If clapping and stomping to Celtic music is your idea of a good time, then do not miss the Hilltop Highland Dancers as they perform their fancy footwork to the music of Scottish pipe and drums weekend, along with performances by the Ceilidh band. It’s one of the biggest, most energetic concerts of the year. Best of all, the event is free although it has been known to sell out.
The Scottish Pipe and Drum Spring Concert, formerly known as Tulloch Ard, begins Saturday at 8 p.m. If an hour and a half of Celtic music and revelry isn’t enough for you, the show will be followed with more music and refreshments open to everyone. Some might call it an afterglow, but in this case the dancers call it a Ceilidh, a Scottish party, senior Catherine Clayton said.
In the past years the bagpipers, drummers, and dancers performed together for two nights, but this year, due to scheduling complications, the troupe has pared it down to one night. It is sure to be an action-packed event.
The Hilltop Highland Dance will perform seven dances, while the pipe and drum core and the Ceilidh band will perform several sets of music as well. On a number of sets, the musicians will receive a help from a professional celtic group based out of Grand Rapids, Mich.
The dances will include a mix of what Clayton calls traditional and national dances, and the audience can expect every dance to be different. The national dances are meant for women dancers who wear dresses, not kilts, and include more graceful movements.
“The sword dance –is usually done by men before going into battle,” Clayton said. “You do on in your shield. It’s extremely athletic.”
A fair trade off, considering this is the first year the concert will feature male dancers. Three of the 11 new dancers in the troupe are male.
Junior Danielle Davis will be one of the dancers performing for the first time this year. Davis and the other members of the troupe have practiced twice a week for at least an hour and half since the beginning of the year, and said the practices, lead by instructor Alison Plemons, are exhausting. Clayton also said Plemons drives two hours to come teach the class and is a world-class instructor.
The Hilltop Highland Dancers and musicians will entertain the most casual observers, those hoping to learn about Celtic culture, and anyone who just wants to blow off steam by stomping their knees and clapping their hands.
“If you’ve never seen Highland Dance before, its really incredible,” Clayton said. “It’s unique.”