By Lindsay Ducharme
Cool weather certainly didn’t put a damper on the on the celebration when the Fort McMurray highland Dance Society hosted their annual Ceilidh April 5th at Holy Trinity Catholic High School. The event, which is a traditional celebration of spring, was also an opportunity for the society to raise community awareness about their group.
Reave MacLeod, president of the Fort McMurray Highland Dance Society, said the Ceilidh is as much a celebration for members as it a chance to spread their culture and traditions. “The reason we do it is to raise awareness about our society. Our mandate is to increase public awareness of traditional Scc and the Ceilidh is a great way to do that in the community.”
“It is basically a family friendly, Celtic party with a catered meal, silent auction, performances from the Highland dancers and the Fort McMurray Pipe Band,” she continued.
MacLeod said attendees at this year’s event were treated to a full-on cultural experience. For the first time, the Ceilidh featured a traditional Scottish meal with customary favourites including Scottish shortbread, bubbles and squeak (traditionally made of leftover vegetables from roast dinner), and haggis (a savoury pudding made with sheep’s heart, liver and lungs.) “It was delicious and the feedback was great,” MacLeod noted.
The Highland Dance Society currently features 15 competitive dancers, who range in age from five to adult. The Society participates in competitions spanning the province and sometimes even the world. “Our society is we are currently fundraising to dance at an international Highland gathering at Disneyland in Paris in November. A few years ago we also travelled to Scotland with the Society to compete,” MacLeod said.
“My daughter has been a member of the dance club for six years and she just loves it. There’s a lot of mentoring that goes on between members. Highland dance is a competitive form of dance, so that’s something that makes it a little bit different. Events like the Ceilidh are an opportunity for our dancers to come out and perform and have some fun in front of the community.”
The Fort McMurray Highland Dance Society season runs from September until June, participants need not be of Celtic background to register. Register for the 2014/15-dance season will begin in the late spring. For more information on the Fort McMurray Highland Dance Society follow them on Facebook.