Amazing Busy Kids: Irish Dance World ChampionshipPosted by Sarah W on May 20, 2012
I bet you didn’t know it, but San Antonio is home to a world class Irish dancer. Earlier this year, the Inishfree School of Irish Dance in San Antonio sent seven dancers to the World Championship of Irish Dance in Belfast, Ireland where they competed against the best Irish dancers in the world.
And guess who was a part of their team? San Antonian Grace Gillock, a twelve-year-old (seen above in purple), who joined teammates Courtney, Shelby, Asheligh, Daniella, Tania, and Marcela in the competition.
The World Irish Dancing Competition is Irish dancing’s premier event. According to the Inishfree School, “The Olympics are to sports what the Worlds are to Irish dancing.” In this eight-day competition, dancers from around the world, including the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, South Africa, Australia, the USA, Canada, and countries all over Europe, compete to win the world title. This year, it was an Australian team that beat out the Irish and walked away with the title.
Grace Gillock was among the lucky few who qualify to compete. The school makes it clear that, “for an Irish dancer to grace the World Championship stage just once is a feat in itself, an achievement to which most competitive dancers aspire.” And Grace tackled it at the age of twelve. Talk about an amazing kid!
The pressure of competing at the World Championships does not outweigh what an exciting opportunity this is for Grace. She says, “I feel very fortunate to get this chance to go and compete in Ireland because I know many dancers don’t ever get the chance to do this.”
Grace has been dancing for five years, practicing three times a week, not counting additional private lessons. It takes a lot of dedication to devote that much of your time to one thing. But Grace has a great perspective on it, “When you are an Irish dancer, it’s not always about competing and winning competitions. I’ve met many of my closest friends in Irish dancing because we spend so much time practicing, competing and performing together, which has doubled the fun of it.”
The team is taught by former World Champion, Neill Reagan, and the former lead of Lord of the Dance, Patrick McCarthy. Inspiring their students to reach the great heights they have, the two world-renowned dancers act as directors for the nonprofit Inishfree School of Irish Dance. If you and your little lass are interested in the art of Irish Dance, check out the Inishfree School. The first lesson is free.