One of our sixth grade students – 11-year-old Eric – is making headlines for his amazing talent in dancing.
Eric dances Irish dance, and he recently competed in the Western Region Oireachtas, also called the Western US Region, and he placed first in the competition!
The Western Region Oireachtas includes Irish dancers competing from 12 different states, including Arizona. It is one of seven regions in North America that Irish dancers compete in. This year’s competition took place in Sacramento, California.
During the competition, Eric danced the Hornpipe, Reel and a traditional dance called Vanishing Lake. Judges combined scores for the three dances that each dancer performed.
Dancers ages eight and older competed, and seven males took part in the competition that Eric was in.
More exciting news for Eric – since he placed first in the Western Region Oireachtas, he now qualifies to dance in the World Championships of Irish Dance! That competition takes place next April in London.
Eric dances at the Tucson Irish Dance Academy, also called Tir Conaill Academy of Irish Dance. His dance teachers are Christopher McGrory and Rosemary Browne, who are also the owners of the studio.
At four years old, Eric asked if could Irish dance. He began Irish dancing in kindergarten when he was almost six. From the moment he started, Eric loved it.
“It’s fun, I like to compete, and the new steps can be a challenge,” Eric said.
Eric practices Irish dance four times a week, which is about nine hours each week. Before competitions, he practices more than that.
“He’s passionate about Irish dance. He loves Irish dance. He finds joy in it,” said Eric’s mom Kim, who works at Tucson Country Day School as the ELL teacher.
Last year, Eric competed against 50 boys in the World Championships held in Boston, and he placed 21st in the world. That’s after placing second in the region as well as in the top ten in the United States for the kids 11 and under category.
Eric competes in four to five local competitions during the year, and most take place in Phoenix. Local competitions are called a Feis. Feis’s are competitions where boys and girls compete against each other. His will compete next in January in Phoenix.
At the larger competitions, such as as regionals, nationals and worlds, boys and girls compete separately. Eric really enjoys these competitions.
Currently, Eric is practicing his dances, looking forward to hopefully traveling to London for the World Championship.
Congratulations, Eric! We are all very proud of you.