After two years without competition, a Langford Highland dance troupe is back at it – and the break doesn’t seem to have had any negative effects on their skills.
In March alone, dancers from Kathy White’s Island Highland Dance Academy have brought home no fewer than 88 medals and two trophies from three competitions. Their most recent competition – the Western Canada Open Championship held March 26 and 27 in Kamloops – saw dancers earn nine gold medals, six silver medals, 36 bronze medals and an aggregate trophy.
“We didn’t know really what to expect,” said White of the Kamloops event. “We just went in there hoping we would do OK because I know how hard the kids have been working and it just turned out really well.”
White, who has been coaching Highland dance for more than 40 years out of her Duncan studio and four years in Langford, said the recent string of success is the result of her dancers’ passion and hard work. That dedication to their craft was most apparent before competition resumed, White said.
Throughout the pandemic, rehearsals were relegated to video calls, but she said the passion level never dipped, making the return to in-person dancing so successful.
“The kids hung in there, they were tuned in twice a week,” said White. “When we were able to get back together just recently, they all wore their masks to class and they were really, really excited to be back in classes. They have really worked hard and it has been wonderful to see them succeed.”
With the competition off to such a good start, White said the dancers are in a good position for upcoming competitions. In May, they are set to compete in the B.C. Championships and perform in the Victoria Highland Games.
At the end of April, academy dancer Cierra Miller is set to participate in the prestigious Virginia International Tattoo, which sees civilian and military performers from all over North America gather in Norfolk, Va. for what is billed as the largest such event in the United States.
If all goes well, and the pandemic allows for it, White said she hopes to bring her dancers to Scotland in summer 2023 to test their skills all over the country in which their dance style originated.