Fifteen year-old Teagan McGregor received the best present of her life last Christmas. The Melbourne teen got a letter from her parents saying that they would all be going to America in 2009, so Teagan could compete in both the 2009 Big Apple Feis and The World Championships.
She had asked her parents, James and Mary, many times if she could go to the U.S for these events. But she never thought it would happen. "This is a dream come true" she said.
This is an expensive vacation – costing $20,000, the family said. Still, it’s worth it, James added.
"Irish dancing is good social network for the kids, it keeps them healthy, fit and active, and a lot of concentration is involved, so that's good," he said. “We are attracted to anything Irish, and our Celtic background is important to us."
Teagan's mum Mary is no stranger to the world of Irish dance. The daughter of Irish immigrants in Australia, McGregor started Irish dancing at eight. She is now an Irish dance teacher at The Cosgriff School of Irish dance in Melbourne, Australia, and has passed on her love of dancing not only to Teagan, but also to her ten-year old brother, Callum.
How does he feel about being in a female-dominated scene? "I feel special. There are about five boys in my dance school, so that's okay" he said. He said that “winning trophies, wrestling with the other boys, and the free showbags” were the best things about Irish dancing.
After a grueling 16-hour flight, the McGregors started at Disneyland, and now they plan to spend a week checking out New York before heading to Philadelphia to the World Championships. Then it's back to Los Angeles nd from there, home to Australia.
“We chose to extend our time on both sides of the championships," explained James. All going well, and depending on their finances, they plan on doing the same thing in Glasgow next year.
This is Teagan's first time out of Australia - and so far, so good. "The girls here are so nice, they try to make conversation even if they don't know you," she said. "I don't feel intimidated or out of place.”
Perhaps this is because, like a lot of other girls at the Big Apple Feis, Teagan wants to dance until her “legs drop off. If you have a passion for something,” she continued, “You need to keep doing it."
Looks like this family is going to be at this for a long time.