The Art of Treepling

Friday 7 – Sunday 9 June

@ venues across Edinburgh

A mini-festival of percussive dance culminating the First Footing residency including public workshops, masterclasses, work-in-progress showings, dance-for-camera showings, panels and performances with international guests Sandy Silva, Colin Dunne and artist-in-residence Nic Gareiss.

Complete Participant Survey


First Footing is a tailor-made residency rooted in collaboration across dance and music communities, traditional and contemporary practices. It spans traditional arts organisations, dance agencies, educational institutions and community groups to foster deeper levels of engagement, connectivity and new support for traditional dance in Scotland.


Nic Gareiss is a percussive dance artist, musician and dance researcher, voted one of Dance Magazine’s 2019 “25 to Watch” and hailed by the Boston Herald as “the most inventive and expressive step dancer on the scene”. His work re-imagines movement as a musical practice, recasting dance as medium that appeals to both eyes and ears. Originally from Michigan, Gareiss draws from many percussive dance traditions, weaving together a dance technique facilitating his love of improvisation, traditional dance footwork vocabulary, and musical collaboration.

First Footing Opportunities for Dancers and Musicians

Story of the Residency, Artist Blog


First Footing is led by the Traditional Dance Forum of Scotland in partnership with the University of Edinburgh with support from Creative Scotland.


Photo credit: Michael Erlewine

Colin Dunne

Colin Dunne is a leading figure in the world of traditional Irish dance. Perhaps best known internationally for his performances and choreography in Riverdance and Dancing on Dangerous Ground, he has been working as an independent performer, maker and teacher since 2001.

Dunne’s unique approach to Irish step-dance first came to the attention of contemporary dance audiences after his first solo show, Out of Time, premiered in Ireland in 2008. Out of Time toured internationally until 2016 including performances at Biennale de Lyon, Barbican, London and Baryshnikov Arts Centre, New York. For Out of Time, Dunne was nominated for a UK Critics’ Circle National Dance Award (Best Male Dancer 2009), and a Laurence Olivier Award (Outstanding Achievement in Dance 2010). His most recent solo show CONCERT, based on the music of Irish fiddle player Tommie Potts, premiered in Paris in 2017. CONCERT was awarded the 2018 TG4 Gradam Ceoil Award for Music Collaboration (with director Sinead Rushe and sound designer Mel Mercier).

Dunne is based in Limerick Ireland. He was Artist in Residence at The Irish World Academy, University of Limerick in 2001 and 2011, and was Traditional Artist in Residence at UCC School of Music in Cork, Ireland for the year 2017/18.


Photo credit: Maurice Gunning

Sandy Silva

Sandy Silva is an award-winning choreographer, producer, and internationally-acclaimed pioneer of percussive dance. She draws from global percussive dance practices infusing them with contemporary movement, voice, theatre and impeccable musicality. The result is a unique and powerful form of performance and storytelling.

After 30 years of performing and teaching around the world including with Kevin Burke’s Open House and Québécois mega-band La Bottine Souriante, Sandy started the Migration Dance Film Project with award-winning director Marlene Millar. Their five short films have screened in over 200 international festivals and exhibitions and have won numerous awards. The Migration Dance Film Project will incorporate eight short films into a full length feature film to be released in 2021.

Silva lives and works in Montreal, Canada.


Photo credit: Geoffroy Beauchemin