Close to the Floor
at Strathspey Place,
Mabou, NS
(14 October 2003)

This one was for those who like to watch dancing, and I'm one of those. And, you know, it can be as much fun to watch as it is to do.

This concert was sponsored by the Chestico Historical Society of the Port Hood/Harbourview area. Port Hood has a summer festival every year where dancers from across Nova Scotia and places far away are invited to the stage. Not only do the best stepdancers show up, many of the best fiddlers do, too, so this concert is one not to miss if you're in Cape Breton during the long weekend in August.

The concert in the Mabou venue for this year's Celtic Colours was a happy blend of many Celtic dance styles. The percussion dancer from the North Carolina band Cucunandy was back in town with more of her powerful steps and she partnered with Melody Warner Cameron in a set I thought was the highlight of the night.

Besides that, there were stepdancers who got together to show their stuff in a Scotch Four figure; the Mabou Dancers showed part of a figure of Cape Breton square dancing; two couples did a graceful waltz around the stage; there were acts from a troupe of Scotttish Highland dancers; and there were several solo dance numbers. I really liked one number that I'll call modern Highland dance.

The musicians were fiddler Brenda Stubbert, pianist Joel Chaisson, award-winning piper Kevin Dugas and local group Triskele. A Gaelic song or two was thrown in for interest, as was a piano instrumental.

It was all really entertaining but my interest was caught and held by the piper in his Highland dress -- the word "stalwart" was written all over this young man. It was unfortunate he remained to the rear of the stage and out of the spotlight even when he was the featured performer. I easily imagined this piper as a figure in history who would lead the clan militia to fight, march or hold their ground.

Another favorite act of the show was the Fitzgerald Irish dancers, who were a sight to behold in dresses emblazoned with embroidery of heraldic and Celtic symbols. The young girls wore smiles as bright as their dresses, and I will remember the sight of them dancing for a long time.

This concert was a success in my mind because it delivered a wide variety of Inverness County dance styles and it featured many other Cape Breton dance acts that were distinctly Celtic in nature. Emcee Bob MacEachern was always ready to keep the energy level high and kept things moving along at a comfortable pace for the audience. I think this could turn into one of the most exciting concerts of the festival if the Chestico group continues to sponsor it and to feature a wide sampling of some of the better local dancers.

- Rambles
written by Virginia MacIsaac
published 6 December 2003