Two north-east dance groups are poised to make the French connection when they take part in the Paris International Highland Gathering Championship.
The performers from the Dignan School of Dance in Westhill and the Lawrence Dance Academy in Aberdeen will fly out this weekend to compete in ‘The Magics’ Highland Dance Competition and the newly-created Paris event at Euro Disney.
The dancers, all of whom are aged between six and 18, will parade their talent in the annual competition, which is the biggest of its kind in Europe and is hosted by the Scottish Official Board of Highland Dancing, the world governing body.
Teacher Pam Dignan said: “We are all really excited, because this is our first time in the ‘Magics’ competition.
“The standard will be extremely high. They [the participants] will wear the traditional kilts for the Highland Dance competition and then the costumes for the choreography competition.”
Alongside ‘The Magics’ competition, the Westhill group will test their choreography skills in the Disney-themed ‘Choreo-magic’ event. This will see them wearing costumes which take their inspiration from The Lion King, Pocahontas and seven of the Disney princesses.
Using traditional highland dance steps, but set to Disney music, the performers will offer their own interpretation of a ‘Princess mash-up’.
The Westhill team of 22 will be joined by hundreds of dancers from across the world.
Organiser and owner of the Lawrence Dance Academy, Rhona Lawrence, has been one of the driving forces behind the new festival.
She explained: “This is the first year we are running the championships, because it has only been the competitions until now. We have dancers from New Zealand, Canada, France, Holland and America all taking part, but the bulk of them are from Scotland. It is a huge event.”
Having also entered a team, which, in some cases, will strive to defend titles from 2015, she added: “My girls are doing one Mulan theme and an Aristocats item for our team entries.
“There will also be a few individual entries for Frozen and some duets from Toy Story.
“It’s very exciting with this being the first Paris Championships. We have been working hard to try and gain this new title.
“The kids are just beside themselves!”