The Australian Celtic Festival has been held every year since 1992 in the small town of Glen Innes, the home of Australian’s standing stones. Each year the festival honours Celtic nations and this year it will be celebrating Brittany, a region in the North of France and Asturias and Galicia, two communities in the North West of Spain.
People travel from all over the world to visit the Celtic festival, which is so famous for its huge array of entertainment and performers including strongman events, dancing, pipe bands, musical performances, workshops and even its very own dance competition and fashion awards.
Cape Bryon Celtic Dance group will be attending the festival this year for their 23rd consecutive year. They will also be competing in the Australian Celtic Dance Championships, which started in 2016, to defend their two year long title of best solo and group performances at the competition. This year they will be competing with Scottish and Irish dance styles, along with a new Galician style of dancing. We spoke to Karen, the teacher at Cape Bryon Celtic Dance, so we could find out a little bit more about this amazing dance group and see just how excited they are to be performing at the Australian Celtic Festival.
How many of your dancers will be attending the Australian Celtic Festival this year?
In total we have 26 dancers attending the Australian Celtic Festival for 2018, boys and girls ranging from 2 years old to 60 years old. For some it is their first stage experience, while others have been performing at the festival for up to 22 years.
What is the dancers favourite part about performing at festivals like the Australian Celtic Festival?
The atmosphere of festivals is definitely one of our favourite parts of performing. The crowd are always really supportive and appreciative, which makes us enjoy performing even more.
Who is behind the choreography?
All original choreography dances are produced by myself and my daughter Molly, we are the mother daughter duo that are the teachers of Cape Byron Celtic Dance. The dance team also has regular input into finalising footwork and stage layout. Overall, it is very much a team effort.
You dance in such a variation of outfits, how do you choose what outfit you will dance in for each performance?
The majority of our wardrobe is a modern spin on traditional costumes, designed and made according to the style and story that we want to portray. Costumes are tailored to each dancer and their role in each specific dance.
How did you choose the tartan that is featured in some of your outfits?
The tartan featured in some of our outfits was found in a tiny fabric shop in our small beachside town, we loved its earthy-tones and simplicity. It just happened to be on sale for $2 per metre, so we decided to go all out and buy 60 metres of it! We’ve been incorporating and reinventing the fabric in our costumes for the last 25 years.
We read that you have performed with Murphy’s Pigs, have you collaborated with anyone else?
We regularly join forces with Murphy’s Pigs, travelling all over the country to perform. In the past, we have also collaborated with bands Drumworx (a Scottish pipe band drumming corp), Jack O’Leary & Munsterbucks (an upbeat Irish folk group), Emmanuel College Highlanders (a talented Scottish pipe band), and Sasta (Irish folk ensemble).
If you’re attending the festival make sure to look out for the dance group, I’m sure they’d love the support! However, if like us, you aren’t able to attend the festival, you can watch their unique style of dancing over on the Cape Bryon Celtic Dance Youtube. Stay tuned on the blog for interviews with even more of the Austalian Celtic Festival performers!