A talented group of dancers from Inishowen did Ireland, Donegal and the peninsula proud at the UDO World Championships over the weekend.
Twelve dancers from Elite Dance Academy in Buncrana represented the country at the prestigious hip hop competition, with one dancer, Aoife McGill, placing a phenomenal second in the world in the finals of the U16 solos.
Over 300 dance crews and 3,000 dancers took part in this year’s competition in Glasgow making the local crew’s success even more impressive.
Elite Dance Academy teacher Clare McCarron told the ‘Journal’ how proud she was of all her crew, not only for their dedication at the competition but also throughout intensive rehearsals.
She told how all the girls, named 2Krew4U, “danced fantastic” in every category, including in the quads, doubles and solos over Friday and Saturday with many of them making quarter and semi-finals.
“To say I’m proud is an understatement,” said Clare.
“I can’t believe my school, Elite Dance Academy, is representing Ireland.”
Clare explained how only the top seven in the world were chosen for the finals of the U16 category, with Aoife McGill, the daughter of Tommy and Rosemary McGill, placing an impressive second.
“She was unreal. Such a talented girl who stayed so cool and calm. The determination, dedication and love Aoife puts into her dancing is an inspiration,” said Clare.
The 12 dancers who travelled to the worlds were Aoife McEleney; Aoife McGill; Natasha Grant; Caoimhe Doherty; Graine McLaughlin; Courtney Clare; Claire Duffy; Aimee McLaughlin; Kirsten Kelly; Niamh McFadden, all from Buncrana and Ciara Blaney from Letterkenny
The youngest dancer was Katelyn Doherty, the daughter of Philip and Rosemary Doherty, who despite being only 10 years of age made the courageous decision to step up into the senior girls’ team.
Katelyn, a “true wee star” undertook a solo, quad and crew and also competed in the Under 18s category.
A number of the ‘hip hop mammies’ also accompanied them on the trip, including Patricia McEleney; Rosemary Doherty; Saramarie Moore; Pauline Blaney; Liz Kelly; Catrina Clare; Rosemary Doherty and Helen McLaughlin.
Clare revealed they were all having the “most amazing experience” and even passed on a few dance tips for Daniel O’Donnell ahead of his appearance on Strictly Come Dancing.
“Our hotel was ‘The Days Inn, Hamilton,’ managed by Kieran White who is Daniel O’Donnell’s cousin,” said Clare.
“We even gave Kieran some dance tips for Daniel.”
Clare added how it was “nearly impossible” to put her feelings into words.
“All my dancers this weekend were amazing. They danced to their highest ability. I’ve never seen them perform so well,” she gushed.
Clare has three children herself, Blake (6), Hunter (3) and Lanaya Rose (1), who she describes as her “pride and joy.”
She disclosed that while it’s “really hard” leaving them for the competitions she has a “fantastic, supportive family” in her husband Liam, parents Gary and Rose McGlinchey, sisters Leanne and Nicole, brother Darren and mother-in-law Rose McCarron.
“They all help out and I’d like to thank them so much for everything,” she added.
Clare said her dancers are also like her own children too.
“I love them all so much. I believe in life that everything is possible and you can be whatever you want to be,” she said.
“ I encourage my dancers to believe in themselves, have fun, make friends and always follow your dreams.”