Students of Liela Cooper and Hali Duncan’s School of Highland Dance will be competing in Kimberley in April.

Highland Dance competition bigger and better this year

Every year for the past 40 years, Kimberley has hosted a highland dance competition in April. The event is usually held at Selkirk Secondary.

This year, the 40th anniversary, plans are to make everything just a little bit bigger and better.

Liela Cooper has been a part of every single one of those competitions, and she says the plan this year is to turn the competition into a reunion as well. To that end, Cooper is reaching out to alumni.

“We are putting the word out to all the dancers who have competed over the years,” she said. “We’d love for them to attend the reunion.”

The event will be held at the Kimberley Conference Centre on Saturday, April 21.

“We’re having it at the conference centre this year, because we have added extras. “It’s a competition for sure, there will be more ‘super special’ categories, a little more prizes prize money for the older girls. There will be a choreography competition as well.”

This is a one-day competition and Cooper is expecting dancers from Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge, Kamloops, Kelowna, Trail, Nelson, Castlegar, Banff, Spokane and Coeur d’Alene.

“I think we’ll have about 150 competitors. We’ll have pipers and two judges from Vancouver,” Cooper said.

And to top it all off, there will be ceilidh on Saturday night, also at the conference centre.

Performing at the ceilidh will be Phil Hood with special guests, Lennan Delaney and Jared Albright

“They play a mix of East Coast Kitchen party music as well as the 40 “jukebox standard” songs,” Cooper said. “We were really lucky to book them. They are in town to play a concert at Centre 64 on Friday, and gave us a super deal to play for the ceilidh. So we’ll have really good live music.”

Also at the the ceilidh the winners of the choreography contest will perform, and Cooper is putting together a slide show of the competition through the years.

“We’ve got pictures that go back all the way to the first competition,” she said.

Cooper is looking for any local business or service groups that might like to sponsor medals or a trophy, or any other type of donation.

“It’s bigger this year, so it’s more expensive,” she said. “We have had donations of $250 each from the Pipe Band, Symphony on the Mountain, Kimberley Arts Council and Tourism Kimberley. We are thrilled about that.”

If you would like to make a donation, call Liela at 250-427-5725.

Tickets for the Ceilidh are $15 at the door, kids 6 and under free and of course one and all can come up and watch the competition.

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