Every year, 1,500 performers from 40 countries take part in the Spasskaya Tower Military Music Festival in Moscow, one of the biggest military tattoos in the world. This year, local highland dancer Chloe Scott was one of them.
Scott auditioned for the International Highland Dance Team via YouTube in January. She received her acceptance letter in March, and travelled to Moscow from Aug. 22 to Sept. 4.
“I was really, really over the moon when that happened,” said Scott. “It’s always been a goal of mine to dance in one of these top military tattoos. It took a lot of determination and hard work to get there, but I’m so happy to have completed the goal.”
The Spasskaya Tower Military Music Festival in Moscow is one of the biggest in the world, and has taken place for the last 10 years in the Red Square, with the famous tower and Saint Basil’s Cathedral as a backdrop.
The Russian capital was a long way from home for Scott, who started dancing in Squamish when she was five years old. She continues to dance with the Vancouver School of Highland Dance and teaches locally at the Squamish Dance Centre.
“Highland dance is very unique,” she said. “It’s very complex step-dance, so unlike something like ballet or tap, it’s very regimented. You start with basics and you fine tune and fine tune. There’s always something to improve. It really is that discipline that is needed to row and build on your skill set.”
Scott said the lively music, social atmosphere and athleticism have kept her interested in dancing over the years, and bonding with teammates from around the world at the Spasskaya was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“Music and dance can transcend any language or barrier,” she said.
When she arrived in Moscow on Aug. 22, Scott began rehearsal with her 49 teammates. The team was composed of dancers from Russia, Canada, the U.S.A., Scotland, England, Northern Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and the Netherlands.
Their first show was followed by nine other shows, an appearance in a parade and three national television spots.
Other groups at the massive festival included Celtic Drums, Taoist Monks and Military Bands from around the world.
“It’s kind of like the Olympics. We bring together people from all different backgrounds, nationalities and experiences, and have them bond over a common love for music and dance. That was a highlight for me,” said Scott.
While most of her time in the Russian capital was spent performing, Scott also got to explore the cathedral, the Moscow Kremlin and other tourist sites.
She hopes her young students at Squamish Dance Centre will be inspired by her achievement.
“For young dancers, if you’re wanting to reach that level of performing, you don’t have to be the best. But you do have to be the best teammate,” she said. “Putting in that hard work and good sportsmanship and you’ll get there.