Robert Burns Day is a time when people get together to celebrate the life of the acclaimed 18th century Scottish poet with haggis, scotch and speeches. The day of celebration is Jan. 25, though events are usually held throughout the weekend on which it falls.
Highland dancing is an aspect of Robbie Burns Day that Holly MacDonald-Bent knows all about. MacDonald-Bent has been teaching highland dancing locally for 25 years and says there’s no better feeling for a highland dancer than performing for those who know and appreciate Scottish culture.
“It’s wonderful. It’s a better feeling than competing,” she said. “When you have a crowd that is wanting to see you dance, it makes you dance all the more and it makes you want to dance.”
MacDonald-Bent said she has performed at many Robbie Burns Day events and over the years has prepared her students at Holly MacDonald-Bent School of Dance to perform at the events as well.
“The dancers find it less stressful (than competitions), but I find it more stressful just because you don’t know what to expect whereas, in a competition, you know what to expect,” she said.
MacDonald said generally dancers perform traditional highland dances such as the fling at Robbie Burns Day events. She said highland dancing adds to a Burns Day dinner because it brings tradition, tartan and entertainment to the event.