Pupils show off their dancing skills at festival

Duns P2F class dance an interpretaton of the water cycle
 at the Berwickshire primary schools dance festival.
Duns P2F class dance an interpretaton of the water cycle at the Berwickshire primary schools dance festival.

Staff and pupils from nine local primary schools gathered at the Volunteer Hall in Duns last week for the annual Berwickshire Dance Festival.

Over 350 children performed at the event, displaying their learning in either Scottish Country Dance or creative dance.

Judges Rhona Burchick and Pat Harrower were pleased to see a high turnout of pupils performing Scottish Country Dances again this year. A set of eight P5/6/7 girls from Ayton Primary performed a tricky reel, The Old Man of Storr, while square dance The Barmkin provided the challenge for pupils from Cockburnspath and Greenlaw Primary Schools.

Jig to the Music was the third dance to feature throughout the morning, pupils from Chirnside and Swinton Primaries showing off their learning and performing with enthusiasm.

The standard of creative dances was consistently excellent throughout the festival. Many classes had drawn inspiration from their topic work, powerfully conveying themes such as the Highland Clearances, Refugees and the Eyemouth Disaster. Duns P3F depicted the Water Cycle with confidence and smiling faces, while silent movies and Star Wars were skilfully performed and hugely enjoyed by an engrossed audience.

The event is highly valued by local school staff and pupils. Louise Sanders, headteacher at Ayton and Reston Primary Schools said: “The Berwickshire Dance Festival is a wonderful opportunity for children from all Berwickshire schools to showcase their dances and for them to see the work of other schools which is fantastic.”

In the words of A Curriculum for Excellence, pupils should experience the energy and excitement of performing for audiences and being part of an audience for other people’s performances, and the animated discussions of pupils back in school after the Dance Festival show just what a big contribution it makes to fulfilling this expectation and getting children enthusiastic about the arts.