The Blue Lights of Pizza Express

Go to Choose a dance and teach it to someone.

Being a passionate Scottish Country Dancer, the task to learn and teach a Scottish Country Dance as part of the Expressive Arts elective thrilled me immensely! I have been dancing as a hobby from the age of 5, and for the past few years have been assisting in teaching the younger class, and it is still a hugely enjoyable pastime for me, however, I believe that schools take the joy out of it.

The dance I chose to learn and teach to my class is “The Blue Lights of Pizza Express” (yes, it is a real dance). The picture shows the dance crib (instructions)(click to view clearer), which is written using dancing terms, which we know, but would need explaining to a beginner. This dance is a Strathspey (slow dance), in a square set, the type of which is not taught in schools. The dance is quite complex, and took a good deal of explaining to my class, and therefore I certainly wouldn’t use anything near as difficult with a primary class. We did get a video of us dancing it, however, the file is too large to be uploaded to the site. If anyone would like more beginner-friendly instructions for the dance, just comment.


As my love for Scottish Country is so well established, I am of the opinion that it is taught completely wrong in schools, to the extent that our national heritage is loathed and comes with such a stigma. Whenever I tell anyone I do dancing, they usually ask which kind, to which I reply Scottish Country. The sheer comments and questions that follow highlight my point precisely. They ask “Why?”, or sometimes simply just laugh or look confused, a reaction which I argue would not be given had the answer been Ballet, Hip Hop or even Highland.

Schools teach the same 6-8 dances throughout primary and secondary, and in an attempt to make it more fun, have begun to use modern music. While this is a good strategy, and one we use in dance class ourselves, it is only the beginning. Children are forced to dance with classmates they would rather not, which starts the lesson off poorly. Children should be able to choose their partners, boy or girl, and, as long as there are clear rules about expectations of behaviour, there will be less misbehaving to warrant partnering children up. There should also be a range of dances taught, as well as step practice. We would not give children the task of playing football or basketball without teaching them some core skills they would need to play. Therefore, why do we partner children off and tell them where to go – usually by walking – and let them get on with the “dance”. There needs to be a shift in the thinking of teachers who teach Scottish Country Dance, before there will be a shift in attitude towards it.




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