Brass and Bagpipes

The Brass & Bagpipes show is a very high-level performance involving many months of practicing and learning advanced choreographies. Those selected to participate in the show need to meet a certain level of dancing ability, as well as demonstrate commitment to the Rocky Mountain Highland Dancers organization throughout the year.

The Brass & Bagpipes show is a very high-level performance involving many months of practicing and learning advanced choreographies. Therefore, those selected to participate in the show must be Premier level dancers and need to meet a certain standard of dancing ability. Additionally, it is important to RMHD that as dancers advance they continue to help foster the next generation of performers and competitors. By participating regularly in performances, workshops, competitions and volunteer opportunities, the advanced dancers become visible role models to the younger dancers and help to inspire hard work and dedication in future B&B dance corps. Because of this, eligibility for the show also requires that dancers demonstrate commitment to RMHD throughout the year as detailed below.

Dancers who meet the following requirements can be nominated by their teacher in October each year and receive a formal invitation from the show choreographer to tryout shortly thereafter.
In order to be nominated by your teacher:

  • You must be a Premier dancer by the date of the first show. This means you must either have a Premier dancer registration card, or have submitted your application for a Premier card to the Registration Secretary prior to the first show. If you wish to compete as an Intermediate up until the day before the first show, this is acceptable, but you must submit your Premier card application to the Registrar by the date of the first show.
  • You must regularly attend dance class.
  • During the prior RMHD fiscal year (Oct 1 – Sept 30), you must have performed at a minimum of 5 RMHD performances, or 4 RMHD performances + 1 alternative event (local workshop, local competition, dance-related volunteer opportunity – see below for details). Performing in the previous year’s B&B show does not count toward this total. Performance points must be accrued at 5 separate performances at 5 different venues (i.e. you cannot earn 3 of the 5 points in one day-long performance). The only exception to this rule is for the Highland Tea, where a dancer may earn 2 points toward Brass & Bagpipes qualification if they dance at both seatings and volunteer either with set-up or clean-up (before, between or after the event).
  • maximum of 1 alternative point can substitute for one of the 5 performance points, if the dancer: 1) participates in an RMHD-sponsored local workshop; 2) competes at a local dance competition; or 3) volunteers at an RMHD-coordinated event (this includes, but is not limited to fundraising events), a local competition or is a member of the RMHD Board.
  • Dancers who are injured for at least half the year and are unable to meet the above point requirements will be given special consideration by the RMHD Board on a case-by-case basis. A letter requesting consideration should be submitted to the RMHD Board by September 1, including details on how the dancer has still contributed to RMHD in other ways despite not being able to dance. 
  • You must be a member of RMHD in good standing during the year before the show and renew your membership for the coming year prior to tryouts for the show. Membership during the previous year does not have to be for the entire year, joining during the year counts. However, performance and alternative participation points will not accrue until you are a paid RMHD member.

All dancers who are nominated by their teacher will receive an invitation to participate in tryouts:

The MAXIMUM number of dancers selected will be 12, but if only a smaller number meet the high standard for inclusion in the show, then fewer will be selected. Examples of what those judging tryouts will be looking for include the following:  precision, grace, timing, power, tight feet, stage presence, beautiful arms (no wobbles), turn out, extension high cuts, and big leaps.  

Dancers who agree to participate in tryouts must be willing to do the following:

  • Commit to attend ALL practices, rehearsals and shows.  You can miss ONE regular practice with prior approval. Practices are typically held on Sunday afternoons starting in early January through the show in March. You will receive a detailed schedule with exact dates as part of your invitation to participate in tryouts. Required rehearsals with The Denver Brass cannot be missed.
  • Agree to incur a small expense (usually under $25) for little costuming extras, panty hose, hair stuff, etc.

Please Note: 

This show is done in collaboration with The Denver Brass, the Celtic Colorado Pipes & Drums and the Wick School of Irish Dance. The Denver Brass has final artistic rights to the entire show, including selection of which dances, how many dances and how many dancers they would like to have included in certain numbers. Typically RMHD performs in four dances during the show, some of which are combined with the Irish dancers. Depending on the year and the number of dancers selected for the show, most dancers do not perform in all numbers. Typically, a dancer will perform in three of the four dances. The show choreographer will make the final decision as to who dances in which numbers.

If you have further questions regarding the requirements for nomination or participation in the show, please contact the show choreographer, EJ Bennett, at

About the 2020 show:


Newman Center for the Performing Arts

With Celtic Colorado Pipes & Drums
and Aubrey Jacobs, Soprano
and Wick School of Irish Dance
and Rocky Mountain Highland Dancers
and James & Philip Joseph, Guitar & Penny Whistle
and more!

IT’S CONTAGIOUS. The buzz is in the air, and it’s not just the sound of Denver Brass warming up for what Westword calls one of Denver’s best annual St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Behold the visual and sonic experience that only Denver Brass offers, made complete with brass, bagpipes, hammered dulcimer, penny whistle, guitar, voice, and some of the best Irish and Highland dancing in town. If you have not yet experienced it, don’t miss it. Catch the bug, join the obsession, and make this your new annual St. Patrick’s Day tradition.