Currently viewing the category: "I love Highland dance"

It may no longer be Christmas time, but our upcoming Dining to Donate charity event is putting us in the giving spirit! The team at Discover Scottish Dance uncovered this footage of a Good Morning America episode from November 2010 taped in Chicago, IL. Watch the Thistle and Heather Highland Dancers perform a Highland Fling at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry (MSI). And dancing isn’t all these talented dancers do. They also donated coats to support a coat collection put on by MSI.

If your dance group would like to participate in the fundraiser for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, see our previous post for more information and get in touch with Megan today!

Let us know if you have a great video to share, we’d love to post it here!

FUSTA is pleased to offer two college scholarships for dancers who have demonstrated a high level of participation and interest in the art of Highland Dance.

Applicants for the $1000.00 Harry Farrar IV Memorial Scholarship must be current-year registered dancers who are either high school seniors or high school graduates preparing to enroll in their first year beyond high school.

Applicants for the $1000.00 Eunice Baird Whittlesey Memorial Scholarship must be current-year registered dancers who are enrolled in college or graduate school.

Applicants for either scholarship must be current-year registered dancers, U.S. residents who are either members of FUSTA themselves or their teachers are FUSTA members in good standing. Completed applications materials must be postmarked no later than April 30.

Applications are available on the FUSTA Scholarship webpage.

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“Turn out more!” your teacher yells. Stretch those feet! Elevate!

Alasdair Fraser, Natalie Haas and a team of USA Scottish Highland Dancers

Watch your positions. Remember your corrections. Oh my aching feet! Highland dancers must be the hardest working people on the planet. Each week they come to class one or more times to be told what they are doing wrong and to be pushed to work harder. They go home and practice to perfect those backsteps, pas de basques, and toe-heels. This push for excellence is at the heart of highland dancing and it pays dividends of improved fitness, attention to detail, and heightened focus. Sometimes those dividends come in the form of trophies and medals. All in all, it is a good thing.

But sometimes we forget why we are dancing. Celtic music is the heartbeat of the Scottish people and highland dancing is the expression of that music. We express the joy, the pain, and the pride of Scotland with our dance.

There is no finer Celtic musician than Alasdair Fraser. Alasdair’s deep understanding of Scottish music and indeed of Scotland and its history is evident in his performances. To dance to the music of Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas is to truly experience the thrill and elation, the fire and grace that is highland dancing.

Highland dancers across the US are thrilling to the opportunity to perform with Alasdair and Natalie. Dancers have performed with them in Portland OR, E. Lansing MI, Belleville and Cincinnati OH. Each performance has been a resounding success. It has been a chance to show a broader audience what we as highland dancers can do. And it is a chance for us as dancers to dance for joy. What a nice opportunity to break away, if only for a moment, from the pressures of competitive dancing to perform the Alien Ceildh choreography as created by the FUSTA choreography committee. Each group has put its own personal spin on the choreography and that is part of the fun. And yet dancers from different schools have been able to come together to produce a beautiful dance performance.

My special thanks to Jocelyn Case, Tracy Walton, Christie Walsh, and Missy Gentry who organized the performances locally. Their hard work made it all happen.

From the comments following, I think you can see that the opportunity was truly inspiring for the dancers.

“This experience was so amazing because to have the opportunity to dance on a stage with two people who were so talented and passionate about their craft made me have so much joy to be a part of that, doing something that I love too – to dance!” – Becca Baldwin, McKinney School of Dance

“It was a really cool opportunity being able to perform with Alasdair and Natalie. Although we were from different studios, we were able to collaborate and add our own style to the original choreography. I hope to be able to perform it again!” – Hayley Jameson, Case School of Highland Dance

“I have been listening to Alasdair’s music since I was a little girl, so I was really excited to have the opportunity to perform with him. I think everyone was a little nervous before the show; would the costumes work? Would we remember the choreography? Were we even doing the same arms? As soon as we met Alasdair and Natalie, and realized how excited they were to bring together music and dance, we knew it was going to be great. This has been my favorite performance in the twenty years I’ve been dancing, and on top of that we got to watch a great concert. Thank you so much to Alasdair and Natalie, for reminding me why I love Highland dance.” – Hilary McKinney Heiney, McKinney School of Dance

“I was really nervous for it because we had so much trouble getting everyone together due to or schedules, but when it came down to it I was really excited. I thought it went really well and I would do it again in a heartbeat. I also would love to see him perform again if I ever have the chance.” – Kourt Bacon – Bacon School of Highland Dance

“I thought it was fun taking an original choreography and making it our own. I liked how Alasdair and Natalie were so welcoming to us when we came onto the stage. I would love to do it again!” – Libby Patterson, Case School of Highland Dance



Check out this neat video of a Full Tulloch performed at the Chicago Spring Fling Championship in February 2009! The reel chosen for championship Highland dance competitions varies from year to year. It is usually a combination of Strathspey, Highland Reel, and/or Full or Half Tulloch. As you can see in the video, rather than starting in a straight line, the Full Tulloch (and Half Tulloch, when performed alone) begins with the dancers facing one another in a square formation. In case you like the music, this particular reel tune is known as Kelsey’s Wee Reel. And don’t forget that this year’s Spring Fling will be held at the Eaglewood Resort in Itasca, IL on February 25, 2012!

Let us know what you think in the comments and please submit any videos you’d like to see posted here to!

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Miss Vermont - Katie Levasseur performs a Scottish highland dance choreography in the 2012 Miss America Pageant Talent Competition

This year, we believe for the first time, one of the Miss America contestants is performing a Scottish highland dance choreography in the talent portion of the competition. Katie Levasseur, Miss Vermont, dances with the Saint Andrew’s Highland Dancers of Vermont and is a senior at the University of Vermont.

We can’t promise that they’ll show her choreography on national tv, but tune in tonight, Saturday, January 14, 2012 to support Katie as she competes for the title of Miss America! The broadcast will be at 9:00pm EST on ABC.

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Legend has it that the initial Gillie Callum, more commonly known as the Sword Dance, was created by Malcolm Canmore, a Celtic Prince who fought a battle in 1054. Triumphant, he crossed his opponent’s sword with his own and danced over them celebrating his victory. It is also said that the warriors danced the Sword Dance prior to battle. If the warrior touched the swords, it was considered an omen symbolizing injury or death in battle.

We no longer have to worry about going into battle, but the dance links us to those soldiers. Highland dancing has been handed down to us as a proud tradition that we continue to celebrate today. Originally, only men performed and competed in the dances, but now men and women compete as equals. The strength and agility once necessary for victory in battle will now bring medals and trophies.

We hope you enjoy this video of a group of talented male dancers performing the Sword Dance. Watch their strength showcasing the tradition that unites highland dancers worldwide.

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Happy New Years and welcome back to a brand new year at! We’re going to kick off 2012 with a remarkable video of the Royal Scots Guard accompanied by an impressive collection of Scottish Highland Dancers. This was shot at the Las Vegas International Tattoo in 2011.

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featuring highland dancers from across New England

video by Charlotte Pierce

If you happened to be visiting Faneuil Hall Marketplace in downtown Boston on August 13th, you might’ve heard the sound of bagpipes filling the air. Two bagpipers marched along followed by two dancers, stopping in front of Quincy Market. As the show started, more and more dancers joined in the flash mob, until nearly 30 dancers filled the courtyard with a sea of plaid. Some wore plaid shorts, vests, blouses; all with smiles and a great impromptu display of dancing.

Later that afternoon, the flash mob made a second appearance at Boston’s Public Garden:

video by ACTVAuburn

Dancing alongside the famous swan boats and manicured gardens, they entertained locals and tourists alike. Highland dancers from all over New England participated in the flash mob, traveling from as far away as New Hampshire and Connecticut. We hope you enjoy this video as much as we do!


If you have a video you would like to see featured here, email it to along with the name of your school and your location, and optionally an explanation of its significance to you.

featuring Ashley, Missy, and Amanda Gentry from Kentucky

The Gentry family from Kentucky has been deeply involved with highland dance for many years as dancers, teachers, and competition organizers in nearby Cincinnati, Ohio and across the United States. We caught up with them at the 2011 Grandfather Mountain Highland Games to ask about their experiences as a highland dance family. They share how traveling to Scottish games brought them closer together as a family, gave them opportunities to travel, and enriched their lives.


If you have a video you would like to see featured here, email it to along with the name of your school and your location, and optionally an explanation of its significance to you.

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Danced by the Dallas Highland Dancers 2010-2011 Primary Class in Dallas, TX

These dancers all range in age from 5-6 years old. This particular video was taken at the Scottish Society of Dallas’ Tartan Day Ceilidh in April 2011. The Tartan Day Ceilidh is a free event open to the public each year in central Dallas and we are featured performers. It is a great way for members of the society (who are mostly older adults) to see how our dancers (ranging in age from 4 to mid-60s, currently) are progressing and keeping Highland dancing alive in North Texas.

The second video we use at performances where we can set up an informational booth. It highlights our beginner dancers’ journey:

We often wear DHD polo shirts (blue for adults, red for children) at our area performances as they add a sense of visual unity between the dancers on stage. It’s also a nice way for the public to identify the dancers as part of the DHD at larger festivals so they can engage in conversation, if desired, following our performances. A large percentage of our new dancers every year come from folks who have seen us perform at the approximately 20 performances we do per year.

Our Primary class was HUGE during the 2010-11 school year – 9 students ranging in age from 4 to 6, including 2 sets of sisters and my own son (yes, I am a proud mama!). 6 of these students chose to join our competition program this year, which meant that their weekly commitment went from 1 hour of instruction to 3 hours, including our competition class. These are some dedicated young ladies and gentleman (and their parents, of course!)! During competition class, they have the opportunity to practice performing their dances as if they are competing, as well as watching the older dancers do the same – we have found it’s wonderful modeling for the little ones and really builds a strong camaraderie between all of our competition dancers, regardless of age or competitive level.

~Emily Murer, Dallas Highland Dancers Instructor

For more information or to find a teacher in your area, please contact us at!


If you have a video of a choreography or performance you would like to see featured here, email it to along with the name of your school and your location, and optionally an explanation of its significance to you.

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