A group of dancers from Claddagh Irish Dance School in Farmington traveled to the Central Illinois Open Irish Dance Championships Dec. 1 and returned winners.
The five dancers and their instructor represented the Parkland as the first dancers from the first Irish dance school in the area to participate in a regional competition.
The event, held in Champaign, Illinois, was an international competition with more than 100 dancers, held by the Cumann Rince Naisiunta organization, with judges who flew in from Ireland.
Marianne Politte, instructor at Claddagh Irish Dance School says the group left for Illinois with high hopes and lots of well-wishes from the community.
“We didn't know what to expect, having never competed before, but we were absolutely thrilled with the event and the results,” she said. “All five of our dancers qualified for the North American National Championships, and all five came home with medals. Our ceili team won first place for their 3-hand Reel.”
According to Politte, Hannah Politte, 15, of Park Hills, won a third place medal for slip jig, and was a fourth place qualifier for nationals for reel and jig; Makynna Huskey, 11, of Park Hills, won a fourth place medal for slip jig, was a first place qualifier for nationals for reel and earned a first place medal as a member of the ceili team; Sarah Politte, 11, of Park Hills, was a second place qualifier for nationals for reel, and won a first place medal on the ceili team; Gracelynn Davis, 10, of Potosi, won second place for reel in qualifying for nationals, and a first place medal on the ceili team; and Anna Conaway, 12, of Farmington, earned a third place medal for reel in qualifying for nationals.
“To begin our competitive career winning multiple medals is huge, and to have all of our dancers qualify for the National Championships is astounding,” Politte said. “We had a great time, met lots of wonderful people, and we're looking forward to growing our competitive record as we attend more Irish dance competitions in the future.”
Claddagh Irish Dance School is located in Farmington. They are accepting new students, age 5 and older, who are interested in performance and competition. They can be reached at 573-330-4543, email@example.com and on Facebook.