The Traditional Dance Forum of Scotland (TDFS) & The University of Edinburgh present ‘The Art of Treepling’, a mini festival of percussive dance in Scotland’s capital culminating the First Footing residency with international dance artist Nic Gareiss.
The mini festival of percussive dance – including public workshops, masterclasses, panels and performances with international dance artists Sandy Silva (Canada), Colin Dunne (Ireland) and artist-in-residence Nic Gareiss (USA) – celebrates bringing Scotland’s dance communities and traditional musicians together to encourage renewed engagement, connectivity and support for traditional dance as well as imaging new futures for step dance.
Treepling is a phrase found in Joan and Tom Flett’s 1964 book ‘Traditional Dancing in Scotland’ which means “beating out the rhythm of the music with the feet” and was one of the lesser-known features of Scottish dancing that almost completely disappeared.
The residency has rejuvenated treepling, bringing the phrase back into the vocabulary of contemporary dance artists and educators and reaching across Scotland to bring new energy and support to the Scottish step dance tradition, as Nic Gareiss states:
“Over the past six months of the First Footing residency, I’ve had the distinct pleasure of travelling widely throughout Scotland – from Aberdeen to the Isle of Skye, Inverness to Dumfries – to teach workshops, give performances, and offer professional development to step dancers and teachers. I have been overwhelmed by the warmth, enthusiasm, and tremendous heart across dance communities here.
“There’s new palpable energy around percussive dance – the act of making music with our feet – which is a practice indigenous to Scotland that many dancers here are joyfully engaging with once again. In this spirit, I wanted to put together a weekend of events to culminate and celebrate the eight-month residency. 'The Art of Treepling' weekend is a parting gift designed to intrigue, nourish, encourage, exhort and hopefully delight the rich community of dancers and dance lovers in this country, and we hope you can join us in Edinburgh from Friday 7 – Sunday 9 June!”
The packed programme has been coordinated and supported by the Traditional Dance Forum of Scotland (TDFS) and The University of Edinburgh who host 8 opportunities to engage, reimaging percussive dance as a rich cultural locus of music-making, creativity, identity and community-building, as TDFS Coordinator Michelle Bradley states:
“Nic is an internationally recognised percussive dance artist voted Dance Magazine’s 2019 “25 to Watch” and we’ve been extremely lucky to have him in Scotland these past seven months, working with the Traditional Dance Forum of Scotland to inspire and foster new connections, sharing footwork and his wealth of knowledge on traditional dance forms.
“He has taken influence from Scotland’s communities and through the School of Scottish Studies archives to reimagine 'The Art of Treepling', which we’ll have the pleasure of seeing and hearing at his work-in-progress sharing on Friday 7 June. We also have the great honour of hosting two of Nic’s former teachers, acclaimed dance artists Sandy Silva and Colin Dunne who will share their years of practice in masterclasses, panel talks and the final treat – Treepling in Performance – featuring solos and improvisations by these three masters of contemporary percussive dance.
“There’s new palpable energy around percussive dance – the act of making music with our feet – which is a practice indigenous to Scotland that many dancers here are joyfully engaging with once again. In this spirit, I wanted to put together a weekend of events to culminate and celebrate the eight-month residency.
“'The Art of Treepling' weekend is a parting gift designed to intrigue, nourish, encourage, exhort and hopefully delight the rich community of dancers and dance lovers in this country, and we hope you can join us in Edinburgh from Friday 7 – Sunday 9 June!”
Fri 7 June
Nic Gareiss: The Art of Treepling Work-in-Progress Showing | 7.30pm – 9pm
Sat 8 June
Masterclass with Sandy Silva | 10am – 11.15am
Masterclass with Colin Dunne | 11.30am – 12.45pm
Playing with Dance: Masterclass for Traditional Musicians | 2pm – 3.15pm
The Art of Treepling Panel Discussion | 3.30pm – 5.30pm
Migration Dance Film Project | 7pm – 9pm
Sun 9 June
Masterclass with Nic Gareiss | 11am – 12.15pm
Treepling in Performance: Sandy Silva, Colin Dunne & Nic Gareiss | 2pm – 3pm
LOCATIONS: Scottish Storytelling Centre, St. Leonard’s Land Dance Studio & St. Cecilia’s Hall
TICKETS: Available from Scottish Storytelling Centre’s Box Office, 43-45 High Street, EH1 1SR
0131 556 9579
Lindsay Corr is Marketing & Communications Manager for Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland (TRACS), which is based at the Scottish Storytelling Centre and supports the Traditional Dance Forum of Scotland, Scottish Storytelling Forum and Traditional Music Forum.