Unit 6.1

Cinema and theatrical arts: Dance


Internationally Renowned Dance Companies from the United Kingdom

  • Phoenix Dance Theatre is based in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. It has its beginnings in Leeds and now it is Britain’s leading modern dance companies. It is also recognized internationally.
  • Scottish Dance Theatre is Scotland’s national contemporary dance company and is part of Dundee Rep Theatre. The company is now led by Artistic Director Fleur Darkin, who joined the company in 2011.
  • English National Ballet was founded by Dame Alicia Markova and Sir Anton Dolin. It concentrates on classical ballet. It is based at Markova House in South Kensington, London, England. It is one of the four major ballet companies in Great Britain, alongside with The Royal Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet and Scottish Ballet.

Representative Dances of the United Kingdom

  • Morris Dancing is an English folk dance. It consists of certain choreographic, stepping and often colourful costumes. Dancers usually wear bell pads. It is supported by Morris Ring, Morris Federation and Open Morris organizations. You can visit the National Association of Morris at themorrisring.org.
  • Clog Dance is a dance that developed both in Wales and Northern England. In Wales, it was a form of a competition held between miners during breaks. The dance focuses on footwork with the upper body being motionless. Clog Dance competitions are often a part of festivals, especially in Wales.
  • Highland Dancing is a Scottish dance. It is a solo dance which traditionally was only performed by men but in current times it is performed also by women. It is believed that it originated in exercises which were keeping troops in shape. There are different types of Highland Dance. Basic ones are:
    • The Highland Fling is supposed to be a dance that was performed after victory. Traditionally it is performed in hard shoes. Today dancer’s goal is to stay at one point for the whole dance.
    • The Sword Dance consists of a dance performed over two crossed swords without touching them. It was a war dance used to select the best soldiers by the royals.
    • Seann Truibhas originated from Scottish people celebrating getting back their culture from English. It consists of two parts, slow, ballet-like one and quick one that refers to taking back Highland culture.
  • Scottish Country Dance is a dance in which groups of couples follow certain patterns and perform sequences of figures. Even though it is connected to Highland Dancing, it should not be mistaken with it.
  • Irish Step Dancing is probably the most famous regional dance from around the British Isles. The dance is characterised by its furious footwork.


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