Highland Dancing Competitions

In a six-step Highland Fling, a dancer will jump vertically 192 times (the equivalent of running a mile) on one foot at a time, while performing complicated and intricate footwork, and using the muscles from head to toe. Highland dancing is, therefore, akin to sprinting. So go run a mile with your arms above your head, on your toes, in soft shoes, while wearing 7-10 pounds of wool clothing.

Oh, and don't forget to smile ...

Click Here for the Descriptions of the Dances

Date Event Location More Info
Apr 29 FVHDA - Open Championship, Pre Championship Pre Premier Com Fort Langley, BC
Apr 29 Nova Scotia Closed Provincial Selection Meet Sydney, NS
Apr 29 OHDA Open Competition Ottawa, ON
Apr 29 Saskatoon Spring Open Competition Saskatoon, SK
Apr 29-30 Western Ontario Open Championship, Western Ontario Closed Championship & Amethyst Open Premiership & Pre-Premier Competition ON
Apr 30 FVHDA Open Competition Fort Langley, BC
Apr 30 Saskatoon Spring Open Workshop Saskatoon, SK
May 05-07 BATD Festival of Dance Halifax, NS
May 06 Alberta Closed Provincial Championship Edmonton, AB
May 06 Spring CIHDA Pre Premier/Premier Highland Competition Prince George, BC
May 06 Manitoba Provincial Selection Meet and Closed Competition Winnipeg, MB
May 06 NB Closed Selection Championship & Pre-Premier competition Moncton, NB
May 07 Alberta Open Provincial Competition Leduc, AB
May 07 Spting CIHDA Workshop Prince George, BC
May 13 Lethbridge Highland Dance Association Annual Competition Lethbridge, AB
May 13 BC Closed Championshiup Burnaby, BC
May 13 ECHDA Championship Toronto, ON
May 13 Quebec Provincial Selection Competition & MHDA May Indoor competition Pointe-Claire, QC
May 14 ECHDA Workshop Scarborough, ON
May 19 PEI Closed Canadian Championship Selection Competition Summerside, PE
May 20 Comox Valley Highland Dance Competition Cumberland, BC
May 20 SDPEI Fling in Spring Competition Summerside, PE
May 20 Queen City Open Championship and Open Competition Regina, SK
May 20-21 SDPEI Fling in Spring Workshops (Pre-premier and Premier) Summerside, PE
May 21 Victoria Highland Games & Celtic Festival Victoria, BC
May 21 Prairie Valley Premiership and Open Competition Regina, SK
May 27 Thunder Bay Highland Dance Association Spring Competition ON
May 27 Kingston Scottish Festival Kingston, ON
May 27 Saskatchewan Provincial Championship & Closed Competition Regina, SK
May 27-28 Port Hawkesbury Highland Dance Association Competition & Workshop Port Hawkesbury, NS
May 28 CHDA May Pre-Competition Pipe Workshop Calgary, AB
May 29 Lethbridge Highland Dance Association Workshop Lethbridge, AB
Jun 03 CHDA June Classic Calgary, AB
Jun 03 Ontario Closed Championship Toronto, ON
Jun 10 Grande Prairie Highland Games Grande Prairie, AB
Jun 10 Sons of Scotland Highland Dance Competition & Championship Delta, BC
Jun 10 Worthen School of Highland Dance 4th Annual Competition Dartmouth, NS
Jun 10 Georgetown Highland Games Georgetown, ON
Jun 10 OHDA Open Competition Ottawa, ON
Jun 10 QLHDA Open Competition Quill Lake, SK
Jun 10-11 Mid Canada Open Comp & Championships and Lord Selkirk Premiership Winnipeg, MB
Jun 11 Wothen School of Highland Dance Workshop Dartmouth, NS
Jun 17 Red Deer Highland Games Red Deer, AB
Jun 17 City of Vancouver Championship & Competition Coquitlam, BC
Jun 17 Moncton Highland Games and Scottish Festival Moncton, NB
Jun 17 Cobourg Highland Games Cobourg, ON
Jun 18 Edmonton Scottish Society Highland Games Edmonton, AB
Jun 24 Selkirk Highland Gathering East Selkirk, MB
Jun 25 SDGHDA Open Competition Maxville, ON
Jun 30-Jul 3 ScotDance Canada Championship Series 2017 Charlottetown, PE
Jul 01 Embro Highland Games Embro, ON
Jul 08 Kamloops Highland Games Kamloops, BC
Jul 08 Kincardine Scottish Festival and Highland Games Kincardine, ON
Jul 08 Kinmount Highland Games Kinmount, ON
Jul 08-09 Fort Edmonton Celtic Gathering Edmonton, AB
Jul 08-09 Antigonish New Scotland Open Champ/Highland Heart Open Prem/Antigonish Highland Games Antigonish, NS
Jul 15 Cambridge Scottish Festival Cambridge, ON
Jul 16 Festival of the Tartans New Glasgow Competition New Glasgow, NS
Jul 29 Reel North Highland Dance Competition Prince George, BC
Jul 29 Uxbridge Highland Games Uxbridge, ON
Jul 29-30 NB Highland Games & Maritime Open Championship Fredericton, NB
Jul 30 Reel North Highland Workshop Prince George, BC
Aug 04-05 Glengarry Highland Games Maxville, ON
Aug 05 PEI Highland Games Eldon, PE
Aug 06 Montreal Highland Games QC
Aug 12 Brooks Medieval Faire Brooks, AB
Aug 12 Cowichan Valley Dance Competition Cobble Hill, BC
Aug 12 Pugwash Gathering of the Clans Competition Pugwash, NS
Aug 12-13 Fergus Scottish Festival & Highland Games Fergus, ON
Aug 13 SDGHDA Open Competition Williamstown, ON
Aug 27 Caitlin Stewart Memorial Highland Dancing Competition Arnprior, ON
Sep 02 Calgary Highland Games AB
Sep 02 Saanich Fair Central Saanich, BC
Sep 09 Colchester Highland Games Bible Hill, NS
Sep 16 SWOHD Fall Fair Competition Embro, ON
Sep 23 Dance by the Shore Competition Bridgewater, NS
Sep 23 Anna Cann Memorial Competition Guelph, ON
Sep 23 Guelph District WOHDA Guelph, ON
Sep 23-24 Forever Highland Competition & Workshop Saint John, NB
Sep 30 SDGHDA Open Competition Avonmore, ON
Sep 30-Oct 1 VHGA 56th Annual Indoor Competition & Workshops Victoria, BC
Oct 14 Battlefords Highland Dancing Association Competition North Battleford, SK
Oct 21 MWHDA Fall Competition Port McNeill, BC
Oct 21 MHDA October Open Competition MB
Oct 21 ECHDA Competition Toronto, ON
Oct 21-22 Northeastern NB Highand Dance Competition & Workshop Miramichi, NB
Oct 22 EHDA October Pipe Practise AB
Oct 22 MWHDA Fall Workshop Port McNeill, BC
Oct 22 ECHDA Workshop Scarborough, ON
Oct 28 EHDA Open National Competition AB
Oct 28 Fall CIDHA Pre Premier/Premier Highland Competition Prince George, BC
Oct 28 Kate Shaw Memorial Competition & Workshop Trial, BC
Oct 28 Halifax Highland Fall Competition Bedford, NS
Oct 28 DRHDA Fall National Competition Ajax, ON
Oct 28-29 Canada's Capital City Open Championship & OHDA Open Competition Ottawa, ON
Oct 29 Fall CIHDA Workshop Prince George, BC
Oct 29 Halifax Highland Fall Workshop Fall River, NS
Nov 04 Antigonish Fall Competition Antigonish, NS
Nov 04 Kingston Fall Competition Kingston, ON
Nov 04 RHDA Open Competition Regina, SK
Nov 04-05 Duncan Highland Dance Competition, Premiership & Workshop Duncan, BC
Nov 05 Halton District WOHDA Burlington, ON
Nov 05 RHDA Open Workshop Regina, SK
Nov 11 HDAO Fall National Competition Maple, ON
Nov 12 CHDA November Pre-Competition Pipe Workshop Calgary, AB
Nov 12 BCHDA Winter Competiton #1 Port Coquitlam, BC
Nov 18 CHDA Open Competition AB
Nov 18 FVHDA 2016-2017 Season Competition #1 Fort Langley, BC
Nov 18 MHDA November Closed Competition Winnipeg, MB
Nov 18 Black Watch Memorial Dance Competition Oromocto, NB
Nov 18 DRHDA National and Choreography Competition Ajax, ON
Nov 18 MHDA November Indoor Competition Pointe-Claire, QC
Nov 19 EHDA November Pipe Practise AB
Nov 19 Energy Capital Premiership AB
Nov 19 Windsor District WOHDA Windsor, ON
Nov 25 Evelyn Gerrard Jones Closed Competition AB
Nov 25 St Andrew.s Day Competition Victoria, BC
Nov 25 Thunder Bay Highland Dance Association Fall Competition ON
Nov 25 River City Open Competition and Premiership Saskatoon, SK
Nov 25-26 B.A.T.D. Western Ontario Highland Dance Festival London, ON
Nov 26 River City Open Workshop Saskatoon, SK
Dec 02 Moncton Highland Games Christmas Celebration Competition Moncton, NB
Dec 02 SDGHDA Open Competition Avonmore, ON
Dec 02-03 Santa's Fling Highland Competition & Workshop Surrey, BC
Dec 03 VHDA Annual Christmas Fling Victoria, BC


The Highland Dances

The Highland Fling

The most commonly recounted history of the ‘Fling’ is that it is a dance of celebration, performed after victory in battle. Clansmen performed the dance on a small round targe, a circular shield of wood with the front covered in tough hide, and the back in deer or sheepskin. The front of the shield was decorated with brass studs and plates, and often had a long spike in the centre. Agility, nimble footwork, and strength allowed the dancer to avoid the sharp spike, which often projected five to six inches upwards. Other experts, however, suggest that a deer leaping across the moors may have motivated the creation of the dance, as the arms held like antlers, the body turning around, the feet dancing from side to side, are all reminiscent of a stag at play. A similar interpretation suggests the dance celebrates a successful stag hunt.

The Sword Dance (Ghillie Calum)

It is probable that the tune, Ghillie Calum, dates back to the days of Malcolm Canmore (Shakespeare's MacBeth). The earliest references to the *dance* are from the 19th century, and it is unlikely that it is very much older. One story is that this was a dance of victory, as the King danced over his bloody claymore (the two-handed broadsword of Scotland) and the even bloodier head of his enemy. Some say that no severed head was used and that the King danced over his own sword crossed over the sword of his enemy. Another story is that the Sword Dance was danced prior to a battle. To kick the swords was considered a bad omen for the impending battle, and the soldier would expect to be wounded. If many of the soldiers kicked their swords the chieftain of the clan would expect to lose the battle.

The Seann Triubhas

Pronounced "shawn trews", this Gaelic phrase means "old trousers". This dance is reputed to date from the rebellion of 1745 when Bonnie Prince Charlie challenged the might of England at Culloden, and lost. As a penalty, Highlanders were forbidden to wear the kilt. Seann Triubhas is a dance of celebration developed in response to the Proscription Repeal which restored to the Scots the right to wear their kilts and play the bagpipes once more. The movements of this dance clearly depict the legs defiantly shaking and shedding the hated trousers and returning to the freedom of the kilt.

Strathspey and Reels

There are several “group” dances which are performed by four dancers. The Strathspey is never danced on its own in competition and must be followed by a Reel. These dances illustrate the "set" and "travel" steps which are common in Scottish social dancing.

The Reel of Tulloch or Hullachan (performed to the tune of the same name) refers to a dance performed outside a cottage. This Reel is thought to have originated in the Churchyard, where on a cold winter's Sunday a Minister was late for his service-- parishioners tried to keep warm by clapping their hands and stamping their feet.

The National Dances

Scottish National dances are of a more modern origin and have been collected from old dance masters. In North America, National dances were not danced in competition until the 1960s. The attire worn by female dancers is called the Aboyne dress, named after the Aboyne Highland Games of Scotland where up to this day, the wearing of the kilt is strictly forbidden to women. The National dances are very similar to Highland dances, but the style is more flowing and balletic. They require a lot of skill to execute correctly, and spectators will note that often the rhythms are more complicated than in conventional Highland dancing.

Flora McDonald's Fancy

This is said to be the last dance Flora McDonald danced for Bonnie Prince Charlie before he fled overseas, but is more likely to be a dance named in her honour. Flora McDonald helped the prince escape from North Uist to Skye disguised as her maid. She emigrated to America but returned home to Skye later in life.

Scottish Lilt

The original tunes for the Lilt are 'Drops of Brandy' and 'Brose and Butter”. The Scottish Lilt is claimed by both the Hebrides and Perthshire.


The Barracks Johnny is said to be an army recruitment dance. It is danced to the tune "Wilt Thou Go to the Barracks, Johnny?" and performed outside the Barracks to entice new recruits to sign up for the army.

Village Maid

The Village Maid is a flirtatious dance allegedly first performed on a table by a young serving woman in a pub.


List compiled from a list supplied by ScotDance Canada
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