Feature: Highland / Highland

The Triubhas News, Issue 36 - Purplethistle
By Catherinemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu Sep 10, 2009 04:47 PM
Edited by Catherine (148521) on 2009-09-10 16:49:20
Edited by hylndlas (107168) on 2009-09-13 23:04:34 catching up!
Edited by hylndlas (107168) on 2009-09-13 23:05:19 .
The Triubhas News is pleased to present it's 36th issue with Purplethistle!

The Triubhas News is pleased to present it's 36th issue with

Username: Purplethistle
Why did you choose your username? My Grandmother was from Glasgow. We were very close. When she passed away, I decided to celebrate her life and keep her close to me by having a Thistle tattooed to my ankle. When I decided to open my own dance studio, I stuck with the theme and called it "Purple Thistle Highland Dance".
Name: Kelley Gamblewest
Member since: 2007
Years Dancing: 40
Age: 45
Board: BATD

What tartan do you wear for your kilt, and is there a specific reason why you chose it? I wear the "MacLean". It is my family tartan.

Tell us a bit about your other costumes. When I was living, dancing and "competing" in Halifax a couple of years ago, I made my own jig, hornpipe and national outfits. Quite a big deal as I can't sew! I really liked how my jig came out - very pretty, but my hornpipe was seriously bad.
Do you wear a white dress or an Aboyne for nationals? Aboyne, I used the dress Stewart for my national.
What colour is your jig dress? Green
What colour is your hornpipe outfit? I have a white and blue one. I should wear the blue one as I have "old lady butt" but I made that one and it is really quite bad.

What brand of Ghillies do you wear? Toe and Heel

What is the name of your school and teacher? I used to go to Adeline Duncan here in Victoria. She very sadly passed away this summer. I was very happy to have seen her again at the Canadian Championships in Victoria last year.

How/when did you know you wanted to be a dancer? My mom put me in dancing at the age of 3ish. I always loved it. My mom danced (also with Mrs. Duncan) and my Grandmother.

Why did you choose highland? It chose me.
Do you take, or have you taken, any other forms of dance? I have taken Ballet, Jazz, tap and Break Dance!

What makes you love Highland dance? The heritage, the pipes, the emotion I feel and make others feel.

If you could describe your dancing in only 1 word, what would it be? Passion

Do you compete? If so, what level are you in? I did compete. Years ago I was in "Open". Then when I "competed" (really it was participate) in Halifax I was in "Premier".

When is your next competition (if applicable)? I won't be competing again.
How do you think you'll do there? Hopefully, I will have students competing. Then I can be the proud but nervous teacher.

What has been your most memorable competition moment? It wasn't receiving an award ... When I was about 12, at one of the competitions Mrs. Duncan stopped me as I walked by and told me I had lovely legs. I will never forget that moment.

What has been your most memorable non-competitive achievement? Receiving my Members Award for teaching.

Do you remember your first competition and how you did there? 40 years ago! Holy moly! But I do remember it. I received a 1st, 2nd and 3rd. They gave out wee trophies instead of medals. I still have them.

What do you enjoy most about competitions? Dancing!

Do you have any superstitions? No

What is the most difficult thing for you about Highland? Getting my knees out!!
What's the easiest? Getting on stage and performing

What are your best and favourite steps? When I was young and strong I enjoyed anything with power - leaps!
What are your worst and least favourite? Back-stepping - you really need to have good turnout, I don't

Anything you are still working on? Just happy to still be able to dance.

Do you ever feel the pressure to quit? I'll dance until I can't!

What are your favourite dances? Seann Triubhas, Reels

How often do you take class? I take class once a week, I will be teaching 2 times
How frequently do you practice? I used to practice for hours. When I was young, 3 - 4 hours a day

What do you generally work on when you practice on your own? I broke steps down. I worked on one thing Mrs. Duncan corrected until I had it perfect.

Do your friends and family support your dancing? Yes

Do you hang out with your dance friends outside the studio? No

Approximately how many times per year does your dance school perform? 4 -5

Does your school hold a recital? Yes
If so, what does it generally consist of? Mostly traditional.

Would you rather have a strict or an easy-going teacher? In between
How would you describe YOUR teacher? Mrs. Duncan was very strict. Back then you would get a smack if your knees weren't out or if your butt was sticking out

Who are your dance idols? Mrs. Duncan, Jennifer Lindsay

What has been your most embarrassing dance moment? Split my pants in the hornpipe.

If someone completely unfamiliar with Highland dancing asked you why you did it, what would you tell them? It's in my soul. It's who I am.

May we have a peek inside your dance bag? Ibuprofen (old and sore), slippers, knee socks, lots of hair ties and bobby pins, small towel for wiping brow, digital camera for taking short film of new steps.

What other activities do you have besides dancing? Heavy into triathlon. I did 7 this year including 3 Half Ironman (4km swim, 90km bike, 21km run). Next year I am registered for a full Ironman (should take 13 - 14 hours to complete).
I also have 1/2 an acre in Victoria that I am trying to fix up - the garden is a very big mess.

Have you ever taken a break from dancing? Yes, several years in my 30's. I did take up the Bagpipes so was still in the mix.

Have you ever had to overcome any problems to get to where you are today? I have Addison's Disease (very debilitating physically) I also herniated 2 discs and was told I would never dance or run again.

Describe your ideal dance class. Lots of hard sweaty work, finished off by learning a new dance.

Do any of your dance friends/class mates go on DDN? I see a few from time to time

WhatÂ’s your biggest regret? Not getting my teachers certificate when I was much younger

If you were told you could no longer dance after today, what would you do? I was told I couldn't dance so took up the bagpipes - then I proved them wrong and started dancing again.

And how would you spend this last day? One of my favourite dancing moments was in the middle of playing in a huge band on Canada Day. We marched past the Parliament buildings and up the stairs. Then I was asked to hand my pipes off and do the fling on the top step in front of Tens of thousands of people. What a thrill and honour!!

Thank you to Purplethistle for the interview! Working on another one this evening that I hope to get up in the next few hours!


4 Replies to The Triubhas News, Issue 36 - Purplethistle

re: The Triubhas News, Issue 36 - Purplethistle
By justdoit
On Thu Sep 10, 2009 04:55 PM
Interesting interview. Thank you!
re: The Triubhas News, Issue 36 - Purplethistle
By Dancer24601member has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Thu Sep 10, 2009 08:34 PM
Great interview! I love your attitude about dancing Purplethistle!
re: The Triubhas News, Issue 36 - Purplethistle
By ScottishMamimember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Thu Sep 10, 2009 09:28 PM
wonderful interview! You go Purplethistle!! What an inspiration! And I love that 3rd action shot picture! Your postions are great!
re: The Triubhas News, Issue 36 - Purplethistle
By booverly
On Thu Sep 10, 2009 11:08 PM
Hey Kelly! Glad to hear you're still going strong and doing well out west.

I can personally attest that PurpleThistle's sewing skills are pretty good! Her aboyne is amazing (still the nicest pleating I've seen in a long time) and her jig just looks so cool!


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