Seven solo dancers from Watt’s School of Irish Dance in Fort St. John were among the 3,000 competitors who took part in the World Irish Dance Championships, held in Glasgow, Scotland, from March 24th to 31st, 2024.

Known as the “Olympics of Irish Dance,” the event features the top ten per cent of performers worldwide, according to Watt’s School of Irish Dance coach Hailey McGuire.

McGuire says some of the dancers from Fort St. John walked away from the competition with personal bests.

“It’s such an accomplishment to even qualify for this level of dancing,” said McGuire of the event, which took place at the Scottish Event Campus.

Judging is based on five rounds over two days of competition in each category, with five different judges in each round.  

Scoring is based on strength, stage presence, posture, and technique. On the first day, competitors are divided into heats based on their previous year’s standing, with those who did not enter the previous year entered into either heat alphabetically.

Those who survive the first day of performances receive a “recall medal” for making it to day two and a “world medal” for getting to the fifth and final round before placing. 

Emalee Chapelle placed 19th in the world in the ladies aged 19 to 20 category, receiving two medals.

Reese Gibbons also received two medals and finished 25th in the girls aged 14 to 15 category.  

Mckinley Pomeroy and Paisley Gibbons placed 42nd and 43rd, respectively, in the girls aged 12 to 13 category.

Naia Gibbons was a semi-finalist in the girls aged 17 to 18 category, finishing 66th overall and missing out on the fifth round.

 Hilary Campbell was a semi-finalist in the girls aged 13 to 14 category, finishing 71st. 

Lauryn Campbell got through two rounds in the girls aged 16 to 17 category.

“We are so very proud of them and the work put in to get there,” said McGuire.

Next on the calendar, Watt’s Irish dance school has its year-end recital in June at the North Peace Cultural Centre.

For more information on Watt’s Irish School of Dance, visit their website here.

By Edward Hitchins, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Apr 12, 2024 at 17:00

This item reprinted with permission from   Fort St. John, British Columbia

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