FIFE has long had a reputation for excellence in highland dancing and Sarah Scobie in Glenrothes has been one of the main contributors to maintaining that tradition over the last 20 years, reports MIKE DELANEY
During that period, she has nurtured hundreds of youngsters through her Sarah Hendry School of Dance.
And it has become an integral part of the community in the town and the surrounding area.
Her own career began when she was just six years-old, training with Netta Campbell before joining the celebrated Sheila McKay School of Dance.
Sarah began competitive dancing when she was nine and continued until she was 17 when she turned her attention to teaching and eventually set-up her school under her maiden name.
Sarah said: “Teaching for me is for pleasure, it’s not a business.
“That’s why I have pupils with me who I have taught from the age of three and they keep dancing right through into adulthood.
“The dancers are like extended family and I love to see them achieve, but most of all I like to see them grow into well rounded adults.
“For some dancers, I am now into the second generation, teaching their children, but I haven’t quite reached the third generation yet!
“Highland dancing is a discipline, and dancers can dance for recreation only, take part in shows, displays, medal tests and competitive work - it is all entirely optional.
“The dancing, which can be seen at nearly every modern day highland games event, is a highly-competitive and technical form which requires many hours of practice and training over a period of several years to perfect.
“It takes a massive amount of stamina and arm/leg strength, no matter how old the dancer is.”
Community involvement is crucial to Sarah and, over the years, her dancers have performed at local care homes, schools and community events.
They have also performed at the Open in St Andrews, have travelled to Boblingen – Glenrothes’ German twin town - to perform in the Stadtfest and have featured at the Edinburgh Tattoo.
They are already booked-up for school fetes, gala days and community events during the summer months.
Sarah added: “That is what dancing is all about, performing and showing their talent no matter their ability.”
Not all dancers can become champions, however every dancer that passes through her school is a champion in her eyes, as they are learning many disciplines and skills that they can carry through life - confidence building, socialising, working as part of a team, success and failure and how we deal with both, performance qualities and, above all, exercise.
“The dancers are very successful in competition and the school had hundreds of trophies on show at their recent award presentation,” she added.
“I am very lucky to have such a lot of committed parents, who give up their time to support their dancers through competitive work.”