by INSPIRED DANCER, Feis America Magazine contributor

In the sport of Irish dancing, we don’t just have the thrill of performing and competing to look forward to, we also have great people to meet everywhere we go!

When I attend major competitions, I love meeting the other dancers just as much as I love dancing. This past July at the 2011 North American Irish Dancing Championships in Nashville, Tenn., I had the pleasure of meeting of a lovely dancer with a very interesting story. Meet Colbee Misfud, a 21-year-old open champion from the land down under who’s proving hard work and dedication does pay off—even if you move to another country.

It was actually her sister’s dream of Riverdance that got Colbee “dragged along” to classes years ago. But she’s loved it ever since. When Colbee was 18, she decided to take the plunge and move to Ireland to follow her dream and focus more on her passion, taking on an even bigger challenge of providing for herself, paying all of her expenses. But she was on a mission that delved deeper than just dance.

“For me, moving to Ireland wasn't just about the dancing. I wanted to learn more about myself and become independent,” Colbee says. “I had no relatives in Ireland. I knew no one. That's what excited me the most.”

Upon her arrival in Belfast, Colbee joined Kennedy Irish Dance. And since then, she has earned her way to a recall at the World Irish Dancing Championships. But Colbee’s not going to stop there! She has future aspirations of not only dancing in a professional Irish dance show but also getting those shiny letters at the end of her name: TCRG.

- Keeping friendships in Irish dance through competition
- Experiencing the North American Irish Dance Championships for the first time
- Performing with an Irish dance show – ‘In Love With The Dance’

The lessons Colbee has learned along the way are some she would love to take back to other dancers in her home country of Australia:

“I feel that every dancer who gets the opportunity to do what I am doing should take it! It has opened my eyes up to things I didn't even know existed in the dancing world,” she says.

But that’s not to say she has forgotten about her fellow Aussies while living abroad. “The dancing community in Australia is much bigger than what people think,” Colbee says. “We have incredible dancers in the country who should be able to show off their talent overseas.”

Colbee’s story is an inspiration to dancers everywhere because she has proven that you can live the dream if you fight for it. Many thanks to Colbee Misfud for sharing her story with me. And to think it all started in a ballroom before competitor check-in. You never know who you may meet at any given competition.

Photo Credit: Colbee Misfud

Would you ever relocate for Irish dance? Share in the comments below.

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