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.
Some of our dancers were lucky enough (after a great fundraising effort) to be able to attend the NANs, held in New Orleans, Louisiana.
As well as everyone recalling and placing highly, we achieved two champions!
- Ellie-Kate McCarthy (U11 Girls)
- Liam Costello (U15 Boys)
And of course, great fun was had by all!
Many of our Championship dancers competed at the Scottish National Championships in June, with some outstanding results and personal bests.
A theatre performance about Irish dance – coming to London in August!
The Bad Arm is a one-hour comedy about growing up Irish dancing. It’s suitable for everyone age 12 and over and you don’t have to be Irish or a dancer to enjoy it (however, if you’ve experienced the world of Irish dancing, this is a must-see!)
Máire Clerkin’s hit show about the underbelly of Irish Dancing, has been touring North America since 2008 and played in Dublin and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Now finally, it will appear in London’s West End during the first week of August.
The story is set in Máire’s native North London – a snapshot of London-Irish life in the 1970s. Catch it while you can – it’s playing at Tristan Bates Theatre in Covent Garden as part of the Camden Fringe.
For more information, visit Máire’s site and to book tickets call 02038416611 or click here.