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World Irish Dance Association Championships adult Irish dancers prepare for World Championships

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Erica Graham at the WIDA British Open Championships 2011
Photo: courtesy Erica Graham
While thousands of people rallied in Belfast for An Coimisiun le Rinci Gaelacha's World Irish Dancing Championships this week, adult Irish dancers are preparing for the upcoming World Championships for the World Irish Dance Association (WIDA).  

Erica Graham from the Farrell School of Irish dance in Fairford, Gloucestershire, England will be competing on Easter weekend at the World Irish Dance Association World Irish Dancing Championships in the Over 35 category.  Graham began dancing after watching her own daughter dance. "My teacher had an adult class," Graham says. "Once I'd tried it I was hooked." Bella, one of Erica's two daughters who also Irish dance, will also be competing at WIDA Worlds. 

Adult Irish dancer Erica Graham and daughter Bella.
Photo: courtesy Erica Graham
Graham qualified for World Irish Dance Association World Irish Dancing Championships at the British Open Irish Dancing Championships in October 2011. She says, "I never dreamed I would be competing at the Worlds, but [World Irish Dancing Association] is adult-friendly so I am able to compete with my own age group in O35, which is still very competitive." 
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The World Irish Dance Association is a relatively young organization.  According to the official WIDA website, the organization is based in mainland Europe and organizes workshops, competitions and examinations to aid in the promotion of and interest in the development of a standard in Irish dancing.  

The adult Irish dance competitions will be held on Monday, April 9, 2012.  Adult categories are and over 35 and include adult teams and a show championship. 

Erica Graham at WIDA Celtic Irish Dance Nationals 2011
Photo: courtesy Erica Graham

Graham attends class three times a week in preparation for the World Championships for World Irish Dance Association. After healing from a broken ankle a year ago, she says mental preparation is as important as physical, "As an adult I do find my nerves can get the better of me, so I've been really working on that."

Like other adult Irish dancers, Erica works at a full time job and has daughters who also spend long hours in practice and competition. "It can be hard," Graham says, "but it's worth it!"

Erica encourages any adult to reach for their goals. She says, "Go for it. You don't have to compete, but there is definitely a place for you, if you want to!"

Good luck to Erica and all of the adults competing this weekend!


Check back here for news, results, photos, interviews and more! Help us celebrate Irish dancing by sharing this story with your friends, like us on Facebook, Tweet the link or start a conversation with a comment in the message box below. THANK YOU!



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