What is Highland Dance?
Highland dance is where dancers of all ages have the opportunity to make friends, travel far and wide to competitions, listen to great music, experience the thrill of competition and performance and build strength and endurance.
Highland dancing is a solo dance similar to ballet and Irish dance. In terms of its technical requirements and the training required for its performance, Highland dancing has much in common with ballet. It takes stamina and arm and leg strength, no matter how old the dancer is. Highland Dance is recognised as a sport by the Sport Council of Canada & Scotland.
As the Highland dances are created to be performed individually, any dancer unable to or not interested in attending a performance, competition or exam may do so without affecting the group. In this way each dancer and his or her family are able to become as involved as they wish.
At KCHDA we offer our dancers a quality Highland dance experience and opportunities in all facets of this sport including fitness, competition, performance, examinations and a genuine love of dance.
Fitness is promoted through the dances themselves. Picture a 3 minute flat- out run – now throw on a kilt and a jacket, add in some bagpipes and keep a smile on your face the whole time for good measure!
Performances are a great way for dancers to show their friends and family what they have learned and build confidence in front of an audience. Performance events are optional for all dancers.
Competitions take place on weekends throughout the year. Although there is always more than one dancer on stage at a time each dancer is judged individually on their solo performance. Taking part in any competition is optional, but being competitive is highly encouraged.
Examinations (Medal Tests) in Cranbrook take place in the fall of each year with the BATD. All dancers are prepared for these examinations in class. Taking part in examinations is optional but highly encouraged.
The love of the sport is built through a fun and exciting class structure, supportive teachers and fellow students as well as the social atmosphere that comes from meeting dancers and teachers from all corners of the globe and being a part of something with a rich, beautiful history.
IT'S IMPORTANT TO HAVE GOALS...
It's important to have goals. Goals let us see where we are and where we'd like to be. Our dancers have done goal writing workshops so they can establish what they would like to get from their time dancing. Some dancers want to have fun, make friends and learn something new. Some dancers are driven by the opportunity to travel and perform. Others are competitive and want to win medals and trophies. It's exciting to see young dancers think about their goals. As a school we have goals too. They are to Enrich, Educate and Elevate through Scottish Highland Dance. These three things drive everything we do.
ENRICH: Scottish Highland Dance can enrich the lives of all involved. Our dancers spend time every week investing in themselves when they come to class. Through Highland Dance the kids learn discipline, hard work, confidence, camaraderie, etiquette and sportsmanship. We've seen one of our dancers work incredibly hard every week in class. At a competition she danced REALLY well, but still did not come in first. She realised her friend and classmate was taking home the trophy. You can imagine the reaction that might happen. Instead of jealousy, she smiled, clapped her hands and patted her friend on the back. As a dance teacher this was one of my proudest moments. I was thrilled to have a student win a trophy, but I was overjoyed to see the other dancer display genuine joy. Her poise was beyond her years! You don't always win in the real world, but what people remember is your attitude. Highland Dance enriches the lives of dancers from an early age.
EDUCATE: As a Highland Dancer, I have been asked more times than I can count "Is that like Riverdance?" Scottish Highland Dancing is different from Irish Dancing. We wear kilts, dance to bagpipes, and use our arms. I describe Highland Dance as being the "cousin" to Irish Dance. We wear ghillies similar to Irish dance shoes. Sometimes we dance to the same kind of music like Jigs, Hornpipes and Reels. We don't wear bouncy wigs or have a worldwide hit like "Riverdance"...yet. BUT Highland Dancing has been taken around the world. There are Highland dancers in South Africa, New Zealand, Japan and North America. I want to educate this community on the beautiful art form that is Scottish Highland Dance.
ELEVATE: We hope our third goal is a natural progression from our first two By enriching the lives of our students and educating the community we hope to elevate the standard and awareness of Highland Dance in Kimberley and Cranbrook and beyond. A strong Highland Dance community will help keep this cultural tradition alive. In this age of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, it's nice to back away from the electronics, blast the bagpipes and honour a centuries old tradition. And by the way, you don't have to be Scottish to be a Highland Dancer!