Highland Highlights

By Loraine Ritchey

Bruce Campbell's Celtic World: October 2001 appears by the permission of the publisher


The elegance, grace and skills fo the Highland dancers shone through in the (SOBHD-hh) World Championship competition at Cowal Games held at the end of August. Each competitor was already a winner by qualifying for this event and the judges had the tough task of trying to separate these skilled performers.

For the third year in a row Canadian dancer Colleen Rintamaki dominated the adult section winning the JL Mackenzie trophy for the Championship. Colleen also to the Mary McHarg Quaich for best overseas dancer. Her achievement at the games speak for themselves. Colleen has reigned supreme in each of the sections she has taken part in at the (SOBHD -hh) World Championships since 1995 when she took the crown in the Juvenile section.

This year saw her 10th visit to the Gathering, which she combines with visiting the Scottish branch of her family, as her mum is originally from Glasgow. "It is nice to come back every year, see my family and also compete at Cowal" she said. "the caliber of dancing now is just amazing and it is exciting to see how far it has come"
Colleen started her dancing career at only four years old when she saw another little girl perform at a birthday party back home in Ontario. "I just thought this dancing was neat and told my mum about it , then I started having lessons" she explained ( HH note Colleen's teacher is Joy Tolev, Ontario Canada) And Colleen is also a gracious winner: after being presented with her trophies she paid tribute to the other competitors. "All the dancers work so hard and deserve to be here" added the World Champion." Even a lot of the dancers who didn't qualify should be competing because they are so good"

Many of the winners in the Highland dancing were foreign competitors, but Scottish dancer Kimberlee Couper from Dumbarton kept the flag flying when she took top honours in the Junior section of the World Championship. This was Kimberlee's first win in the World Championship, but her triumph was not a novel experience as she already tasted success in the Scottish Championships in previous years. " I am still in shock, I can't believe it she said. " I have won in the Scottish Championships since I was 13 but this is a totally different experience" And Kimberlee had the added knowledge that her fan club was cheering her on, as her family had accomapanied her to Cowal. Kimberlee will be continuing in the junior section at next year's championships to defend her title, howeve, she will be facing stiff competition as Juvenile World Champion Gillian O'Leary from South Africa will be moving up a section to the Juniors next year.

Gillian has been dancing all her life, her mum a Highland dance teacher back home in Natal, South Africa, and the young dancer says she probably had lessons when she was still a baby. Winning this section for the second year in a row Gillian revealed that she enjoyed this year's experience far more. " I felt more relaxed this year because I had nothing to prove and because I was just really enjoying dancing" she explained.

And perhaps that sense of being relaxed gave Gilliam the edge in a section that was hotly contested. She only just managed to hold off Scottish competitor Joanna Buchan of Peterhead, who lost out when scrutineers had to look at the judges points for individual dances to separate these two talented performers. However Joanna won her own honours when she took the May Falconer trophy for best overall dancer from Scotland in the Scottish Championships (HH note Joanna also won Braemar 2001 a few days later)

2001 SOBHD WORLD ADULT CHAMPIONSHIP: Full Championship Results ( Celtic World)

1st Colleen Rintamaki, Ontario,Canada

2nd Erin Rose, Ontario, Canada

3rdLindsay Reid Gargunnock, Scotland

4th Tony Cargill, Arbroath, Scotland

5th Katie Gardner, Alberta, Canada

6th Ashley Stowkowy,Alberta, Canada

Highland Fling:

1st Rintamaki, Canada: 2nd Rose, Canada, 3rd Stowkowy,Canada 4th Cargill, Scotland, 5th Gardener, Canada 6th Melissa Risebrough, Ontario

Sword Dance:

1st Rintamaki, Canada, 2nd Roser, Canada, 3rd Reid, Scotland, 4th Gardener, Canada, 5th Cargill, Scotland, 6th Dana Gamache, Ontario

Seann Truibhas

1st Rintamaki, Canada 2nd Rose, Canada, 3rd Cargill, Scotland 4th Reid, Scotland, 5th Jacqueline Deeney, Scotland 6th Michelle Nadeau, Canada.


1st Rintamaki, Canada, 2nd Reid, Scotland, 3rd Gardner, Canada, 4th Cargill, Scotland, 5th Nadeau Canada, 6th Amy Turpin, Canada.

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Loraine Ritchey, 1127.W. 4th Street, Lorain, Ohio, 44052.