Spirit’s origins stem from the performances put together for International
Folk Festivals in Europe where each dance had to break through the
language barriers and each piece had to tell its own story. The
group was formally put together in 1996 after Deryck and Gareth
were approached by Paul Basset, of Glasgow’s Mayfest festival to
bring Highland Dancing to the theatre in a ‘new and exciting way’.
name of the group reflects the energy of the dance whilst maintaining
the Scottish link. The dances contain traditional movements and
rhythms combined in a non-traditional way and have included running
split leaps and sword fights!
drive behind the formation of the group was to bring together aspects
from the traditional forms of Scottish (and in particular Highland)
dancing and to present it in a new and exciting way. This did not
mean ignoring the traditional dances but instead changed the focus
to ensure that the character and emotions so deeply rooted in Scottish
dance are brought to the forefront of every performance, thus achieving
wider appeal than a more traditional approach might accomplish.
group's repertoire includes not only traditional steps and dances
but also many specially choreographed pieces.
to the process of putting together a performance, and in particular
when creating new pieces, is the boys' understanding of the inseparable
link between music and dance. Great attention is given to ensuring
that at all times the dance movements and music compliment one another.
In this respect the Celtic Spirit Dance Group has benefited to an
almost immeasurable extent through its connections with the Scottish
band 'The Cutting Edge', of which Deryck is a key member.
order to achieve this aim and to overcome common constraints surrounding
choreographed Highland Dancing the group commissioned a new musical
score from Deryck’s Celtic rock band ‘The Cutting Edge’. The band
employed everything from traditional bag pipes and accordions to
screeching guitars and 48 bar drum solos to attain a thoroughly
modern Scottish sound, complementing every mood change and helping
to visibly narrate the feeling within the dance.
members of the Celtic Spirit Dance Group are chosen for not on the
basis of their competitive achievements but more importantly of
their ability to perform, although it is worthy of note that the
original team boasted 11 world and numerous champion of champion
titles. Celtic Spirit boasts many of the finest, most qualified
Highland Dancers in the world. Aside from the boys’ personal achievements
the members of the original group boast another World Championship
title, 2 Champion of Champion titles and numerous local and regional
Championships. The dancers have taken
part in competitions and exhibitions throughout the 5 continents
– from Los Angeles to New York, from Egypt to Zambia, France, Belgium,
Italy, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.
& Gareth are proud of their Scottish roots - this pride is no
more evident than in the dancers' costumes. Tartan forms the basis
for all of the outfits, which include current interpretation of
traditional Scottish dress together with a new look for the girls
of tight fitting body suits and mini-kilts which bring a modern
but modestly sexy look to the group. Also featuring in the routines
is a dance involving flags, which are used by all the dancers not
only as a backdrop but also as a main feature in an interesting
and exciting way.