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Community Matters

Local Irish Dancers Compete at National Competition in California

August 28th, 2013

Submitted by: Renee Boland of the Brady Irish Dance Academy 

Members of a local Irish dance group were recently in Anaheim, California for the 2013 North American National Irish Dance Competition. The Brady Academy of Irish Dance had nine dancers represent their dance school and The Municipality Of Wood Buffalo.

Preparation and Fundraising

Preparation--- These dancers are in class an average of six hours a week. They are also required to practice a minimum of one and a half hours per night outside of class time.  Leading into competitions - especially at the level of Nationals - practice time is doubled.   These dancers are very dedicated to their craft and the work they put in is proven in their success.

Fundraising -- The Brady Academy is driven by the fundraising efforts of the Fort McMurray Irish Dancers Parents Association.   Living in a Northern community and having children compete in a unique cultural sport takes a lot of fundraising efforts.  The Parents Association was established as a non-profit in the early 1980s and has been supporting dancers, competition and travel, and expenses since then.  We do casinos, raffles, bottle drives, pub nights, chocolate sales, just about anything you can think of.   We are very fortunate to live in such a supportive community as Fort McMurray.

Experience at the National Level

This is not the first time we have had dancers compete at National Level.   Fort McMurray has been represented at a National and International level since the early 1980s. We have had a world champion, national champions, top 10 finishers and eight hand team national champions.  We have a very strong school of Irish Dancers here that represent our city all over the world. 

Last year the very same dancers represented Fort McMurray in Chicago at nationals, the year prior in Nashville.  This year we had someone complete in Great British Championship in England and another two compete in the World Championships in Boston.          This November we hope to send all 11 dancers to the Oireachtas held in Vancouver, for a chance to qualify for Worlds held in London, England and Nationals in Montreal.

Trip Highlights

A highlight for the dancers is putting on their school shirts and meeting friends/dancers from around the world in their age groups.  They are competitors on stage; off stage friendships are bonded.  It's great because they become Facebook friends, Twitter followers, and they email through the year and then they see each other at major competitions again then next year.  My daughter is 10 years old, and thanks to dance, she now has friends in BC, Winnipeg, California and Belfast.  

These dancers are exposed to high levels of dance...and often meet their individual heroes who are past champions.   At the awards banquet at the last Nationals, international dance star, Tap Tronic was was amazing for the dancers!

Traveling together, bonding friendships and aspiring to be better were the major highlights.   Of course while in Anaheim, spending down-time with close friends at Disney was a highlight for sure!

Outside of competition and fundraising, you will see the Brady Academy volunteer their time and talents dancing at community events and for the seniors at the hospital. They feel it is very important to give back to the community which gives them such huge support.













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