“We made the decision to go in August 2022.
“Fitness-wise, I did a lot of cross training/pilates/core work, gym classes as well as
normal dance classes/competitions. It was ramped up closer to leaving overseas, aiming to do a championship dance through a day and practicing in my kilt.”
She would recommend every dancer wear their full kilt when preparing for championships to get accustomed to the look and feel.
Encouraged by her results in Australia and feeling good despite the injury, Solai got to Scotland at the beginning of August. Jetlag didn’t affect her too badly, except a motion feeling when dancing. But she was fine after about a week, doing three highland games and three championships leading up to Cowal. She was the only kiwi competing on the circuit.
“We booked Airbnb quite a wee while before we left NZ; it was a bit tricky to get accommodation which suited us especially apartments with a carpark.
“The accommodation for Cowal in Dunoon MUST be booked as soon as you know you are attending the championships as it is hard to find accommodation there. Stirling is a beautiful place with a lot to see and do, although I was dance focused, I found that sightseeing wasn’t my priority.”
Nerves were a big hurdle to overcome, and she tried different remedies to deal with them; “stress less oils, listening to music, trying not to overthink things etc, etc.”
Other things were more easy to adapt to – the food choices were good, reasonable in price and readily available. School work wasn’t too much of an issue as she’d given her teachers plenty of warning.
“I let my school know I was away for nearly six weeks and worked my Year 13 work around this, and they worked with me with what I wanted to achieve.”
Morgan had contacts in Scotland so Solai was able to attend private lessons and premier dance classes with her good friend, teacher Danielle Law.
“I really enjoyed taking part in the dance lessons and made some friends there. We also hired rooms in local community centres in Leith and the Stirling area which we googled to find and they were great.”
Competing in Scotland was “a life changing experience”.
“I had to be more resilient, adapt to different scenarios quite quickly and I made some really great connections and friendships. I definitely could not have done it all without Morgan.
“I unfortunately travelled with a foot injury and feel proud of myself for pushing through, competing and also achieving amazing placings and judges points at all competitions.
“My greatest achievement was dancing on the Cowal stage which was a life dream – what an experience that was.
“It was a time of personal growth, and very challenging.
“I’d love to go back overseas to dance when I’m ready. It’s a little too soon at the moment.
“I am sorting my foot injury out and looking forward to competing in 2024. Some exciting opportunities have arisen from my travels which will soon be announced.”
Her advice to anyone else hoping to go over and compete:
“Take it all in.”
At our recent AGM Judy Clark was presented with Life Membership for her services to our organisation - pictured here with Christine Burgoyne (Vice Present) and Mark Forshaw (President)
Read about Thistle highland dancing student Nathan and his successes...
It has been a busy couple of months for one of our dancers. Nathan travelled to the Grand Australasian Championships held in Sydney in June 2022 where he won the restricted premier group for Scottish Nationals.
He then travelled to Gosford in July to the International Championships. On the first day he placed in all his Highland dances and was the winner of the restricted jig and hornpipe title. On the second day he was the highest placed restricted and 6th overall in the 15 years championship.
We also had Kathryn who danced in her very first competition at Gosford and she placed in her hornpipe.
Nathan then travelled to Scotland where he placed 4th overall at the British Overseas Championship, placed in three dances in Stirling and Crieff and then it was off to Cowal for the Worlds.
Dancers from Morgan B School of Dance in New Plymouth travelled to Gosford, Australia for the International Highland Dancing Championships in July. Here are their awesome results below:
Solai - International Champion 16 years
Madison - 4th overall International Championship 14 years
McKenna - 6th overall 11 years International Championship
Ella - most points restricted dancer 17 years International Championship
Hunter - restricted jig and hornpipe title
Portia - 15 years Pre Championship winner
Madison - 14 years Pre Championship winner
Sarah de Bruin, Devon Mokaraka and Shannon Vesey have recently returned from the Basel Tattoo, Switzerland, where they performed as part of the 49 strong International team of Highland Dancers, under the direction of Cheryl Roach, Stephanie Julliard and Rachael McLagan. The Basel Tattoo is recognised as being the second largest Tattoo in the world and this year included a cast of 1000 performers.
The girls began their tattoo experience with 3 days of rehearsals, dancing from 9am till 6pm, perfecting the choreography, followed by full cast and dress rehearsals. They then went on to perform 11 shows over 9 days in the historical barracks in Basel, on the banks of the Rhine river.
As part of the team, they were also involved in a parade through the city of Basel with the rest of the tattoo cast, and a Children’ s Day event. They also enjoyed day trips to the St Beatus Caves, Lake Lucerne, Stoos and Fronalpstock, getting to see some of the beautiful Swiss views.
They performed 3 dances each night along with the finale. There was a Greek number accompanying the Hellenic Navy Band, a Scottish act with the Massed Pipes and Drums and the main dance item, called Celtic Fire, with music played live by the Red Hot Chilli Pipers.
It was an incredibly rewarding experience and they formed lots of new friendships with other dancers from Australia, South Africa, Canada and Scotland. Videos of the performances can be found on the “Basel Tattoo International Dance Team” Facebook page.
Written by Sarah de Bruin
Some lovely photos sent in by Miss Tutu's School of Dance of their dancers with new competition jackets. These were made by the Highland Dancer in Scotland!
Congratulations to the two recipients of the 2019 ScotDance New Zealand scholarships!
The 2019 scholarships are to assist dancers in competing in a championship in New Zealand. These were assessed by Miss Kim Roe this year.
At the New Zealand Championships in New Plymouth over the weekend an official presentation for the two successful dancers was held.
The winners are Solai Erhorn (under 14 years) - Morgan B School and Amy de Bruin (14 years and over) - Lothian Studio.
Amy de Bruin and Solai Erhorn
Fun day had by pupils of Miss Tutu's School of
Dance, keeping the Julie Appleton-Seymour tradition
alive with a highland dancing display at the
Central Hawkes Bay A&P show!
Fifteen New Plymouth dance students are heading to the happiest place on earth to compete in a highland dancing competition.
The Paris International Highland Gathering Championship takes place at at Disneyland Paris every year, and for the first time Highland dancer, choreographer and dance teacher Morgan Bamford is taking 15 students from the Morgan B School of Dance.
Leaving on November 16, the students, accompanied by parents, will compete in the five-day Disney-themed competition, which runs from November 22 to 26.
"We've been working really hard on Disney-themed dances," Bamford said. She has been preparing the kids, aged 7-15, for the competition since March. "It's just something that I thought was such a cool idea and the kids are getting to dance for fun."
"Generally you're dancing to celtic music, so it's been cool for the kids to dance to Disney music." Performing 14 dances in categories such as duo, solo and group dance over the five days, their main performance is focused on the 2016 Disney animation Moana, with pois and kapa haka incorporated to represent New Zealand. "I just thought New Zealand kind of fits," Bamford said. It's the first big overseas competition for many students who are going to have fun and come away with Disney-themed medals. "A lot of them are hoping to do well but they've all got different goals. Some of them just want to get a medal and they'll be happy with that while some are wanting to go to win."
At the end of the five days the students will be performing in the Stars on Parade, a procession with the Disney characters that runs along the main strip of Disneyland Paris, before heading off with their families for a well-earned holiday.
This year ScotDance New Zealand asked Kerry Grosser from Scottish Highland Dance Academy - Perth, Australia to assess the applications.
Beginner/Novice Scholarship awarded to:
Charlize Hide (Morgan B School of Dance)
Intermediate Scholarship awarded to:
Mikayla Allison (Highland Evolution Studio - Rebecca Gribbon)
Thank you Kerry Grosser for your contribution.
Charlize and Mikayla were presented with their awards by the vice-President of ScotDance New Zealand - Mrs Heather Calkin at the City of New Plymouth Open Championship on 14 July 2018.