In 1606, England, Wales and much of Scotland were put into quarantine and lockdown due to a bout of the ‘Black Death’ plague sweeping across the nation. During this period of enforced self-isolation, William Shakespeare used the time to pen two plays; ‘King Lear’ & ‘Macbeth’. Four hundred and fourteen years later, we are in self-isolation again, this time due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
These are the most extra-ordinary and trying times the developed world has known since the second world war. The restrictions placed upon our everyday lives can feel traumatic and claustrophobic, but they are necessary for the protection of those we know and love. UKAdance published teaching guidelines for social isolation at the earliest possibility (available on the website) to support you, our teachers, through this lockdown.
Sadly, of course, our annual conference at Blackpool had to be cancelled this year in the interest of everyone’s safety and well-being, but inspired by ‘The Bard’ using his social isolation to create two of the greatest works of theatrical literature ever written, we felt that lockdown should not stop us from giving you resources, lectures and advice to foster and develop your creativity and abilities.
We say every year that each annual conference is unique, but I believe that this year that statement is more accurate than ever, as we embark on our first-ever digital conference. With that in mind I welcome you to the 2020 UKAdance Annual Conference. It is my most sincere pleasure to represent you as President of our amazing organisation.
More than ever, I wish to thank our incredible office staff for their diligent work over the past year and, of course, during lockdown. They keep everything running for all of us. I must thank Mr Roberts for his endeavours, support, ingenuity and utterly unique wit! He is the cornerstone of the house of UKAdance.
Despite the recent challenges, there was a wonderful array of annual and special events and occasions to celebrate in the second half of 2019 and the first couple of months of this year.
In February, our Aberdeen Highland Gathering celebrated its pearl anniversary and it was really inspiring to indulge in the memories of thirty brilliant years and look ahead to the next thirty. I must say thank you once again to everyone who contributed and attended this year and over the previous thirty years.
In October, the Premier Medallist event was once more very well attended and was a fantastic weekend filled with priceless memories, beautiful dancing and some wonderful moments with our CEO. Thank you to all the teachers, competitors, spectators and judges for making the Premier Festival the best one yet!
In January, our second annual Highland Dance Scholarship built on the success of the first event and was a resounding triumph with more schools involved this year. The Scholarship provides Highland dancers with a unique platform to showcase their skills in a way they rarely get. It is an exhilarating event not to be missed! Congratulations to everyone involved and to all the performers for a tremendous show.
These and all of our others incredible events highlight the exceptional work undertaken by UKAdance and that we continue to do so even in the face of adversity.
This annual conference is a unique and special celebration of the drive of UKAdance to deliver through all challenges, but we must take time to remember those who we have lost over the last year. Each and every one of our dear friends have contributed to the ethos we now celebrate and we miss and remember them.
I wish all of you good health and safety for you and your families and I know that there will be lots of resources and materials going up during this digital conference that you find interesting, useful and exhilarating!
We will meet again. We will dance together again.