festivals and traditions / music / us and them

Dancing with swords

A typical Scottish traditional dance accompanied by bagpipes is the “Dance of Swords”. This dance is performed nearly everywhere in Scotland and in almost any occasion, from the EIF to the Highland Games throughout Scotland to street performances in Scottish cities and children.

Watch this interesting video of the Scottish Sword Dance:

This type of dance, which is performed dancing over two swords lying at the dancer’s feet, probably has its origins in rituals of fighting which reproduce or imitate movements used in fighting.

In Salento we have a very similar tradition!!! It’s also called “Sword Dance”, and is usually performed on the night between 15th and 16th August.

The dance simulates a fight between two people who are using knives (although the dancers point their index and middle fingers at each other instead of a knife! ;-)).

The music that accompanies both Sword Dances, however, couldn’t be more different… instead of the bagpipes, the traditional musical instruments of Salento are the mouth-organ and the tambourine!

Here’s a video of “Danza delle spade” or “Scherma”, as it is also called:

What do you think of both dances? Which is your favourite, and why?

In Scotland, children learn very soon to dance the Sword Dance. How many of you can dance “pizzica” or “Scherma”? Let us know! 😉


2 thoughts on “Dancing with swords

  1. Wow! I really didn’t know anything about this Sword dance in Salento but i knew something about the military tattoo in Scotland; if i’m not wrong its purpose is to encourage Scottish people to free from English rule, fighting, isn’t it ?
    I like both dances, the sound of bagpipes and of our traditional instruments is simply amazing!
    I’m hopeless at classical ballet, but i quite like the folk dance of my land and i can dance pizzica quite well:)

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