Highland dancing festival flings back to the coast

Highland dancer, Ella Martin.

The sound of bagpipes, the swinging of kilts and the best of Highland dancing are back on the Central Coast as the International Highland Dancing Festival of Australia kicks off at the Niagara Park Stadium on July 29.

Central Coast Highland Dancing chairman, Douglas McFarland, said the annual event would bring a piece of Scottish culture back to the community, offering something for everyone.

“After not being able to run since 2019, families, competitors and spectators are more excited than ever to return to the home of Highland Dancing here in Gosford,” he said.

“This event will see over 250 competitors travel from all over Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom to compete, with judges coming from as far as Scotland and Canada.

“It’s the first event to welcome international guests since the pandemic.”

The International Highland Dancing Festival of Australia has also hit a new record this year, offering 70 events from July 29 to 31.

The Choreography Gala will commence at 6 pm on Friday, July 29, and is an excellent opportunity to see performances in a non-competitive environment, with spectators treated to hours of Scottish-inspired costumes and music.

The 14th International Highland Dancing Championship will be held on Sunday, July 31, showcasing 12 separate categories of dancers competing in single age groups.

The Central Coast Highland Dancing Inc committee said they had been waiting years to welcome dancers and their families back to Gosford for a memorable face-to-face weekend.

During the height of COVID-19, the spirit of Highland Dancing was kept alive in 2020 with the introduction of the Interactive Highland Dancing Festival.

In this event, 3,000 Highland dancing participants from around the world shared their passion online using global backdrops.

Additionally, the World Tour was created in 2021 as an opportunity for dancers to travel the world circuit and participate virtually in an aspect of every major global competition.

For more information or to stay up to date, visit The International Highland Dancing Festival Facebook page.

Hayley McMahon

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