The Fairy Dance animation release
The Fairy Dance is adapted from a folk tale, recorded by the writer Ernest Marwick, about a fiddle-player who entertains the magical mound-dwelling ‘peerie (or peedie if you prefer) folk.’ The animation takes its title from the traditional Scottish fiddle tune of the same name. This popular tune is also central to the soundtrack.
Known as “trows“, the fairies found in the folklore of Orkney and Shetland are a far cry from Tinkerbell. Such magical creatures are sinister, and dealing with them can be dangerous. They love music but are also known for shooting livestock with magical darts and stealing human babies to replace them with sickly ‘changelings’. The Fairy Dance is in the tradition of other dark fairy tales found throughout Europe.
The story concerns trickery, change, and the magical manipulation of time itself. In addition to mythology it draws from personal experience and memories of the late Dougie Shearer (1912-2002), who was a photographer, film-maker, and owner of the Phoenix Cinema in Kirkwall, as well as a talented violinist and teacher.
The Fairy Dance project received support from a Visual Arts and Crafts Makers Award (VACMA). This allowed the purchase of equipment and training to help with the animation. The Fairy Dance has been hand-drawn digitally using a graphics tablet, unlike A Gude Cause maks a Strong Erm, the story of The Orcadian Woman’s Suffrage Society, which was a cut-out animation consisting of gouache paintings on paper.
The Fairy Dance required a large investment of time to create. It has therefore been released free to view online under the Value for Value model, also known as Pay What You Want or Name Your Price. This business model relies on good will and has been notably utilised by the band Radiohead, among others. Viewers are under no obligation to pay to watch The Fairy Dance, but if you feel it has value, and if you would like to see more work in this vein, you are invited to contribute whatever you feel appropriate.