International Aboriginal Cultural and Arts festival Taiwan




International Aberigional Folk and Arts Festival Taiwan.


After months of planning by Principal tutor and choreographer Gillian Whitelaw the Ballochleam Highland Dancers accompanied with guest Bagpiper Stuart Cassells were departing from Stirling to attend a festival in the Far East , this was the trip of a life time on the Island of Taiwan.

Ballochleam Highland Dancers were represented on this occasion by eight dancers, Gillian and Debbie Wannan, Lynn McDermott, Kirsten Hunter, Gemma McGuire, Fiona Knox, Christina Shanks and Elaine Adams.

The journey to Taiwan was long with the dancers travelling to London to board the flight initially to Bangkok and then on to Taipei the capital of Taiwan.

We arrived late on the 5th December where we were then transported by bus to the CSK International Airport Hotel to catch up on our rest and to meet the other countries that were participating during the festival.

The groups / countries represented at the festival were:








THE BONTOC TRIBAL DANCE TROUPE , Republic of the Philippines.




The nine Aboriginal tribes of Taiwan were also represented these included the AMI,ATAYAL,SAISIAT,BUNUN,TSOU,PUYUMA,RUKAI,PAIWAN,YAMI.

The next morning we were taken after breakfast to a smaller internal airport and boarded another plane to take us to Hualien County where we would stay for the next three days. During this time we stayed in Hualien Marshall Hotel.

The 7th December 

The festival commenced- Ballochleam Dancers performed in the official opening ceremony at Hua Lien City for the many distinguisted guests which represented many countries from around the world. In the evening there was a huge parade through the steets of Hualien culminating in a tatoo style performance by all the groups in Hua Gan Shan Stadium.

Following this performance the groups were introduced to the "Ami Tribe", one of the Nine Aboriginal tribes from Taiwan and provided with traditional Taiwanese Aboriginal cuisine and wine.

8th December

The groups were treated to some sight seeing and were enchanted by the sights of the Toroko Gorge. In the evening all the groups performed at the stadium in the " Night of Nalvwen".

9th December

The groups were packed and on the move again, this time the groups were divided into 4 groups and taken to visit 4 different Aboriginal Villages in the South Of Taiwan.

Ballochleam dancers were to vist Tai-Tung.

Some of the other groups visited Ping- tung, Nan-Tou , Shin- Chu and Miao- Li County.

10th,11th and 12th December.

Over the next three days Ballochleam dancers with the other groups viewed the schools, traditional potteries and homes of the Aboriginal people. The friendship , culture and dynamics of the villages were exceptional.

The performances were well appreciated and the audiences were huge. Sharing the cultures in the tours of the villages the dance styles and music will never be forgotten by Ballochleam members. We especially enjoyed our day shared with the teachers and children attending an Aboriginal school where the pupils were in traditional dress, the members of Ballochleam were emotionally moved as we left the school and the children ran at the back of the bus to wave good- bye and we were equally as excited when the children brought their parents to meet us in the evening performances. All the dancers were presented with gifts.

13th December

Returning to the capital city of Taipei the group enjoyed a tour of Chungi City prior to attending a press conference at the Government Internal Office and in the evening we visited the Taipei Guest House to view the venue where we would perform the next day.

14th December

 The morning was spent at the Taipei Palace Museum Hall where the Ballochleam dancers viewed many of the treasures, ancient artefacts and wonders of Taiwan and China. After lunch we headed for the Taipei Guest House for the Aboriginal Concert. The audience were comprised of invited guests including Government officials and foreign ministers from all over the world. Each of the groups participating were introduced and presented with a plaque which represented the 9 Aboriginal tribes of Taiwan. Afterwards the groups were introduced to three very important representatives from Taiwan:

The Chairman- Mr Chia- Chin Hua

Minister of foreign affairs- Mr Jason C Hu

The Premier/ Prime Minister- Mr Wan- Zhang Xiao

In the afternoon performances were viewed by television over the whole of Taiwan as we performed at a garden party.

In the evening the group leaders were taken to dine at a special banquet at the top Lai- Lai Hotel, while the other members of the groups dined at the Hai Pa Wang Restaurant ( The King of the Sea)

The evening ended with a visit to Taipei largest night market and was an experience not to be missed by anyone visiting Taipei.

15th December

All groups visited the CKS Memorial park and visited traditional market stalls from each of the representing countries. After lunch we participated in the Opening Ceremony and paraded through the streets of Taipei around the CKS Memorial park.

After dinner the groups performed at Gala party " We are family" in which chairman Hua opened the evening, and the  " Hope Tourch" was passed to all groups. The evening concluded in a party atmosphere with the theme"Lets all dance together"when the performers and audiences danced together on CKS Memorial Park.

On the 16th December 

Ballochleam Dancers spent some time shopping for souvenirs  prior to viewing performances by all the Aboriginal Tribes of Taiwan.

Afterwards we prepared for the Celebrations for the anniversary of C.A.A. which was again attended by many VIP guests and members of the public. President Lee arrived and each group placed their national flag in the " Globe of Peace" which was then presented to President Lee. Other officials present included Chairman Hua and the Council of Aboriginal Affairs, Executive Yuan.

The evening concluded with the final concert of the festival in CKS Memorial Park " The Night of World Aboriginals" All the groups performed, the thousands in the audiences streamed forward from the stage, the atmosphere was electric and highly emotional and at the end of the concert the groups and audiences joined hands and sung " While we are together". After returning to CKS Airport Hotel the groups partied untill late at the farewell party.

Ballochleam Highland Dancers had a fantastic time in Taiwan and returned to Scotland with memories that will be treasured forever by all individual group members.

A huge big thank you to all who made this trip a huge success and to all who made the trip possible.