Shall we dance in Ullapool?

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EVEN if you have never danced a step and think you have two left feet, a new dance Weekend in Ullapool aims to get you up and having the time of your life.

Taking place on March Friday 9 and Saturday 10, the Ullapool Dance Weekend is providing ‘come and try’ classes in a variety of dances styles that have rarely been available in the area. There are also professional performances, with the bill being topped by Jackin’ The Box, a Hip-Hop Dance company from Edinburgh, as well as the award-winning Latin dance professional Noel Hernandes from Cuba.

The project is a culmination of a 17 year dream for local woman Lydia Fiddes, and Ullapool Dance Ltd has joined with Eden Court Theatre, Inverness; Ross-shire professional company Plan B; Edinburgh’s Dance Base and many local teachers, including tutors from Stornoway and Skye, to deliver the pilot event.

Lydia said: “As my children grew I imagined classes for parents and toddlers, for teenagers and for others like myself in this scattered community who felt isolated or shy and wanted an opportunity to try dance in a welcoming atmosphere with other beginners. “I also saw dance as a fun way to get fit as an alternative to exercise classes or sport.”

The result is a programme that aims to reach everyone, including classes such as ‘Ages 0-5 and their Carers; Mature Movers; classes for people of limited mobility to show that dancing does not require people to be able-bodied or even able to stand, as well as introductory sessions including Bollywood, Musical Theatre, Scottish Stepdance, Afro-Cuban Spirit Dance, Music Video style routines and much more.

The Ullapool Dance Weekend maybe a first, but Lydia also has clear long-term aims for the company, as she expanded: “We want to hold a larger Dance Festival in March next year based loosely on the successful Feis Rois music model.

“We’re aiming to bring visitors from far and wide and extend the tourist season as a benefit. We’re also looking at how we can ensure regular dance tuition throughout the area and will be looking for sponsorship for travelling teachers.

“We are working with Skyedance in Portree and Kirstie Anderson of Isledance in Stornoway to ensure we all benefit from close connections across the area.” For more information, visit www.ullapooldancefestival.org or contact 01854 612575.