Local Irish Step Dancers Head to National Harbor for Regional Competition
This weekend, local Irish step dancers Sydney Newman, Davidsonville; Christian and Grace Allan, Edgewater; Mikaela Flanagan, Edgewater; and Brenna Jones, of Riva will compete in the Southern Region Oireachtas at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center at the National Harbor.
The Oireachtas or Oireachtasai are qualifying events for the World Irish Dance Championship competition. Each dancer must compete in the Oireachtas of his or her geographic region. There are seven competition regions in North America including New England, Eastern, Mid-America, Southern, Western United States, Eastern Canada and Western Canada.
Dancers that qualify in their regional competition move on to Nationals and World.
At the Gaylord, Sydney, Christian, Grace, Mikaela and Brenna along with hundreds of Irish dancers from Alabama, Arkansas, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Mexico will compete in solo and Ceilis or group dances in the hopes of qualifying.
The five local dancers all attend the Hunt School of Irish Dance which is headed by Sheila Hunt Murray and Beverly Hunt O’ Connor. This year, the school has 48 students competing at the Southern Region Oireachtas.
“In the world of Irish dancing, the Oireachtas is our Superbowl,” said Beverly. “Our dancers have been training all year for this event and we wish them good luck.”
Beverly and Sheila opened the school 12 years ago at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Edgewater. They offer traditional Irish step dancing instruction from the beginner to championship levels. The school currently practices out of a studio in Gambrills.