Klondike dancers step up in Alberta

The Klondike Highland Dancers had a short but productive competitive season this year. The Whitehorse club attended back-to-back Alberta competitions in June and danced their way to a sporran-full of medals.

The Klondike Highland Dancers had a short but productive competitive season this year.

The Whitehorse club attended back-to-back Alberta competitions in June and danced their way to a sporran-full of medals.

“We try to go out once a year and we try to find a competition where there’s two in the same area so we can hit two and get the experience for the dancers,” said Klondike instructor Errinlee Fitzsimmons.

“I’m so proud of how well they did. The calibre of dancers in Alberta and B.C. – across Canada – is really high. So for us to have worked that hard and to have placed in those rankings was fantastic.

“Perseverance… Obviously the dancers have to put their heart and soul into there.”

The Klondike troupe attended the Red Deer Highland Games and the Edmonton Scottish Society Highland Gathering on the weekend of June 23-24. Six Klondike dancers attended each meet and the club collected a total of 13 top-three placements.

The strongest results came in Edmonton.

Jordyn Cowan placed first in the Highland Fling, third in the Sword, third in the Seann Triubhas and fifth in the Scottish Lilt for beginners 12-and-over.

In the same division, Sarah Diment placed third in the Highland Fling and fifth in the Flora MacDonald’s Fancy while teammate Gabrielle Bullinger took second in the Scottish Lilt.

Also in Edmonton, Mairi Fraser finished third in the Highland Fling, third in the Seann Truibhas and third in the Scottish Lilt in the 16-and-over premier division. Breagha Fraser, also in the premier 16-and-over class, placed fourth in the Highland Laddie.

In Red Deer Kiarra Fitzsimmons reached second in the Flora MacDonald’s Fancy and third in Scottish Lilt for 10-year-old beginners.

Cowan snagged second in the Highland Fling and Sword, third in Seann Triubhas and fourth in the Scottish Lilt, out of 15 dancers.

Diment placed second in the Sword and fifth in the Seann Triubhas. Mairi placed fifth in the Seann Triubhas. Breagha placed fourth in the Sword and fifth in the Irish Jig.

The Klondike dancers always return from competitions with awards, but not usually with so many, said Errinlee.

“It’s really difficult for the students here because we don’t have the availability that (other schools) do Outside where each weekend the dancers Outside are going to a competition. The dancers here don’t have that. So we have a combination of things we try to do for them here.

“We go to do dance-outs, try to participate in different community events, and we do something called medal testing, which are exams based out of Scotland. So the criteria and guidelines are all based out of Scotland… They work through the year based on those exams.”

The Klondike Highland Dancers have been bringing the Scottish tradition to the Yukon for close to two decades with students ranging from three years old to adult. The club is based out of Grey Mountain Primary School in Whitehorse and will reconvene in September.

For more information, contact the club at klondikehighlanddancers@gmail.com.

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com