COVENTRY— Dancers from The Kelly School of Irish Dance traveled to New Jersey last weekend for their annual national championships and the school found success, bringing home a plethora of awards.
Julie Cronin, a mother actively involved with the dance studio, explained that July 19-20, 50 students from the studio went to compete at The North American Irish Dance Federation’s (NAIDF) national championships at Richard Stockton College in New Jersey.
She explained that students from studios in Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Pennsylvania compete for numerous awards.
The Kelly school had students ages six to adult competing in the national championship and many took home awards.
She said of the 50 girls who competed in solo dances from advanced beginner to champion, 11 of them brought home national champions. They also had 12 girls take home second place trophies and seven take home third place trophies.
“We also had 11 teams and three freestyle dances, many of which also won awards,” said Cronin proudly.
One of the biggest accomplishments by the dance studio, however, was having three students qualify for the world championships in 2014.
“We had to qualify and there were certain requirements the girls had to reach in order to qualify,” she said. “If you’re in a solo competition there are three dances you have to do and the prize winner and champion do up to six dances.”
She explained that one of the students won prize winner and two won champion.
“That’s the first time it’s happened for the girls in our dance school,” she added.
Claire Jalbert, who competed in the 11 and under category, did four dances and won first place, qualifying for the world championship.
Deidre Seabury, also in the 11 and under category, qualified for the world championship by receiving third place for the four dances she did.
The final student to qualify was Emily Pietrantozzi, who competed in the 13 and under category, and received first place for her three dances.
“The wonderful thing is we had world qualifiers, but we also had dancers that won a lot of awards as well so we did very well in this competition,” Cronin said.
The dance school competes in numerous championships and competitions each year, with their qualifying year running from July-June.
Now that the three girls will go on to the world championships, they get to choose which one to compete in.
The first championship is held by the World Irish Dance Association (WIDA) in Germany in April 2014 and the following championship is held by the Cumann Rince Dea Mheasa (CRDM) in Ireland in May 2014.
“World qualifiers can go to either of those competitions or they can go to both,” Cronin explained.