Willis E.

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Halifax Regional School Board Fair

The History of Step Dance in Nova Scotia

My project is about the story of how the culture of step dancing has been brought to Nova Scotia as well as other parts of Canada. I will be focusing on when the Scots came, why, and more about the history and story of how step dancing came to be in Canada. I will also share my connections to this rich type of dance, why I chose this subject for my heritage fair and eventually this video, as well as telling about step dance today, going into the music it is danced to, the difference between tap and step, traditional and modern, and more. For learning purposes, I will demonstrate a dance using several steps, explaining whether they are traditional or modern.

What was the most interesting thing you learned about your topic?

I find it very interesting that in ancient Scotland, the step dance that was danced there would not look like the step dance we do here today, and may not be recognizable as step dance compared to the dance today. The reason for this is that when the Scots brought over this type of dance, it was passed on to generation through generation, and over time, it eventually changed and morphed into what we consider step dance in Nova Scotia today.

What important lessons have you learned that you want to share with other Canadians?

An important lesson that I thought about after doing this project was that because of mass exodus, when people are forced to leave their home and their country like the Scots, wherever they land, they end up bringing their culture with them, which ultimately led to step dance coming to Nova Scotia. So exodus is actually an aspect of the spread of culture. Exodus is not a good thing, but it is interesting to consider that if the Scots never moved, so many lives may not have been enriched by the type of dance we call step.

How would you compare your life today to the lives of those studied in your project?

Early Scots used dance as a way to entertain themselves. Compared to life today in Nova Scotia, citizens have many ways to entertain themselves with modern day activities and luxuries like video games, television and more, as well as the active types of entertainment such as sports and dance. It is cool to think that what I do every week was used as entertainment hundreds of years ago, and I entertain myself with the same dance they did then, even though it has changed throughout the centuries.