Irish Dance Las Vegas goes to the Oireachtas!
What the heck is an Oireachtas? And how do you pronounce it?
1. You pronounce it Oh-Rock-Tis.
2.Like the name of our school, Oireachtas is a gaelic term. In Gaelic, it means ‘a gathering.’ In Irish Dance, it is a really intimidating word that means Championship. Our organization is pretty big and we are divided into regions. Each region holds a championship sometime in November and December to qualify dancers to go to the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS the following Easter. It’s a pretty big deal. It’s very hard to qualify. In a competition of 150 dancers, the max that can qualify is 12-15. The U.S. has so many competitive dancers that they also qualify dancers for our National Championships as well. This is also hard to qualify for, but the number of spots that qualify is over double of that for the Worlds.
Why am I talking about this? Well, because we are going! We have attended this event every year we have had dancers at a level high enough to compete.
I used to teach with the Martin Percival school out here in Las Vegas. We were in business from 2007 to 2013. We had dancers in the awards round every year. My dancers were excellent, and most of them got to that round every year. We had many top 15 and top 10 placements. We were consistently qualifying for the North American Nationals and, in 2012, we qualified one of our dancers for the World Championships in 2013. It was an amazing experience, being able to take one of my dancers. I had qualified and danced myself many times in my competition days, but there is nothing like taking your first dancer.
Since then, Martin Percival retired, my core group of dancers went off to college and I started up my own school, again accepting beginner level dancers. We are working hard in class to once again reach that level of competition with the majority of our dancers. I do have 6 competing in the championships this year (some for their very first time!) and it is very exciting. Even more exciting, is that we are taking 9 more dancers with us to participate in a traditional set dance competition, which doesn’t qualify them for anything, but does give them valuable experience. They will know what an Oireachtas is, and what the standard of dancing is, and know what they are working so hard for.
We are also competing in team events for the first time this year, which has been an absolute dream of mine.
We are competing in two teams in two different age groups. Even though we are working hard to do our absolute best in these teams, the first year is for experience and anything on top of that is icing on the cake. While we have been competing in team events at normal competitions, they have been 2, 3, and 4 dancer teams. This is only our 2nd time competing in the 8 dancer team category. I am confident that they will do their best and look like a team that has been practicing their feet off.
I have been so proud of all of their hard work and dedication. They have been working so hard to help each other raise the level of dancing in the class. I hope we go and have so much success but, no matter what happens, as long as they go up there and dance the best that they can, they will come home winners.
I hope you will join me in wishing all of our dancers at Scoil Rince Ni Riada Irish Dance Las Vegas the best of luck at the Oireachtas.
It’s our time to shine!