International ceilidhs to celebrate Glasgow 2014

Ceilidhs are 'at the heart of so many Scots celebrations'. Picture: Jane Barlow
Ceilidhs are 'at the heart of so many Scots celebrations'. Picture: Jane Barlow
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A massive ceilidh is to be held across the world as part of the cultural celebration of the Commonwealth Games.

Dances will take place in Australia, Asia, Africa, Europe and the US throughout Saturday, with each country performing its own take on a traditional Scottish ceilidh.

It has been organised by the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society (RSCDS) as part of the Glasgow 2014 cultural programme and the Get Scotland Dancing project.

The first dance will be held in Auckland, New Zealand, at 7:30pm local time, and the international ceilidhs will travel west, with dances reaching Scotland 13 hours later and ending in Hawaii 24 hours after the first ceilidh call.

James Allenby, project manager at Get Scotland Dancing, said: “The world will join hands to celebrate Scottish dance and culture. We hope the dedicated Scottish country dance enthusiasts around the world enjoy the Commonwealth ceilidh and that a new generation of dancers will be inspired to try this fun and social dance.”

A series of modern dances made up by ceilidh, hip hop and Indian dancing will be performed at events in Scotland, and each ceilidh will be “unique to its location”, organisers said.

Creative Scotland chief executive Janet Archer said: “Ceilidhs are at the heart of so many celebrations across Scotland. It is perfect that this global ceilidh should be held as part of the cultural celebrations for the Commonwealth Games.

“The exciting new dances created especially for the occasion by the RSCDS along with leading dance organisations are a fantastic addition to the rich heritage of the well-known ceilidh dances, which will also be danced on Saturday night as the Commonwealth ceilidh crosses the world.”

Former Commonwealth athletes and organisers will be involved in the dances.

Despite their nations not competing in the Commonwealth Games, country dancing clubs in Colorado, South Charlotte and Hawaii in the US will take part in the event, as there was such huge demand from people with Scottish relatives and ceilidh lovers.

David Williamson, president of the RSCDS New Zealand branch, is excited to be starting the ceilidh. He said: “It will be a momentous occasion. Being the first in the world to see the light provides NZ dancers with the privileged position of opening the Commonwealth ceilidh.

“To take part in an exciting international event is a great opportunity to showcase traditional Scottish culture.”