The New Zealand Academy of Highland and National Dancing

Virgina Tattoo Final Report - 1st May 2012

As we sit in LA airport on the final leg of our journey home and reflect on this inaugural trip for the Dance Company, we are immensely proud of this team of inspiring young dancers.

They have represented our Academy superbly. We received wonderful feedback on the quality of our performances , both for the Tattoo items and especially for our own choreographed pieces in the Hullabaloo Fest.

Offstage our dancers bonded together as a team supporting each other and formed new friendships with the American, Australian and Canadian dancers. Eleanor Unger was complimentary of the Company and both Eleanor and Scott Jackson, the Tattoo Director , have indicated we will definitely be receiving an invitation to return to Virginia in the future.

PS Slightly stressful check-in this morning at Norfolk Airport..... a count up revealed a total of 55 new pairs of shoes purchased which resulted in quite a bit of re-packing and juggling of luggage to avoid excess baggage charges !!!!

Robyn Simmons & Julie Hawke

Virginia Tattoo Trip Day 8 - 29th Apr 2012

lot out of us! But we're still going strong!

We started out with the matinee performance at the scope for the main tattoo. Although many of us were stiff and sore, we managed to pull it together for an awesome performance. The crowds over here really get into it and walking out onto the smokey stage with that amount of cheering really gave us the boost to put on a spectacular performance(if we may be so modest!)

Then it was a small amount of sushi for "lunch" (most of us got seconds later) and off to the Nauticus museum. (check it out at ). The absolute highlight of the trip had to be getting a picture on the boat that was docked there and of course shopping in the gift shop.

And then it as right back to the scope. This time however we performed outside on a (very!) small stage for the hullabaloo festival. We performed our own "Dancing Feet" and "the Thistle and the Fern" dances to a great response.

Finally it was back to scope for the evening performance. We were all knackered by the time we got to the finale; "the lone bagpiper playing Amazing Grace brought tears to my eyes. It was absolutely beautiful" - Isabelle.

And so with a late night we must say good night xx

-Niamh Blackman & Isabelle Merwood

Virginia Tattoo Trip Day 6 - 27th Apr 2012

After an early morning wake up call with dance practice commencing at 7.30am a small group of us travelled to Barnes and Nobel – a large bookstore - where three of the younger members (Lewis, Nicole and Danielle) performed a fling, jig and sword. The only slight hitch was that the stage was so tiny it could only just fit on a sword!!! After a bit of downtime we had our last rehearsal which to be quite honest was a bit of a disaster but the later dress rehearsal (which was filmed) was a lot more successful with only a few issues including forgetting one of the swords and having a few technological issues with the lanterns. All in all it was a great day and we are looking forward to the matinee performance tomorrow.

Danielle Pope & Nicole Harvey

Virginia Tattoo Trip Day 7 - 27th Apr 2012

Virginia Tattoo Trip Day 7 Today we had our first performance with an almost-full arena. It was packed with mostly young children on school trips who were very excited to see the show and got into the tattoo spirit. The performances were very successful, and were described as 'extraordinary' by the head director, to which our resposnse was 'are you sure it was us he was watching?'

We had our first and only trip to wal-mart and the dollar store, which were both very cheap, but we still managed to spend up big. After we made our purchases of the day, lots of us had to buy a small suitcase as a carry on bag to hold all of our shopping from today and other days too.

We got home at 5.30 tonight which was a change to the late nights we have had previously. We are going to have a spa and watch a movie in the small theatre in the hotel, before having an early night which is well needed.

Brittany Carlton and Madison Fleming

PS from Julie and Robyn

Hi to all the parents, family and Academy friends at home.....Just thought we would let you know everyone is fit and well and having a fantastic time. There is a great team atmosphere amongst the dancers....they are supportive and encouraging each other and laughing lots !

The two dances they have learnt since we arrived they perform with the American, Canadian and Australian dancers. The first dance called "51st Highlanders" they perform in kilts with the 51st Scottish Regiment Pipe Band accompanying them. It is a wonderful, colourful spectacle with part of the dance performed in groups of 8 over the swords , four of our girls also dance on targes outside the four males and finishes with a stirring Reel section with the full 32 dancers in front of the pipers.

The second dance "Compass Rose" is a hornpipe and jig , again danced using swords with the dancers holding lanterns and dressed in red, white and blue nautical style costumes. This dance is performed to the massed pipes and drums. (140 pipers ...the acoustics in Scope Arena are first-class so the sound is amazing)

Tomorrow we also perform our own two choreographies "The Thistle and the Fern" and "NZ Dancing Feet" as part of the Hullabaloo Festival which takes place outside on the plaza of Scope Arena between shows. We will have a 10.30am matinee performance , 5.30pm Hullabaloo Festival followed by a 7.30pm evening performance....will be a very big day ! Hence the instruction to all the dancers for an early night tonight !

Virginia Tattoo Trip Day 4 - 25th Apr 2012

Virginia Tattoo Trip Day 4 We started off our day with a two hour rehearsal in our hotel overlooking the beautiful Virginia Beach. Once our two NZ company dances were polished, the team practised Tuteramai to perform at the schools we are visiting tomorrow.Proud to say we’re a bit of a multi-talented team. We also met our newest member of the team, Daniel Carr,who is a world champion. After our rehearsal came the moment we were ALL waiting for…SHOPPING!!!!! We visited two shopping malls where most of the team members put a serious dent in their budgets for the trip.After filling an entire car with shopping bags we were very proud in the fact that we probably bumped up the Virginia Beach economy for the day.
In the evening we had our first rehearsal at Scope Arena, the venue for the tattoo. This gave us another chance to run through our items with the pipe bands and tidy up our entrances and exits. Practicing with them made it all so real and exciting, and the team can’t wait for their first performance in a couple of days. The day finished with a massive show and tell of our shopping in the hotel lobby with the team deciding that leopard skin and nautical stripes were a definite trend this season.

ChantelleShatford and Jessica Findlay

Virginia Tattoo Trip Day 5 - 25th Apr 2012

Today we got the chance to visit two elementary (primary) schools where Kate and Sara spoke, Daniel (the Canadian) piped and the rest of the team performed various dances. Trying to be a part of the professional team that we are, Lewis drops his shileleigh as he steps back for the bow, the rest of the performances went off without a hitch! As the girls performed the fling we got the wee kids up to teach them the basics, starting with the simple side back front back we had the whole assembly doing the first step of the fling in no time. As our big finale we stunned the audience with our angelic voices through the words of tutiramaingaiwi. The kids were full of questions from the colour of our kilts to what the ‘sticking out of the tongue’ (pukana) means at the end of the song. Off to the next place we went …the MALL, and again shopped up a storm, then finally back to the Scope where we spent 4hours practising the walk off the stage e.g. the finale, trying to match our straight lines to the perfectly disciplined military groups! Looking forward to tomorrow  (more mall time!)
Sarah Gluyas and Nicole Harding

Virginia Tattoo Trip Day 2 - 23rd Apr 2012

Last night we caught up with two girls that we’d be dancing with, Jamie from Canada and Elizabeth from Florida aka “Ariel from Disney World”. It was a great start to the day for Jayden and Lewis; they missed their alarm and didn’t wake up till three minutes before the meeting time. First on the agenda was a public rehearsal in a car park beside the main street. The next stop was “Pocahontas Pancakes” a huge waffle/pancake house where we had brunch and celebrated Isabelle’s 15th Birthday. After embarrassing her suitably with our rendition of Happy Birthday, we cruised the souvenir shops in Virginia Beach and foundlive hermit crabs, dead starfish, dried blowfish and baby sharks in jars for sale :(Our favourite clowns/drivers Duffy and Sparkles came and picked us up from town and drove us to the “Home of the Bulldogs”, a local high school’s gym where we would be rehearsing for the next few days. After meeting up with the dancers from Australia and Virginia and our choreographer, Mrs Unger, we rehearsed from 1 till 9 to learn the two new dances that we’ll be performing in the tattoo. Before heading back the hotel, Duffy and Nina shouted us all cupcakes and Duffy embarrassed Isabelle again with his very entertaining birthday song and dance. We then returned to the hotel to get some rest before another big day of rehearsals tomorrow.

Lana Donaldson & Sam Tait

Virginia Tattoo Trip Day 3 - 23rd Apr 2012

Last night the whole company had to move rooms to the other wing of the hotel, during this process 6 peoples bags went missing. After a few hours of searching and knocking on every dancer’s door they were eventually found safely locked away in ”storage”. Two of our male members who have already been mentioned in the blog also managed to lock themselves out of their newly acquainted room, obviously a key issue.

Following a fantastic warm and sunny day yesterday, we woke up to our first day of rain. Not much fun when you are staying at a beach! Hopefully this dreadful weather will be gone by tomorrow. An early start was required for rehearsal at 9am, unlike the pipe bands who luckily didn’t have to arrive until lunch time. We rehearsed with our fellow dancers from Australia, Canada and the USA till 8pm. During this time we were lucky enough to have time to practice our NZ Company dances for the hullabaloo festival. This will allow us to have time for shopping tomorrow afternoon(we will hold Robyn and Julie to this!)

During rehearsal time we also practiced with the pipe bands. There were hundreds of pipers and drummers which was very LOUD. After a 12 hour day of non stop dancing (kind of, not really) we headed back to the hotel for a well deserved spa and eagerly await our shopping trip to Wall mart and the mall tomorrow.

Emma Denney and Sarah Robson

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