Freshman competes at World Irish Dancing Championships

Freshman competes at World Irish Dancing Championships

Chioma Iheoma, Opinion Editor

Freshman Casey Smial stands behind the curtain waiting to go on stage. Barely recognizable with her curly-haired wig, tanned skin, and made up face, she steps out onto the stage of the Hynes Convention Center. The upbeat music starts and she and seven of her fellow teammates begin to dance at the World Irish Dancing Championships, which took place from March 24-31. “We found out in December that we placed high enough to go [to Worlds],” Smial said. A change in the competition’s venue to Boston, Massachusetts made attendance for Smial and her teammates convenient. “It’s in a different place every year. Usually it’s in Ireland, but this year we got lucky, I guess.”

Smial has been dancing for the past seven years and attributes her interest in Irish dancing to her heritage. “My mom, she’s Irish, and her grandparents are Irish,” Smial said.

“My favorite part is probably getting to see all of my friends,” Smial said. Although she takes dance classes in Bel Air every Monday, her team practices are held in Pennsylvania at the Ryan-Kilcoyne School of Irish Dance on Saturdays.

This year was the first year her team made it to Worlds. “You have to get up at five in the morning and do your hair. You wear a wig that has curls. You do your makeup, put tanner on, and then you dance,” Smial said.

“It was in the Hynes Center and it’s huge. You walk in and there are seven judges in the ballroom where you dance,” Smial said, “If you get a high enough score you dance again, then, you dance again.”

Smial’s performance is called an “eight-hand,” which means her dance team was a group of eight dancers. After performing, she had to wait three to four hours to get the results of her performance. Although her team did not place, Smial has not been deterred from her love of dancing.

“[I’ll dance] probably until I graduate high school and then I’m thinking of going back and helping my dance teacher teach,” Smial said.

Chioma Iheoma is an Opinion Editor for The Patriot and