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Bay represented at Irish Dancing World Championships

May 6, 2019
Bay represented at Irish Dancing World Championships

Bay Dancers attend World Irish Champs

Port Elizabeth - Five dancers from the McWilliams Academy of Dance in Port Elizabeth represented South Africa at the 49th World Championship of Irish Dance held in Greensboro, North Carolina in the USA recently.

They are Shanna du Plessis (11) from Collegiate Junior, Irene Pitsiladi (15) and Channaed Oosthuizen (15) both from Pearson High School, Carma Stephenson (17) from Collegiate High and Courtney Pearce (26).

"Although many do not think of dancing as a sport, these girls and dancers worldwide think otherwise. They train 11 months out of the year for several 'major' competitions and local competitions referred to as Feisanna," said Adri du Plessis, on behalf of the McWilliams Academy of Dance.

"In September every year, the national competition called Oireachtas is held in Gauteng.

"Ten dancers from McWilliams Academy qualified for the 2019 Worlds Championships." 

World Irish Dancing Championships 

She said that the World Irish Dancing Championships — known in Gaelic as “Oireachtas Rince na Cruinne” or simply, the Worlds — have been called the Olympics of Irish dance. Next year the event will be back in Dublin for its 50th anniversary.

"The competitions and World Championships, are divided into age groups. Multiple dancers perform at the same time on one stage, and at the World’s it’s done to live music," added du Plessis.

"Some age groups at Worlds had as many as 150 competitors from Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Mexico and the USA."

McWilliams Academy of Dance owner, Jennifer McWilliams, added “Being selected to compete at the World championships is every Irish dancer’s dream.

"As dancers living in an ‘Irish dance developing country’, it is also a wonderful opportunity to see the very best dancers in the world."

The dancers are already back and currently training hard for a competition to be held in Port Elizabeth at the Savoy Theatre on 18 May 2019.

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