Sollus Highland Dancers make final preparations for ‘biggest ever’ Halloween parade

A section of the Sollus Highland Dancers who will be performing at this year's Annual Halloween Carnival Parade as Dancing Unicorns.
A section of the Sollus Highland Dancers who will be performing at this year's Annual Halloween Carnival Parade as Dancing Unicorns.

The Sollus School of Highland Dance in Bready have been busy making the final preparations for this year’s massive Halloween carnival parade.

The most spectacular street celebration in the country will be bigger, bolder and brighter than ever this year thanks to a record number of participants – including almost 100 young people from the Sollus School of Highland Dance.

Sollus Highland Dancers was formed in 2001. Their first tutor, Iain was connected to a Scottish regiment based in the city – but due to redeployment Iain was replaced by Mischa Dodds (from Edinburgh) in January 2002.

Mischa helped to build up the dance team and trained the now tutor and director Georgina Kee-McCarter.

In their short history, the group have recorded phenomenal success in the competition arena – the highlight being crowned European & Ulster Choreography Champions.

With performances in showcases and festivals throughout Europe, the dance group have also performed at Windsor Castle for the Royal Family.

The Sollus School of Highland Dance currently have 8 qualified tutors and teach almost 900 young people weekly in local schools and community groups.

It has been all hands on deck as the group make their final preparations for this year’s Halloween parade – and Georgina says her dancers can’t wait to perform during the carnival celebrations.

“I’m really delighted to be choreographing a piece for this year’s Halloween parade with almost 100 of our dancers” she said.

She added: “All of our dancers have spent weeks planning make-up, costumes and rehearsing their routines – and there’ll also be a unicorn theme running through this year’s collection of weird and wonderful outfits!

“Indeed, it has been really great to see the costumes take shape and evolve into the finished product.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to say a huge ‘Thank You’ to everyone who has helped and supported our dancers in their final preparations for this year’s parade.

“It’s also brilliant to see the dancers so enthusiastic and excited about performing during this year’s carnival.

“They have all done such a wonderful job and, as always, I’m so proud of them!

“I’m also hearing that organisers of this year’s parade have been overwhelmed by the response in recent weeks to the call out for performers – with record numbers expected to sing, dance and play their way through the city’s streets.

“We’re therefore delighted to be a part of this year’s celebrations – and to bring our own colour and spectacle to what I hope will be the biggest Halloween parade the city has ever seen!”

The 2018 Halloween programme will run from October 26 to November 3, with over 100 family friendly activities at more than 40 venues, stretching over nine jam-packed days.

On the big night itself – October 31 – the traditional carnival parade will bring hundreds of performers together to celebrate this year’s Return of the Ancients theme. The night will finish in a spectacular Halloween fireworks finale.

The 2018 Halloween programme is organised and funded by Derry City and Strabane District Council with support from the Tourism N. Ireland International Fund. The full programme for this year’s Halloween Festival is available online at www.derryhalloween.com