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Highland dancers hold ‘midnight fling’ atop Pilots’ Monument

Cindy Kimove instructs dancers before the midnight fling begins. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio
Cindy Kimove instructs dancers before the midnight fling begins. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio

Dozens of highland dancers from across Canada packed onto a wooden platform to perform a “midnight fling” at a Yellowknife icon.

The performance at Pilots’ Monument, as Saturday turned into Sunday this past weekend, capped a contest billed as the northernmost highland dance competition in history.

“This is the farthest north there’s ever been a highland dance competition in the world, so we’ve broken a record today,” said organizer Cindy Kimove, president of the NWT Highland Dancers’ Association and operator of the territory’s only highland dance studio, CK Dance Company.

Watch the midnight fling.

“We thought we’d take it one step further by doing a midnight fling,” she told Cabin Radio shortly after the performance. Dancers of all ages, stretched diagonally across the platform after clambering multiple sets of steps to reach the landmark, tried gamely not to clatter into each other over the fling’s 90-second duration.

“Most of our dancers are not used to it being not-pitch-black at midnight, so we thought it would be fun to come out here and do something that we all love,” Kimove said.

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Joyce Kite, a founding director of the Scottish Dance Company of Canada, appeared as a guest judge at the contest earlier in the day, which was billed as the North of 60 Highland Dance Competition.

“Dancers came from as far away as Nova Scotia, Alberta, Ontario. It’s been tremendous,” Kite said.

“It really solidifies that there’s a community here who want to do this and are going to support more activities and lessons. It demonstrates that we are one big family, in this to learn something and give the kids some opportunities for exercise.”

“It’s really cool,” said Pola Stolarz, a young dancer from Edmonton, “because there aren’t really dance competitions in the territories. This is actually my first time coming to one of the territories.”

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“Dancing at midnight on top of a rocky hill is very fun,” added Maren Langford, a dancer from Beaumont, Alberta.

Cindy Kimove, Pola Stolarz and Maren Langford speak with Cabin Radio about the midnight fling.

Asked how often she performs a midnight fling, Edmonton dancer Addyson Kadatz said: “Not often at all. At a sleepover, I don’t know? At this high of a point, never. Except for maybe in the mountains one time. But that was in the middle of the day.”

Kimove gave each dancer a keychain bearing the text “I Danced The Midnight Fling” to remember their performance.

“I can’t even begin to describe to you how I feel,” she said of seeing the weekend’s activities come to life.

“It was a lot of work in a really short amount of time, and the community here in Yellowknife, as well as the dance community as a whole, really came together to make this happen.”

Saturday’s event involved a dance-off in memory of Kimove’s late mother, who passed away in 2020.

“When I was giving out that trophy, I couldn’t help it – I just started bawling,” she said.

“The people who came really made this special.”