Highland dancers hoping third time will be a charm



Queenstown Highland dancing teacher Carleen Dalton’s hoping it’ll be third time lucky.

The Southland Teachers & Judges Association member, and primary organiser of the 2021 New Zealand Academy of High land and National Dancing conference — to have been held in the resort this week — says she’s ‘‘gutted’’ to have to pull pin on the conference, for the second consecutive year.

Dalton’s been working on the three-day event, which was to have included Solo Seal exams and a performance from the NZ Dance Company, since 2018.







She got venues and accommodation sorted ahead of the 2020 conference, cancelled due to Covid, and managed to re-book them all for this year’s conference, which has now also been scuppered for the same reason.

‘‘We had such excellent numbers this year — it was all about uncertainty around levels.

‘‘The chances of all NZ being able to attend was looking slimmer as each day went by.’’

Dalton says there were about 140 delegates confirmed for the conference, and a total of 245 attending a dinner and dance, which had been planned for this Saturday night, which would have included presentations to judges, teachers and winners of service awards.

Now, she’s working on pencilling in dates for the Queenstown conference for2022, which will still include open-to-the-public Solo Seal exams.

‘‘Obviously, it’s been exhausting for everyone involved … but I think what’s come out of it … we are determined to get it off the ground next year.

‘‘We’ve had amazing support from the community, and from [the association].

‘‘We’ll get there … it’s the determination of the Scots — maybe it’ll be bigger and better next year.’’