Most dancers might dream of earning a living from their passion, but for one lucky girl it’s already a day job.
Meet Kellyanne Farrell from Yonkers, a 24-year-old who is a full-time member of the renowned dance show 'The Magic of Ireland.' While her competitors juggle their training with college studies or full-time jobs, Kellyanne has spent the last three months touring with the show all over the USA and Canada.
Kellyanne told the Irish Voice: “I was a school teacher but I left the job to join the show. I figure I can be a school teacher when I’m 80, but I can only dance for a few years!”
She also revealed how 'The Magic of Ireland' show includes elements from stories told by the famous Irish writing brothers Frank and Malachy McCourt.
And it seems Kellyanne might soon be traveling much further afield, as she explained: “I also auditioned for Riverdance and I passed, so now I’m on a waiting list for the next vacancy."
A change of scenery beckoned this week when she returned to the competitive stage to take part in the Ladies Over 21 category at the World Irish Dancing Championships. However, her trip to Ireland wasn’t without immense drama as Kellyanne had to travel without the new costume she had ordered for the event.
Her mother Geraldine explained: “She picked out the material and design in January and she had it fitted while she was in Canada and we were waiting and waiting for it to arrive and then it was the last day so we had to leave. We brought last year’s costume with us just in case but when we got to Ireland I said a prayer to my dad that she would find a costume. Then we went to the costume shop here and she found this dress from Gavin Doherty that fitted her perfectly. So that was a relief!”
After such a hectic week, Kellyanne and Geraldine are now looking forward to catching up with their Irish relatives. Geraldine revealed: “I’ve 16 first cousins here, in Leitrim, Longford and Cavan, so we’re getting to visit them."
A total of 242 dancers took part in today’s competition for Ladies Over 21. Yet the participation of Brandi Braun from Colorado was truly remarkable given that she only started dancing at the age of 14. The 24-year-old from Denver trains with the Wick school of dance, and admitted: ”I was a late starter!”
Brandi spent her first 14 years working on similarly taxing pursuits, explaining: “I was a first degree black belt at Taekwondo."
Her proud mom Deb added: “When she was doing Taekwondo, it didn’t look right, her stance was so graceful, she looked like a dancer. So it was a natural transition to Irish dance for her because she already had the self-discipline from the art form of Taekwondo so she just transferred it."
Nonetheless, playing catch-up to her contemporaries and managing to qualify for the World Championships has been no mean feat. Having started at least 10 years later than most of her competitors, Brandi was hugely excited to have qualified for her first World Championships in Dublin.
“I’ve put in a lot of effort," she agreed. “I practice for about 10 hours a week. I’m an elementary school art teacher, so I fit the practice in around work."
No Irish Need Apply? Not anymore