WEDNESDAY, MAY 9: Traditional Highland dancing will be showcased at Bermuda’s first Highland Games next month — with international judges on hand to pick the top performers.

Marisa Stones, an instructor in the ancient art in Bermuda, said the event provided an ideal venue to display Scottish culture to a Bermudian and international audience.

Ms Stones added that Highland dancing has a 50 year history in Bermuda, starting as an offshoot of the Bermuda Islands Pipe Band. She said: “The first dancers were the families of pipe band members and we also have had families coming from overseas who danced previously, or people with ties to Scotland.

“Now we have classes in schools, so we have a broader cross-section of people being introduced to it.”

Ms Stones said that despite most Highland dancers now being female, the origins were male and rooted in the clan system, the feared Highland regiments of the British Army and warfare.

Ms Stones said: “Many of the dances were part of the exercises related to military service. They were victory dances or part of the preparations for going to war. The Highland Fling, for example, is a victory dance.”

She added: “I think Bermudians will find the dancing and the games fascinating.

“Most people will only know Highland dancing from seeing the beating retreat ceremony — but we will be highlighting six dances in the competition.

“We have international judges and hopefully in the future we will be able to attract some of the best dancers from overseas to Bermuda.”