The New Zealand Academy of Highland and National Dancing

Virginia tattoo day 11 - 27th Apr 2018

Virginia tattoo day 11

Today was another early start at 6:30am for our 2nd morning show for more school kids, this was just the start of a very long day ahead. We had a bit of free time for shopping of course but headed back quickly for a performance by the dance company at a local church. We performed rhythm & blue and blood on the loch which everyone throughly enjoyed. This was also the place of the Highland Dance Company Of NZ’s 2nd ever meeting which is conveniently held every 4 Years in Virginia. Then straight afterwards we all danced at the hullabaloo festival outside the scope arena, this was a taster of the acts in the tattoo. The dances we performed included rhythm & blue, wintry Sunday reel, blood on the loch and our flash mob which were all hits with the crowds. Shortly after this we had yet another quick change before the opening night of the Tattoo in front of a full house. Being the most important night of the Tattoo the pressure was on to put on the perfect performance. Everyone exceeded expectations and the entire show was spectacular. Energy levels were high and we all celebrated by dancing amongst some of the other international performers who we have now made friends with. Hopefully the video from tonight is the one you will all see at home, but for now we are off to bed for another full on day tomorrow.

Over and out 
Britney Moore & Imogen Grayson

Virginia tattoo day 10 - 26th Apr 2018

This morning we woke up bright and early to get ready for the day. We jumped into the vans at half past 8 to travel to the Scope Arena to perform our first show. The arena was filled with around 6000 school kids. We performed our ‘Here’s to the hero’s’ item and our ‘Swing of the kilts’ item. Shortly after, we walked around the arena to the back of the stage where we had to march on with all the other performers to our finale where we stand still smiling for 16 minutes. There was a big ‘thud’ as the conductor slipped off his block after one of the songs, which gave us a bit of a fright. After all our performing half of the group took off to a school to perform the ‘Rhythm in blue’ dance and a few others, while the rest of us relaxed our legs. When they came back about 6 of us went to the Nauticus Naval Museum which has a big ship. All us others went to a mall and most of us came back with a few shopping bags in our hands. At 5 o’clock we hopped in the vans that took us to dinner at Baxter’s where we are dinner. We were so tired when we got home so we all went to our rooms and got ready for bed.
Ariana & Mhairi

Virginia dancers visit local hospital - 25th Apr 2018

Virginia dancers visit local hospital Today four of our dancers visited the CHKD - Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters. The hospital passed along their thanks and said patients and their families were raving about the performance, especially since it was streamed in every quarantined room as well. You all brightened their day, 

Virginia Tattoo day 9 - 25th Apr 2018

Virginia Tattoo day 9 This morning, a group of dancers performed at CHKD (a children's hospital). It was a huge success, with Leighton's sword dance being one of the favourite performances. While these dancers were hard at work, the rest of us got a much appreciated sleep in with some of us getting the chance to do more washing.
Around mid day we met up for a practise at the nice dance studio across from Scope, before heading to Scope Arena for final touch ups and a dress rehearsal performance. The dances are coming together nicely and we finally got to wear our new costumes, which look beautiful. After a long day of dancing sleep is in need, as we have an early start tomorrow. 
 Leah & Emma

Virginia day 8 - 23rd Apr 2018

Virginia day 8 Today was a real taste of what we’ve all actually travelled here to do. An early rise this morning (brightened by some goodie bags from Duffy and Nina) meant we were straight into rehearsals by 9am, overlooked by the Bulldog mural in the Norfolk Academy school gym. We spent a couple of hours in this massive gym spacing our 2 main tattoo items and polishing the multitude of lines and formations involved in these dances. We were then joined by the pipes and drums which will be joining us on stage for our items. We all really enjoyed dancing to live music despite how loud it was!
Our morning rehearsal was wrapped up by a tasty chicken salad lunch topped off with some amazing fresh strawberries for dessert! Left with a couple of free hours, we jumped into the vans and headed for the outlet malls. The fact that we could barely fit all the shopping into the vans after a mere 1 and a half hours shopping proved that this team really knows how to shop!!
Our Sunday afternoon was spent at the Scope arena - a massive domed arena where will be performing most days from now on. We had an evening of rehearsals under the lights broken up by a dinner break. We left the arena tonight excited about our upcoming performances knowing that they are coming together really well (a couple of sneak peak photos below).
Isabel and Elyssa

Virginia Tattoo day 7 - 22nd Apr 2018

Virginia Tattoo day 7

Today we all got down to business, with a good night sleep the night before and a much longer sleep in, we all met in our hotel lobby at 9:30am after filling up from our buffet breakfast. Afterwards it was all hands on starting our practise in the car park of our hotel. One of our highland numbers, “Swing of the Kilts,” was our first dance to rehearse which needed a few touch ups. Because we had been given numerous coupon cards valid at various food venues, we grabbed a bite to eat at 1:30pm to re-fuel for the rest of the long day rehearsing in the sun. We then moved onto rehearsing our opening number of the International Tattoo, “Here’s to the Hero’s” - an Anzac number - until it was up to Robyn and Julies high standard of perfection. Throughout the day we had to battle the sun and after many members of the teams faces were turning red, we decided to have a quick break to slip, slop, slap and wrap up in sunscreen and Yankees caps to proceed on with our rehearsal. With three quarters of the team wearing their Yankees caps it was easy to say we were definitely getting behind and supporting the New York Baseball team. However we weren’t complaining as the heat was a nice change compared to New York’s wintry weather. We also had a great view of Virginia Beach from the roof top car park. Because we got the dance nailed quickly we then finished up at 4:30pm. The team was then knackered so the decision was made to spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing in our hotel rooms and resting up. For dinner it was fend for yourself, which then left us with many options, some of which included going across the road to our hotel for dinner, salads and sandwiches at Tropical Smoothie, and various Italian and pizza restaurants. After dinner we had a quick team meeting in the lobby to sort out plans for the next day. From there we all headed back to our rooms for a much needed early night. 

Over and out Zoe and Jayna :)

Virginia tattoo day 6 - 21st Apr 2018

Virginia tattoo day 6 Our first and only night in Washington DC was finally a sleep in for most of us as the plan for going to museums was delayed with them not opening till 10am. The spy museum however opened at 9am and a small group decided to venture out earlier than others. Most of us met up outside the American National History Museum at 10am and spent around an hour exploring inside. We then split into three groups with each group taking on different museums. The Smithsonian museums that we could choose from were the National Air and Space museum, the National Gallery of Art, the National Portrait gallery and the American Art Museum. They were generally all rushed visits as everyone had to be back at the hotel by 1.00pm in time to catch our bus. Some people and parents decided to miss out completely on museums and instead explore more of the city and shop. 
We then had a 4 and a half hour bus ride to our final destination Norfolk Virginia! We stopped halfway at a gas station at the 2 and a half hour mark for a bathroom stop and some food for those who missed out earlier. The food purchased was very American and sugary (but extremely delicious). The second half of the journey consisted of some more loud games of heads up and lots of singing. After arriving at 6.30pm we quickly dropped our bags in our rooms and headed over for some dinner at Shoreline Grill. Although there was not a large variety of choices, the food was still very yum. After a quick debrief we went back to our rooms to organise, unpack and have an early night for the first full day of rehearsal tomorrow. 
Kate and Sammi


Virginia Tattoo day 5 - 20th Apr 2018

Virginia Tattoo day 5 Today we said haere ra to New York and headed off first thing on the bus down to Washington DC. Some of the younger girls got a wee fright with how quickly their bags had become so heavy! Shout out to Phil and Jonny for being champs and tossing them on and off for us!
After a busy few days the team dropped like flies and many naps were had. After a a quick refuel instead of resting as instructed the team were lead astray by the seniors in a very noisy game of Heads Up. The Leadership Team also took the time to rally up team points from our NY stint (points are given/deducted for things that are said or done on the trip)
Team Angus -21.3
Team Chantelle -28.5
Team Harriet -30.3
Team Lewis -37
Team Leighton +10.5
Robyn and Julie + parents -56
On arrival to Washington we picked up Terry our awesome tour guide who showed us to the numerous historical sites that Washington has to offer. First up was Arlington Cemetery where we saw a change of the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier as well as the Kennedy family's final resting place. From here we then went through the historical main strip -the National Mall. A highlight of the afternoon was performing a fling in front of the White House -where we later learnt President Trump was inside at the time.
After many selfies and group pics we called it a day and had a pizza night in our hotel dining room -it's safe to say some of us are feeling the need to get dancing again after all of the American food!
An early night for us dancers as we prepare for another day of sightseeing and travelling down to Virginia Beach
Chantelle and Aine 

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