During the week of April 14-20, SJC students Aela Riley ’21 and Shannon Dempsey ’21 competed in the 2019 World Irish Dancing Championships. The competition took place in Greensboro, NC, and lasted the entire week. There were four categories for competitors: solos, drama, choreography, and teams.
Riley competed in drama and teams during the week. The performances for drama took place on April 19, and the team performances on April 20. Her drama performance won first place, but her team didn’t advance to the next round. Recall for team performances is hard, because there are a large number of teams that compete. Team performances require a lot of commitment, and Riley has grown close to her teammates because of the frequent workshops.
“It’s the biggest competition of the year for our organization. I really liked the experience because my team did really well, which is really nice,” said Riley.
Riley started Irish dancing when she was in kindergarten and commits to the activity year round. Preparations for her individual performance and her team started over the summer for worlds. Workshops are held leading up to regionals and afterward, depending on if the team qualifies for worlds. Riley’s team qualified after winning the regional competition.
Dempsey competed in solos and teams. Dempsey placed 54th in the solo competition and her team won 10th place overall. It was her third year competing in worlds. Teams requires more effort than solos for her because everyone in her group has to be working together, which can make the process more frustrating. Solos and team performances require different types of conditioning and both demand a lot of work.
“Worlds is definitely a fun experience. The atmosphere of it all gets you pumped up, and seeing all the amazing dancers takes my breath away and pushes me to be better. The best part was seeing all our hard work and dedication pay off. The feeling of stepping out on the world’s stage never gets old,” said Dempsey.