As we are gearing up to start a new dance year in September, I reflect on the opportunities our dancers have had these last few years. One of the most notable opportunities came from the Bach & Beethoven Ensemble as they invited us to perform with them last September in “The Gentle Shepherd”, a Scottish Opera composed by Allan Ramsey in 1725. There was no documented record that this opera had been performed in its entirety in the US since 1792. We had a blast! We have really enjoyed the chance to partner with the BBE and just finished three additional engagements with them as part of their “Gaelic Summer” shows.
We have walked many miles in the heat and the cold in parades; Naperville St. Patrick’s Day, Itasca Memorial Day, Brookfield 4th of July, Lyons 4th of July, Kishwaukee Fest, Colombus Day, and State Street Thanksgiving Day if you are keeping track! We have danced at weddings of current and former THHD dancers, at school shows, church services, ethnic festivals, and retirement facilities. We have danced for small groups and large audiences. We have danced with fiddle orchestras, Celtic rock bands, world renown fiddlers, bagpipe bands, a concert band, and individual dance pipers. We have appeared on radio and television. We have performed nationally and internationally. We have carried on the tradition of those that danced before us at long-standing annual events such as the Scottish Home Picnic, Feast of the Haggis, and Christmas Around the World. We have sent dancers away to college, and while we miss them when they are gone, we welcome them back with open arms when they finish their studies. We have completed medal tests and professional exams. We have competed locally and nationally, and are always striving to accept both winning and losing graciously. We have learned new movements, new dances, and new choreographies that have tested our abilities. We have purchased new costumes, outgrown class outfits, and worn out numerous pairs of gillies. We have worked with a variety of teachers and instructors in weekly lessons or workshops. We have learned to change costumes quickly, discreetly and in a minimum amount of space. We have learned that posture is important and that standing for a photo with your feet in first or third position is highly recommended. We have accomplished a great deal!
We are the THISTLE & HEATHER HIGHLAND DANCERS!