Residents walking past the Earl Arts Centre on Saturday could be forgiven for thinking they were in Scotland for a moment, as groups of Highland Dancers made their way into the building to perform.
Inside a large crowd watched on as participants in the Launceston Highland Dancing Competition completed their routines adorned in traditional Scottish attire and to the sound of bagpipes.
Highland dancing is a style of competitive dancing developed in the Scottish Highlands in the 19th and 20th centuries.
The sophisticated form of national dancing was spread by Scottish migrants across the world and competitions are now regularly organised in Australia.
While the majority of dancers now entered into these competitions are female, the roots of these ritualistic dances lay with warriors imitating epic deeds from Scottish folklore.
Launceston Competitions president Dr Jules Colman said it was an extremely popular past-time in Launceston.
"Today's competition is open to children aged four and up, as well as seniors, some of whom have actually been competing since they were four," she said.
"It's a testament to the community this competition builds, which is why it's imperative the tradition carries on, as well as the fact that it is a wonderful way for people in their youth to build up their confidence."
A similar sentiment was echoed by the owner of the Kim Roe School of Dance, Kim Roe.
Ms Roe said she began highland dancing when she was five, and had been teaching it for over 40 years, over which time she had observed its popularity steadily increase.
"Once children start it, they love it, because it's very physical and energetic, it's sort of a combination of dancing and sport," she said.
"It's a really educational practice as well because there's a lot of counting involved, as well as many cross-patterns, meaning you might have to use your hand on one side of your body and the foot of the other simultaneously, so it really gets kids thinking."
"We've actually seen a lot of our students grow up to become doctors or lawyers so we're convinced there's some sort of correlation."
One dancer present at the event, Jayde Hinchcliffe, said she had been highland dancing since she was three, and believed there were numerous benefits participants received as a result of their dedication.
"It keeps you really fit, so much so that I would actually classify it as a sport, because I don't think people understand just how much effort it takes," she said.
Ms Hinchcliffe said when she was younger her participation in the event was based mainly on her competitive drive, however, she said as she grew older she found herself returning year after year for the comradery and community it provided.
"The friendships that you make, and just getting out there and having fun is what it's all about now," she said.
The event comes after Launceston's Silverdome hosted the 2022 Highland Dancing Champion of Champions Championships of Australia in April.
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