There are two roads to the World Irish Dancing Championships in the U.S. You can qualify regionally or nationally.
Elyse Smith, 13, of the Trinity School of Dance in Chicago took the national road.
This is the third Worlds for the young dancer, and it wasn’t easy getting here.
Elyse qualified for this year’s Worlds by placing in the top dancers in her category at the North American National competition.
Another way the 13-year-old could have made it into the worlds would have been by placing in the top 15 in the Midwest Regional competition.
Once you qualify, it's almost like the work has just begun.
Julie Smith, Elyse’s mother, said Elyse has been working really hard over the past couple of months.
Every day, the go-getting dancer practiced with Trinity for two to three hours, and put in an additional one to two hours in private practice.
Both Elyse and her mom are thrilled to be at this year’s World in the U.S. Sure, they didn’t have the excuse to travel overseas, but admittedly, they are saving money and having a great time.
We asked Elyse why she works so hard at Irish dance, and why she loves the sport. The spirited dancer said: “I like traveling and meeting new people.” Her mother added: “This girl likes adrenaline rushes.”
And the World Irish Dancing Champs will most certainly provide Elyse with that.