Ricochet News

Bay dancers sparkle at South African Irish Dancing Championships

By Jesica Slabbert - Oct 23, 2017
Bay dancers sparkle at South African Irish Dancing Championships

The McWilliams Academy of Dance (M.A.D) studio in Port Elizabeth participated in the South African Irish Dancing Championships that was held in Johannesburg during the October school holidays. Three international judges adjudicated the event.

“Irish Dancing is very young in South Africa, with SA Champs being only in its 11th year. Having said that, the competition and the standard is very high,” said Vanessa Forbes of the McWilliams Academy of Dance.

“Our dancers attend as many competitions as possible throughout the year. As you can imagine, it’s a very costly affair, as most of the big competitions are in Johannesburg or Cape Town,” explained Vanessa.

The studio is tremendously proud of the fact that five of their dancers won their age group championships.

Two of the dancers, Courney Pearce of the Senior Ladies division and Jenna Hayes in the girls u/16 division qualified to attend the prestigious Irish Dance World Championships to be held in Glasgow, Scotland in March next year.

Courtney Pearce was one of six dancers from the studio who participated in the All Scotlands Irish Dance Championship in Glasgow, Scotland in early October 2017.

Courtney made history when she placed 12th in the Senior Ladies competition - the highest placing female dancer at any international major competition to date.  

Other dancers from the academy who also performed exceptionally well and who won their Pre-championships are;

  • Lara Fowlds (Level 1, u/8);
  • Sarah Rennie (Level 2, 12 years and over);
  • Lauren Thompson (Level 5, u/13);
  • and Sarah Sharp (Level 5, ages 13-15)

Caption (from left to right): Jennifer McWilliams (Owner and Teacher), Shanna du Plessis (u/10 SA champion), Courtney Pearce (Senior Ladies SA champion), Channaed Oosthuizen (u/13 SA champion), Jenna Hayes (u/16 SA champion), Jemima Opperman (u/12 SA champion).