Dear Friends and Colleagues,

As a country, we are now at Level 4 and in our 3rd month of the Covid-19 pandemic. We would normally be well into our Highland Dancing Competition at this time, instead, we find ourselves in strange and uncharted waters.

To date, we have seen many of our Highland Gatherings cancelled, or postponed and I am sure many of you will be anxious to know what the plans are with regard to our 2020 SA Championships and the RSA Inter-provincial Challenge. We have been holding out on cancelling these events (and others), as we await further information from our Government. However, after much consideration and discussion, the Board members have decided to be guided by the current social restrictions and in line with Highland Dancing Associations worldwide, as well as sporting bodies both locally and internationally, that the only responsible decision is to cancel these events for 2020.

We have recently had correspondence advising the PBASA have cancelled all competitions this year.  Therefore Dancing competitions held in conjunction with these schools and pipe bands in Gauteng – Jeppe, de la Salle, St Benedicts, and Benoni will not be held.

We are very aware that the loss of what is essentially an entire Competition Season, is unprecedented and many teachers as well as dancers, may be feeling demotivated and despondent.

We believe this is the perfect climate in which to discover and foster alternative and creative ways for our dancers to continue to be enthused and excited about highland dancing. To this end, the Board members have asked for recommendations for virtual interaction and choreography events to be submitted for consideration.  If successful, this will put in place increased participation in non-competitive creativity which exists in all our dancers and teachers.  We hope to foster the love of dancing which has been invested in South Africa for many, many years.

We also recently advised that we would have to postpone the Protea Awards evening to be held on the 30 May due to the Lockdown situation. As the Awards include dancers from areas around the country, we always hold the presentation in conjunction with a Championship competition to make their travel more worthwhile. The Board members have determined that any attempt to set a date later in 2020, would be futile given that competition events have now been cancelled. We have therefore agreed that as soon as lockdown restrictions have eased sufficiently to allow more freedom of movement, we will arrange for the certificates and trophies to be presented to the recipients individually. The idea would be to take photos of the presentation, which are to be forwarded to us and a short video to be compiled of all the recipients and which can then be uploaded to our Facebook and Web home page.

We wish to commend teachers who are continuing to hold classes via Zoom or other on-line facilities for their commitment and dedication during these difficult times.

Our wish for the health and safety of our friends and relatives throughout this unprecedented time of concern and upheaval is sincere and we look forward to the time when we can once again be together safely, to enjoy our common love for highland dancing.

Kind regards,

Mrs.Mel Smith

Chairman – OBHD(SA)