Some of the older dancers who have since graduated high school, travelled to Scotland to dance. The newest generation of students wanted to go South, so South they went. Nine Princeton Highland Dancers put in extra practice time, extra time fundraising and extra time learning a new choreography routine so that they would show up at their latest out-of-country competition prepared to dance their hearts out and show the rest of the world the quality of dancer a small town in Southern B.C. produced.
Under teachers Janet Banks and Amy Liberatore, the nine girls, flew to Honolulu, Hawaii for an experience they wouldn’t soon forget. The dancers had two days of competition in a breathtaking setting. With the Pacific Ocean across the road and Diamond Head Crater in the background, the scenery was definitely one-of-a-kind. On Day One, April 2, the girls set up in Kapiolani Park. Nerves were high. First dancer from Princeton, B.C., Canada was also the littlest. Payton Cranston did an outstanding job of starting the day off right. By days end, she had earned a third in her Pas de Basques, a third in her Sword, a third in her Pas de Basque and Highcuts and a fourth in her Fling.
For Clancy Coulter, nerves were especially high. She was dancing in her first competition ever. Coulter placed eighth in the Lilt, Flora and Reel and seventh in the Trophy Fling. Clancy only started dancing about a year ago and put on an excellent game face against the competitors in her category who were all straight from Scotland except herself and one girl from Australia. For a first competition, she did very well.
Next up were two dancers in the Novice 12 and under category. Taylor White and Shelby Maynard took to the stage. Shelby Maynard collected two third place medals. One in the Lilt and one in the Flora. She placed fourth in the Trophy Fling and fifth in the Reel. Nine year old Taylor White placed fifth in the Flora, and sixth in the Lilt and Trophy Fling.
Carmen Brodie competed in the Novice 13 and over category, along with Layne Robillard and Destiny Earle. Layne Robillard collected first place in the Lilt, third in the Flora, and fifth in the Reel and Trophy Fling. Destiny Earle placed third in the Reel and fourth in the Lilt and Flora. Carmen Brodie came in fourth in the Trophy Fling, fifth in the Flora, and sixth in the Lilt and Reel.
The two most experienced dancers, Taylor Robillard and Amy Liberatore competed in the Premier 16 and over. Amy Liberatore placed third in the Sword, fourth in the Fling, Seann Tiubhas and Reel. Taylor Robillard placed fifth in the Sword, Seann Triubhas and Reel and sixth in the Fling.
Sunday was Day Two of the Hawaiian Highland Games. Payton Crantston was back at it again. She placed second in the Pas de Basques and Highcuts and fourth in the Fling, Sword and Pas de Basques.
Clancy Coulter placed eighth in her Fling, Sword and Seann Truibhas in the Beginner category and plans to stay dancing. “Clancy loves dancing,” said mom Lisa. “Clancy did really well for her first competition,” said Banks. “She picked a hard competition for her first one, but danced all the way through all her dances and did a really good job.”
Taylor White was looking for that elusive first stamp for her Novice card. When the organizer called the Sword names, White was ecstatic to place third earning that stamp. She placed fifth in the Seann Triubhas and sixth in the Fling.
Shelby Maynard was thrilled when she was called up for first place in her Sword. She placed fourth in her Fling and Seann Triubhas.
Carmen Brodie had a really good second day. She placed second in her Seann Triubhas, and third in her Fling and Sword. Layne Robillard earned her second first in the Sword. Destiny Earle placed sixth in her Seann Triubhas and seventh in her Fling.
Amy Liberatore and Taylor Robillard had another day of solid performances. Liberatore placed fourth in the Village Maid, Blue Bonnets, Earl of Errol and Hornpipe. Robillard placed fifth in Blue Bonnets and Hornpipe and sixth in Village Maid. The final dance for the girls was the Group Choreography and after two long days they pulled off a fourth place finish, with all the Princeton Dancers except Payton Cranston performing. The girls finished fourth after their dance “Celtic Dream.”
Medals with Hawaiian Scottish Highland Gathering were packed away along with beautiful wooden turtles. It was a weekend the girls will cherish along with their mementos. “I was proud of all the girls,” said Banks.
The Princeton Highland Dancers give a special thank-you to the community for supporting them. All the girls give a special thank-you to their teachers Janet and Amy for pushing them to excel and organizing a trip of a lifetime. Thank-you everyone.