Irish dancers from Echoes of Erin Irish Dance
in Hong Kong

Irish dance is growing in Asia, and Echoes of Erin Irish Dance is helping to lead the way. The dance school hosted the first open feis in Asia in June of 2012. Now, only a year later, their feis marked another first--an international Irish dancing competition and premiership. The feis was held in Hong Kong on June 8, 2013. Dancers from over 25 nations came to attend the competition, some from as far away as Russia. 

Irish dancer holds the Hong Kong flag
at WIDA Worlds
Catriona Newcombe, founder of Echoes of Erin, is thrilled with the progress that Irish dancing is making in Hong Kong. Read on to find out what Catriona has to say about the future of Irish dance in Asia.

Christy:  How did Echoes of Erin get its start?

Catriona:  Echoes of Erin originally started in Florida, where I first starting teaching many years ago. I have since moved to England, France, Dubai, and have now Hong Kong.

Christy:  Where do you perform/compete?

Catriona: We are very lucky to have the continuous support of the Irish community here in Hong Kong. We have performed alongside Brian Kennedy in Dubai,  Davy Spillane in City hall Hong Kong,  all the annual St Patrick’s Society’s Hong Kong functions, the Asian Gaelic games, and many more. 

Christy:  Some of your dancers attended the WIDA World and European Championship. What did you do to prepare?

Catriona:  We had eleven kids and three adults attend the competitions. For some this was their first feis ever. We practiced up to 4 hours a day, sometimes 5 times a week! It was hard work but we enjoyed every minute. Out of eleven children, we received around eight cups and 70 plus medals.

Catriona Newcombe and her mummy
 Heather Newcombe at WIDA Worlds
Christy:  Do you teach adult dancers?

Catriona:  We have a fantastic adult group! You are never too old to dance and it is so lovely to see the young dancers encourage and help the adults when we are performing. Three of our adults  competed in the Europeans and Worlds Championships and received many awards.

Christy:  Tell me about your recent feis.

Catriona:  We hosted Hong Kong’s very first open international Irish dancing competitions and premierships this year, and it was a great success! We were very lucky to have Les Baird, ADCRG, as our adjudicator and he was great! His comments and constructive criticism were invaluable.

We were privileged to have Harry O Neil, the Honorary Irish Consulate of Hong Kong pop in to present his award, along with Canice Gleeson, founder of Asia’s only Celtic Connection Chamber Choir and International Concert Orchestra of Hong Kong, and many more! The Irish community in Hong Kong are brilliant and have supported Echoes Of Erin school of Irish Dancing since day one.

We had over twenty-five nationalities attend the feis. It was amazing to see them all so absorbed in the fantastic art of Irish dancing. 

Monies raised at the feis went to the Jockey Club Sarah Roe School to help with getting a bus for the special needs children.  

Christy:  What do you envision for the future of Irish dance in Hong Kong?

Irish dancers at WIDA Worlds
Catriona:  To be able to teach such a diverse multi-cultural mix of children and adults and to watch them become so absorbed in the fantastic art of Irish Dancing, especially here in Hong Kong is a privilege. Under the wing of The St Patrick's Society Hong Kongthe Hong Kong Gaelic Football Club, the Irish Consulate/Irish Embassy, the Celtic Connections Chamber Choirand the Irish Chambers of Commerce, the Irish dancing school here in Hong Kong is going from strength to strength and is thriving. We are looking forward to what the future holds!

At Echoes of Erin, our main aims are to encourage and sustain pride, uphold tradition, inspire loyalty and school spirit, and strive to build friendships among all of our students. This to me is most important.

*All Photos: courtesy Echoes of Erin Irish Dance

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