Great Scot!

Great Scot!

Two local dancers have put their best foot forward, taking their talents internationally to perform against some of the top competitors in the world.

Margaret Cleves School of Dance students Abbey Freebairn and Hailee Pearce are currently in Scotland to perform at the Scottish Championships and the World Highland Dancing Qualifiers on August 24.

The pair each hope to place within the top 20 in their respective age groups at the World Highland Dancing Qualifiers to qualify for the prestigious World Highland Dancing Championships held from August 27.

They will also compete at the British Overseas Championships, Bute Highland Games, British Open Championship, Sterling Highland Games and the Commonwealth Championship.

Miss Freebairn, 18, said she has been dreaming of competing in the World Highland Dancing Championships since she started dancing at nine years old.

“I have always wanted to, but this is the first year I have actually been able to go to Scotland,” she said.

“My aim is to qualify for the worlds but as long as I am dancing my best then that is all I can hope for.

“All my family have got Scottish background and they have all really encouraged me to keep dancing and they are all very excited that I am going.

“I am very excited and nervous because it is a very big trip, but it is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Miss Freebairn will join a group of Australians competing in the competition with her mum travelling over for support on the second half of the trip.

“It is going to be good having all the people around my age too to be able to travel with and then practice with to get ready as well,” she said.

In her more than six decades of teaching Margaret Cleves School of Dance principal Margaret Riechelt said she has had only a handful of students attend the World Highland Dancing Qualifiers but none who have qualified for the World Highland Dancing Championships.

“This is the pinnacle, it is lovely to go, not many do but Abbey deserves to go, she is a very nice little dancer and works hard,” she said.

“She is one of my best dancers that I have had over 62 years.

“She is a beautiful little dancer but there are lots of dancers in Scotland.

“I think she will do well, I hope she does, if she qualifies for the world I will be very proud of her.

“She is quite strong and she is very graceful and technically very correct.

“I am excited for them to go, I think it will be wonderful.”

The young gun said she loves the feeling of being on stage and the adrenaline rush it provides.

“It is nice just being able to perform and having everyone enjoy the performances,” she said.

Miss Freebairn is heading to university next year in Adelaide but will complete her teacher’s exam later this year to “pass on her love of highland dancing to the next generation”.

“It has just been a really big part of my life for nine years, so I feel like it is really important for me to be able to share my love of it with all the other little kids,” she said.

“I love seeing them dance and seeing them look up to the ‘big girls’ and wanting to be like them and that’s really special.”

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