Lewis Highland Dance Society would like to say a Massive Thank You to all their Supporters

16 December 2011

Lewis Highland Dance Society would like to say a Massive Thank You to all their Supporters

First and foremost the would like to extend their sincere thanks to those based in Lewis who supported so generously the society's fundraising efforts to allow the Society to perform at Disneyland, Paris. Right from the start the whole experience has been a huge community effort from fundraising, to the music, a selection of traditional Scottish tunes, including 'Make your way to Stornoway,' which were mixed by Russell Simpson, local secondary teacher and DJ, to Janet Macdonald, who made the fantastic outfits.

 

Generous donations by local businesses, including raffle prizes and generous cheques were all very gratefully appreciated. All funds raised were contributed solely to the girls and without the local support they would have struggled to have had the opportunity of a lifetime in Disneyland Paris at the first International Gathering of Scottish Highland Dance.

 

Secondly our sincere appreciation to the parents who organised many events from April to fund-raise for the trip in November. £11,292.73 was raised in that short time. We held soup and sandwich lunches, raffles, bag-packing in the supermarkets, bingo nights and ceilidhs.

 

We came together and worked as a great team, giving up hours of time to give the dancers, aged from 8 to 14 years (plus one ole yin) this fantastic experience.

 

Lastly, huge appreciation to Lynn Maclean for her hard work in choreographing the showcase piece and for preparing the girls for an experience on stage they will never forget!

 

We would all like to commend the girls on their hard work and dedication undertaking many hours of practice, and for 'bringing it' on the day, performing a fabulous routine to make any Leodhasach proud. The dancers would like to thank all the other dancers from the society, who may not have been able to join them in Disney itself, but helped out in all the fundraising efforts. Thank you.

 

Billy Forsyth, MBE, organiser of the event was full of praise for our dancers. He commended the girls on their discipline and professionalism; commented on their staging in the way they organised themselves on stage and kept their lines, filling the whole stage; commended them for being one of the few teams to have all dancers on stage for the full allotted time (10mins), especially as some of the girls were so young; and last but by no means least, commented on showcasing the use of traditional, local materials with our Harris Tweed waistcoats.

 

The weekend itself:

We all left Lewis on Thursday 10th November at 7am, excited about the opportunity ahead. Megan Crawford and Claire Wilson represented the school at the Opening Ceremony with enthusiastic applause. The two girls performed with two representatives from each of the twenty four schools from across Scotland, Alberta and Moscow with Megan being lucky enough to dance with the famous Mickey Mouse himself! The eleven girls then prepared for their Showcase spot. Once completed they were presented with special commemorative medals in the shape of Mickey's face, by Rhona Lawrence. Shortly after that performance the girls took part in a special Disney workshop led by Disney professionals, which offered the girls another dance form, which they thoroughly enjoyed. Again it was commented on how professionally they presented themselves in their purple uniform t-shirts with the school's logo. In the evening, the thirty four strong team gathered all their energy and attended the finishing festival ceilidh. The girls, although tired, joined all the other teams and Donald Duck dancing away until the park closed!

 

The following day as the girls walked through the park to take part in Disneyland's Main Street Parade in their kilts, they were stopped often to have their photos taken with the tourists. It was described, 'as a tartan carpet constantly moving and changing...down the full length of the street,' consisting of 350-400 dancers. Teachers from across Scotland commented on how they had never seen anything like it. Everyone was extremely proud of all the dancers who took part, not just their own team. The Disney Artistic Director, who is responsible for all the shows and parades at Disneyland, and her colleague, who is responsible for all the Cultural Development programmes were 'mega-impressed' by the pre-parade and said it was 'one of the best rehearsed and performed pre-parade they had ever had, and it had drawn more visitors than any other they had put on.

 

The girls then had some time to eventually enjoy the Disneyland Park and all it had to offer. The girls had lunch at Cafe Mickey, where young and old members of the team delighted in meeting the array of Disney characters who had come to join them. They rode every ride possible, some frightening themselves for life!

 

On Monday the adventure was nearly over, just the long haul back to Lewis. On the ferry home, our Piping Dad, Peter, struck up the pipes to enthusiastically end the trip and welcome us back to Lewis, with the parents showcasing what they had learnt from their fabulous dancing daughters! Everyone is extremely proud of the girls.

 

The Lewis Highland Dancing Society would like to refer you to You Tube and their facebook page for more photos and footage of the fantastic event.

 

Some of the girls were also interviewed by BBC Alba and Radio nan Gael, which will be aired on television on the 23rd December on De a Nis at 6pm and on the radio on the 16th December at approximately 4pm.

 

ONCE AGAIN, THANK YOU FOR THE OVERWHELMING SUPPORT FROM ALL THOSE GENEROUS AND KIND PEOPLE IN LEWIS!

 

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