Shot of Scotch Newsletter: Autumn

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Summer 2016

Shot of Scotch New York City

Making Highland Dance Modern

A guest post by Shot of Shot NYC Choreographer: Emily Ritter

Traditional Scottish Highland dance evokes images of men in kilts dancing over swords as they prepare for battle, bagpipes blaring in the distance. It’s an art form that has been around for centuries and is steeped in tradition. But rarely do people think of Highland dance as a modern art form.

This was my challenge for Shot of Scotch’s August performance at Dixon Place in New York City. The performance, “8 in Show,” was established to showcase emerging and established choreographers of all dance forms. As Shot of Scotch NYC’s Choreographer, I wanted to engage a modern audience in new ways for this performance, mixing traditional Highland dance with a modern look.

To do this, I spent nearly a year putting this piece, titled “Dance Upon My Tomb” together. First came the music, the inspiration for the title and feel of the dance. This tune was paired with a traditional Scottish chant to create the feel of the mystic Scottish Highlands. Once this haunting feel was established, the dance began to take shape as I molded traditional Scottish dance moves in new and different ways. Highcuts were done from the floor while entrechats were done with our hands. To symbolize breaking out of the traditional rigidity of Highland dance, our arm movements started out stilted and grew more fluid throughout the piece. The ending is a burst of traditional movements across the stage, as we ultimately embrace the long and glorious history of Highland dance.

Once the choreography was established, our final challenge in creating a compelling feel was choosing the right costumes and set. A mysterious stone henge formation was chosen as the backdrop to bring the Scottish Highlands to the stage. Struggling to find existing costumes that fit the feel of the dance, I sewed the skirts myself, combining a traditional tartan with a more modern look.

Creating “Dance Upon My Tomb” was a challenging and rewarding experience. It inspired me and the other performers to look beyond the traditional vision of Highland dance. I hope to use this experience in the future with more choreographies for Shot of Scotch NYC.

Watch a video of the choreography here!
"Dance Upon My Tomb" performed by Anna Fitzgerald, Annelise MacLeod, Libby Maylen, and Emily Ritter

Shot of Scotch Vancouver

Seaforth Highlanders of Canada: Highland Homecoming Tattoo
It's every highland dancer's dream to be part of a Tattoo and we had the great honour to be part of the Seaforth Highlanders homecoming to their newly renovated Armoury on Sep. 24. The 80 year old building had undergone many upgrades over the past 4 years and the Highland Homecoming marked the official return of the Seaforths to their home station. The Tattoo portion of the day included stellar performances by the Seaforth Highlanders Pipes and Drums, The Vancouver Police Pipe Band, The Band of the 15h Field Regiment, Chor Leoni Men's Choir and of course Shot of Scotch Vancouver! 

We were represented not only by SoS company members that danced a set of dances with the Seaforth Pipes and Drums, but also by a handful of our adult students! As part of the finale, 6 Shot of Scotch Vancouver students, 4 company members and 6 Seaforth regiment members danced a Broadsword that stole the show. The Seaforths, having never done any highland dance before, had only four rehearsals to learn and perfect this dance. They did an amazing job! With an estimated 1000 people in the audience, including our Minister of National Defence, Harjit Singh Sajjan, it was a thrill to be part of this event!

See a glimpse of our Broadsword performance HERE!



Mondays and Wednesdays 7:00-8:30 PM
Garment District , NYC

Monthly sign up required.  Classes are available for every level of dance experience.
*Classes offerings subject to change due to class enrollment

Youth Lessons & Private Lessons available as well

Member Rehearsals: 

Monday evenings 7:00-8:00 PM 
York Live Arts and Ripley Grier Studios
Accepting new members who have reached the premier level of dance.

Sign up here!



Sundays 10:00-11:30 AM Novice/Int/Premier Levels (Minimum of 1 year dance experience)

Sundays 11:30-1:00 PM Absolute Beginner Level (No dance experience necessary! Newcomers welcome!)

Broadway Ballroom (1050 West Broadway)

Fall Session #2 - Nov 6, 13, 20 & 27, Dec 4, 11 & 18; 7 classes, $175, Max. 8 students

Winter Session - Starts Jan 2017

Pre-registration and full session commitment required. 

Member Rehearsals: 

Wednesdays 8:00-9:30 PM
Scotiabank Dance Centre
Accepting new members who have reached the premier level of dance.

Sign up here!
Quote of the season:

“We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.”

- Friedrich Nietzsche

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Shot of Scotch New York Upcoming Events!

Public Event - Nov 28: Winter's Eve Festival, Lincoln Square, New York City, NY

Public Event - Dec 3: Sinterklaas Festival & Parade, Rhinebeck, NY

Shot of Scotch Vancouver Upcoming Events!

Public Event - Oct 17-23: International Body Music Festival, Paris, France

Public Event - Nov 12 : Vancouver Fiddle Orchestra Ceilidh, Highlands United Church, 3255 Edgemont Blvd, North Vancouver, BC

Public Event - Nov 19 : St. Andrew's Ball 2016, Diamond Ballroom, 1495 West 8th Avenue, Top Floor, Vancouver BC
Copyright © Shot of Scotch 2016, All rights reserved.

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