Argentinian dancer guest of honor at the launch of a new book inspired by his native land

AN Argentinian dancer traveled more than 7,000 miles to the northeast of Scotland to attend the launch of a book of dances inspired by his native land.

Charly Candia from Buenos Aires will be the guest of honor at the premiere of The Argentina Collection taking place in Westhill, Aberdeenshire this weekend.

Thanks to the friendships he has made across the world of Scottish country dancing, he will be resplendent in a brand new kilt specially made for the occasion.

A keen dancer, Candia befriended Jim Stott and Anne McArthur, stalwarts of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society (RSCDS). A few years ago he attended an RSCDS summer school in St Andrews run by Jim, and some time later he hosted Jim and Anne in Argentina for a vacation that included a workshop in Scottish country dancing.

The experience inspired Stott to design a new suite of dances, naming them after places he visited and people he met on his travels in South America. It took a team effort to put the dance book together, McArthur said.

She said: “Jim composed some of the tunes to match the dances and used tunes written by other musicians. Charly designed the book and I supported them both to make sure the book got printed.

“In addition to the book, James’s musician friends, Susan and Shona Macfadyen and Ewan Galloway, have recorded a CD of complementary music.”

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The selection of jigs, reels and strathspeys from the Argentine collection is launched at a dance at Westhill’s Ashdale Hall which takes place from 2-5pm on Sunday. Entry is £10 and includes tea and a raffle and can be paid at the door, with proceeds going to Macmillan Cancer Support. Organizers say everyone is welcome.

This will be the first public release of Candia’s new kilt which was a ‘Christmas present’ from McArthur, who won the star prize in a festive charity draw organized by Soy Kilts in Portsoy.

The wonder of digital technology meant that being on the other side of the world was no obstacle for kilt maker Moira George to take on the project. She was able to get the measurements and set to work making the bespoke Wicklow tartan outfit – updating it at key stages along the way using a networking platform social.

Candia visited Portsoy this week for her final fitting and was delighted with the finished garment.

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