Congratulations to all our dancers who competed at the All Ireland Championships last week!
We are very proud to announce that we have two All Ireland Champions!
**Liam Costello (U16 Boys)**
**Ashton Canty (U12 Boys)**
Both boys are now two-times All Ireland Champions!
We had a further two podium positions: Niall Forrest (2nd in the Senior Men) and Gavina Zuccharello (4th in the U19 Ladies)
…And another two finishing in the top ten! Ellie-Kate McCarthy (U12 Girls) and Molly O’Neill (Senior Ladies). Ellie-Kate also won her solo heavy jig!
We are so proud of all our other dancers who went and competed in this world-class field. We had some excellent medals, recalls and personal bests!
Bring on the Worlds! One month to go!
We are so proud to announce that our Cecily has been successful in passing the rigorous exam required to become an adjudicator of Irish dance, under An Coimisiun Le Rinci Gaelacha. Cecily passed on her first attempt (an amazing achievement) after dedicating hours and hours to preparing for the exam, alongside teaching full time and being a mum of two. She is now qualified to adjudicate Irish dance competitions all over the world! (Though of course her passion remains as nurturing our next generation of dancers!)
We are holding our family race night on Saturday 3rd March at the newly refurbished Dartford Irish Club. It promises to be a night of fun and excitement, so get your tickets now – £10 per family.
Frances established McGahan Lees Irish Dance in 1996, meaning we are 21 years old this year! Coupled with our great successes at major championships this year, including Ashton Canty becoming U11 boys World Champion, we felt it was high time to CELEBRATE!
It was an amazing night, and we were lucky enough to share it some with amazing people, who have helped us all so much over the years! Thank you so much to everyone that came (some from afar!) and helped create such an amazing atmosphere – it really means a lot to us.
Here are some photos that we feel captured the night perfectly!
Our major champions
We had such an amazing day at our Christmas Class Feis – our biggest yet! The standard of the competitions was truly awesome, right from Novice to Open.
As always, we were privileged to have Santa make a special visit!
But the best bit of the day is, of course, seeing our dancers enjoy performing for their friends and family (some for the first time).
We hope you had fun!
The end of the calendar year sees regional championship (oireachtas) events held in each region. These championships are also the main qualifying events for the following year’s World championships. Most of our dancers compete in the Southern England Region Oireachtas, which was held 16th-19th November.
This year we were lucky enough to obtain FIVE Southern England Regional Oireachtas titles:
*Niall Forrest – U22 Men’s Champion*
*Gavina Zuccharello – U18 Ladies Champion*
*Ellie-Kate McCarthy – U11 Girls Champion*
*Ashton Canty – U11 Boys Champion*
*Ava Folan – U8 Girls Champion*
We are also very proud of our 24 dancers who achieved a qualifying position in their competitions!
Aside from this, every dancer performed to the absolute best of their ability, showing off all the hard work they put into preparing themselves both physically and mentally for what can be a stressful event.
Here are some photos to sum up the weekend!
Our oireachtas champions – Flying high!
Congratulations also to our dancers who competed at the Midlands Oireachtas – Freddie and Nicole you flew the McGL banner high!
Our Caroline has recently been touring South Africa with Lord of the Dance. Whilst there, she met some amazing youngsters in Soweto. Soweto is an underprivileged township near Johannesburg, which was home to Nelson Mandela for many years. These kids already had some experience of Irish dancing, and quickly picked up the steps Caroline taught them. How amazing that Irish dancing is being taught and learnt all over the world, by people of all backgrounds!
The last two weeks of the Summer are devoted to preparing our dancers for up and coming major regional, national and international championships. These are a grueling couple of weeks of solid hard work… but these dancers seem to have managed to survive the first week with smiles on their faces!
This year we provided several Summer Schools in Essex, aimed at our graded dancers wishing to make a big improvement over the summer (as well as having fun). These summer schools offer the chance to learn more broadly about Irish dance, including ceili dancing, costume design, and dance drama/choreography.
Here are some photos from our Billericay Summer School, led by Debbie McGahan, TCRG.