2011 Mid-Atlantic Regional Irish Dancing Championships
Girls under 13
Irish dance enthusiasts around the world eagerly await tomorrow's start to the 42nd World Irish Dancing Championships, hosted by An Coimisiún le Rincí Gaelacha (the World Irish Dancing Commission). When the competitions begin in Belfast, Northern Ireland on March 31st, a panel of esteemed adjudicators from Australia, Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States will begin the difficult job of selecting the best competitive Irish dancers in the world today.

The youngest entrants in the World Irish Dancing Championships each year are boys and girls aged 10-turning 11 in 2012 who have qualified at their regional or national Irish dancing championships. Males and females dance in separate competitions, by age, up to the Senior Ladies and Senior Men categories, known as Over 21. A total of 22 solo competitions with both light and heavy rounds, and the fact that up to half of all the competitors may recall overall and dance a third round means that judges will view thousands of reels, jigs and hornpipes over eight days in two venues. In addition, there are 14 team competitions, ranging from eight all-female or mixed male-female ceili groups to dance drama and choreography.

Trinity Academy of Irish Dance's under 12 Figure Team

It stands to reason that the officials selected for this important work each year are themselves accomplished Irish dancers and teachers, many from the second or third generation of a long-family history of Irish dancers. Association rules prevent dancers having a direct or indirect relationship with an adjudicator from competing, so even though a dancer may have qualified for the World Irish Dancing Championships in 2012, their qualification is postponed one year to 2013. This year, adjudicators include former World and All-Ireland Irish Dancing champions, medalists and team-members, as well as certified Irish dance teachers (TCRGs) whose students qualify, medal and place at major competitions. A few of 2012's judges are also certified Grade Examiners for An Coimisiún le Rincí Gaelacha; another is considered an academic authority on Irish step dancing, having taught at universities. While their experiences and locations around the world may be unique - two are also award-winning musicians, another is a published author - they all share a passion for Irish dancing and culture and convey their honor at judging this prestigious event and best wishes to all the competitors.

The 2012 World Irish Dancing Championship judges (adjudicators) include Conor Hayes - Mulcahy-Hayes School of Irish Dance in Victoria, Australia; Glenn Simpson - Druid Academy of Irish Dance, Toronto, Canada; from England: Anthony Costello, Siobhan Dorman and Breeda Mulcahy - Costello School of Irish Dancing; Mary Diggins Murphy from Murchu Duiginn School in London; Doreen O'Connor; and Tara Dey from Ryan-Dey Academy in The Midlands; from Ireland: Orfhlaith Ni Bhriain; Annette Doolan-Kane from Doolan-Kane School in Westmeath; and Grainne Ni Chonchubhair; and from the United States: Margaret Cleary from Cleary School in California; Bernadette Dillon-Gavin from Dillon-Gavin School in Illinois; James P. Early from Early-McLoughlin School in New York; and Philip Owens from Gilleóghan Irish Dance in Connecticut.

Stay tuned... for more about the Girls 10-11 and 11-12 who will compete Saturday at the opening of the World Irish Dancing Championships!

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