At the age of 8 Stephen joined the Miriam McCarthy School of Dancing in his hometown Drogheda, Co.Louth. Here he enjoyed many years of both solo and team dancing. In 2002, Stephen decided to concentrate on his solos and joined Scoil Rince Oirialla in Dundalk, Co.Louth under the mentoring of his teachers, Francis Curley, Olive Burnes-Crowley & Fiona Harold, and Sonia Leonard & Angela Gorby after the amalgamation with the Leonard School (2005). Through sheer hard work and determination, Stephen’s dreams of success were finally achieved. He won numerous major championships including three Ulster Championship titles in a row (2004, 2005, 2006), one All-Scotland Championship title (2005), one British National Championship title (2005).
Stephen also won the two most prestigious titles in Irish Dancing - the All-Ireland Championships in 2006 and two World Championships in 2005 & 2007, winning his second World title with a perfect score of 700 points out of a possible 700 in the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow. After this amazing feat, Stephen felt the time was right to retire from competitive dancing. A world tour as a Principal Male Lead Dancer with Rhythm of the Dance soon followed, performing in 13 different countries including America, China, Portugal & Holland.
Stephen’s musical talent became apparent at a very late age of 16. Although taught different styles of music such as jazz and pop by his music teacher, John Murphy, Drogheda, he realized that it was traditional music that he wanted to play. Having returned to Ireland from his world tour in 2008 to complete his B.A. degree (Irish & Geography) in St.Patrick’s College, Drumcondra, he began to concentrate on his traditional music. Within a few months, Stephen was back on the feis circuit again - this time sidestage as a professional musician! Stephen has been playing now for over 2 years. He has been working on his CD for the past few months and is delighted to release his debut album, Ceol.
Ceol contains 18 lively tracks and is suitable for all Irish Dancers to practise to, from beginners to open standard, containing a great selection of tunes old and new. It also features the brand new An Coimisiún Set Dance, Planxty Hugh O’Donnell, at speed 69. Stephen recorded, traditionally arranged and produced the album himself as well as the cover design. Ceol will be officially released in September 2010 and will be available to purchase at all good Irish Dancing vendors or alternatively online at antoniopacelli.com.
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