The New Zealand Academy of Highland and National Dancing

Conference Report 2020

This was a year of firsts for many the Academy being no exception.  As you know we were scheduled to host our Annual Conference, Dance Development Course in Queenstown on the weekend of 18-20 September, however due to the country still being at Alert Level 2 changes were required.  There was not a stone left unturned by both the organising committee and Executive in looking at how we might make it work, but we made the difficult and correct decision to postpone our Conference and Dance Development Course until 2021 and continue only with Solo Seal which we considered was manageable.
The firsts continued—first time for Solo Seal in Queenstown, for each of our four candidates their fist time entering Solo Seal, and for one of our Examiners their first time
examining and the first time we have had to limit our spectators and look for creative ways of providing entertainment between each of the dances.
Our four candidates were all from the South Island making the organisation a little
easier—Dawn Anderson, Brittany Moore, Brooke Smith and Annabel Watts.  It wasn’t an easy time for the candidates with so much uncertainty going on around them, but they are to be congratulated for the manner in which they accepted the challenge. 
Their presentation and performances were a credit to them and their teachers.  We gave the candidates the first choice of who they would like to be in the audience to support them and the remaining tickets were then allocated on request.
The Official Piper was Jordan Caig from Invercargill.  Jordan is a pleasure to work with and the dancers and their teachers appreciated the support he gave to each of them.  Our examining panel was Adele Swanson (Convenor), Cushla Piesse and Kimberley Mavor.  Our Emergency Examiner was Elizabeth Smith.  They all spoke very highly of the venue and the organisation.
We would normally have the Dance Company perform for us during the evening, but this was not to be.  The Southland team rose to the challenge and were very innovative to fill the void.  With the assistance of a very capable technician, a large screen was used to showcase the Lockdown Toilet Roll Video—Better When We’re Dancing, which involved nearly 60 dancers of all ages from both Otago and Southlland showcasing the regions spectacular scenery.  Another highlight was a 2004 video of the Royal Nova Scotia Tattoo featuring some well-known Southland dancers with Southland’s Pipeworkz.  A real find.  We had one ‘in person’ item from Alex Glover who performed his Pirate dance which was choreographed by his mum Sandra .  This had been prepared for the Virtual competition and finally Alex was able to perform it in person.
Executive were represented by Jackie McBride and myself.  Jackie backstage doing an excellent job supporting the candidates —thank you Jackie, and myself front of house. 
Our sincere thanks to Kirsty McNicol for the way she compered the evening—true southern hospitality.
Executive are indebted to the enthusiastic organising team who made the evening memorable in so many ways.  With only one member living in Queenstown, and others having to travel from all over the region, it required a huge organisational effort to make this a success, and it was.  We can all look forward to 2021 when it can be done all over again.

Thank you Southland Team.
The New Zealand Academy of Highland and National Dancing Inc., PO Box 5470, Palmerston North
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