Highland Dancing is a hugely important part of any Highland Games, attracting competitors from all over Scotland as well as from other UK countries and from overseas. It provides a colourful display for all spectators.
The origins of Highland Dance go back hundreds of years with historical accounts from as far back as the 15th century and beyond describing forms of sword dancing as early as 1285.
However, over the years Highland Dancing has become a highly technical competitive sport and is now recognised as such by SportScotland. The intricately technical aspect of Highland Dance is due largely to the standardisation of the steps for competition by the Royal Scottish Official Board of Highland Dancing - the world governing body.
There are varying styles of dances within Highland Dancing such as Highland Fling, Sword Dance, Seann Truibhas and Reels, and Scottish National Dances such as Scottish Lilt and Flora MacDonald's Fancy, and are regularly danced within competitions and Highland Games. Also danced are character dances such as Sailors' Hornpipe and Irish Jig which is the Scottish version of the Irish Washerwoman
Judges evaluate the dancer's performance on three criteria - timing, deportment and technique, which obviously forms the bulk of the mark. Buoyancy within the dance and an ability to perform the steps to the correct rhythms are also important.
Highland Dancing is also a popular and excellent form of exercise not only for youngsters but for adults too who regularly attend classes provided by qualified teachers the length and breadth of the UK and across the world. It helps promote fitness, and encourages and develops social skills whilst ensuring one of Scotland's most enjoyable and colourful traditions are kept alive for future generations to enjoy and be part of.
I have taught Highland Dancing in Blairgowrie for over 30 years and it never ceases to amaze me of the enthusiasm the younger generation have for Highland Dance - it is wonderful to see and be part of.
Dance classes are held every Monday in Blairgowrie Community Campus from 5.30pm. There is a specially structured Nursery Class for children from 2 and a half years old, covering varying styles of dance. Highland Dance instruction starts from the age of 5.
Registration for the dancers at the 2023 games is now currently open.
Miss L Tosh, 43 Greenlee Drive, Dundee. DD2 2RA
Entries must be returned by Saturday 2nd September 2023 at £2.50 per dance.
Cheques and postal orders to be made payable to Blairgowrie Highland Games, or pay by Online Banking with the Name of the Dancer to: Sort Code 83-16-33 Acct. No. 00254407