At the age of around 3, I started by dancing in ballet, tap, modern and jazz styles. After many more years I decided to start highland dancing at around 8 years old. With being a latecomer into this style as a competitor I found that I had to work harder to reach the standard of my age group. Being with my current dance teacher Lauren Kate Meehan for a number of years now, she has pushed me to continue to reach my potential and constantly challenges me to be better. Within my competitive and non-competitive career my highlights would include coming 6th in the Scottish National Championship at Cowal Highland Gathering in 2015 after hoping to be placed for many years. Another would be when I won the Scottish Dance Teachers Alliance Adults Scholarship in 2016 after coming runner up the year before. Others would be placing 4th in the SDTA championship in 2018 and the Inverness championship in 2015. Some of my non-competitive highlights include having the opportunity to travel around the country to compete in many different places as well as being able to travel across to Canada to compete in the ScotDance Canada championship and the highland games around Ontario. I also love being able to perform as part of my dance school in the shows which are created which makes it great for getting to have fun and enjoy performing the choreography and showing off all the beautiful outfits.
I am also away to go into my 3rd Year studying at Robert Gordon University in the Applied Sport and Exercise Science Course. I love learning about everything health, exercise and sport related which links perfectly to my dancing.
As I develop my competitive and non-competitive career in highland dancing in the future, Alba Bagpipes has come as a great opportunity for me which I am super excited to be asked to be a part of and to dance alongside great friends too.
I am Iona and I am 24 years old. I have danced since the age of 4 and have always been a pupil at the Hendry Watt School of Highland Dance. My mum decided to take me along to class one day because everyone else in my primary school class was going too, it just clicked and I have never looked back. Dance has brought me many competitive successes, I started competing in championships at the age of 11. I now have 15 championship titles including 5x Aberdeen City Champion and 3x Scottish National Champion.
Dance has allowed me to see parts of the world I never would have without dance. Including Canada the USA and Australia. In 2014 I became the National Premiership Champion in Vancouver and in 2018, took home the title of Adult National Premiership Champion from Pennsylvania. One of my biggest successes so far has to be in Australia. I competed in the International Championship and was titled the dancer with the most points in the entire competition. I have now qualified for and danced in 6 World Championship Finals and have placed as high as 5th place in the Highland Fling in 2017. I have been part of the team representing North Aberdeenshire in the Scottish area finals for 6 years and on 4 of these occasions we have been the Champions. As an individual within this championship I have also been the Scottish Area Finals Adult Champion, a title I never dreamt of achieving.
Dance creates more than competitive opportunities. I am now a fully qualified teacher of Highland and in 2018 I qualified as an SOBHD Adjudicator, an achievement that I will always cherish and be very proud of. Outwith competitions I have had opportunities to dance at many events. These including the 2012 opening ceremony of the Olympics, Anniversary Opening of the Scottish Parliament and Prince William’s Order of the Thistle. I have also been delighted to be a part of the Scottish Music Parade tour within Germany in 2017 and 2018 which allows me to share my love of dance with many different cultures.
Outwith dance I studied Occupational Therapy at RGU and in 2016 graduated with a 1st class Honours Degree. I now work full time within this profession. I am very proud to have been approached to join Alba Bagpipes and hope that this brings many opportunities to share my love for dance.
I have been highland dancing for most of my life, competing since age 3 and taught by my mum and sister under the Brenda Gordon School of Dance in the small village of Cairnie, near Huntly. Highland dancing has provided me with many opportunities over the years including travelling all over Scotland and the world to take part in competitions and shows as well as allowing me to make many lasting friendships. I won my first championship title at age 11 at a one off special Millennium Championship in Edinburgh and then went on to win the Scottish Championship the following year. Other competitive highlights include winning multiple British, Scottish National, UKA, all England, North of Scotland, Red River (Canada), Commonwealth and European Championship titles. I have also been awarded the highland dancing Champion of Champions Oscar winner 5 times which is an accumulation of most championship titles for the year. My highest achievement in the Adult World Championship was winning 3rd overall in 2010. My favourite competitions are at the Highland games throughout the summer months especially those held in beautiful locations including, Skye, Glenfinnan and Morar Highland Games.
Out with competitions I have taken part in various performances across the world including the first Moscow Highland games in Russia, the Beijing International tourism festival in China, Disneyland Paris and many performances with my local pipeband, where I also play the drum, which have taken us to France, Belgium and Germany. I was honoured to be invited to perform in the Opening Ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games held in Glasgow alongside other Champion Dancers. I now thoroughly enjoy teaching dancing full time within my mother’s dancing school to over 100 pupils from all over the north east of Scotland.
When I wasn’t dancing I studied Law at Robert Gordon’s University and graduated with an honours degree in 2011, I got married in 2013 then went on to have a son in 2015 and my daughter was born in March of this year. I returned to competing at the Highland games when my daughter was only 10 weeks old and look forward to competing over the rest of the games season and hope my children will one day want to follow in my footsteps.
Dancing has been a part of my life since I was two years old. When I was six, I tried Highland Dancing for the first time at the Lindsay School of Dancing, Laurencekirk. At thirteen I moved to the Elizabeth Low School of dancing, Forfar and have went onto win many championship titles, my first Open Championship being at Meadowbank Stadium in 2011. I have been very fortunate to qualify into the World Championship Final ten years in a row. In 2010, I came fifth in the Junior World Championship and the following year, I was sixth in the same category. My main competitive highlight was gaining fifth overall in the Adult World Championship in 2014. I have danced for Moray, Kincardine and Deeside at the Scottish Area Finals for thirteen years and in 2012, I won the Adult Section. Dancing has brought me opportunities I never would have dreamed of. I have been able to travel to many countries around the World for competitive and non-competitive performances. In 2018 I was able to fulfill one of my life long dreams. I travelled to Australia to compete in the Champion of Champions. I went onto win this event along with the national competition, which was a day I will never forget. One of my non-competitive highlights was being able to join the Scottish Music Parade for three weeks in 2017 to tour Germany. This opened my eyes to just how much Scottish culture is appreciated in different parts of the world. In 2018 I joined the cast of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo to participate with the Tattoo Dance Company in the Norwegian Military Tattoo. This was a new experience for me, and I hope to be included in many more tattoos in the future. I was also selected to be part of STV’s Specsavers bumper advert which was shown throughout 2015 and 2016. When I am not dancing, I studied Product Design at University of Dundee where I graduated with a First-Class Honours degree. I have since started my own business as an Artist, which is a very therapeutic and self driven area of work.
I am honored to be a part of Alba Bagpipes. I will be able to showcase what I love to do, surrounding myself with people who enjoy immersing with Scottish Culture.