The New Zealand Academy of Highland and National Dancing

Virginia Tattoo report omitted from August newsletter - 19th Aug 2014

Unfortunately the Virginia report written by Cushla Piesse was omitted from the August newsletter.

Here is Cushla's report

Thursday 17th April had arrived and the weather around the country was not looking good. Several flight delays made us nervous that perhaps some of us would not make the 7.30pm flight out of Auckland to LA. Sure two were delayed from the top of the south and had to catch the 9.30pm flight. The trip across to our final destination of Norfolk, Virginia was a marathon. There was a 10 hour stopover in LA, onto Chicago where there was a 5 hour stopover and finally to Norfolk.
On arrival in Norfolk we went straight to Eleanor’s studio for fittings for the various costumes. The next few days were all about practising and getting the two dances learned and perfected. We also practised at the Scope Arena. This is a huge imposing cultural, entertainment, convention and sports complex and the buzz that you get when it is full and the tattoo is in full swing is amazing and unforgettable. As well as all the practises the girls always found time to go to the mall and shop. Oh gosh the shopping!!! It never stopped.
On Sunday 20th Nina and Duffy took us for a trip around the Naval Base which is the world's largest naval station. It was an extremely interesting visit and we were very lucky to have this trip as an incident at the base two weeks prior to our visit had prevented visits taking place.
A few of the days had free mornings so some of the girls did their own practise for their NZ exams and Sherilyn and I did some theory with others. On another occasion some of us took a short trip on a paddle steamer over to Portsmouth a naval shipyard. A lovely little interlude taking us across the River Elizabeth. We spent about two hours roaming the tree lined main street, had lunch and travelled back on the paddle streamer. Some of the girls performed a couple of Sailors Hornpipe steps on the deck, much to the delight of other passengers.
Monday 21st was Brenna’s birthday so after one of our many practises we celebrated with cake and a song.
One of the highlights was a visit to “Larchmont Elementary School”. The team Leaders Mariel, Nicole and Tess were in charge and did a great job. The children really loved the display and also the time spent with them afterwards learning a little slice of the Highland Fling.
Another highlight was performing in the “Hullabaloo” A stage is set up outside the scope arena and performances take place on certain days. We gave the audience a taste of our Irish dancing. It was extremely well received.
On Friday 25th April a 5.15am wake-up call was organised as we were taking part in the Anzac Day Dawn Service at the General MacArthur Memorial Hall. After the service we were invited to the museum for what they called a “Gunfire Breakfast”. Very nice it was too. As nothing had been organised for the playing of our National Anthem we made a very good job of singing it without any accompaniment. That evening at 7.30pm it was the start of all the big performances. 6,000 people filled the Scope Theatre. After Friday’s performance Sherilyn and I together with Eleanor went to a social function which was attended by many of the dignitaries attending the tattoo. We took with us three girls from the team: Chelsea, Kate and Rochelle who were great ambassadors for the Academy.
Another Social function took place on Saturday night 26th and this time we took Tess, Nicole and Mariel our wonderful team leaders.
Sunday was our last day in Virginia and our last performance was a matinee one. It was a packed out attendance but also a performance filled with mixed emotion. The girls had worked so hard and their performances had grown in quality and confidence. They had formed great relationships with the American girls and it was all about to come to a close. The American girls were so embracing of us all and there were some many wonderful moments of enjoyment and laughter in each other’s company.
We enjoyed a lovely meal together that evening at a steak house close to the hotel, a few speeches were made and farewells were full of excitement reminiscing about the wonderful time we had all experienced.

The next few days were all about Disneyland. What a blast, this was such fun. You certainly learn the art of queuing and the patience that is needed.

We also organised a bus trip which took us to downtown LA, Hollywood strip, the mansions of Beverley Hills and a drive down Sunset Boulevard. Once back from the trip we were dropped off at another mall for the final shopping spree. Was there any money left on the credit card, perhaps just a little!!!!

A word of advice from one who knows: never leave your party to go anywhere while in transit without your passport or boarding pass: never go through a revolving door when you don’t know what is on the other side. Because guess what - you can’t get back unless you stop shouting at security.

Cushla and Sherilyn.

« Back to News
The New Zealand Academy of Highland and National Dancing Inc., PO Box 5470, Palmerston North
site powered by - Turboweb :: Simple Web Manager
site powered by - Turboweb :: Simple Web Manager