Two local highland dancers are preparing for an experience of a lifetime! Gina Gilmour (Senior) of Rose Prairie and Nora Redford (Junior) of Fort St. John have been nominated to participate in the British Association of Teachers of Dancing North American Sadie Simpson Highland Scholarships from Sept. 27 to 29 in Virginia.
Gilmour and Redford earned the nominations by receiving Honors marks and Special Recognition by their Examiner on their Grade 3+ Highland exams in June. With under 75 dancers nominated in each Jr and Sr category from across North America, this is quite an accomplishment.
“I am really happy. I am surprised because it is such a big honour,” said Redford.
The scholarships consist of three parts: a 1.5-hour written theory essay, a technique exam and a choreography component. Additional classes, taught by renowned teachers from Scotland, Canada, and the U.S., round out the weekend.
“I look forward to learning with exceptional teachers,” added Redford. “I hope to learn all the stuff needed for exams next year and to strengthen my basic movements.”
The girls have been learning highland dance for over six years with Danielle Fox, Studio 2 Stage. They take dance lessons, complete yearly exams and participate in regional and provincial competitions. More importantly, both dancers like to give back to the community and support events, like Taste of the Town, Moose FM Block Party, Multicultural Fusion Festival and Robbie Burns, entertain seniors and perform in schools.
They began getting ready for scholarships last week, with daily lessons to continue for the next few weeks.
Gilmour commented, “It is a lot of work to prepare, but it will be worthwhile.”
Asked what her thoughts were about vying for BATD Scholarship Winner and Dancer of the Year, Gilmour replied, “It's not about winning, but coming away with new ways to improve on my technique. But I hope to do well.”
There is one winner and five runner-ups for each scholarship section and an overall winner. Trophies and medals go to the dancers. Recognition of the Highland dance teacher is an integral part of this sport. It is fitting scholarship money is sent directly to the teacher to be used in the most beneficial way for each dancer.
Fox is very pleased with her dancers' results and said, “It is very exciting to see dancers in our small community getting opportunities like this. It is a very big honour”. Fox recognized that Gina and Nora studied their theory and prepared for exams this year.
“They both worked hard and are still committed and building on their previous skills. That is all I can ask for as a teacher.”
For more information or to send the dancers a supportive message, email NPHDS.FSJ@gmail.com. The North Peace Highland Dance Society is gratefully accepting sponsorship to support each dancer's travel expenses.
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