Thursday, May 28, 2015

The 111th Maclean Highland Gathering

At Easter we were so excited to roadtrip to NSW for the 111th Maclean Highland Gathering!

We were really looking forward to a comp with a difference, an outdoor comp surrounded by the Highland Games, Bagpipe competition, markets and more.

Unfortunately - this was the weather we were dealing with!

 Never have I been happier to hear the words "we are dancing inside! Sure "inside" was a small very cramped hall and their was no real stage - but who cared! It rained on and off all day and the stage (in the background in this picture) would have been slippery, wet and dangerous to dance on. We did have to get a picture with the stage at least in the distance though!
E was absolutely thrilled that her teacher Marlene travelled all the way from Brisbane to be with the girls. Totally was not expected given the distance away the comp was. It did make for a very nice day though and gave the girls a lot of encouragment.

It was also wonderful that another beginner from the Brisbane branch of the studio was able to be there. The girls loved having someone else to talk to and had a lot of fun. I do love how friendships are beginning to form between the girls despite the distance due to a wonderful common interest.

E ended up getting brilliant results at this competition! Well worth the drive! She got second in the fling, lilt, and sean tribhuas and first in the flora!

And another beginner square marked! Novice is so close and she can't wait!


I love that Highland Dancing gives E many chances to dance - some competively and some just for fun.

She loves doing displays with her dance school and this was no exception. Celtfest was arranged by the local catholic church and was a great chance for the girls to dance on stage again.

They had lots of lovely feedback and really enjoyed themselves.

Displays like this give them so much confidence, and practise at dancing in public and on stage. We really value the opportunity.

Thistle! First comp of the year!

So - at the start of the year I promised myself I would keep this blog update ... but it's now May and I am blogging about a comp from March ...yep ... failed at that! Anyway ... onto the dancing!

Our first comp of the year was Thistle. Not one we have done before and not one our school attends each year (travel becomes an issue when you live in the country!). It was a nice comp to start the year though, and to get the girls started in the comp season.

It was definately one of  E's most consistent comps to date- 4th in the fling, 3rd in the sword, 4th in the Seann triubhas, 3rd in the flora, 4th in the trophy fling, and 4th in the title.

She was actually awarded and presented the medal for 3rd in the fling ... but seconds before her lilt was called up and told she was actually 4th. She conducted herself beautifully and graciously returned her medal and accepted the new one, but it did shake the poor girl. (understandably). She had to go immediately from this to marshalling for the lilt without time to regroup and I do think it effected her dancing in the lilt.

However - despite not placing in the lilt she danced beautifully, placed well, and got another Beginner Square marked with the sword dance.

Feedback from her teacher was that a teacher from another studio had noticed how well she was progressing - this was a beautiful complement to her too.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

SQRDCHDI Dancer Workshop

What a big weekend it just was!

E was so excited to start the new year attending the SQRDCHDI dancer workshop in Brisbane. It was a 2 day workshop (3 hours dancing each day) with guest teacher Linda Armstrong of the USA.

What a wonderful opportunity for the girls to dance beside the people who are normally their competitors and to learn together!

As a beginner E participated in sessions for the fling, sword dance and lilt on the Saturday and the Seann Triubhas, Strathspey/Reel and Flora Macdonald's fancy on the Sunday.

We were even luckier that our teacher was able to attend and take notes ... I look forward to hearing from her what was particularly important for E to take home from the day.

My girl was very excited to attend and said she learnt a lot - including a few new steps.
I can't wait to see her put into practice what she learnt :)

And the dance year has officially BEGUN!

And we are off! Lessons are back - classes have commenced! The dancing year has begun!

I really feel sorry for teacher - the first day of classes most of our girls are still officially on holidays. So she has the fine job of calming them down and getting them to focus!

Initial numbers look like E will have 8 girls in her class. A nice number. Some are more advanced but the teacher seems to work well with that. E has noticed it and told me the class will be a great opportunity to get her technique right. I hope she can keep that focus and really learn from all the instruction!

After class E has been asked to stay behind for the beginning of the senior students class. I think this is a great transition for her. This week she stayed and worked on the reel with them.

Wednesday morning is an early start for us as E has requested a private lesson each week and we have fit this in on Wednesdays before school. It was a little rushed - especially being the first day of school! But we had a really good lesson and she focussed so well. Much of the class was picking apart small details of her dances that need improvement with a particular focus made on a step in the flora and the sword.

To E's delight the second half was spent working on the hornpipe! She is loving learning this! It is an intermediate dance and she is still only a beginner but it gives her such joy (and it really suits her dance style!)

E was so focussed during her private. It made me really pleased to see. The other reason I love her privates is I get to stay and watch and learn as well. It certainly makes practice more effective at home.

Week one done ... although there is still a big adventure ahead this weekend! More on that soon!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Caledonian society dinner

 What a start to 2015! Five of the girls from our studio and their teacher danced at the local Caledonian society dinner. And what a gorgeous sunset we had that day too!
 Due to school holidays their was only time for one short rehearsal beforehand. Luckily Miss E had those hours of Christmas holiday practice behind her. It was good for her to see that all the work was worth it.

 The night commenced with a Strathspey and Highland Reel.

 E and her friends then performed the seann truibhas.  She then managed a short break before finishing with the highland fling while the other students danced the sword dance.

It was wonderful to get back into performing. Here's to a busy dance year!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Dance with your heart

Photo credit - Rachel Spies Photography

(the girls were waiting for the bride to arrive - they were about to have the honour of dancing her down the aisle)

Bring on 2015~

Yes - I even have stationary for me this year!

From Flamingo road journals on etsy.

Beautifully made and she worked with me to customise "mom" to "mum" as I'm Australian!

I had double the pages put in, and chose a thin cardstock rather than paper for durability.

Now I have a place to put MY notes during E's privates, and to keep competition scores and notes for future perusal.

Link to etsy store :

Friday, January 9, 2015


These shoes ... these shoes sure saw some dancing this year.

The little dancer wearing them worked so hard. And you can see it.
They held together for the last comp with tape and polish and crossed fingers.

She had new shoes ... but these are the ones she wanted to wear. And I can see why. She knows how they feel. How they respond. They are an extension of her. It's going to take a lot of work next year to wear a new pair in to feel the same.

We had a small break from practice once school broke up. We had travelling to do ... and the small matter of Christmas.

But now Christmas is over she is back. There are still two weeks till dancing kicks in again - and she really wants to be ready to go from the start.

Practice is a funny thing ... finding a time she can concentrate is hard with a two year old sister. We seem to have hit the sweet spot though. Nothing makes practice more attractive than being allowed to stay up past bedtime. I really really love this time.

I am very much looking forward to lessons starting up again! I am so ready for the teachers input and a list of what to work on! She is far too good for me!

End of year presentations

 Merry Christmas! What a wonderful year for highland it has been - and how fabulous to see how much every dancer at the studio has grown as a dancer this year! (and how the studio has grown too!)

It was wonderful to come together for the end of year presentations, photo and christmas party (and how grateful we were for an air  conditioned venue!

 We were thrilled to see E presented with her grade one exam results - honours. She worked so hard for it.

 Even more so we were so proud when she was presented as joint most improved dancer. I can honestly say she has practiced her little heart out this year - and especially at her last comp we began seeing a new strength and focus in her dancing. It was so lovely to see this recognised and I know that she treasures her trophy.

It has been an absolutely fabulous year for miss e. She is so excited about next year. Learning the hornpipe is a special joy at the moment ... and she has great ambition to get into novice level!

Fingers crossed next year will bring even more success