Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Brushes with ID elite!

Sorry for not getting a post up yesterday. I'll put up a couple today to keep everyone up to speed with what's happening here in Philadelphia.

Besides being glued to my seat for most of the day watching girls u15 and u14, I did conduct a few fascinating interviews with Irish dance elite! First I met up with CLRG chairperson Sean McDonagh to find out a bit about how the worlds came to be in the states.

He explained that a bunch of cities were suggested and that a small CLRG committee was charged with making the final decision based on a number of factors (venues, hotels, cost, etc.). Boston and Philadelphia were top choices for an American venue, but Philly eventually won the showdown, particularly because the Mid-Atlantic region has hosted the Oireachtas here for a number of years, and they city has always managed to accommodate the number of dancers.

Mr. McDonagh and I also talked about the changed face of Irish dance, and how schools are popping up around the world, as far as Tokyo and and Ukraine.

What surprised me was the fact that 60% of Irish dancers come from North America. And, at this year's worlds in particular, 75% of competitors are North American. Wild, right? I just submitted a story for The Irish Times that is scheduled to be printed this weekend that further discusses the significance of this trend in the US.

After that, I spoke to some vendors about the economy's role in buying feis gear. Once that story's done, I'll submit it to Hornpipe Magazine. More on that later :)

Then I met up with the two female Australian world champions, Fiona-Gaye Moore (won in 1980) and Nicole Zepcevski (2006). We talked a lot about Irish dancing in Australia, and the difficulty of traveling to worlds from Australia. Regardless of whether the worlds happen in North America or Europe, these Aussies have to sink a lot of money into traveling for big competitions.

Later I interviewed Dearbhla Lennon of Dundalk, County Louth. That woman is beautiful! And she's a fellow journalist ;) I'd never met a lead dancer from Riverdance AND Lord of the Dance.

It was extremely exciting meeting with such talented and important people. Rumor is Michael Flatley will also be making an appearance. Possibly tomorrow. I'll see if I can't manage to run into him as well :)

Links from Tuesday! Girls 13-14 Boys 13-14 Girls 14-15 Boys 14-15 Minor Mixed Ceili
Yet more great pics from including...
....Ally's favourite dress so far, second from left (three guesses why, LOL)


Feisworx said...

If you are there to watch figures watch out for the Wlash Kelley school teams! Minor and Junior I think! Thats my dance school! Great post!

Always gonna love your blog,

Anthony said...

Enjoying your blog and tweets from Philly. At home in Co Louth with wife & 2 daughters out there dancing. Dearbhla is our girls dance teacher, hope you give the school a good mention in the Irish Times on Sat, we have 50 dancers there! Anthony (ID Dad)

Ess Jay Velasquez said...

Haven't been over to figures. Been following the soloists mostly. But I'll let you know if I hear/see anything!

Dearbhla was so great. She's a natural superstar, you know? She has that professional attitude that's just magnetic. She definitely had some quotes in the Irish Times story. Let's see what the editors choose to do with that, though :)