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Dancing at the Three Towers Festival...

Updated: May 28, 2019

From Kathleen Gilbert, our fantastic Highland dancer:

"Last weekend I travelled to Bath Spa to perform in Farmborough’s All Saint Church with Ensemble Hesperi as part of the Three Towers Festival. To walk into this Medieval space filled me with a sense of awe, wondering about the lives of those who walked the same steps before me.

The dance space presented was the stone aisle between the pews. It was a decent 4’ width and most of the stones were stable. I had 1 hour to reorient each of my 5 dances into the space. I was up for the challenge! Highland can be quite a stationary form, especially as you usually return each step back to where you started. To have the freedom (and the demand) of finding places to travel and changing the line of travel multiple times in a step was a great exercise in mental flexibility.

After rehearsal, we had a restful tea before preparing for the performance. With the audience buzzing, we began the first half. My only error was wanting to dance too early! I often come in on the final section of a song – which is sometimes hard to hear as Baroque music is very repetitive, but at the same time ever-changing! While I know my section of the music, I haven’t always learned the whole song which means I have to keep my brain of hyper-speed during the performance.

When we finished the second half, we were presented with flowers and a lovely thank-you by the rector of the parish. The organizers had laid out nibbles and drink (including homemade elderflower juice). We mingled with the audience members, sharing stories and finding connections. One woman commented to me, “It was so lovely to watch because you all looked like you were enjoying yourself!” Yes – yes we were!

With 5 more performances this year, it’s lovely to watch this program develop and deepen; to see the relationships between performers grow, and to bring dance back into a music world which was originally written for dances."

Head to Kathleen's blog for more on Highland Dance:

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