Dancers are World Championship bound


IRISH dancers from Scottish schools were given the chance to shine once again recently and earn the right to take on dancers from all over the world as they took part in World Championship qualifying tournaments.

Competing in both this year’s Great Britain Championships, as well as the Scottish Oireachtas, Irish dancers throughout the country turned in some fantastic performances, which saw them qualify for next year’s World Irish Dancing Championships in Belfast.

Firstly, the performances of two dancers from the Sarah Frances Smith School of Irish Dancing, Damien Fisher and Erin Sharp, at the Great Britain Championships were enough to book their places at next year’s World Championships, as they finished fifth and 12th in their respective U15 and U19 competitions

“We are so proud of Damien and cannot wait to see him dance on the world stage,” Sarah Frances Smith said. “Erin danced her heart out at the Great Britain Championships too. We are so proud of her and cannot wait to see her dance at the World Championships as well.”

The Great Britain Championships were also fruitful for Emma O’Connor and Roisin Mattear from the Caroline Greene School of Irish Dance who were the top Scots in the U16 and U19 categories respectively, which qualified them for the World Championships.

At the Oireachtas, dancers dazzled the adjudicators with their performance and added to the number of qualifiers from Scottish shores.

Among these were dancers from the McLaughlin School of Irish Dance, who celebrated 21 of their dancers booking their place at the World Championships next year.

There were top podium places for qualifiers Cara Sharkey (U13), Anya Maguire (U15) and Caoimhe Mosson (U16). There were second place finishes for: Mia Slicer (U10), Scarlett Sharp (U12), Connie Grant (U17), Emily Kelly (U18) and Siobhan Boles (U20). There were third place finishes for: Maria Mannion (U13), Niamh Stevenson (U15) and Lyndsey Kelly (U18). Also among the qualifiers were: Mya Curran (U10), Orla Sherry (U11), Lucy Morley (U12 injured), Eva Mannion (U13), Teagan Giroux (U13), Mya McDonald (U14), Murrin Cairns (U15), Siobhan Reilly (U17), Erin Sherry (U18) and Gillian Crowe (U22).

As well as those who qualified for the World Championships, there were some notable performances from: Jasmine Hrabouszki, who finished second in the U6 category; Shannon Dyer, who won the U8 category; Zara Gibb, who was second in the U8s; Aria McCluskey and Mairead McGinley who were fourth and fifth respectively in the U8 category; Orla Maguire who finished in second place in the U9 competition; as well as Freya McNab and Áine McGeehan who were third and fourth respectively in the U9 category. Aliana Waters also took third place in the U12 Prelim competition.

“What a weekend it was for our school,” Eileen McLaughlin said. “We are absolutely delighted with our performances—an amazing four champions, eight runners-up and 21 World qualifiers for Belfast 2022. Senior Ladies Ceili champions and second place in the Girls U15 and U18 Ceili too.

“From our little U6s dancing in their first championship to our seasoned pros we are so proud of them all. It’s taken a huge amount of work and commitment through lockdowns and getting back in the studio over the past two years to keep this amazing standard going. We are very excited for 2022!”

There were also a similarly impressive 20 dancers from the Sharon Taylor Dance Academy (above) who qualified for the 2022 World Championships. There were 10 dancers who took top spot in their age groups, namely: Carly Robson (U6), Yasmine Dhami (U7), Millie Burns (U9), Keira O’Reilly (U10 Girls), Oscar Donnelly (U10 Boys), Cora Burns (U11), Niamh Rodgers (U12), Kathleen Collins (U17), Declan McLaughlin (Senior Men) and Laura Davidson (Senior Ladies).

There were second place finishes for: Georgia Mitchell (U11), Evelyn Roger (U15 Girls), Matthew Hughes (U15 Boys), Dylan Stevenson (U18 Boys) and Amy Chestnutt (Senior Ladies). There were third place finishes for: Cara Rodgers (U8), Caoimhe Cocozza (U10), Amber Marshall (U17) and Eve Holloran (U22) and Aisling Cocozza (U14 Prelim).
Abigail Cross, Alice Marques, Robbie McLaughlin and Keira McCue also qualified.

“The school winning 10 Open Championships was our best record to date, so we are all still on a high,” Sharon said. “Their efforts mark endless hours of hard work and dedication from all involved. I’m so very proud of our team.”

The Caroline Greene School of Irish Dance, meanwhile, added to the two Great Britain Championship qualifiers by adding a further eight qualifiers to the mix. Annie Giordano (U18) and the Girls Ceili (U15) took top spot at the Oireachtas to secure their spots at the World Championships. A second place finish for Orlaith Henderson (U14) and a third place finish for Aimee Strachan (U12) saw them qualify too. The rest of qualifiers were: Carragh Leach and Sarah Gallagher (U12), Caoimhe Leach (U10) and Ebony Nasim (U13). Roisin Mattear and Emma O’Connor followed up on their Great Britain Championship performances with first and second place finishes in their respective U19 and U16 competitions.

“It was a brilliant weekend at the Scottish Oireachtas for Team Greene,” Caroline said. “You all danced fabulously, and the commitment you’ve shown at class is unbelievable. Two Oireachtas Champions, U15 Ceili Champions, eight top five podium places and a Prelim Champion is fantastic. Michelle and I are so proud of you all.”

The qualifying successes didn’t end there though as the Harrison School of Irish Dance (Susan Harrison) posted three World Championship qualifiers in Ethan Farrell (U12), Rachel Gault (U13) and Lorraine McGrath (Senior Ladies).

“We’re really proud of all our dancers,” Susan Harrison said. “They are amazing. We’re really proud of Ethan too since he has been competing after lockdown. The consistency he has shown at these big competitions is fantastic and great preparation towards his first World Championships.”

Completing our round-up of Scottish qualifiers was Caitlin Craig from the Rinceoirí le Chéile Irish Dance Academy, who was the Scottish Champion in the U22 category.

“We are super proud of this young lady,” teacher Michelle Haughey said. “She is a beautiful role model to our younger dancers and a super hard worker. Well done Caitlin.”

For more information and pictures of our fantastic Irish dancers, please seek out their schools’ Facebook pages and give them a like and a follow