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San Diego dancers head to Ireland for Irish Dance World Championships

Irish Dance team.png
Posted at 4:36 PM, Feb 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-23 20:02:14-05

SAN DIEGO, CA (KGTV) — At the Clan Rince Dance Studio in San Diego, the students are preparing for the upcoming World Irish Dance Championships. It's a style of dance these kids fell in love with the minute they hit the floor.

"My dad is Irish and he loves Irish music and I loved dancing to it," said 12-year-old dancer Suzu Keenan.

Landon Hays is the only boy going to the championships and he says when he first saw Irish dancing he knew he wanted to give it a try.

"I wanted to try it, so I tried it, and I really really liked it."

Sarah Dillon is 18-years-old and became interested in Irish dance back in elementary school.

"A troop of Irish dancers came to my school and performed on Saint Patrick's Day."

For the group of six heading to Ireland, it's taken a lot of hard work and dedication. Some kids are dancing 15 hours a week on top of private lessons, as that is what it takes to compete in soft and hard shoe step dance at the highest level.

"It's really difficult," says Dillon. "We train for hours every week leading up to the competitions, and it's really hard on your body. You have to be physically really strong."

"If you have turned out feet and great posture, then it's right for you," says Keenan.

Irish dance is a style where you need to be very fleet of foot.

"You really have to develop it because when you are little you start with easier footwork, and as you get into higher levels your footwork gets harder and faster."

"When you get in these competitions you are judged on how turned out your feet are, as well as your rhythms and how on time you are to the music."

The group is very excited to head to Belfast in April for the competition, especially since the last two World Championships were canceled due to COVID-19.

"It will be really exciting to go and I feel super honored and lucky to be able to compete at this level," says Dillon.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Irish Dance World Championships.