A handful of North Island Highland dancers made the cut, and they will be going to the Scottish Dance Teachers’ Alliance (SDTA) Scholarship and Workshop opportunity in Seattle this October.
Dancers nominated this year are Emily Walker, Paige Greer, Madison Grenier, Talia Child, Mayumi Hinatsu and Paisley Barolet.
Highland dance teacher Teresa Engel noted it’s pretty tough to actually get nominated for the workshop, explaining the process begins when the examiner (usually from Scotland) comes “once a year to examine the level of the kids’ dancing — she nominates the students that have achieved a high grade in their theory test as well as their dancing.”
The students that are nominated then go on to the scholarships which are held in different parts of North America.
“Hundreds of kids from all over North America attend,” said Engel. “They then have to test their skills in four different categories — theory, choreography, a masters’ class, and a dance Tribute to JL McKenzie. Only the top six in each category will receive a prize, and the overall winner of all four. It’s quite a feat just to get nominated!”
So far to date the dancers have raised funds to attend the scholarship/workshop trip thanks to a Save On Foods BBQ and a raffle that was drawn on June 29.
Highland dance parent Sandy Grenier noted the dancers are “very appreciative for the support that the dancers have already received from local businesses; MOWI, Port Hardy Bulldozing, Wilderness Seaplanes, the Port Hardy Rotary Club, Sea Wolf Adventures, Lil Amigo’s Daycare and Hardy Buoys Smoked Fish.”
Madison Grenier, one of the dancers who was nominated for the workshop, said she feels great about the recognition because “all of my hard work as a dancer throughout the years has paid off. It’s a great feeling.”
She added her favourite thing about dance is “probably the friendships that I’ve made with my dance partners. All of the relationships that I’ve made in my association have been bonded through dance. They really are unbreakable. It is also rewarding knowing how to do so many different steps in all of the dances I’ve been taught over the years. Each year as I get older I’m taught more challenging steps and new dances.”
Keep following the Gazette for more on the Highland dancers and their upcoming trip to Seattle.