by Mike Kerrane
As their children grow up, most parents sign them up for the usual slate of activities–T-ball, karate, scouts. In that regard, freshman Lindsey Craig had a much more unique childhood. Both of her parents were born in Scotland and felt strongly that Lindsey and her sister should feel a connection to that culture. So at the age of four, Lindsey began training to be a competitive Highland dancer.
Highland dancing is a traditional form of expression that pre-dates medieval Scotland. It is extremely physically demanding, as it requires participants to constantly jump and move on the balls of their feet, with their arms in the air. Dancers dress in heavy wool kilts and move in time to bagpipes, because almost everything about modern Highland dancing is meant to replicate what was performed in Scotland hundreds of years ago. One of the most interesting and recognizable forms of Highland dancing is the sword dance, which was performed on the eve of battle by Scottish soldiers. Long blades were placed on the ground, and the dancers moved around them. It was said that if a dancer touched one of the swords, he was sure to die in the subsequent battle. Today, in modern competition, touching a sword means disqualification. Lindsey performed the sword dance at the Russell Fall Coffeehouse on Sunday, November 13th, captivating the audience.
“Patiently, she explains that Highland dancing is not River-dance.”
Back home in Somers, New York, Lindsey would drive as far as two hours away to practice. Her dedication paid off: In 2005 and 2007, she represented the Eastern Region in national competitions as one of the top three dancers in her age group. Here at UD she has been unable to practice, and mostly gets confused looks when she tells people about her passion. Patiently, she explains that Highland dancing is not River-dance. Lindsey has other interests–she’s an Honors freshman environmental science major and plays intramural soccer–but she hopes to start a dance club or organization in the near future