Not Hose Reels

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					Not Hose Reels, Scots Reels! Dances of the Scots Countryside
We're all familiar with reels as tools, whether we're talking about
fishing reels, hose reels for fire fighting, or demo reels in the world
of filmmaking or video art. But one use of the word "reel" that many of
us have forgotten about is the tradition of the reel in dancing--one of
the four basic dances of the mysterious highlands of Scotland.
For all the Scots people will tell you about tradition, the reel in its
present form is actually a fairly modern invention in the world of
dancing. What's more, the reel didn't originate in Scotland at all.
Traditional Scots country dancing began in England, close to Bath,
largely as an entertainment for the aristocracy (comparable to the
"shepherd" craze of the late sixteenth/early seventeenth centuries, where
court ladies would go into the countryside, inhabit dilapidated shacks,
and pretend to be merry, hardworking shepherdesses for amusement before
they returned to the tedium of wealthy court life.) The English country
dances slowly migrated north upon the unification of England and Scotland
and the porous borders that unification created.
What is of distinctly Scots origin is the tradition of the "sword dance",
one of the critical components of the modern "Highland Reel." The sword
dance has a long-standing history in Scotland, going back to the days of
William Wallace and running throughout the troubled history of Scotland
and England in the days before the Kingdom was United. The tradition of
the sword dance may have even played a part in that troubled history to
some extent, owing from the account of a sixteenth-century plot to use
sword dancers to assassinate the King of Sweden--an assassination
requires a drawn sword, after all, and no one would suspect a paid sword
dancer of secretly plotting murder.
At some point, the sword dance and the country dances of England merged
into "traditional" Scots country dancing, with the reel being one of the
major forms such dancing took (along with the more well-known jig.) The
reel in particular is popular not just due to its colorful history, but
due to its simplicity and the catchiness of its music. Classically, a
reel is performed by sets of dancers, with a minimum of three to a set
for a traditional reel. The dancers then circle one another in a complex
pattern that brings them slowly down the length of the dance floor and
back to their starting point. Considering the other meaning of the word
reel--as we know, a tool for winding material--applying this name to this
form of dancing is totally appropriate. (Less appropriate, though, when
you consider the other meanings of the word reel--to stagger, as if
drunk--although this is far from impossible at Scots social events.)
For hundreds of years, dancing has been a vital part of Scots culture,
and for the past two hundred years the reel in particular has been
central to the borrowed Scots ethnic identity. It may not be a tool with
the utility of a demo reel or fire hose reels. But the Scots reel is a
central tool through which the Highlanders can examine their own life--
and the partial corruption of their history.
Not sure which hose reels to choose?
http://www.FireProtectionOnline.co.uk has information on all the
different sizes and types

				
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posted:10/15/2010
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