A shared passion for dance for mother and daughter

This Mother’s Day, mother and daughter Aileen Robertson and Eilidh McMillian share stories about their special time performing together at the iconic Edinburgh Castle Esplanade as part of The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

Connected through their family bond and mutual love of dance, they have been involved with the Tattoo for many years, with Eilidh having performed on the iconic Edinburgh Castle Esplanade and Aileen leading the Tattoo Dancers as Dance Director since 2014. 

Aileen Robertson and Eilidh McMillian

A previous Champion Dancer, Eilidh first performed at the Tattoo in 2014 and performed with the illustrious Show for three years before becoming the Dance Captain working alongside her mum. For both Aileen and Eilidh, dance is a central component of their lives, and the opportunity to be part of the world-famous Tattoo is a career highlight.  

Speaking about her experience at the Tattoo, Eilidh said: “I danced for the first time when my Mum took over in 2014 and I absolutely loved it and have great memories. After I became Dance Captain, I made a very good reserve dancer for the team and in fact was required to dance in the Show most recently in 2018. 

Aileen added: “The Tattoo is always a highlight every year and I’m always excited to see the Show coming together. It is great to work with a talented team of people to produce the show. It’s exciting to feel the buzz from the audience as they arrive onto the Esplanade. You are surrounded by excitement and an audience waiting in anticipation to view the Show. 

It has never been a challenge for Aileen and Eilidh to work together. Eilidh explains that like all her dance classmates, she had to prove that she wanted to dance for herself and earn her place in the team. Being able to work together at the Tattoo was a special time for them both, as they were able to share in and experience the diversity and the global connection that the Tattoo brings.  

Aileen continued: “We both have a passion for what we do, and working together is always great fun. We have a close relationship so I can rely on her loyalty and commitment, both professionally and personally. She is always by my side if I need her.”  

When not supporting the production of the Tattoo, Aileen can be found at her own Dance School in Ayr running classes four nights a week. She is also a Fellow and Examiner of the Scottish Dance Teachers' Alliance (SDTA), a Life Member of the British Association of Teachers of Dancing (BATD) and an Adjudicator on the Worldwide Panel of Adjudicators of the Royal Scottish Official Board of Highland Dancing.  

Eilidh works closely with her mother teaching full-time at the Dance School, covering all classes when Aileen is overseas or on Tattoo business. Like her mother, Eilidh is a Fellow and Examiner of the SDTA and an Adjudicator on the Worldwide Panel of Adjudicators of the Royal Scottish Official Board of Highland Dancing.  

A mother herself, to two-year-old Thomas, Eilidh concluded: “Everything good about me, came from my mum. If I can be half the mother that she is, I will consider motherhood a success.” 

The special connection, sparkling creativity, and outstanding talent that Aileen and Eilidh both bring to the Tattoo shines through in their contribution to each rehearsal, performance, and Show. 

Jason Barrett, Chief Executive of The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, said: “The Tattoo Show brings people together from every corner of the world to share tales of the joy of each other’s cultures. It’s the people, like Aileen and Eilidh, that truly bring the Tattoo story to life and come together to make, build, and strengthen relationships each and every August."  

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