Beginning Irish dancing at the age of nine, never did Derry woman Carmel McGuinness ever think she would have started up her own successful Irish dancing school 16 years later.
Attending the Brendan deGlin Academy, Carmel was pushed to best of her ability to achieve all she could.
“I practiced daily, as soon as I came home from school. I was extremely dedicated,” said Carmel, a World champion dancer.
Winning lots of festivals in her younger years, mainly over the border, prepared the Creggan woman for becoming a champion in the future.
As Carmel progressed into her teenage years, she won many trophies from major competitions including Ulster and the All Ireland titles.
Carmel also qualified and won in the highest level of Irish dancing competition - World Champion. Every time her number was called out for first place, Carmel said she felt “over the moon” and “very pleased”. The numerous trophies were evidence that all of Carmel’s hard work and dedication had paid off.
Carmel left Brendan deGlin academy at the age of 17, although she never stopped dancing as she said: “I’ve danced most of my life.”
Carmel later went on to help teach at the Academy before starting her own school.
After getting married, Carmel opened up her own cross-community Irish dancing school - McGuinness School of Dancing - in 1983, at the age of 25. Here Carmel gave back to the community by teaching all of her skills and lessons that she learned over the years to her own students.
Carmel’s daughter, Allison, who is also a champion dancer, teaches the junior section of the McGuinness School of Dance.
Now celebrating its 31st year, the dancing school is a massive success, producing many talented dancers who each year win numerous trophies from festivals across the North, says Carmel.
The unending winnings prove the dedication from Carmel, Allison and the dancers had been worth it, she says, proudly
The McGuinness School of Dancing is open for boys and girls from the age of 4 to 18, with lessons every Saturday, Monday and Tuesday.
At the end of each year, the school puts on a display of their hard work and skill dances the dancers and teachers have been working on over the past year. This year the concert will be held in the Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre in Limavady on the 18th and 19th June.
Tickets of the concert may be bought in the Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre, Limavady.