• Lorna Hamilton

Sword And Thistle Highland Dance


Dancers performing at a previous Robbie Burns Night. Photo Vermilion Voice

Have you always been interested in Scottish dance but didn’t know where to learn it? The Sword and Thistle Highland Dancers (formerly known as the Mannville Vermilion Highland Dancers) is currently accepting registration for the 2022-23 dance year.

The club has been in existence for over 25 years and recently changed its name to reflect the communities represented in the club.

“Our dancers were not just from Mannville or Vermilion anymore. The Sword and Thistle Dancers is a name that connects the dancers who come to practices in Irma and Vermilion. Dance families come to us from Sedgewick, Myrnam, Mannville, Irma, Vermilion, and Lloydminster,” said Danielle Eriksen, incoming president of the club.

Eriksen went on to explain that anyone aged 3 years to adult can join their club and no experience is required.

“Three and four year olds can join our Wee Lassies with their parents. We offer classes for adult dancers who have graduated high school or parents and community members who want to try out a new style of exercise!” said Eriksen.

As for costumes, Eriksen commented that while most of the dancers purchase their kilts and Aboyne skirts themselves the club does have several kilts that can be borrowed.

“Many older dancers are also willing to sell their dresses to younger dancers as they move up,” explained Eriksen.

The Sword and Thistle do not have any fundraising and puts together two performances each year; the Robbie Burns night in Vermilion in January is a great family night and the Spring Fling at Lakeland College in April.

If you are interested in learning this ancient dance that has been known to be performed originally over swords and shields before Scottish battles you can register and learn more at https://rb.gy/fvnlye or find them on Facebook.

Classes range in price from $225 - $325 for year-long classes. If dancers want to try it out for six weeks, classes are between $45 -$80 depending on the age level.

“If dancers decide to continue after 6 weeks for the whole season, they can pay the rest of the amount owing for the yearly fees,” said Eriksen.

Classes in Irma are at Albert Hall which is halfway between Irma and Mannville on Monday nights and classes in Vermilion are in the JR Robson small gym on Wednesday nights.

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