I step on the stage and curtsy to fix the sword before I begin. I stand up and wait for the judge to write down my number as I look down at the two swords before me, crossed perfectly. The judge nods to the bagpiper and a familiar melody fills the room. I bow to begin and recall the traditions that this dance was created upon.
While every style of dance has its own unique history and culture, I have taken a particular interest in the Scottish dancing and traditions inspired by Saint Thomas’ Episcopal School’s Scottish Arts Program. Back in Scotland, warriors would dance on a crossed set of swords before battle. If they touched or kicked the sword, it was an omen that they would lose the battle. Today, if you kick the sword, instead of losing the battle, you lose the dance. Although most dancers fear the sword, the Sword Dance has become my favorite dance because of the precision required in every step with perfect technique, all without touching the sword.
I started Scottish Highland Dance at STE when I was five years old. I danced in my first competition when I was nine, and I was both surprised and proud of myself for winning the first Sword Dance that I competed in. Winning a first-place medal at my very first competition inspired me to pursue Scottish Highland Dance more seriously.
This sport has given me the opportunity to travel all over the country for various competitions, including the National Championships, and I even got to travel to Scotland to compete in the World Championship without my parents when I was 15.
As I am nearing the end of the Sword Dance, I know that dance will always be a part of who I am.
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