Scottish sword dancing are ritualistic and combative dances that imitated epic deeds and martial skills and are a familiar feature in Scottish tradition and folklore.
In 1573 Scottish mercenaries are said to have performed a Scottish Sword dance before the Swedish King, John III who was Monarch of Sweden at a banquet held in Stockholm Castle. The dance, "a natural feature of the festivities" was used as part of a plot to assassinate the King, where the conspirators were able to bare their weapons without arising suspicion. Fortunately for the King at the decisive moment the agreed signal was never given.
"Sword dance and Hieland Danses" were included at a reception for Anne of Denmark Anne of Denmark in 1617 and again for Charles I Charles in 1633, by the Incorporation of Skinners and Glovers of Perth.
Many of the Highland dances now lost were once performed with traditional weapons that included the Lochaber, the broadsword, a combination of targe and dirk (dagger) and the Flail (a type of mace) The old Skye dancing song, Bualidh mi u an sa chean ("I will break your head"), was the winning blow in cudgelling matches throughout Britain, "for the moment that blood runs an inch anywhere above the eyebrow, the old gamester to whom it belongs is beaten, and has to stop."
A combative sword dance called the Highland Dirk Dance still exists and is often linked to the sword dance or dances called "Macinorsair," the "Broad Sword Exercise" or the Bruicheath" (Battle Dance). These dances are mentioned in a number of sources, and may have been performed in a variety of different forms, by two performers in a duelling form and as a solo routine.
Setting the sword at the correct angle before starting.
Scottish Sword dancing is compared to Geommu (also transliterated Gummu, Kommu) a traditional sword dance practiced in Korea. Geommu is performed with special costume, dance motions, and music. The dance is known for its grace in performance. Extra emphasis is placed on the movement of the costuming, notably the sleeves, in harmony with the movements of the dancer. The symbolic use of a Kal, a replica sword, keeps to the militaristic origins of this dance.