A Derry dancer has given up a life of globetrotting and performing to thousands of people across the world.
After 14 years as a cast member of Lord of the Dance, Stephanie McCarron has decided to finally “hang up her shoes”.
The Derry woman, who is originally from Creggan, joined the exclusive dance troupe when she was just 17-years-old. It meant her leaving her family for the first time and found her taking to the stage in Florida to perform four times a day.
“Nothing I had done before in any way prepared me for that. I learned to grow up very quickly and although it was very, very hard work particularly in the heat, I absolutely loved it”.
Stephanie began Irish dancing when she was seven and danced with the McCaul Academy. However, when she joined Lord of the Dance she had to unlearn many things she had been taught.
“It was completely different because you have to move your arms and incorporate facial expressions into the performance. All things I never had to do while Irish dancing”.
After Florida Stephanie joined her troupe and went to London where she was part of the cast involved in creating ‘Feet of Flames’ and then continued to tour around Europe.
Of all her experiences, an opportunity to perform in Stormont with this show sticks out for Stephanie.
“It was the first time it had ever been in Northern Ireland and it was great because all of my family were in the audience”.
She continued to tour around the world, visiting such far flung places as Taiwan, China and Abu Dhabi, and took one of the lead roles in the show which gave her the opportunity to perform with Michael Flatley.
The dancer even performed on the stage of Madison Square Garden, for the Prince of Monaco and for the royal family of Abu Dhabi.
“The women had to have special permission to attend the performance because there were men in it. It was a very surreal experience and we were invited to the palace for tea afterwards”.
During her dance career Stephanie admits she has been “quite accident prone”.
“I had a couple of bad breaks and had to have surgery after one of them. I was out for nearly a year after that and didn’t think I would be able to go back after that. Thankfully I got back into shape and made it back onto the stage”.
She decided to finally leave the show once she “achieved everything I thought I could achieve with Lord of the Dance”.
She has taken up a new role at an award winning kitchen design company in Dungannon and hopes to challenge herself in new ways.
However, Stephanie won’t be leaving dancing completely behind and will continue to give the odd performance.