The skirl of the pipes stirs emotions in any Scot, but for one teenager it signals the moment when she takes centre stage to showcase her dancing skills.
Anthea Bundy may have just turned 16 at the end of last month, but already the schoolgirl has reached the pinnacle in the Scottish highland dancing world. She is the current juvenile world champion, after lifting a raft of titles and trophies in her relatively short but highly successful career.
As the 2011 calendar of highland games and gatherings gets under way, Anthea is busy practising in her own studio in the garden of the family’s Grangemouth home to ensure her grip on the top doesn’t waiver.
Describing what keeps her focused, she said: “It’s difficult to put into words but I get a real adrenalin rush. When I won the world title, I just remember that I couldn’t take it in at first. I couldn’t speak – and that’s pretty unusual for me!”
Along with her world championship, last November she was named the Junior Champion of Champions at the Scottish Official Board of Highland Dancing ‘Oscars’. Weeks later, she picked up a prized Falkirk Medal – awarded to people who have brought distinction to the district – from Provost Pat Reid at a ceremony in Callendar House.
Just weeks after being named a top champion, she was also involved in a historic event, taking part in the Papal procession down Edinburgh’s Princes Street when Pope Benedict visited Scotland.
Last month proved to be a busy and fruitful period for the talented dancer, who also manages to train with Central Scotland Ballet School. As well as picking up the Young Personality award from Falkirk Arts and Civic Council, she was also named Young Sports Personality of the Year at the same event by Falkirk Sports Council – highland dancing now being a recognised sport.
Then she was whisked off to New York to take part in the Tartan Day Parade where she danced down Sixth Avenue and every time the 3000-strong march came to a halt, eager youngsters begged Anthea to show them how to copy her steps.
The following day she danced in Central Park when thousands of runners took part in the annual 10k Scotland Run.
Anthea said: “I loved being in New York. I’ve been before but it was good to spend a bit more time there and when I’m older, I’d love to move over there.”