If while reading the title to this post you automatically read “shuffle” as “shuf–ful” and “toe-tap” as if it was only one syllable, then you must be a Highland Dancer.
These are the words a Scottish Highland Dancer sings in their head while doing the basic break in the Jig. It is in six-eight time, and it goes fast. Think of it like this; you’re walking at a normal pace, but with every step you take, the dancer does three. Hop heel heel step shuf-ful hop toe-tap hop down. I could do it in my sleep. Ask my husband… I probably have!
I started dancing when I was seven years old. It took many years of hard work to progress to where my teacher would let me learn the Jig, which is one of the more advanced dances. It immediately became my favorite dance; one I did well till age and weight made me step aside.
My mother took classes with me. She learned when she was a child, and so when she saw the advertisement for a local teacher, she signed us up. When I was twelve, she took her exams and began to teach Highland. I helped her, either working one on one with a student who might need a little extra help, or in a large class, I’d take the younger students while she took the older. In those days, we had quite a few adult students who danced for the sheer joy of it. When I turned sixteen, I took my own exams and continued to teach with my mother.
I became known in the Scottish community as “Mary Lillie’s daughter”. The name of the school is The Lillie School of Highland Dance because we intend to hand down the name through the generations. The little girl in the picture? Her middle name is Lillie for that very reason.
This post was written in response to The Red Dress Club prompt “We want to know what, from your childhood, do you still know by heart?”
The shortlink for the post is http://wp.me/p1rMYd-3V