Reeling with success
WATCH out, there is a new judge in town.
Experienced highland dancer and Inverness Highland Dance Studio principal Marlene McBean has been bestowed an honour not too many others have.
Ms McBean was one of four women to have their names added to the Scottish Official Board of Highland Dancing (SOBHD) worldwide judges list.
She achieved an impressive 91% in a rigorous exam that included hours of testing and almost broke some contestants.
"There was also half an hour of one-on-one questioning and that was very intimidating," she said.
"In fact, some women came out of there in tears."
Although Ms McBean was "quietly confident" following her exam, she waited months to finally hear the news she had passed.
The promotion to judge means she must retire from competitive dancing and Ms McBean was pleased to be awarded the esteemed adult pre-championship during her dancing career.
The talented dancer laced up her dancing shoes for the first time in her life as a six-year-old child.
After dancing for several years, Ms McBean took a break from the dance floor, before returning as a young adult.
"I was looking for something to do for fitness and I didn't see the point of aerobics or something like that," she said.
"With dancing, there was an end result. You learnt a dance and it was something you could get up and perform."
Ms McBean has yet to be notified of her first judging gig but said she hoped it was sooner rather than later.
"My first job is going to be very exciting but also nerve-wracking," she said.
"A lot of these dancers take it very seriously and you want to judge them as best and as fairly as you can."