed swords, the number of which may vary from time to time and is started slowly. The dance catches rhythm at a faster pace when the dancer normally travels anticlockwise round the sword. The important thing is that the dancer focuses on technical accuracy and the precise placing of the feet.
The traditional Scottish sword dance is presented nowadays in the festive events and in the traditional fairs of Scotland where the dancers move in quick passion and amazingly save themselves from injuries for their breakneck body actions. One important thing is the basic step in the Scottish Sword Dance which is known as “the pas de basque” and all other movements acts are of supportive nature.