Scottish dance school gets 700 toes tapping

Owaka Memorial Community Hall has been echoing to the beat of the Highlands.

The South Island branch of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society held a four-day Easter dance school in the Catlins town, which ended yesterday with a combined-class ensemble.

About 70 attendees from as far afield as Queensland came together for the southern festival of dance and honed their skills in small groups led by teachers from across New Zealand, before uniting for yesterday's grand finale.

The event was organised by Lawrence Scottish Country Dance Group teacher, and vocal champion of the form, Quentin Currall.

Event organiser Quentin Currall, of Lawrence, and dance partner Honsai He, of Christchurch, lead...
Event organiser Quentin Currall, of Lawrence, and dance partner Honsai He, of Christchurch, lead a combined dance at the Easter Scottish country dance school in Owaka yesterday. PHOTO: RICHARD DAVISON

Mr Currall said the style of dance had broad appeal, thanks to its inclusivity.

"You've got everyone here today from seasoned practitioners to the farmer who hasn't danced since his wedding.

"I got into it eight years ago, as it was something I could do with my then teenage daughter and that we could enjoy equally.

"It's a style of dance that young and old can pick up pretty easily and participate in together, that's sociable, and as energetic as you want it to be. People tend to find it quite addictive.''

Teacher Nicole Trewavas, of Palmerston North, said she was impressed with the knowledge and enthusiasm of the group.

"This is a great crowd for a rural area like this. The learners I've been teaching this weekend have come along nicely.''

Beginners could find their feet gradually, and without judgement, she said.

"It's a very supportive, fun, friendly activity, and you can see our more experienced dancers are helping their partners along with some of the more complicated figures.''

As the Scottish country dance community continued to grow in South Otago, further opportunities to exercise their new-found skills were in demand, Mr Currall said.

"We've got twin dances on May 10 and 11, in Lawrence and Waitahuna, and continue to meet as a club every Wednesday through to November.

"Hopefully, we've sparked off a few more addicts today.''

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