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Highland Dance

Highland dancing is a style of competitive dancing that blends elements of Scottish folk dancing with the conventions and discipline of ballet. It requires agility, strength and stamina to perform.

Highland dancing originated in the Scottish Highlands in the 19th and 20th centuries, in the context of competitions at public events such as the Highland games. It was created from the Gaelic folk dance repertoire, but formalized with the conventions of ballet, and has been subject to influences from outside the Highlands.

At the Rio Grande Valley Celtic Festival, Scottish Highland Dancing celebrates this traditional dance form that combines strength, grace, and spirit. Attired in colorful outfits, the dancers perform primarily solo dances to bagpipe tunes. Dancers from a variety of cultural backgrounds ages four to adult participate in the Scottish Highland Dance competition at the Rio Grande Valley Celtic Festival.

Registration is Open

Register Online Now

2024 Rio Grande Valley Highland Games and Celtic Festival Highland Dance Competition
SW 0518
Saturday May 4
Judge: Haley Brogan

Registration at 8:30, Dancing Starts at 9:00

Dances (Age groups to be determined by entries):
  • Primary:
    • 16 Pas de Basques
    • Pas de Basques and High Cuts
    • Highland Fling (4)
    • Sword Dance (2&1)
  • Beginner:
    • Highland Fling (4)
    • Sword Dance (2&1)
    • Seann Triubhas (3&1)
    • Scottish Lilt (4)
    • Flora MacDonald’s Fancy (4)
  • Novice:
    • Highland Fling (4)
    • Sword Dance (2&1)
    • Seann Triubhas (3&1)
    • Scottish Lilt (4)
    • Flora MacDonald’s Fancy (4)
  • Intermediate:
    • Highland Fling (4)
    • Sword Dance (2&1)
    • Seann Triubhas (3&1)
    • Highland Laddie (4)
    • Sailors Hornpipe (4)
  • Premier 7 and Under 12:
    • Highland Fling (4)
    • Sword Dance (2&1)
    • Seann Triubhas (3&1)
    • Scottish Lilt (4)
    • Earl of Errol (4)
  • Premier 12 and Over:
    • Highland Fling (6)
    • Sword Dance (3&1)
    • Seann Triubhas (4&2)
    • Scottish Lilt (4)
    • Earl of Errol (4)
  • Choreography (will be split Pre-Premier and Premier if entries warrant):
    • Solo
    • Duet
    • Group
  • Workshops
    • Pre-Premier (Saturday, May 4, following the competition, 90 minutes)
    • Premier Workshop (Sunday, May 5, 8:30-10:30 am at the dance stage)
  • Entry Fees ($5 from each entry will go to SW ScotDance USA for USIR 2026):
    • Primary: $33
    • Pre-Premier (Beginner, Novice, Intermediate): $38
    • Premier: $43
    • Choreography: $20

**Entries submitted after April 20, 2024 subject to $20 late fee**

Competition Rules
  • Competition will be run in accordance with RSOBHD rules.
  • Age groups will be determined by entries received.
  • The decision of the judge is final.
  • Organizer reserves the right to modify schedule
  • Oldest Premier Group will receive cash awards for 1st, 2nd, 3rd places
  • Most Promising Beginner, Novice, and Intermediate will be awarded to a dancer in each category who shows promise. Premier Spirit Award will be awarded to a dancer who embodies the spirit of Highland Dance. These awards are the judge's choice.
  • Registered participants will receive a wristband for festival entry. This will be placed at will-call. Additional tickets can be purchased online for pickup at will-call.
  • Choreography is open to Pre-Premier and Premier dancers. Choreography groups will be split into Pre-Premier and Premier categories if entries warrant.
  • Choreography music must be emailed to the organizer (Emma Trentman, one week prior to the event (April 27, 2024).
  • $5 from each entry will go to ScotDance USA SW
  • Dancers must bring a valid 2024 RSOBHD Registration card. Pre-Premier cards will be collected at registration.
  • Three-Month Rule – Judges may not adjudicate any competitor that they have instructed for a period of three months. If a competitor has entered a competition with a judge they have attended a class or workshop within the last three months, the dancer must step down from the competition.
  • All dance competitors and teachers and parents are expected to comply with the ScotDance USA Code of Ethics
  • Recorded music will be used
  • Competition numbers will be distributed at registration
  • Dancers must remain in costume until the conclusion of the awards ceremony
  • Protests must be made in writing, signed and submitted to the Competition Organizer within 24 hours of the event accompanied by a fee of $20 that will be refunded if the protest is sustained.

Help us cover the costs of the dance competition with a tax deductible donation! Sponsors names/in honor/memory of will be listed in the program.
Medal Set: $30
Trophy: $40


Contact Emma Trentman,, 443-624-6658