Dance stepped up as traditional music festival returns to Aberdeen

Dance stepped up as traditional music festival returns to Aberdeen

One of the world’s largest traditional music festivals will up the tempo of dance when it returns to Aberdeen for the first time in four years.

The North Atlantic Fiddle Convention (NAFCo), organised by the University of Aberdeen’s Elphinstone Institute in partnership with Scottish Culture and Traditions, will take place from July 14 to 18 with five days of concerts, ceilidhs, solo recitals, workshops, demonstrations, free performances, and ‘market-place’ events

NAFCo boasts a top line up of traditional musicians including award-winning duo Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas, and American fiddler, banjo player, guitarist, and singer Bruce Molsky.

For 2010, NAFCo will also feature its largest ever dance strand with styles from across the world from Scottish and Irish dance to the influences of the Appalachian Mountains, Sweden and Canada’s Cape Breton.

Highlights include Gaorsach Rapper and Step, an Aberdeen dance team who perform rapper, step and clog dances, Mats Melin – a Swedish dance expert who performs styles from around the world, and the Papa Stour sword dancers who will make a rare appearance outwith Shetland.

The dance strand will celebrate some of the lesser known traditions as well as popular dance and step.

Gaorsach Rapper and Step perform a style of dance which originates from traditional English sword dance and takes its name from the “rapper”, the sword used in the performance of the dance. The Gaorsach group are the only professional outfit in Scotland and this year, won the annual championship beating off competition from all over the UK and USA.

Group member Sarah Dalrymple said: “The North Atlantic Fiddle Convention brings together performers from across the world and we are delighted to be able to bring rapper and step to new audiences and fellow international dancers.

“The fact that NAFCO’s dance strand has been extended for the convention here in Aberdeen is a reflection of the superb dance tradition of the area.

“We hope people will enjoy our performance and take advantage of the displays and workshops taking place not only in Aberdeen but across the shire.”

Ian Russell, NAFCo Festival Director, said: “Gaorsach Rapper and Step are probably the finest female group performing this type of dance in the UK.

“This is an opportunity to see their wonderful display here in Aberdeen and we would urge people to take advantage as their acrobatic jumps and back flips are sure to live long in the memory.

“The standard of dance at this year’s festival is outstanding and so diverse that there really is something for everyone to enjoy.

“However the dance festival is not only about watching performances and demonstrations, people will have a chance to try their hand at dance styles from across the world at a series of workshop and late night dances.”

Gaorsach Rapper and Step will perform on Thursday July 15 in the Late Night Dance at the Lemon Tree, Saturday July 17 in the Gala Celebration of the Fiddle at the Aberdeen Music Hall and will run a workshop on rapper sword dancing on the afternoon of Sunday July 18.

Dance workshops will run from 11am to 5pm from Wednesday July 14 to Sunday July 18 with late night dances in the Lemon Tree Studio from 10pm until midnight on all four nights of the Festival.

Tickets for all NAFCo events are available from Aberdeen Box Office by visiting by calling 01224 641122. For further information see or email  or telephone 01224 272996.