Celtic Spirit's Origincs3bsmall.jpg

Celtic 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’.

The 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!


The 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.

The group's repertoire includes not only traditional steps and dances but also many specially choreographed pieces.

Musical Accompaniment

Central 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.

In 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.

Dancers Qualifications

The 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.


Deryck & 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.