I have been dancing English and Scottish Country dance since spring semester my freshman year of college.  Many people are not familiar with these dance forms, so allow me to explain them.  While English and Scottish dance traditions each have a different feel, the two forms are much more similar to each other than they are to other dance traditions.  They are not Irish step dancing (a la Riverdance); neither are they Highland dancing (what most people think of when they imagine people in kilts dancing).  They are social dances, danced as a couple and interacting with other couples.  Couples (typically) face each other, forming lines down the dance hall.  Depending on the dance, they are either danced in discrete groupings called sets (the norm in Scottish dance, but not uncommon in English dances) or in open-ended lines (longways dances, which are very common in English dances).  At the end of each dance, it is customary to leave your partner and find a new partner for the next dance.  American contra dancing and square dancing are related dance forms, but again these feel very different from the Scottish and English counterparts.

I realize that those are mostly unhelpful descriptions of the dance forms.  Dance is its own language, and it is very difficult to describe in English words.  I suggest actually finding a dance group and trying it for yourself.

I have written two dances; they are not spectacular, but they should at least be danceable.


The music for this dance is from Pazu’s Fanfare from the movie Laputa:  Castle in the Sky.  You will note that it is blank here; I do not have permissions to publish the music.  It can be found on the internet, though, so you can fill it in yourself (it should be the first 20 measures, which matches the trumpet fanfare from the movie).  This particular dance has identity issues; it is structured as an English dance, but there is a Scottish feel to it.

The Shearing of the Sheep

I wrote both the music and the figures for this dance, although part “C” should sound familiar.  The idea for this dance was the realization that not enough dances featured a figure known as a sheepskin hey.  (I am only aware of one, Picking Up Sticks.)  I decided to write another dance with that figure in it.