Highland Dancing bringing Scottish heritage and technique down under
For over 60 years, the Scottish Dancing Association of Australia (SDAA) has been working hard with Highland Dancers across the country.
President of SDAA Karen McPhillips said the art form has been popular among Scottish expatriates and people of other backgrounds since the formation of the organisation.
“Some people do it because of their heritage or their parents used to do it, but, we find a lot of people also enjoy it because it’s a mixture of a sport and an art, and you need to have artistic skills as well as technical skills,” she said.
A lot of people choose it to get fit because it does require so much strength and stamina.
“Plus, the kids taking part make lifelong friends, they can travel around the world, and it allows them to either learn about their own heritage or another culture that they may not have learnt about before.”
Ultimately reporting to the Scottish Official Board of Highland Dancing, the SDAA conforms to the standards and techniques that are laid out by the international umbrella body.
The organisation has dedicated teachers across Australia, ensuring correct techniques are taught in schools around the country to standardise the levels of highland dancing at competitions.
“It was formed as a central place for people to get information and to make sure everyone was learning the technique correctly,” she explained.
“We’re also always looking at new things to do while keeping the right techniques and the heritage of the dance alive.”
With a number of performance and competition opportunities available for students and teachers, the organisation is always looking to ensure they are expanding across the wider community.
“If anyone’s interested in trying it out, most of our teachers offer the first lesson for free, so if you do want to give it a go and see what it’s all about, you’re absolutely welcome to,” Karen said.
Over the years, we’ve done a number of different and exciting things, for example, we recently did some promotion with the Wiggles.
Competitions in Highland Dancing are held throughout the year in various locations and States and the SDAA conducts 3 competitions each year in February, May and October.