These competitions are a very big part of every Waipu Highland Games. Ranging from Under 8-year-olds through to the Hector McDonald Trophy and the North Island Championship Open there is a lot at stake.
Highland dancing is a competitive and technical dance form requiring technique, stamina, and strength, and is recognised as a sport by the Sport Council of Scotland. The dancers dance on the balls of their feet and is a form of solo step dancing, from which it evolved, Highland dancing involves not only a combination of steps but also some integral upper body, arm, and hand movements.
Sword dancing involves dancing over two naked swords which are laid across each other on the floor, while a dancer moves nimbly around them and has long been linked with dances before a decisive battle or as a victory dance. Legend has it that if dancers successfully avoided touching either blade, then it was considered an omen that the next day’s battle would be in the clan’s favour. A more practical explanation behind the meaning of this dance can be found in the training halls of older styles of fencing, where students of the sword developed their footwork by following geometric patterns of crosses, squares and triangles marked out on the floor.