Dance Fusion Studios is not a competitive-based school, focusing instead on recital and exams. However, we do compete in highland dance, which is a traditional part of highland games. If your dancer is interested in competing in highland dance, here’s some information.
The first thing we need to do is get a Scotdance card for your dancer. Scotdance is the governing body of all Highland dance, and the card needs to be replaced every calendar year. The cost for the card is $24.50, and you will need to send in the fee, registration form, photo of birth certificate, and photos for the card (see Scotdance form).
For Highland dances (Fling, Sword, ST, Reel), you will wear a highland outfit made up of a kilt, kilt socks (or white knee socks), a white blouse, and a velvet vest (girls) OR a kilt, kilt socks (or white knee socks), a white button-up shirt and a black vest (boys).
The best place to find these outfits second-hand is at a competition, where families sell them. If you want to have a kilt outfit made, we can give you the name of a few dressmakers in town (including one in our own studio).
For National dances, you will wear either a white dress with a tartan sash, white knee socks or nylons, or an aboyne outfit (tartan skirt, velvet petal vest, sash) for girls OR the kilt outfit or trews (plaid trousers with the shirt and vest) for boys.
Now that you have a Scotdance card and an outfit to dance in, you need to find a competition. The Ottawa Highland Dance Association has competitions throughout the year; you can find information on their website at www.ohda.ca. There are also a number of competitions in the region, including Kingston (www.robroykingston.com) and Montreal (www.mhda.ca), and several highland games in the summer (www.glengarryhighlandgames.com, www.almontehighlandgames.com, etc). Each competition requires you to fill out a registration form indicating your dancer’s age, category, and what dances they will be performing. There is usually a nominal fee (in the region of $20). Registration is done on a first-come-first-served basis, and although there are only very rarely problems, it’s best not to wait till the last minute. Check with your teacher to find out what dances you should be competing.
Dancers start out in Primary until they turn 7. After that (and all new dancers regardless of age), we have Beginner. In order to move up to the next level, you need 6 stamps; you receive 1 stamp per competition when you win 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in any of your dances. When you have 6 stamps, you move up to Novice, where the same process of 6 stamps leads you to Intermediate. You remain in Intermediate for one calendar year, regardless of competition wins, and then you proceed to Premier.
At the competition, each category (Beginner, Novice, Intermediate, Premier) will be separated by age category. In large competitions, there will be many different categories (ie. Beginner 10, Beginner 11-12, etc), whereas at small competitions, you may be dancing with other dancers of differing ages.
You should arrive at the competition 30-60 minutes early, in order to get changed, get your hair up in a bun, and register. You will show your Scotdance card to the administrators, and receive a number, which will be pinned to your kilt. You can also usually purchase a program (for a dollar or two) that has all the competitors’ names in the categories.
Then we dance! Each dance will be performed by each category (ie, the Beginners 8-10 dance a Fling, then the Beginners 10-12, etc) before moving to the next dance. This means there’s usually some time in between to relax, look at used costumes, stretch, practice the next dance, and cheer on your friends. Sometimes we will have a live piper, and sometimes it will be a CD. We suggest you bring some snacks (although there is usually a kitchen selling inexpensive snacks and sandwiches), and maybe a book to read (for the parents who’ve seen it before)!
At the end of the morning (which is usually set aside for Pre-Premier dancers), the awards will be given out. The judges usually place up to 6th depending on the size of the category. You will receive medals (and a stamp for your card) for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, and ribbons for 4th, 5th, and 6th. Primaries do not receive medals, but only ribbons (they also get a participation ribbon).