Billy Elliot’s got nothing on Lachlan Duguid. The Inverness school boy is taking Highland dancing transatlantic in a stunning New Yorker film.
Lachlan auditioned for a part in Robbie Lawrence’s Blue Bonnets, which celebrates the return of Highland dancing after quarantine.
The atmospheric short film features in the New Yorker online magazine.
Lachlan appears at 10.25, dressed in his ghillie brogues, tartan socks and Bishop Eden’s school top. Hands casually stuffed in pockets, he chats to the camera about the joys of dancing.
“I feel it’s similar to some sports – like some dancers dance things like ballet – but it’s quite different in a good way,” he says. “You can do Highland dancing and still do any other sport. I like it.”
Lachlan says his Mum introduced him to Highland dancing, and both parents help him with it at home. He officially trains with Claire Bryce School of Highland Dancing.
Childhood captured through Highland Dancing
Blue Bonnets is the first film for Scottish photographer Robbie Lawrence. The concept: to capture a cultural tradition as it breaks back out into the real world following a lockdown of Zoom classes.
The film is beautifully textured, with running water and rustling grasses overlaid by the dull thud of dance shoes on gym floors.
There’s just enough Highland scenery to make it authentic, without tipping into the sentimental. In one great shot, Lachlan dangles from the front of an Inverness Scouts hall – orange school shirt set against peeling green paint.
A moment of childish freedom and adventure juxtaposed with the discipline of an historic, formal dance.
It’s this ‘disarming ease’ that caught Lawrence’s imagination.
He told the New Yorker: “I was quite interested in the idea of practice and imagining that period of childhood when you’re waiting around in old church halls, kind of bored, waiting for your parents to pick you up.”
For Lachlan, it’s simply for the love of dance.
“I just love the exercise, seeing my friends,” he says. “I love dancing in general. It’s fun and it gives you lots of good skills.”
Inverness boy dreams big
Lachlan had to audition for his part in the film, and says he got a lot out of the experience.
“Everyone was really nice and I had lots of fun filming it,” he says. “I enjoyed being part of the film because it gave me the chance to show that boys can be part of Highland dancing too. It’s not just for girls.
“It was a great opportunity and I think it has made me more confident,” he adds.
Lachlan’s headteacher, Allison Howie, says the school is “so proud.”
“It is a fantastic achievement for him and it is also lovely to see the young people of the Highlands have their voice heard internationally,” says Ms Howie.
“At Bishop Eden’s we encourage all our pupils to follow their passions and always celebrate their successes.
“We hope Lachlan will continue to follow his passion and we will continue to support his talents.”