Wow, I can’t believe I’ve been so slack.  We have had a very full first term for 2014 including Australian Commonwealth Championship, Newcastle Championship, Thistles Championship, The Queensland Championships and the first ever Brisbane Boys College Dancing Competition.

Amy Jimmieson danced well at Australian Commonwealth and Thistles Championship and continues to make me proud of her in her improvement in overall technique and strength.

Courtnie McGrath-Kerr placed 3rd in the Queensland Championship and 6th in the Thistles Championship.  Well done Courtnie in a difficult section.

Laura Anderson placed 3rd in the Australian Commonwealth Championship, 2nd in the Newcastle Championship and 3rd in the Thistles Championship.  Well done Laura, I am very impressed with how hard you are working at not only your dancing, but your strength training in between.

Hannah Watts danced in her first Premier competitions this year including her first Pre-Championship and her first Championship.  Hannah you are doing a great job and continuing to improve.  Your energy and enthusiasm is something I would love to see in all my dancers.  Well done.

Sarah Ives continues to dance well and place well in each and every competition this year and it won’t be long before she moves into Intermediate level.  Well done Sarah and keep up the good work.

Zoe Coogan has also competed this year and continues to improve.  Your technique and strength is improving each week Zoe, just keep on working hard and you will be in Intermediate before you know it.  Well done.

Aroha has competed this year in a very difficult beginners section and has shown she is capable of dancing beautifully.  Aroha has been working hard at home and at lessons and is improving quickly.  Well done.

New students this year include Kira Mellilieu, Hollie Knight, Emily Eyles, Eloise Krause, Bruktawit Mulugetta, and Eva Blackwell.  Welcome to Cairngorm Dancers and St. Joseph Highland Dancers.

Now for the rest of this year.  Champion of Champions is the biggest Championship in Australia and is held only every second year and in a different state each time.  This time it’s Victoria’s turn to host the Championships.  We have 4 students going to the Championships this year and we wish them all well.  Amy Jimmieson, Courtnie McGrath-Kerr, Hannah Watts and Laura Anderson.  All these dancers will be competing in the Championships on the Saturday but only Amy, Courtnie and Laura are eligible to compete in the Championship on Sunday as it is restricted to those who have been placed 1st, 2nd or 3rd in a Championship.  So just being able to enter this Championship is an achievement to be proud of.  Well done ladies and my only hope is that you dance to the best of your ability and that the adjudicators place you fairly.  If you dance to the best of your ability regardless of results I will be a very proud teacher.

Also during Easter Zoe Coogan will be travelling to McLean to dance at the McLean Gathering.  So please wish her well in her endeavours to get another square marked on her registration card, and oh yeah, maybe a medal or two.  Good Luck, Dance your best and forget about the rest.

Term 2 is looming fast and will see us starting to work on exam work, so please have a look in your folders that you were given at the beginning of the year to see if your exam sheet is there.  If it’s not, please let me know and I’ll let you have another one.  I will be working on theory, dances and demonstration over the coming months so that you are all well prepared for your exams in term 3.  Please note that it is not compulsory for dancers to sit exams each year and there may come a time when I suggest that it would be in the best interests of the dancer to have a year off exams as some exams are a big jump in knowledge.  If you have any concerns, please email me.

Competition entries are being produced by Mrs (Val) Watt, so if you have any queries regarding entries, please contact her on  If you have not received a list of the competitions for this year and would like to, please contact Mrs Watt.  If you have any queries regarding competitions, please contact Mrs Watt.  For those who do not have costumes, I have studio costumes that can be hired for each competition for a small fee of $10.  If you would like to purchase a costume for your child, please contact either myself or Mrs Watt first, as the costumes the children were are specific and there are certain kilts that are not suitable for Highland Dancing.  Pumps (dancing shoes) can be purchased from me for $65, although the price has recently increased and I will need to start passing on that cost to students as soon as my current stock is depleted.

Exams this year will be held on the last week of school and the first weekend of the school holidays.  If you are at St. Joseph’s, but would prefer your child not to come out of class to sit an exam, you are welcome to have your child sit their exam at my place on either the Saturday or the Sunday.  I need to have 3 dancers in each exam to keep costs a a minimum.  The lower exams will be $25 per exam.  More advanced exams will increase in cost as the time needed to conduct the exams increases.  I will provide the costs of these for those sitting the more advanced exams upon request, or in term 3 fees.

If you child is currently dancing at St. Joseph’s and is only doing lessons at lunch time, I would like to encourage you to consider allowing them to attend classes either before or after school hours if you wish to see them progress.  Many students are finding friends pressure them not to attend during lunch time as they wish to play with their friends.  This is normal and I cannot go and physically collect each and every child.  Many of these children love coming to dancing but are torn between being with their friends and dancing.  I can also arrange for lessons with some older students in the area on days when I am not in Bracken Ridge if this helps.  Small class situations are preferable and will produce much better results for each and every child.

If you child is having only one lesson per week, I would like to encourage you to consider a second lesson each week as this will assist your child in being able to retain what they learn.  Please contact me for more information via email.

Sausage Sizzles – We have conducted two fundraises so far this year, the first being a sausage sizzle at Masters at Morayfield.  Unfortunately this netted us little more than $200 for the entire day’s work.  The second Sausage Sizzle was at Bunnings North Lakes.  This was much better finanically and we raised just over $1,000.  Thank you to McDonald’s at Bracken Ridge for donating the onions and also to all those who gave up their time to help man the BBQ.  Our next BBQ will not be until October, so I’ll forward more information on this as the time gets closer.

Accounts will be forwarded out shortly.  Please ensure you register your child for 2014.  You will need to fill in a registration form and if you would like new photos on your child’s registration card, you must give two identical passport size photos with the completed form to Mrs Watt.  These forms can be downloaded from the SQRCHDI website, or obtained from Mrs Watt.

Information  It would be appreciated if everyone could let me know whether they can attend competitions, displays, fundraising events, or if they wish to let me know anything at all, that this be done via email or via a note placed in an envelope.  As you can appreciate, when I am teaching a dancing lesson, my focus is on my students and although I may take in something that is said to me at the time, I don’t have time to sit down and write it down in my diary or make a note of it.  By the end of the day I don’t always recall everything that is said to me.  This does not mean that you cannot speak to me at all, and if possible I will always try to talk to you and provide you with answers to any questions you may have, but my priority is to my students and in trying to give them the best lesson possible.

Paying Money  Please ensure that any money that is given to me is put into an envelope with the student’s name on it and what the money is for.  If I am teaching and money is given to me and I don’t have anything to say where it has come from, and then I continue to teach, I sometimes forget who has given me money.  So please put it in an envelope with your child’s name on it.  If you are writing out a cheque, please make it out to T. Riding, as there is no bank account for Cairngorm Dancers.

Important dates to write in your diary/calendar for 2014:


Highland Dancing Term Dates for 2014

Term 1 – 9 weeks -

Term 2 – 11 weeks

Term 3 – 11 weeks

Term 4 – 11 weeks

Public Holidays


Lessons will not be held on the following Days due to Seminar’s; Workshops, Competitions etc.