Highland Dancing

Register for the 2018 Highland Dance competition!

Continuing the Scottish tradition of Highland Dance, the Fergus Festival Championships, Highland competitions and National Dance competitions will be presented.

To find out more about the competition , follow this link!

Dancing Competitions

Championships are special competitions for Premier dancers and are sanctioned by the Scottish Official Board of Highland Dancing. The Fergus Scottish Festival Championship was created in 2006 in celebration of the Festival’s 60th Anniversary. Dancers perform The Highland Fling, The Sword Dance, The Seann Triubhas and The Strathspey & Half Tulloch with set steps chosen each year by the Scottish Official Board of Highland Dancing. Dancers are judged by three adjudicators with the marks being combined to determine the winner in each dance and the overall Champion. Overall Trophies are awarded to three places with cash award to Champion, First Runner-Up and Second Runner-Up.

This competition is for primary to intermediate dancers and includes the Highland Fling, Pas de Bas, Pas des Bas & High Cuts, Sword Dance, Seann Triubbas, and Strathspey & Highland Reel. The competitors are judged individually by a single adjudicator for each dance.  Medals are awarded to six places.  Primary dancers also receive participation gifts while Beginners to Intermediates receive winner and runner-up trophies and monetary scholarships.

The four highland dances are included in this competition for Premier and Restricted Premier dancers with the competitors being judged individually by a single adjudicator for each dance. Trophies and cash prizes are awarded.

Open to Beginners through Premier dancers, dances include the Strathspey & Highland Reel, The Barracks, The Village Maid, The Flora MacDonald and the Scottish Lilt. Trophies and cash prizes are awarded.

The Highland Dances

The most commonly recounted history of the ‘Fling’ is that it is a dance of celebration, performed after victory in battle. Clansmen performed the dance on a small round targe,  a circular shield of wood with the front covered in tough hide, and the back in deer or sheepskin.. The front of the shield was decorated with brass studs and plates, and often had a long spike in the centre.  Agility, nimble footwork, and strength allowed the dancer to avoid the sharp spike, which often projected five to six inches upwards.
Other experts, however, suggest that a deer leaping across the moors may have motivated the creation of the dance, as the arms held like antlers, the body turning around, the feet dancing from side to side, are all reminiscent of a stag at play. A similar interpretation suggests the dance celebrates a successful stag hunt

It is probable that the tune, Ghillie Calum, dates back to the days of Malcolm Canmore (Shakespeare’s MacBeth). The earliest references to the *dance* are from the 19th century, and it is unlikely that it is very much older. One story is that this was a dance of victory, as the King danced over his bloody claymore (the two-handed broadsword of Scotland) and the even bloodier head of his enemy. Some say that no severed head was used and that the King danced over his own sword crossed over the sword of his enemy. Another story is that the Sword Dance was danced prior to a battle. To kick the swords was considered a bad omen for the impending battle, and the soldier would expect to be wounded. If many of the soldiers kicked their swords the chieftain of the clan would expect to lose the battle.

Pronounced “shawn trews”, this Gaelic phrase means “old trousers”. This dance is reputed to date from the rebellion of 1745 when Bonnie Prince Charlie challenged the might of England at Culloden, and lost. As a penalty, Highlanders were forbidden to wear the kilt. Seann Triubhas is a dance of celebration developed in response to the Proscription Repeal which restored to the Scots the right to wear their kilts and play the bagpipes once more. The movements of this dance clearly depict the legs defiantly shaking and shedding the hated trousers and returning to the freedom of the kilt.

There are several “group” dances which are performed by four dancers.  The Strathspey is never danced on its own in competition and must be followed by a Reel. These dances illustrate the “set” and “travel” steps which are common in Scottish social dancing.
The Reel of Tulloch or Hullachan (performed to the tune of the same name) refers to a dance performed outside a cottage. This Reel is thought to have originated in the Churchyard, where on a cold winter’s Sunday a Minister was late for his service– parishioners tried to keep warm by clapping their hands and stamping their feet.

Scottish National dances are of a more modern origin and have been collected from old dance masters. In North America, National dances were not danced in competition until the 1960s. The attire worn by female dancers is called the Aboyne dress, named after the Aboyne Highland Games of Scotland where up to this day, the wearing of the kilt is strictly forbidden to women. The National dances are very similar to Highland dances, but the style is more flowing and balletic. They require a lot of skill to execute correctly, and spectators will note that often the rhythms are more complicated than in conventional Highland dancing.

This is said to be the last dance Flora McDonald danced for Bonnie Prince Charlie before he fled overseas, but is more likely to be a dance named in her honour. Flora McDonald helped the prince escape from North Uist to Skye disguised as her maid. She emigrated to America but returned home to Skye later in life.

The original tunes for the Lilt are ‘Drops of Brandy’ and ‘Brose and Butter”. The Scottish Lilt is claimed by both the Hebrides and Perthshire.

The Highland Irish Jig is an energetic character dance featuring fist shaking and stomping motions.   It is meant to parody an angry Irish washerwoman when she finds some neighborhood boys have knocked her clean wash to the ground.   

Female dancers wear green/red dresses/skirts, complete with apron, and hard shoes for ‘stomping out the rhythm’, while male dancers wear green/red tails, breeches, hat, and twirl a shillelagh.

2016 Results – Highland Dance


Adalyn Franks, Durham


Beginner Claire Fraser, Scarborough

Novice Maude Puseljic, Toronto

Intermediate  Brooklyn Baker, Carleton Place


Beginner  Grace Barclay, Stouffville

Novice Addyson Knowles, Whitby

Intermediate Claire VenSteenkiste, Ray MI



7 Years   Claire Fraser, Scarborough

8 Years   Grace Barclay, Stouffville

9 Years   Quinn Goldie, Grand Blanc, MI  

10 Years   Kaidan Sabbadin, Chatsworth

11 Years    Laura Anne Naves, S.B.P.

12 & Over   Emma Bruce, Oakville / Mariah Crawford, Kitchener


8 Years & Under  Addyson Knowles, Whitby

10 Years & Under  Madison Velacich, Whitby

12 Years & Under  Celeste Wilson, Coldwater

13 Years & Over  Katie Minacs, Stouffville   


10 Years & Under  Claire VenSteenkiste, Ray MI

13 Years & Under  Elizabeth Moffatt, Carleton Place

14 Years & Over  Emily Srebot, Orangeville   



7 & U 10 Yrs Victoria Wood, St. Andrews W

10 Years Sophie Hamilton, Port Perry

11 Years Paisley Hanson, Etobicoke

12 Years Aideen Tolley, Burlington

13 Years Hailey Romain, Ajax

14 Years Elizabeth Wood, St.  Andrews W

15 Years Fiona Tolley, Burlington

16 Years Sophie Dunn, Oshawa

17 & U 19 Yrs Alessandra Bruce-Fuoco, Metcalfe

19 Yrs & Over Marielle Lesperance, Sunnyside, PEI


Marielle Lesperance, Sunnyside, PEI


Marielle Lesperance, Sunnyside, PEI


Elizabeth Wood, St. Andrews W


Beginner Grace Barclay, Stouffville

Novice Addyson Knowles, Whitby

Intermediate Allyda King, Georgetown


Beginner Grace Barclay, Stouffville

Novice Addyson Knowles, Whitby

Intermediate Abigail Todd, Orangeville



7 Years Ainsley Gordon, Stouffville

8 Years Grace Barclay, Stouffville

10 Years & Under Annabell Hill Polo, Guelph


8 Years & Under Addyson Knowles, Whitby

11 Years & Under Madison Velacich, Whitby

12 Years & Over Jessica Willette, Lindsay


10 Years & Under Abigail Todd, Orangeville

14 Years & Under Elizabeth Moffatt, Carleton Place

15 Years & Over Marlo Forsyth, Beamsville


11 Years & Under Alexandra Moore, Newmarket

13 Years & Under Laura Hamilton, Ancaster

14 Years Cameron Goldie, Grand Blanc, MI

16 Years & Under Abbey Mage, Cambridge

17 Years & Over Mackenzie Matthews, Fergus


10 Years & Under Sophie Hamilton, Port Perry

11 Years & Under Catherine Wood, St. Andrews W.

13 Years & Under Lucja Grant, London

14 Years Elizabeth Wood, St. Andrews W.

16 Years & Under Fiona Tolley, Burlington

17 Years & Over Marielle Lesperance, Sunnyside, PEI


Restricted Premier

11 Years & Under Hannah Colquhoun, Sutton West

13 Years & Under Heather Magallanes, Brampton

14 Years Abigail Villard, Milton

16 Years & Under Lila MacKay, Toronto

17 Years & Over Mackenzie Matthews, Fergus


10 Years & Under Sophie Hamilton, Port Perry

13 Years & Under Hailey Romain, Ajax

14 Years Elizabeth Wood, St. Andrews W.

16 Years & Under Fiona Tolley, Burlington

17 Years & Over Marielle Lesperance, Sunnyside, PEI