Our Dancers learn the STDA syllabus for Highland Dance.  There are generally 2 exam opportunities for dancers to demonstrate their skills to an examiner (usually from Scotland) every year.  Exams are usually held in November and then again in February.

Pre-school and Primary dancers have the opportunity to participate in the “Dance Stars” program which allows them to prepare for their exams in the future by performing basic highland movements in front of the examiner.

The requirements for all Highland Dance exams are listed below for your convenience.  A current PDF copy is available [here].

Highland

Level Fling Sword Sean Triubhas Reel

Dance Stars I

(3-6 years)

  1. Bow
  2. Hands taken from 1st Pos. to 3rd Pos. and back to 1st Pos.
  3. Point close from 1st Pos. to 4th Pos.
  4. Toe-Heel movement (with or without elevation)
  5. 4 Jumps in 1st Pos. and 4 Claps x2

Dance Stars II

(3-6 years)

  1. Jumps in 1st Position
  2. Changes in 3rd Position
  3. Point close from 1st Pos. to 4th Pos.
  4. Spring Points in 4th Pos.
  5. Toe-Heel Movement (with or without elevation)
  6. Single High Cuts
  7. Pas de Basques

Note: Teacher will select 5 movements from above list.

Dance Stars III

(3-6 years)

  1. 16 Pas de Basques to music
  2. Single High Cuts
  3. Pas de Basques over 1st Sword
  4. Pas de Basques over 2nd and 4th Sword
  5. Hop point in 2nd Pos., hop point in 3rd Pos., hop point in 4th Pos., hop point in 3rd Pos
  6. Spring Points over 2nd Sword (with or without turning)

Note: Teacher will select 5 movements from above list.

Dance Stars IV

(3-6 years)

  1. 16 Pas de Basques and High Cuts to music
  2. 8 Shedding or 1st Step Highland Fling
  3. Shedding RF 4 Toe Heels, 4 Claps (toe-heels with or without elevation)
  4. Shedding Turns (one foot only)
  5. Point close 1st Pos. to 2nd Pos.
  6. Arms to 1st to 2nd Pos. back to 1st Pos.

Note: Teacher will select 5 movements from above list.

Dance Stars V

(3-6 years)

Note: Teacher will select 3 movements 3rd test and 3 movements from 4th test.
Preparatory Test Demonstrate without Music:

  • Spring Points
  • Single High Cuts
  • Toe and Heel Movement
  • Pas de Basques
  • Jumps in 1st Position
  • 8 Shedding or 1st step Highland Fling
Preliminary Test 1st, 3rd & 8th Steps demonstrated without music
  • 6 Pas de Basques & 4 High Cuts to music 4x

OR

  • 5 Pas de Basques, Assemble & 4 High Cuts
Alternative Preliminary Test
  • 6 Pas de Basques & 4 High Cuts to music 4x

OR

  • 5 Pas de Basques, Assemble & 4 High Cuts
  • Choose 2 of the following steps: 1st, 2nd & 4th steps to be demonstrated without music
Pre-Bronze
  • 4 Steps (no back steps)
  • 2 & 1
Bronze
  • 4 Steps
  • 2 & 1
Pre Silver
  • 4 steps
  • 2 & 1
  • Demonstrate: Brushes (4 RF & 4 LF) travelling forward towards examiner
  • Shuffles (8 times)
  • Hop Brush Beat Beat (2RF, 2LF)
Silver
  • 4 Steps
  • 2 & 1
  • 3 & 1
Pre-Gold
  • 4 steps
  • 2 & 1 – Include 2nd OR 4th step
  • 3 & 1
  • Demonstrate: Back-steps
  • Shakes from 2nd step of Sean Triubhas (RF then LF)
  • Shake Shake Down from
  • 4th step of the Sean Triubhas
Gold
  • 4 Steps
  • 2 & 1 – Include 1st, 2nd OR 4th, 8th steps
  • 4 & 2 – Include 1st, 2nd, 4th or 5th, 16th
Demonstrate:

  • 4 Progressive Strathspey movements showing body turns
  • 4 Progressive Reel movements showing body turns
Scottish Award 1
  • 4 Steps – 1st, 2nd, 4th, 8th
  • 2 & 1 -1st, 2nd, 8th
  • Demonstrate: 3rd step (any finish)
  • 3 & 1 – 1st, 2nd, 5th, 14th, Finish entrechat
  • 1/2 Hullachan or Strathespey & Highland Reel (2 parts)
Scottish Award 2
  • 4 Steps – 1st, 5th Alt, 4th Alt, 8th
  • Demonstrate: 6th step and 6th step 3rd Alt. method
  • 2 & 1 – 1st, 5th, 8th
  • 4 & 2 – 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 13th, 14th, Finish entrechat method 2
  • Strathspey (2) & Reel of Tulloch (4)
Scottish Award 3
  • 4 Steps – 1st, 5th, 6th (3rd alt method), 8th alt
  • 3& 1 – 1st, 4th, 3rd (any method), 8th
  • Demonstrate: 6th Step
  • 4 & 2 – 1st, 3rd, 4th alt, 8th, 18th, 14th finishing method 1
  • Strathspey (2) & Highland Reel (2) – Include 6th step and last step
Scottish Award 4
  • 4 Steps – 1st, 2nd, 6th (4th alt. method), 8th
  • 2 & 2 – 1st, 6th, 7th, 8th
  • 4 & 2 – 1st alt, 2nd, 5th, 9th, 14th & 16th finishing method entrechat method 3
  • 1/2 Hullachan – 1st, 2nd, 6th, last

Demonstrate:

  • Basic Reel steps – 8th & 10th
Scottish Award 5
  • 4 steps – 1st, 5th alt, 6th (2nd alt method), 8th step
  • Demonstrate: 7th step
  • 3 & 1 – 1st, 2nd, 3rd (finish with High Cuts), 7th step
  • 4 & 2 – 1st, 2nd, 6th, 10th alt with travel, 15th, 16th finishing entrechat method 5 OR 6
  • Strathspey (2) & Highland Reel (4) – Basic Intro, 2nd Alt finish on bars 7 & 8, 2nd, 7th, 10th and Last
Scottish Award 6
  • 4 steps – 1st, 2nd, 7th, 8th
  • Demonstrate: 6th step (5th alt method)
  • 3 & 1 – 1st, 5th, 6th, 8th
  • 4 & 2 – 1st, 2nd, 7th, 11th, 13th, 18th finishing entrechat method 5 OR 6
  • Strathspey (2) &  Reel of Tulloch (4) – Alt Intro, 3rd Alt finish on bars 7 & 8, 1st, 4th, 5th alt, Last

Scottish National Medal Tests

Level Steps
Pre-Bronze Flora – 4 Steps OR Lilt – 4 Steps OR Dusty Miller 4 Steps
Bronze
  • Flora 4 – Steps
  • Lilt 4 – Steps
Silver
  • Flora 4 – Steps
  • Lilt 4 – Steps
  • Johnnie – 4 Steps
Gold
  • Flora – 1st, 3rd, 4th or 5th, 6th
  • Johnnie – 1st, 3rd, 5th, 8th
  • Laddie – 1st, 3rd, 4th, 6th
Scottish Award 1
  • Laddie – 1st, 2nd, 5th, 6th
  • Blue Bonnets – 1st, 2nd, 5th, 6th
  • Scotch Measure – 1st, 2nd, 5th, 6th
Scottish Award 2
  • Blue Bonnets – 1st, 3rd, 4th, 6th
  • Scotch Measure – 1st, 3rd, 4th, 6th
  • Village Maid – 1st, 2nd, 5th, 6th
Scottish Award 3
  • Village Maid – 1st, 3rd, 4th, 6th
  • Earl of Errol – 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 6th
  • Hebridean Laddie – 1st, 3rd, 4th, 8th
Scottish Award 4 (Arms as for Highland)
  • Earl of Errol – 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 6th
  • Hebridean Laddie – 1st, 5th, 6th, 8th
  • Tribute to JL – 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 6th
Scottish Award 5 (Arms as for Highland)
  • Earl of Errol – 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th (w/Leaps)
  • Hebridean Laddie – 1st, 2nd, 7th, 8th
  • Tribute to JL – 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th

Jig

Level Steps
Pre-Bronze – 4 steps Teacher’s Choice
Bronze – 4 Steps
  • First Step – Circle
  • 2nd Step – Shuffling
  • 10th Step – Four Beat Side Run
  • 2nd Finishing Step – Triple Shuffle
Silver – 4 Steps
  • First Step – Circle
  • 2nd Step – Shuffling
  • 10th Step – Diagonal Travel
  • 2nd Finishing Step – Triple Shuffle
Gold – 5 Steps
  • First Step – Circle
  • 2nd Step – Shuffling
  • 4th Step – The Chase – either method
  • 5th Step – Flap
  • 3rd Finishing Step – Heel Travel
Scottish Award – 5 Steps
  • First Step – Circle
  • 2nd Step – Shuffling turning with double shuffle bars 5-6 & 13-14
  • 11th Step – Second Diagonal Travel
  • 9th Step – Diagonal Roll
  • 1st Finishing Step – Toe-Tap
  • 3rd Finishing Step – Heel Travel
Scottish Award 2 – 5 Steps
  • First Step – Circle
  • 2nd Step – Shuffling – with toe tap
  • 3rd Step – Break Step
  • 7th Step – Donnybrook
  • 8th Step – Cross and Clip Heels
Scottish Award 3 – 5 Steps
  • First Step – Circle
  • 3rd Step – Break Step with Alt. method bars 5-6 & 13-14
  • 5th Step – Flap with Hop
  • 8th Step – Cross and Clip Heels
  • 3rd Finishing Step – Heel Travel
Scottish Award 4 – 5 Steps
  • Intro – Method 5 (Male use Male Intro)
  • First Step – Circle finish using cramp rolls bar 15-16
  • 4th Step – Chase using Method A
  • 9th Step – Diagonal Roll
  • 1st Finishing Step – Toe Tap using Break B
  • 8th Step – Cross and Clip Heels

Sailor’s Hornpipe

Level Steps
Pre-Bronze – 4 steps Teacher’s Choice – Single High Cuts accepted
Bronze – 4 Steps
  • First Step – Circle
  • 2nd Step – Shuffle over the Buckle
  • 9th Step – Heel Pull
  • 16th Step – High Cutting
Silver – 4 Steps
  • First Step – Circle
  • 2nd Step – Shuffle over the Buckle
  • 12th Step – Rocking
  • 16th Step – High Cutting
Gold – 5 Steps
  • First Step – Circle
  • 3rd Step – Diagonal Travel
  • 6th Step – Gathering In
  • 13th Step – Toe – Heel
  • 16th Step – High Cutting
Scottish Award 1 – 5 Steps
  • First Step – Circle
  • 4th Step – Farewell
  • 7th Step – Look-Out
  • 15th Step – Forward Crab Walk
  • 16th Step – High Cutting
Scottish Award 2 – 5 Steps
  • First Step – Circle using Polka Step
  • 2nd Step – Shuffle over the Buckle using Break C with Shake movement
  • 5th Step – Scissors
  • 15th Step – Crab Walk
  • 16th Step – With Variations
Scottish Award 3 – 5 Steps
  • Intro – Alternative method with Break A
  • First Step – Circle
  • 2nd Step – Shuffle over the Buckle using Break C with Shake movement
  • 11th Step – Low Cutting
  • 13th Alt. Step – Toe Heel
  • 16th Step – With Variations
Scottish Award 4 – 5 Steps
  • First Step – Circle
  • 11th Step – Low Cutting without Break
  • 12th Alt. Step – Rocking
  • 14th Step – Run and Cable Haul
  • 16th Step – With Variations

Theory – Grade Examinations

Level Syllabus

Primary (under age 10)

Demonstration only

BARRE WORK

  • Positions of Feet 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th & 5th Positions (on toe only with supporting foot flat, except 1st position)
  • Hop
  • Spring
  • Shedding
  • Toe and Heel
  • Spring Points in 4th Position

CENTRE WORK

  • Grouping of Fingers
  • Correct Stance
  • Bow
  • Positions of Arms (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th)
  • Spaces in Swords

PRACTICAL

  • Highland Fling – 4 steps (with music)
  • Pas De Basque & High Cuts (with music)

Grade I

Count (if applicable) demonstrate and describe

To include all in previous Grades, plus:

BARRE WORK

  • Positions of Feet – 3rd Aerial and 3rd Rear Aerial
  • Demonstrate, describe movements as per Primary grade

CENTRE WORK

  • Name Swords and Corners
  • Describe Line of Direction
  • Introduction for Highland Fling (demonstrate, describe and count)

PRACTICAL

  • Highland Fling – 1st, 3rd, 6th & 8th Steps
  • Sword Dance – 1st, 2nd or 4th and either Quick step

Grade II

Count (if applicable) demonstrate and describe

To include all in previous Grades, plus:

BARRE WORK

  • Positions of Feet – 2nd Aerial Position (all heights), 4th opposite 5th
  • Back-steps
  • Rocks
  • High Cut
  • Shake for Highland Fling
  • Pas de Basque
  • Open Pas de Basque in 4th opposite 5th position

CENTRE WORK

  • Demonstrate Auxiliary Spots in Swords placing working foot on half point
  • Demonstrate, describe and count the Introduction for Sword Dance, one method only (candidate choice)
  • Arm Positions – as for Grade I
  • Head Positions

PRACTICAL

  • Highland Fling – 1st, 2nd, 4th & 8th Steps
  • Sword Dance – 1st, 2nd & 8th Steps

Grade III

Count (if applicable) demonstrate and describe

To include all in previous Grades, plus:

BARRE WORK

  • Positions of Feet – 4th Aerial position, 4th Rear position, mid 4th position and mid 4th Aerial position
  • Outward Brush
  • Inward Brush
  • Shuffle
  • Disassemble
  • Assemble
  • Hop Brush Beat Beat

CENTRE WORK

  • Demonstrate and describe the raising and lowering of arms
  • Demonstrate and describe placing of the foot on the ball
  • Demonstrate and describe the terms Aerial and Open
  • Introduction for the Seann Triubhas (one method)

PRACTICAL

  • Sword Dance – 1st, 4th & either Quick step
  • Seann Triubhas – 1st, 2nd, 4th & one Quick step, any finishing method

Grade IV

Count (if applicable) demonstrate and describe

To include all in previous Grades, plus:

BARRE WORK

  • Positions of Feet – 4th Intermediate position, 4th Intermediate Aerial position, 4th Intermediate rear position and 4th Intermediate rear Aerial position
  • Shake for Seann Triubhas
  • Entrechat
  • Travelling Balance
  • Balance
  • Round the Leg (single and double)
  • Open Pas de Basques in all positions and where to apply

CENTRE WORK

  • Demonstrate and describe the circling of arms
  • Demonstrate and describe placing of the foot on the heel
  • Demonstrate and describe Supporting Foot
  • Demonstrate and describe the terms Ground and Rear
  • Introduction for the Seann Triubhas (one method)

PRACTICAL

  • Seann Triubhas – 1st, 2nd, 9th and one quick step and entrechat finish
  • Half Hullachan

Grade V

Count (if applicable) demonstrate and describe

To include all in previous Grades, plus:

BARRE WORK

  • Positions of Feet – 3rd Rear position, 5th position, 5th Rear position and 3rd Crossed position
  • Shake Shake Down
  • Change
  • Step
  • Heel and Toe
  • Leap
  • Pivot Turn
  • Low cutting (for Highland Fling)

CENTRE WORK

  • Demonstrate and describe Introduction for Strathspey – one method only (candidate choice)
  • Demonstrate and describe the term Closed position

PRACTICAL

  • Highland Fling – 1st, 5th Alt., 6th -4th alt, 8th,
  • Strathspey and Highland Reel – any setting steps

Grade VI

Count (if applicable) demonstrate and describe

To include all in previous Grades, plus:

BARRE WORK

  • Positions of Feet – placing of working foot in all positions for the toe, half point, ball and heel
  • High Cut in Front
  • Progressive Strathspey
  • Spring Point Turn from 2nd Step Sword Dance
  • Propelled Pivot Turn
  • Progressive Highland Reel

CENTRE WORK

  • Demonstrate and describe the General Rule for movement of the arms

PRACTICAL

  • Sword Dance – 2 slow and 2 quick steps
  • Strathspey and 1/2 Tulloch