Central Albertan dancers have missed performing during the COVID-19 pandemic, says the president of the Red Deer Region Highland Dancing Association.
But they will get the chance to put on a show this weekend during an online national dance-a-thon hosted by ScotDance Canada.
The 24-hour event will raise money for Food Banks Canada and Kids Help Phone.
ScotDance Canada “asked each dancer to create a little video where they got dressed up as if they were going to a competition and pick a different location or backdrop that kind of represents their home province. Then they’ll compile all those videos into a 24-hour virtual event that people can watch,” said Jordana Simms, president of the local association.
The Red Deer Region Highland Dancing Association has about 50 dancers – many of them will be in the dance-a-thon, said Simms.
“Any opportunity for them to put on their outfits has been super welcome. They’ve been treating it just as if they’ve been getting ready for a competition,” she said.
“Our association is a small one compared to some other ones across the country, so keeping them connected is really important, especially during these times where they’re not even necessarily seeing each other as much.”
The dance-a-thon came together when the governing body of Canada’s Highland dancing “was trying to find a way to keep dancers engaged,” said Simms.
“We’ve had some online festivals and that kind of thing, but the community is very competitive and the dancers are very motivated and driven, so it was kind of falling flat – they wanted more, they wanted a reason to compete.”
Dancers during Saturday’s event will be split into four teams – Alberta and Saskatchewan will make up one of the teams.
“We’re all pushing against each other to collect pledges and donations.”
COVID-19 has been a challenging time for the Highland dancing community, said Simms.
“Some teachers had to cancel in-person classes, so some of them moved to a virtual platform. Once things started to open up a little bit, we’ve seen some in-person classes in big fields, parking lots and even driveways,” she said.
To watch the dance-a-thon, visit scotdance.vidflex.tv – donation buttons go live the same day as the event. For more information, visit ScotDance Canada’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/scotdancecanada.