Fourteen Irish dancers aged 12-18 brought home Hong Kong’s first Figure Dance world Championship earlier this month.
Their success at the World and International Irish Dance Championships 2019 makes Echoes of Erin School of Irish Dance the first Irish dance school in Asia to come first in the competition. The school was also the first Asian institution to be crowned world champions in the solo category of the same competition in 2015.
Competing against nearly 1,000 dancers from 37 countries in the city of Eindhoven in the Netherlands from April 18-21, the all-girls team impressed the judges with a performance of the Irish myth, Children of Lir.
“We all screamed when we heard our school’s name being called for first place,” said Sha Tin College student Ashley Lor, 14.
“We couldn’t believe it!” Katie Anderson, 12, from West Island School, said. “We were all in tears.”
South Island School’s Lily O’Reilly, 16, said: “It took us a long time to learn the steps and master dancing in sync.
“Dancing on the big stage at the World Championships was nerve-racking as well … [But] I’m so happy … to have shared this amazing experience with my friends.”
Harrow International School Hong Kong’s Brynn Gordon, 15, and Sha Tin College’s Bonne Leung, 13, agreed. “It was great performing on stage, [as] we had worked on it for so long,” said Brynn.
Eidhlin Pollard, 14, Aoife O’Connor, 17, and Carla and Celia Divry, both 16, were named world champions in the Four-Hand Championship (under-17 category) at the same event. They are from Victoria Shanghai Academy, Hong Kong International School, and Renaissance College Hong Kong respectively.
Catriona Newcombe, founder and director of Echoes of Erin School of Irish Dance, praised her students for their dedication. “After practising for more than 12 hours [right] before the competition to perfect their dances, their hard work has finally paid off!”
Echoes of Erin will be hosting Hong Kong’s International Feis and Championships 2019 on June 8 at Shrewsbury International School Hong Kong inTseung Kwan O. Dancers from the mainland, Australia, and Ireland will be competing.