10 Reasons Highland Dancing Will Change Your Life
When I was young, my grandfather would take me to the local Highland Games to watch the pipe bands, the heavy events, and mostly importantly to me, the highland dancing competitions.
I was so mesmerized by the dancing, I loved their outfits (mixed emotions about wool kilts in 30-degree summer heat now), and I knew it was something I wanted to try. After asking around to find out who the local teacher was, I started Highland Dancing when I was 7 years old and never looked back.
I can say with confidence that my participation in Highland Dance shaped me into the person I am today, and taught me so much more than simply a traditional form of dance.
Because of that, I’ve summarized 10 reasons Highland Dancing will change your life:
1. You'll Learn How To Work Independently
Highland Dance is a solo sport, which means that the only person you’re showing up for at practice is yourself.
While dance classes will provide the most amazing connections and social opportunities, the at-home practicing required of Highland Dancers is such a valuable life skill that stays with you forever.
Dancers learn to take feedback given at class and take it home to practice without external supervision until they’ve improved.
It’s always exciting to watch dancers develop this skill and watch them take their dace success into their own hands.
2. Accepting Feedback On Your Performance Will Become Second Nature
Highland Dance is a very technical form of dance. So much so, that we have full textbooks dedicated to outlining how the positions, movements and steps should look. Because of this, dance classes are often focused on what you can improve on to align your dancing with the expectations of the textbooks.
Accepting feedback becomes basically second nature as a Highland Dancer. You learn very quickly that you’re given feedback because someone cares about wants you to improve.
We’ll often have dancers asking for even MORE feedback so they have lots to work on at home.
3. You'll Be Cheering Everyone On, Even Your Biggest Competitors!
At competitions, you’ll hear dancers wishing each other “good luck!” as they head up to the stage, or “well done!” as dancers receive their awards.
Dancers quickly learn the importance of supporting their peers, and gaining lifelong friendships with dancers from around the world in the process.
4. You'll Be Able To Accept Disappointment With Grace
Not every competition ends in the results a dancer is hoping for. Yet you’ll find Highland Dancers smiling and cheering on their peers on stage, even in the face of disappointment.
While this is a skill that’s learned over time and with competitive experience, dancers will learn how to take motivation from the disappointment and work hard towards their goals to improve more for next time.
5. You'll Learn To Dream Big & Set Goals
A list of goals that was in constant view in my practice space was essential when I was growing up as a competitive dancer, and it’s something I’ve carried with me in all aspects of life.
Dance taught me to dream big, and break my big goals down into small, actionable items that I can work towards each day. This is something I’ve applied to my education, my career, and personal goals as well.
It’s a topic that gets discussed a lot at our studio, and it will set your dancer up for success!
6. Your Time Management Skills Will Be On Point
Highland Dance keeps you busy! A dedicated dancer will find themselves at class at least a couple times a week, plus all the at home practicing, competitions and workshops they’re planning to attend.
From a young age, dancers learn how to prioritize their tasks and make time for practicing dance to review movements, steps and dances.
7. You'll Become Connected With A Worldwide Community
There are very few sports that introduce you to people from all over the world! The one thing that is so exciting about Highland Dancing is that you meet some of the best people from far and wide.
I find myself reaching out to fellow young dance professionals to talk about successes and struggles, reaching out to experience professionals for advice, and connecting with people I’ve met over the years just to catch up and say hello!
Wherever you go in the world, it’s likely you’re not too far from a highland dance community looking to welcome you in ☺
8. You'll Have Opportunities To Develop Your Leadership Skills (Even At A Young Age)
You can obtain your first professional dance certification at age 16, which allows you to lead your own dance classes. Can you think of a better job at that age?!
Not only do dancers get to work in an area they’re passionate about, but they’re developing so many valuable life skills.
They’re responsible for planning and leading dance classes, communicating with dancers of all ages, and ensuring the success and development of those they’re working with.
I’ve witnessed so many dancers gain experience in teaching dance classes and developing into fantastic leaders!
9. You Can Audition For Performance Opportunities Around The World
Performing in front of an audience to showcase your love of dance is such an amazing feeling, and keeps many dancers involved for years after they finish competing!
There’s something about getting up in front of a crowd that is clapping, smiling and even singing along while you perform that you can’t replicate.
Something even more unique to Highland Dance is the opportunity to perform in Military Tattoos! These are hosted around the world (Scotland, Switzerland, Belgium, and more!) where a group of dancers from around the world are selected for the performance team and will temporarily live and perform in a new place.
Dancers are guaranteed to make lifelong connections and have the opportunity to perform in front of some of the biggest crowds in their careers!
10. You'll Develop A Strong Work Ethic
Last, but certainly not least, dancers will develop a strong work ethic. This is a life skill we focus on the developing most at our studio.
Dancers are taught early on that the work put in is more important that the results obtained in a competition, which teaches them to strive to be their personal best.
We talk a lot about improving personal performances at each event instead of focusing on the outcomes of the dance judges that day.
I can probably name 20 more reasons why Highland Dance will change your life in all the best ways, but I’ll stop at 10 for now.
Getting involved with this traditional dance style is one of the best things I’ve ever done, and working with the next generation of Highland Dancers is so inspiring.
They’ll be the next world leaders someday, I know it!