South Surrey’s Hannah Black, 11, competes at the Antigonish Highland Games in Calgary last week. (Contributed photos)

South Surrey girl notches national Highland-dance win

Hannah Black, 11, took to Calgary stage last week

Hannah Black can sum up in one word what she likes about Highland dancing: “Everything.”

The 11-year-old South Surrey girl was named a champion in her field last week, after clinching a national win at the ScotDance Canada Championship Series.

“It was a lot of dancing,” Hannah told Peace Arch News Tuesday, the day after arriving home from the Calgary event. “Like, four dances every day.”

But she wasn’t expecting to bring home a title. Dancing at the premier level, Hannah clinched the win in the 10 & Under 12 Years old category, earning top marks in the Reel and Seann Truibhas.

“I was excited,” she said of her reaction to hearing her name called as champion.

The event was held from June 30 to July 4 at the Telus Convention Centre.

Hannah’s mom, Shellie Black, said her daughter’s win – which included an engraved sword – announced July 2, was the culmination of five days of dancing.

“It’s been a blur,” Black said.

Black said her daughter, in Grade 7 at Laronde Elementary, has been dancing since she was four, and is following in both her mother’s and grandmother’s footsteps. She practises under her mom’s wing, at the Shellie Black School of Highland Dance in Ocean Park.

Hannah competes “all over,” Black said.

Black’s dance school Facebook page includes posts from wins at events including the 2015 Antigonish Highland Games in Nova Scotia.

And, “every year we go down to California,” she said.

Next month, the family is heading to Scotland for the Scottish and World Highland Dancing Championship. That event draws dancers from across the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and – of course – Scotland.

Black said Hannah will dance with the under-16-year-olds; the top six compete in the finals.

Black said her daughter needs no additional encouragement in the pursuit of dance.

“We practise every day. She’s definitely the keener,” she said.

“We were going to Mexico at spring break and she didn’t want to go. When I asked her why… she said there’d be no place for dancing.”

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