BY SIOBHANN DUNN
Glasgow is hosting the Irish Dancing World Championships for the fifth time.
The 48th ‘Worlds’ will commence this month at Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall and will welcome over 5000 dancers for what An Coimisiún Le Rincí Gaelacha chairman, James McCutcheon, describes as, ‘a unique experience.’
The annual competition, which features some of the world’s finest solo and ceilidh dancers, starts Saturday March 24 with the under-11 age group, concluding on Sunday April 1 with senior solos and ceilidh teams.
“I hope everyone feels the huge, warm welcome and enjoys the unique experience that Glasgow has to offer,” Mr McCutcheon said.
Glasgow last held the championships in 2016 and is set to do so again in 2024—a real boost for local dancers, with next year’s event scheduled to take place far away in North Carolina.
Competing for this years under-16 title is local girl, Aisling Gallagher, and she told The Irish Voice that the competition is regarded as the biggest stage for dancers.
“This is the biggest competition I have ever danced at,” she said. “And because I had to actually qualify for it means more to me than any other.”
Only a handful of dancers are selected from each age group to represent their region. Scotland’s dancers were selected last November at the yearly qualifiers at the Couper Institute Halls in the city’s south side.
Aisling was among those to be recalled and selected, and she described how she felt after securing her place at this year’s championships, saying: “I felt happy and shocked.”
The competition is where dancers (above right) get to showcase their polished Irish steps and with five experienced adjudicators watching, there is nowhere to hide, making competition fierce.
With eyes watching from every corner, Boyle School dancer Aisling explained how she is preparing for the big event.
“I practice six days a week and then take a day off for a rest, because I want to dance my best,” she explained.
The week-long event will also offer visitors the opportunity to take part in workshops in both Irish music and language classes conducted by Conradh an Gaeilge and Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann.
“I hope it gives people a taste of Irish culture,” Mr McCutcheon concluded.