Dunedin Dancers

Our 26th International Folk Dance Festival ran from July 6th - 9th 2023

The Public Performances:

The festival was a success! We were extremely lucky with the weather, and our visiting groups were great.
We performed at the venues listed below:

(see the leaflet)

Dunedin at Stirling Castle

Friday 7th July: EDINBURGH, The Grassmarket, 1:00-2:30 pm

Saturday 8th July: EDINBURGH, Ross Band stand, Princes Street Gardens, 1:30-3:00 pm

Saturday 8th July: EDINBURGH, Festival Showcase & Ceilidh,

Sunday 9th July: STIRLING CASTLE Queen Anne Gardens
    Parade 1:30pm, Performance 2:00-3:30pm

General Information

The Hosting groups:

The Edinburgh University New Scotland Country Dance Society (EUNSCDS or New Scotland to its friends) was formed in 1947 by students at the University of Edinburgh as the New Scotland Society to promote the revived interest in the culture of Scotland.
It soon became clear that what most members were interested in was the dancing, so in 1951 it was renamed the New Scotland Country Dance Society.
Its fortunes and numbers have waxed and waned over the years, but it has remained an active group ever since and many partnerships and life-long friendships have been formed there (plenty of whom you can meet among the Dunedin members at the Festival).
The emphasis has always been on Scottish dancing, particularly Scottish Country and Highland dancing, and the members frequently perform in and around Edinburgh and travel to competitions across the country.
Not just in Scotland, either - within the first decade, New Scotland members were travelling to perform abroad, and this tradition, which spurred the formation of Dunedin Dancers, has continued to this day. Several members joined Dunedin last year on the trip to Schwalenberg.
Dunedin Dancers was formed by members of New Scotland in 1970 who wanted to return the favour to groups they had visited at Folk Festivals around Europe.
The first Dunedin Festival was held in 1971, and it has been held every two years since (with the exception of 2021 which was cancelled by Covid), hosting two to three visiting groups each time. 2023 is the 26th Dunedin Folk Dance Festival.
There is more to Dunedin than the Festival, though.
Members enjoy all forms of Scottish dancing - predominantly Scottish Country dancing, but also Ceilidh dancing, Highland and Scottish Step.
We get together to dance socially every Wednesday evening, to a mixture of live music and CDs, and we run several social dances through the year as well as the Dunedin Assembly - our annual formal ball.
While many members are only interested in dancing socially - and Scottish Country dancing is primarily a social dance form - there are also a core who like to perform to a greater or lesser extent, as you will see, and we number talented musicians in our ranks, who this year are led by member Angharad Kenway.
We also still travel to Festivals abroad - our most recent trip was last year to the Trachtenfest
at Schwalenberg in Germany, and we make a return trip to Hoogstraten at the end of July.

Our guests in 2023:

Vendeliersgilde en tamboerkorps Gelmelzwaaiers from Hoogstraten
(Flanders region, Belgium)

"Vendelzwaaien" - loosely translated as Flag Waving - is an old traditional artform originating from the medieval guilds and town militias, and still practiced in Flanders.
Large flags with weighted handles are used in a stunning, synchronised display, often to the accompaniment of their drum corps.
In the fifties and later years of relative calm, new life was injected into flag-waving by the Catholic Rural Youth Movement (KLJ), including the local KLJ in 1958. Some members were so taken with flag waving that they continued independently after leaving, and in 1972 the 'Vendelierdgilde Gelmelzwaaiers' was founded.
They have performed at home and abroad ever since, including around Europe and over to the USA.
In 1997, a youth section was started, and a drum band was formed within the group in 1999.
Flag-waving with large flags (2m by 1,8 m) is only known in the north of Belgium (Flanders), the south of the Netherlands and in some parts of Germany near the borders with the Netherlands and Belgium. Traditionally, the flags figured the colours and emblems of the property owner, the patron saint, or the town or the region to which the group belonged. Nowadays, flags in modern groups have all kinds of colours adapted to contemporary flag waving. Gelmelzwaaiers Hoogstraten last visited the Dunedin Festival in 2001; we visited them in 1996 and will be returning later this month

Gelmelzwaaiers, Hoogstraten
Agrupación Folklórica CELME from Pontevedra
(Galicia, Spain)

Agrupación Folklórica Celme was founded in 1984 by Enrique Domínguez Lino, to promote Galician dances and music, and to investigate Galician folklore and bring back to life traditions, music and dances that have been forgotten, along with customs, dresses and related tools.
They have performed around Europe, including last visiting the Dunedin Festival in 2011.
The group covers a broad range of dances, falling into three main categories:
  1. Guild and religious dances, with stick, ribbon and arch dances the most iconic
  2. Traditional dances, including the muiñeira (Galician jig), and a variety of jotas, ribeiranas, panderetadas, ruadas, carballesas and golpes from all over Galicia. These were danced by country people during their local celebrations, or in the town squares after the day's work was finished.
  3. Dances from the upper class parties, where very valuable hand-made dresses were worn.
Agrupación Folklórica Celme are renowned for their rich variety of traditional costumes, thanks to their artisan tailors.
They wear three different kinds of costume in their performances:
  1. Working and mountain clothes - plain and rustic, matched with leather and wood clogs as worn by farmers in their daily work.
  2. Sailor costumes.
  3. Gala dress - by far the most elaborate, as worn by the upper classes. The group has thirty gala costumes, each from a different Galician region.
Dancers and musicians from Celme joined us for the Dunedin Festival in 1995 and 2011, and we visited them in Pontevedra in August 1996.
Agrupación Folklórica CELME, Pontevedra

Thanks for Funding!

Dunedin Dancers is an amateur group financed mainly through money raised from our own membership, from the income of our demonstration dancing, and a few donations from well wishers.

  This year we have been fortunate to secure a small grant from Tasgadh (Small grants for Traditional Arts), a fund devolved from Creative Scotland and managed by Fèisean nan Gàidheal.
  We would be very grateful if you would support or continue to support our festival by making a donation online using a credit or debit card via PayPal.

Scottish Charity Number SC011896

Website Design by Peter, Neil, Jan & Graham