Fiddler and dancer Joanne Garton mixes her pervasive passion for Scottish culture with the drive and rhythms of the New England dance floor. A Highland dancer since age 6, she began combining folk music and dance as a teenager... and never looked back. Calling Montpelier, Vermont home for the last 15 years, Joanne teaches music and dance to kids and adults, performs on stage, plays in sessions, and of course, steps out on the dance floor. A summer camp instructor since 2010, Joanne teaches fiddle, fiddle accompaniment, violin basics, dance band, Scottish step dance, and Highland Dance, and leads workshops at music festivals or through music programs such as Young Tradition Vermont and the Summit School of Traditional Music & Culture.
Scottish fiddling may be distinguished from other folk fiddling styles by its particular precision of execution and energy in the delivery. These techniques contrast quite sharply with the most common bowing patterns of Irish fiddling. There is also a strong link to the playing of traditional Scottish bagpipes.
Cape Breton Stepdance is unique to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia and was brought there by the Scottish settlers fleeing the Highland Clearances in an effort to preserve their traditional Highland culture. It is danced with straight arms, stiff upper bodies, and quick, repetitive footwork.