Scotland's proof export is anything but bland, so perhaps the Scottish bill Saturday night at the Kennedy Center was intended as antidote. With just a few instrumentalists, singers and dancers on stage and a joking emore who cajoled the audience into singing along, the "Scotland on Parade" program was more of an old-time variety show than a triumphal march of folkmusic and dance.
The music was based on old tunes, with some arranged in sentimental or mod versions. Only bagpipes are totally incorruptible in this respect, and four fine pipers were reminders that Scottish sound can have refreshingly raw timbre and bold rhythms. Alasdair Fraser's fiddling and two of the singers, Margaret MacLeod and Morag MacKay, tried to stay true to tradition.
Scottish dancing, often done on the high half-tow by both men and women, demands legs that beat together and feet that brush the floor in complex step patterns which have become part of ballet's virtuosity. For most of the program's dances, Brian Seivwright kept the choreography vigorous and varied without letting it slip into full ballet. Only once in a while was there such an alien figure as a high arabeaque or grand pirourette.