Celtic Life Interview - Kathleen Currie Hall

Kathleen Currie Hall, one of the founding members of Shot of Scotch was recently interviewed and featured in magazine Celtic Life! She talks about her history in dance, involvement in Shot of Scotch, the Celtic Community, and upcoming events in BC! Check out part of the interview below;


How, when and why did you get involved with Highland dance?
We were on a family vacation in Nova Scotia, and I was about 10 years old. My parents had always loved Celtic music, and we stopped by the Gaelic College in Cape Breton. I saw highland dancing and told my parents that was what I wanted to do; I haven’t looked back since!

Are they the same reasons you continue to do it today?
The things I love about highland dancing are really too many to count. I love the precision of the steps and the effort that it takes to get even close to doing them correctly. I love the physical outlet it provides. I love the self-awareness and self-confidence that it teaches, and the skills in terms of being able to take and learn from constructive criticism. I love the challenge of setting goals and working hard to achieve them. I love the creative aspects of putting together original choreography from traditional movements. I love working with music and musicians that get your blood pumping and make you feel the need to get up and dance. But, what I really love most of all, is the camaraderie and friendship that exists among highland dancers!

When and why did you get involved with Shot of Scotch?
After grad school, my first job was in New York City. And — I know this will come as a surprise — there was no traditional highland dance studio in the city when I moved there! There was plenty of Scottish country dancing, and a Celtic dance group that incorporated a fair bit of highland dancing, but no traditional competitive or performance group. I found a few other like-minded adult highland dancers who were living in the city and wanted to have such a group to dance with (Susan Nase and Kendra Monroe), so we started Shot of Scotch in early 2011. After a couple of years, I got a job offer at UBC and moved to Vancouver. Shortly after, Susan also independently ended up moving here, and while there’s LOTS of highland dancing in Vancouver, we realized that there was still a niche for an adult, professional-level performance group, so we started up the Vancouver branch in the spring of 2013. Kendra’s still got the original NYC branch doing phenomenally well, too, so I guess we’re now an international franchise!

What is the troupe’s mandate, and where do you perform?
We focus on recruiting adult dancers who have trained to the highest level of competitive quality, but who are now interested in performance aspects of highland dancing. We do place an emphasis on Scottish Official Board-style technique, but combine that with innovative choreography and showmanship to provide customized performances for a variety of audiences. We have danced at private dinners and parties, Scottish and Celtic festivals and concerts (we love dancing with live music!), and all sorts of other community events, such as the BC Truth & Reconciliation gathering; Simon Fraser University’s Diwali Festival, where we teamed up with the Royal Bhangra Academy; Remembrance Day events, where we performed with the RCMP Division ‘E’ pipe band; a fundraiser for the BC Children’s Hospital’s creative arts program; and many others. We strive to share our passion for highland dancing with anybody and everybody!

To Read more of the interview with Kathleen visit: Celtic Life