Course Profile

This course emphasizes the development of students’ artistry, improvisational and compositional skills, and technical proficiency in global dance genres. Students will apply dance elements, techniques, and tools in a variety of ways, including performance situations; describe and model responsible practices related to the dance environment; and reflect on how the study of dance affects personal and artistic development. This course will focus on the dance practices of the English/Irish/Scottish region of the world.

Potential Appropriation Issues

The use of individual lessons in this resource is not recommended for teachers without the cultural background of and experience with this dance focus. Always invite cultural knowledge keepers to support cultural learning.

CODE recommends that a full dance credit in these forms of dance only be offered by teachers from these cultures with extensive experience and expertise. In order to avoid cultural appropriation, you must have a personal connection to the material.  

Course Overview

Throughout the course students will study the dance techniques that developed in England, Ireland and Scotland. These techniques include, but are not limited to; Scottish Highland Dancing, Irish Dance and English Folk Dance. Students will investigate the social (music, dress), and historical events that influenced the development of these traditional dances. After learning the historical context or roots of these dances, students will investigate how these dances are kept alive in a modern context, in their country of origin and in Canada. Students will apply the choreographic process to these dance styles and will create their own 'Celtic' dances. Additional activities may include trips to festivals and cultural events, competitions, and/or dance classes in the community.

Scope & Sequence

Unit Descriptions

UNIT 1: Introduction to Style A  (20 hours)

Students will demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the history, technique, cultural and social significance of the dance form.

UNIT 2: Kinesiology and Body Awareness  (10 hours)

Students will demonstrate knowledge and understanding of alternative physical practices that enhance and supplement dance training and physical well-being (Yoga and Pilates) with an emphasis on correct terminology and the physiology of movement as they relate to the dance genre.

UNIT 3: Introduction to Style B (20 hours)

Students will demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the history, technique, cultural and social significance of the dance form.

UNIT 4: Introduction to Style C (20 hours)

Students will demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the history, technique, cultural and social significance of the dance form.

UNIT 5: Composition and Choreography (20 hours)

Students will use the creative process to explore the elements of dance and compositional forms to compose individual and ensemble dance creations applying and building on the students' knowledge from Units 1, 3, and 4.

Culminating Activity

Fusion Dance (20 hours)

Students will build a final dance composition by fusing the techniques of styles A, B, and C. They will apply composition and  presentation skills; as well as, employing the tools of stagecraft. Through this culminating activity, students will demonstrate an understanding of all of the overall expectations learned throughout the course.



English Dance: 

Ontario Square & Round Dance Federation

Ontario Clogging Clubs

There are various Morris Dance organizations throughout Ontario.  See your local listings for an organization in your area.
Scottish Dance: 

Scottish Official Board of Highland Dance, World Governing Body of Highland Dancing

ScotDance Canada, Scottish Cultural Organization for Traditional Highland Dance in Canada

ScotDance Ontario

The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society

Irish Dance: 

World Irish Dance Association

Irish Dancing Canada

Instructional Strategies

Brainstorming, Bodystorming, Video Viewing, Modelling/Demonstration, Presentation, Compare/Contrast, Discussion, Reflection, Summarizing, Non-Linguistic representations (movement, pictures, graphic organizers, mental images, etc)

Glossary of Terms Specific to Course

England - English Folk (social) Dance is a general term that describes several dance forms that are (were) performed at social functions by people with little or no formal training. Dances were learned through observation and by informal instruction.  Usually the dances are accompanied by traditional music. Some English Folk Dances are said to date as far back as the 1400's. Today many of these dance forms are taught in a more formal manor, and require very specialized skills. Some types of English Folk Dance include:

  • Clogging
  • Maypole
  • Morris Dance
  • Square Dance

Ireland - Irish Social Dances are usually danced in formations with varying numbers of couples.  The dances and styles vary across the Irish community (both in Ireland and around the world). The dances are usually danced to traditional Irish music.

  • Set dances
  • céilí Dances
Irish Step Dance is famous for its rapid leg and foot movements while maintaining controlled and still body and arm positions. Most competitive step dances are solo dances, though many step dancers also perform and compete using céilí(group) dances. The solo dances can either be in "soft shoe" or hard shoe".
  • Reel
  • Slip Jig
  • Treble Jig

Scotland - Scottish Country Dance is a social dance involving groups of mixed couples of dancers tracing progressive patterns according to a predetermined choreography.  Dancers dance to Scottish bands (accordions, fiddles) as well as bagpipes.  It first became popular around the 18th century and is still popular today in Scotland as well as many other countries around the world. Examples of Scottish Country Dances include;

  • Dashing White Sergeant
  • Gay Gordons
  • Strip the Willow
  • The Eightsome Reel

Scottish Highland Dance is a very athletic dance form, highland dancers are known for their strength and stamina.  Most dances are solo dances performed to the bagpipes.  Today both males and females do Scottish Highland Dance for both competition and recreation.  Examples of Scottish Highland Dances include;

  • Highland Fling
  • Sword Dance
  • Seann Triuhbas
  • Scottish Lilt
Seann Truibhas: Is a dance that tells the story of the banning of the kilts after Bonnie Prince Charlie was defeated by the English. The Scottish clansmen detested having to wear grey trews (trousers) instead of the tartan kilt and it was 40 long years before they were allowed to wear their national dress again. From this came the dance "The Seann Truibhas" (Pronounced Shawn Trews). The name Seann Truibhas, meaning old or torn trousers, was chosen in scorn of these trousers, and movements such as the SHAEK, BALANCE, LEAPS and PIVOT TURNS were said to mime attempts of the Highlander to kick them off in disgust. The lively and buoyant steps performed at a faster tempo at the end of the dance shows the freedom and joy in return of the beloved kilt. (Source: Scottish Official Highland Dancing Association)
Kilt: Traditional Highland Dress; a knee length garment that is pleated in the back usually made of wool in a tartan pattern. The kilt is worn when dancing traditional Highland dances.
Trews (truis or truibhas): Are men's clothing for the legs and lower abdomen, a traditional form of Irish and Scottish apparel. Trews could be trimmed with leather, probably buckskin, especially on the inner leg to prevent wear from riding on horseback. Trews is the origin of the word trousers. (Source: wikipedia)

Refer to Ministry Glossary for all other terminology.

Examples of Activities

Lesson #1-Freedom and Oppression (from Unit #1, 3 or 4)

This lesson will be an introduction to some of the basic movements of the Seann Truibhas; a traditional Scottish Highland Dance. Students will explore the ideas of oppression and freedom and the effect that they had on the Scottish culture and dance.

Overview of BLMs

BLM #1 The Banning of the Kilts

Assessment and Evaluation Strategies

Observation, Teacher and Peer Feedback, Discussion,  Journals