Southern dancers to share stage with notable Highland troupe

Dancers (from left) Grace Perry, Rylee Watson, both of Te Anau, and Chloe Young, of Heriot, as fawns during the Heart of the Highlands show in Invercargill in 2018. Photo: Chris Watson, Profocus Photography

YOUNG Southland-based Highland dancers competing at the Te Anau Tartan Festival are being offered a golden opportunity to join the cast of the Highland Dance Company of New Zealand.

Te Anau Tartan Festival convener Kirsty Pickett said the performance opportunity had been extended to young dancers as a way to encourage and inspire them.

“The festival committee was extremely excited to be hosting the dance company and I hope as many people as possible would take up the opportunity to come and witness the spectacle.”

The internationally renowned dance company’s invitation to the festival had been met with overwhelming enthusiasm and dancers will perform a revised version of the company’s Heart of the Highlands show which has been adapted to suit the Te Anau town hall stage at the Fiordland Events Centre.

The pandemic had prevented the national troupe from performing at its usual international events, festivals and tattoos.

The elite dance company of New Zealand’s champion Highland dancers are renowned worldwide for performing innovative choreography.

“I can’t emphasise enough just what a unique opportunity this is. While we see them in competition around the country, these dancers usually only come together as a troupe for international performances. Shows around New Zealand are rare,” Pickett said.

Alongside Highland dancing and solo bagpiping competitions, other events planned were the have-a-go Highland games on Saturday, April 16, and piping and Highland dancing workshops on Sunday, April 17, to encourage competitors and their families to stay in the region longer, and learn from some of the country’s leading tutors, she said.

It will be the eighth time the region has hosted the festival which will help to throw the struggling tourist spot another lifeline during the Easter holiday period.

Full programme details would be unveiled during the next few weeks.

The dance company is set to perform two shows during the weekend with the first show set to open the festival on Friday, April 15. Tickets would be on sale online from late January.