Scottish Official Board of Highland Dancing.
This is the “world governing body” headquartered in Edinburgh. The SOBHD publishes the highland textbook under which we all operate. This is the ftumbrella organization” under which everything else operates. The SOBHD is responsible for setting the championship steps each year, the granting of championships and maintaining the technical aspects of the highland dances.
British Association of Teachers of Dance.
This is one of three professional organizations that serve as examining bodies that certify teachers, administer medal tests, and publish national dance textbooks. The other two are the SDTA – Scottish Dance Teacher Alliance and UKA – United Kingdom Alliance. While all the steps of the national dances are the same, there are variations within the steps depending on the textbook. I am a member of the BATD, conduct BATD medal tests, and follow the steps as outlined by the BATD. Perhaps you have noticed some variation in steps at competitions. This reflects the small differences in positions and movements as outlined by the three organizations. The judges are required to know all the acceptable variations.
Federation of United States Teachers and Adjudicators.
FUST A is the lead highland dancing organization in the United States. Formed in 1981 it brings together the United States teachers into six regions: East, Southeast, Midwest, Southwest, Northwest and West. The FUSTA Board of Directors is made up of a President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, National Registrar, Judges Committee Chairperson, and six regional delegates. In addition each of the six regions will also have a regional registrar and some may also have a treasurer. It is FUSTA that is responsible for administering the worldwide dancer registration scheme under the direction of the SOBHD. The FUSTA counterpart in Canada is ScotDance Canada. I am currently serving as Regional Delegate for the second time for the Midwest Region. I have also been Vice President, and President of this organization.
United States Inter-Regional Championship.
This national event takes place in a different region every year and is considered the national championship. It follows the same regional rotation, though the host city may vary within the region. For example 2004-Minneapolis, MN (Midwest), 2005-Mount Vernon, WA (Northwest), 2006 Saratoga Springs, NY (East), 2007 Orange, CA (West), 2008 Denver, CO (Southwest), 2009 Nashville, TN (Southeast) and 2010 Traverse City, MI (Midwest). The USIR will be held in Spokane, WA (Northwest) in 2011, Hunt Valley, MD (East) in 2012, and Scottsdale, AZ (West) in 2013. A tremendous amount of time, effort and fundraising goes along with the hosting of this event. Each region sends their top three dancers from each of the five age categories to the USIR. The “qualifying” championships are held in April and May in each of the six regions. The age groups for these championships always remain the same: 7 & Under 12, 12 & Under 14, 14 & Under 16, 16 & Under 18, and 18 & Over. The five national champions along with the five 1st runner-ups and the five 2nd runnerups from the current year also earn a “bye” for the following year. The bye remains with the dancer, so if the dancer changes age groups, the bye moves up to the next age group with the dancer. This makes the total number of dancers participating in the USIR each year one hundred and five. Alma, MI hosts the Midwest Regional Championships each year on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. The Midwest region is made up of Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
Thistle & Heather Highland Dancers.
We are the “local” level organization that is responsible for keeping highland dancing alive in the area. It is our “job” to continue the tradition of Scottish Highland Dancing in the community.