Review: The Big Dance Show

The HYAH has worked with Christian as a forum member over the last couple of years...he's also known to play the pipes for us on occassion! However, here he steps into the world of dance, to review a show at Eden Court which saw young performers come together from all across Highland.

The Big Dance Show was held on November, 14th 2016 at Eden Court. Over 300 dancers in 25 groups from across the Highlands performed at the third instalment of this event.

The Big Dance Show was first created through the Get Scotland Dancing project. The initiative was launched by the Scottish Government as part of the of the Commonwealth Games’ legacy. Eden Court held its first Big Dance Show in 2013 and decided to continue it even after the funding support from the Get Scotland Dancing initiative had ended.

In true Highland fashion, the show started with a Drum Salute and Jig by the Ross and Cromarty Pipes & Drums. Over the next two hours, the audience was treated to a mix of dancers from across the Highlands, each showcasing their hard work with creative choreographies and technical skill.

The event was planned and coordinated by Louise Marshall, Eden Court Dance Artist. For her, the show is an opportunity to showcase the variety and strength of dance activity in the Highlands.

For the groups themselves, this is also chance to build their connections: “Those groups are working in relative isolation, they’re from Mallaig or Skye or Wick, and it’s an opportunity to come together.”

“I think part of the purpose of the Big Dance Show is to create greater connectivity between dance tutors and for them to feel that they can talk to each other, and also talk to me or anyone else at Eden Court as a support structure, rather than feeling they’re in competition with each other.”

She stressed the importance of diversity in the show: “It’s not based on, strictly speaking, ‘the best’, it is based on trying to get a representation of all the different types and ages of people who were dancing.”

“We could probably fill a whole evening with Highland dancing, but that wouldn’t represent what’s happening. So we try and have a real mixture of ages, styles and types of pieces.”

This year’s show was yet another sell-out success and there are firm plans to continue the show, with the next Big Dance Show set for 2018. “That’s because it’s a big, mammoth undertaking, and the dance schools themselves have a lot of commitments as well,” Louise explained. “So if we made it every year, it would become more of a burden to them, rather than a pleasure.”

When asked about the state of dance tuition in the Highlands, Louise described an active and healthy scene, and spoke positively about the future: “I think the standards are raising all the time in terms of professionalism, across all styles and across all areas of the Highlands.”

For info about Eden Court, please visit:

Photo Credit: Ewen Weatherspoon Photography