Annabelle Baker, a seventh-grader at St. Martin’s-in-the-Field Episcopal School, was one of 13 McGrath Morgan Academy of Irish Dance members to qualify for the world championships in Dublin. That opportunity comes after a strong performance at the Irish Dance Teachers Association of North America (IDTANA) Southern Region Oireachtas, held in Orlando during the first week of December.
“After a very challenging year, it is such a privilege to have danced at the Oireachtas and to have the opportunity to dance in the upcoming world championships,” Annabelle said. “It is very exciting that I get to take my first overseas trip to Ireland this year.”
The Oireachtas (pronounced Uh-ROCK-tus) is a three-day regional championship where Irish dancers compete to qualify for national and world championships. The southern region, of which McGrath Morgan is a member, includes Alabama, Arkansas, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Mexico.
Almost 2,000 dancers competed in Orlando. Each competitor danced one soft shoe and one hard shoe dance. Scores were tabulated and the top half of dancers were invited back to compete in the third round, which is a hardshoe set dance.
“The fact that in such a short time we have managed to pull off a regional championship is really crazy when you think about it!” said John Lawrence Morgan, TCRG. “I am very proud of all of the hard work of the dancers, especially during a year where training has been so challenging. Just four months ago, we were still on Zoom.”