Highland Opportunities: Where Can Dance Take You?

Highland Dancer Wanderlust

Where Can You Go With Highland Dance?

As we’ve discussed in our previous posts, highland dance offers participants countless opportunities. From competitions, to job opportunities, and everything in between – there’s something for everyone.

One of our favourite opportunities to take advantage of through Highland Dance is traveling. While highland dance has its roots in Scottish history, it’s grown to be celebrated around the globe. Read on to learn about where you can go with highland dance!

Lindsay, Sarah, and Hannah backstage at SDCCS 2022 in Regina, Saskatchewan

Where is Highland Dance Popular?

Having originated in Scotland, highland dance is still very popular there and in the rest of the UK. Highland dance has spread throughout the world, bringing Scottish culture and tradition along with it. 

The Royal Scottish Official Board of Highland Dance (RSOBHD), the primary global governing board within Highland dance, includes representation from the other countries where highland dance has become popular. These include Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United States. And these are not the only places where highland dance is taught or performed!

In the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the US, you’ll find RSOBHD-sanctioned events, certified instructors, and qualified judges. RSOBHD-registered dancers are eligible to compete in RSOBHD-sanctioned events in any of these regions!

Lindsay performing with the International Tattoo Dance Team in Belgium in 2022

Why We Travel


As RSOBHD-registered dancers are eligible to compete all around the world, competitions are great cause for travel. While dancers are in no way obligated to ever travel beyond their studios, competitive dancers often acquire a taste for travel.

Within Canada, the ScotDance Canada Championship Series (SDCCS) often presents the opportunity for travel. SDCCS moves to different cities around the country each year (recent years have included Calgary, Vancouver, Moncton, London ON, Charlottetown, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Montreal, and Regina!), and attracts dancers from all over Canada and around the world.

The prestigious World Highland Dance Championships are held each year at the Cowal Highland Gathering in Scotland. Cowal attracts dancers from around the globe looking to earn the title of World Champion. 

SDCCS and Worlds are just two of many reasons to travel for competition. Keep reading to hear about some of the cool places our dancers have travelled to for competition!


It’s not just competitive dancers who travel around for dance! Performances, and specifically tattoos offer amazing travel experiences – even to countries where Highland dance isn’t extremely popular.

One of the best ways to travel performing Highland dance is through tattoos. Tattoos are large-scale performance events featuring bands, performers, and highland dancing which can last from a few days up to a month of dancing. 

Along with fabulous destinations, traveling to perform in tattoos provides dancers with an amazing opportunity to form friendships with dancers from around the world.

Nicole striking a pose in Banff National Park, 2018

Where Our Studio Has Been

Saorsa Studio’s instructors, older Premier dancers, and friends of the studio have had some pretty amazing travel experiences. Here’s some of our favourite places we’ve been.


In 2022, Alyssa travelled to Colorado, USA, to perform in the Estes Park International Tattoo as a member of the International Tattoo Highland Dance Team. 

“Colorado was super cool and had its unique challenges! There was only a few days of rehearsals before the shows started and we were dancing at really high elevations. On top of that we were in an outdoor dirt ring, and had some really quick changes. Some of the best experiences for dance are also the most challenging!”

Alyssa performing with the International Tattoo Highland Dance Team in Colorado in 2022


Nicole has traveled a lot for dance – here’s just a few of the places that stick out in her memory

In 2022, Nicole travelled to Belgium to perform at the Taptoe Belgie in Oostende, Belgium, with the International Tattoo Highland Dance Team. You can read her full account of the experience on our blog, but here’s a bit of what she had to say:

“I would recommend that all dancers do a Tattoo at least once in their life, and get to live this challenging but exciting opportunity! I was so inspired while I was there, and I loved making connections with people from around the world. 

It served as a reminder that this challenge and camaraderie is what dancing is all about. Tattoos are unique to Highland dance, and I’m grateful to be a part of this amazing community that provides opportunities to dancers in all stages of their dancing career!”

In addition to her experience in Belgium, some of Nicole’s most memorable destinations include:

  • Attending the Loon Mountain Highland Games in New Hampshire, USA
  • Attending a championship in Portrush, Northern Ireland
  • Attending the World Pipe Band Championships and RSOBHD Championship in Glasgow, Scotland
  • Competing many years at the Commonwealth Championship
  • Competing many years at Cowal Highland Gathering in Dunoon, Scotland
  • Attending many Highland Games in Scotland throughout the summer! In Scotland in August, there may be a Highland Games every day! Check out the 2023 Scottish Highland Games Calendar
  • Attending the World Highland Dance Conference in Las Vegas, USA
Nicole performing with the International Tattoo Highland Dance Team in Belgium, 2022


One of Callum’s favourite places she’s travelled is to Basel, Switzerland to perform in the Basel Tattoo

You can read a bit about Callum’s incredible experience in Basel in her Highland Dancer Diary! Here’s a sneak peak:

Callum in Basel, 2017


Shanachie co-director Lindsay has been a traveled a LOT for dance! Here’s a few of her highlights:

  • Traveling to Moscow, Russia in 2016 and 2017 to perform at the Spasskaya Tower Military Tattoo, along with various outreach performances and parades throughout the city
  • Traveling to Oostende and Lommel in Belgium for the Taptoe Belgie (the same one Nicole also attended!). This Tattoo was performed in one city and then the entire show moved to the second city the next weekend
  • Going to Berlin, Germany to perform in the Berlin Tattoo. This performance took place during the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall!
“All of the locals loved seeing highland because it was so unique, and every time we performed with a pipeband they were just loving it!” – Lindsay
  • Dancing in the Edinburgh Military Tattoo in Scotland, plus additional performances in Dundee, Stirling, and Glasgow in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the end of World War 1
  • Competing in the World Championship in Dunoon at the Cowal Highland Gathering
  • Traveling to compete at SDCCS in St. Catherine’s Winnipeg (twice!), Antigonish, Calgary, London, Toronto, Montreal, Saskatoon, and Regina as a New Brunswick provincial representative
  • Traveling to New Hampshire for the New England Open Championship

“I’ve met dancers from across Canada, the US, UK, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand – I’m still in touch with many of them and we have still remained friends even though some have moved on from dance.” – Lindsay

Lindsay in Moscow, 2017


“The coolest place I’ve traveled is to Disney World in Orlando to perform in one of the parks! I went with the Echoes of New Brunswick group, and it was a fantastic experience.

Another place I’ve traveled to a few times and really loved was to the Loon Mountain Highland Games in New Hampshire. Dancing there in the cold morning mountain air is so magical”. 

Kate performing with Echoes of New Brunswick in Disney World, 2016


Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

Last year, Scout traveled to Edinburgh, Scotland, to dance in their prestigious tattoo. We highly recommend reading the full post about her experience, but here’s a taste of what she had to say:

“One piece of advice I would give to anyone dancing in their first tattoo is to take advantage of the social opportunities. In other words, don’t forget to have fun!

 It can be easy to get caught up in the long rehearsal days or in worrying about the show, but it is so important to have fun with the rest of the cast and to enjoy your time with the dance company.”

Tattoo Dancers (L-R): Fiona Sherrington, Lauren Fourney, and Scout McKee on the Castle Esplanade, 2022

Amazing Events on our Bucket Lists

  • Attend the annual South Africa Championship
  • Attend the Queen Mary Championship (held on board the historic Queen Mary boat in Long Beach, California, USA!)
  • Attend the Champion of Champions competition held in Tasmania

And so many more!

Looking for an excuse to travel?

Get Involved in Highland Dance Today

The opportunity to travel is just one of many doors highland dance can open

If you’re ready to see what Highland dance can do for you, jump into our studio today! At Saorsa Studio, we’re passionate about encouraging our dancers to seize all of the opportunities available to them. 

Your first class is on us! Get started today✨⬇️

Nicole seeing Scout perform in the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, 2022

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