Offaly Irish dancers star at World Irish Dance Championships

Offaly Express Reporter

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Offaly Irish dancers star at World Irish Dance Championships

Offaly Irish dancers star at World Irish Dance Championships

The Emerald Lakes Academy of Irish Dance have left the WIDA World Irish Dance Championships 'Reeling' after claiming 15 World Gobles at The Koningshof Arena in Vedhoven - Eindhoven in the Netherlands including claiming the World Title for the World Show Championship in Irish Dance Drama and Caoimhe Strickland crowned World Champion Under 9 for 2019 in solo dancing. 

And a number of Offaly dancers were very much to the fore. Rhode Brothers Christian Taylor and James Taylor placed fourth in the Mens World Category while James Taylor took second in the World Premiership. Walsh Island Dancer Emma Pierce was also seventh in the World with all these dancers crowned World Champions after winning the Irish Dance Show Championship 2019 in Eindhoven in the Netherlands.

The 33 Strong dance group with ages ranging from seven years of age to 67 years of age departed Rochfortbridge on April 17 to compete against 28 countries at the the most diverse and international of World Irish Dance Championships in the World.

WIDA, the World Irish Dance Association, offers the only family inclusive Irish dance experience in the world, hence the thousands of entries from across the world each year and from its affiliate school in Westmeath - Emerald Lakes Academy run by Kevin Lyster.

Some of the competing countries against Emerald Lakes included The Netherlands, Russia, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Ukraine, Belarus, Hong Kong, China, USA, Canada, Austrailia, England, Scotland, Armenia, Siberia, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Kazakhstan and the african nation of Togo to name a few. 

The victorious team from Emerald Lake,s which includes the Emerald Lakes TTC Group supported by the local community, gave outstanding performances in both solo, team and Irish Dance Drama at the World Championships over the five days in Eindhoven. Emerald Lakes qualified in all categories and impressed the judges so much so that they won hundreds of awards including four World Globe first place titles and 11 more world Globe Podium places in the world Championships with 10 Premiership podium places. 

A heatwave struck mainland Europe during the championships with temperatures soaring during the day did not deter the Emerald Lakes Academy. The World Championships Show Championship night a number of teams took to the stage to fight for the most coveted prize in team dancing and that is the Irish Dance Drama Show Championship. Emerald Lakes qualified into the finals with two spectacular show pieces which where rehearsed for intensly at Mullingar Charity variety Group Premises at Forest Park in Mullingar before they left for Eindhoven.

Their Team A was Based on the Chronicles of Naria with an epic piece of Irish Dance, Drama and a strong Storyline and intricked Irish Dance which wowed the judges to that overall 3rd place in the finals with a team of Alba Trigo Lyster, Kayleigh Strickland, Leila Trigo Lyster, Naoise Strickland, Allan Fitzgerald, Caoimhe Strickland, Brianna Fitzgerald, Diana Wakefield, Katie Mangan, Diana Wakefield, Amy Devany and James Taylor. Emerald Lakes Team B gave  a most unique piece which left not only the audience in tears but the adjudicators also. This showpiece had created an unusual wave of emotion and reaction from across the arena. The storyline was based on Mental Health Awarness and was entitled ' I am Me' - Fix you, Fix me and really hit home a strong message which everyone could relate to. This was a deeply thought out piece of drama and choreography as 17 face masked dancers made their way on stage. What was to follow was the wave of emotion as the dance unfolded from a dark beginning to a most beautiful but emotional and tearful finish. The reaction from the host country and competing countries was one of awe as Emerald Lakes Team B scooped top marks from all 5 adjudicators and crowned World Champions 2019. The winning team was made up of Christian Taylor, Eimear Farrell, Sarah Loran, Ciara Doyle, Blaithin Stenson, Karen Stenson, Tanya Daly, Brianna Daly, Rahel Doyle, Nikki Doyle, Niamh Gallagher, Alice McDonnell, Marilyn Loran, Sarah Loran, Ava Loran, Melissa Cully and Emma Pierce.

Emerald Lakes did not stop there. They also claimed the Charity World Rallly Reel Competition with Katie Martin, Melissa Cully, Ava Loran, Sarah Loran, Alice McDonnell, Brianna Daly, Eimear Farrell, Ciara Dolye and Blaithin Stenson all crowned World Champions.

Also in the team section, they went on to claim the 4-Hand Championship title over 30 with the talented team of Marilyn Loran, Melissa Cully, Niamh Gallagher and Tanya Daly crowned World Champions.

Caoimhe Strickland was crowned World Champion for Emerald Lakes, Blaithin Stenson 5th in Trad and 4th in World Championship, Alice McDonnell claimed 4th in the World, Brianna Daly 5th in the World, Ava Loran 4th in the World, Marilyn Loran 2nd in the World, Amy Devaney 2nd in the World, Kayleigh Strickland 3rd in the world, Christian Taylor 4th in the World to name a few. Katie Mangan was 2nd in the World Priemership and Championship as was the team of Naoise Strickland, Katie Martin, Ciara Doyle, Eimear Farrell, Sarah Loran, Evelyn Page, Rachel Doyle, Martina Foley, Theresa Aldridge, Emma Pierce, Melissa Cully, James Taylor, Karen Geraghty, Diana Wakefield, Allan Fitzgerald, Karen Stenson, Clodagh Wakefield, Alba Trigo Lyster, Leila Trigo Lyster, Tanya Daly, Niamh Gallagher and Brianna Fitzgerald.

The team have returned home to great celebrations and triumph. The Emerald Lakes Academy of Irish Dance and Emerald Lakes TTC Group founded and run by local dance teacher Kevin Lyster who is know for his voluntary work in Irish Culture with one of his former dancers, Philip Hynes teaching at the Academy have led Emerald Lakes to be the most successful Irish Dance Schools at the 2019 World Championships.

The school know as 'The Lakes' Have taken the World by Storm to maintain their No.1 spot in the World as the most successful Irish Dance School in WIDA along with Irish Dance Spirit from Minsk in Belarus. Kevin Lyster wishes to thank all of the local business who supported their bush push in order to bring teams and theatrical productions to the world championships. Kevin says the local community and businesses have helped and assisted them to bring home 15 World Globes in 2019. The Rochfortbridge based school is one of a kind offering unique dance opportunities for the the entire community.