Coming to Yellowknife this summer: a highland dance contest

The NWT Highland Dance Association is planning what it calls the North’s first highland dance competition this summer. To prepare, there’ll be a fundraiser in April.

Contests involving the Scottish cultural art form are a staple across Canada, but organizers of this summer’s event say there is no governing body for the sport in the North, so August’s competition will be the territory’s first.

The highland dance association was formed in October 2022 and received its incorporation in March as the world’s northernmost highland dance school.


“There’s a lot of us up here. We have a full studio of dancers that would like to be competitive,” said Cindy Kimove, the association’s president.

“Right now, though, they don’t have the avenue to do that.”

Kimove said the studio currently teaches around 30 dancers. Most are interested in competing but it isn’t a requirement, with just as much emphasis on coming together.

“The dancers here like the classes, but they don’t really understand the community that they’re part of,” Kimove told Cabin Radio.

“We figured that instead of trying to force the dancers up here to travel just to see if they would want to be part of the competitive community, we will bring the community up to them.”


The competition will be held on August 5 and judged by Joyce Kite, founding director of the Scottish Dance Company of Canada. Kite will then hold a dance workshop on August 6.

Competitors will also take part in a “Midnight Fling” – a play on the Highland Fling, which Kimove says most, if not all dancers learn as the national dance of Scotland.

The Midnight Fling will invite dancers outside at midnight to dance under Yellowknife’s midnight sun, as a way to show southern dancers how light it stays overnight in the North, as well as build a stronger community between northern and southern dancers.

A scene from St Patrick's Day 2023 at the Black Knight in Yellowknife
A scene from St Patrick’s Day 2023 at the Black Knight in Yellowknife. Photo supplied by Cindy Kimove

The dance school will be performing at the Top Knight on April 29 in an effort to fundraise for August’s competition.


Kimove described the fundraiser as an East Coast kitchen party featuring dancers, local musicians and “interactive dance opportunities” for the audience.

“It’s less of a sit-down-and-watch kind of event and more of a get up, dance, move and have fun,” explained Kimove.

“It’s going to be very interactive, so if you’re into that kind of thing, it’s going to be a really fun night that we’re really looking forward to.”

Raffle prizes will be offered by local businesses, while the Black Knight pub has committed to donating a portion of the night’s liquor sales to the association.

More information can be found on the association’s website. Tickets can be purchased on Zeffy.