As I mentioned in my previous post, there are a great many traditions in the Celtic community and the Ventura Seaside Highland Games is just one of many.
There are many events for the Celtic community of California but this event in Ventura is one of my favorites. Yesterday, I shared about watching the bagpipe bands parading and playing. Today I'll be sharing with you one of my favorite aspects of Celtic tradition: DANCING! Here are some dancers warming up before the Highland Dance competition begins...
Dancers range in age in these competitions...
In the beginning, Scottish Highland dancing was performed by men only...now 95% of all dancers are female
Dancing was my entry into the Celtic community, by learning Ceili* (pronounced kay-lee) dance at the Celtic Arts Center. Many years ago, a co-worker happened to know that I enjoy dancing and mentioned that there were FREE classes held every Monday. Since FREE is my favorite four-letter "F-word" , I went and I met some really wonderful people that are friends to this day...in fact, I met my dear boyfriend through the Celtic Arts Center! Yes, we did and now we attend the Seaside Highland Games together and watch great bands and dancers such as this brother and sister team we know from the center: Adam and Megan Kirk** dancing to local band Wicked Tinkers. Keep your eyes peeled for Adams fancy footwork! He is FAST!
(if this video doesn't work, I will be sure to fix any errors upon my return home from the games - thank you!)
There are differences in dance between the Irish and the Scottish peoples. Ceili dance is quite athletic with much jumping and the arms are held down at the sides at all times, unless you are joining hands with your partner. Scottish Country dancing is also done as a group dance but is a bit more sedate and arm movements are not quite so strict. You can read more about the Scottish styles of dance HERE.
I will be returning from the games late this evening but hope to have more to share about the festival of this year, that I will try to share sometime this week...
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Do you have any annual traditions you share with your family or loved ones that are not holiday traditions? I'd love to hear about them!
* - Ceili dance is the Irish equivalent of American Square dancing
** - A BIG thank you to Adam and Megan for allowing me to post this video of their amazing dancing skills!