Day 2 of the World Dancing Championships kicked off in Philadelphia and it's a girl's world. Today's line-up included the Girls 11-12 Heavy and Light session at 8 a.m., and the Girls 12-13 Heavy and Light at 12.30 p.m.
Hundreds of beautifully attired young dancers put months of exhaustive training and sacrifice on the line at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia.
It might be the first time the championships have taken place in America, but the rainy gray weather made anyone pining for Ireland feel right at home.
The area outside the Verizon Hall, where the performances were taking place, was a hive of activity, with routines getting last minute runs, dresses and wigs getting one last tweak, and moms and dads encouraging their daughters to give their best on the biggest stage of all, The World Championships.
Sisters Shannon, 15, and Kelli, 13, McLaughlin, of the Mulvihill-Lynch School anxiously waited their turn.
The girls traveled with their parents, Charlie and Dorothe, from St. James, N.Y. to compete in all three major categories: solo, ceili and figure. Both of the girls have been dancing for 10 years.
Shannon Miyoshi came all the way from San Francisco to compete in the Girls 12-13 solo competition. We caught Shannon backstage before she was to go on, and the 12-year-old was cool and composed as she went through some last-minute steps.
The Tir Conaill Academy, with schools in Arizona and New Mexico, entered two girls in the 12-13 solo competitions today. Instructors Christopher McGrory and Michael Patrick Gallagher were beaming with pride after they found out their student, Libby Decker, 11, was recalled.
After a moment of celebration, the instructors turned their attention and words of encouragement to Libby’s friend and fellow dancer, Hannah Johnson, 12, who was about to head on stage.
Claire McCullough gave her friend and fellow dancer Margot Walsh, 12, a squeeze while Margot was getting ready to compete. The 12-year-old from Maryland took part in the Girls 12-13 solo competition, while Claire took it easy for the day before competing in the figures tomorrow.
Ciara Dickson, 13, from Glasgow, Scotland, had her parents by her side before taking her turn on stage. Ciara, all decked out in a classy black and white get-up, seemed confident and excited. Her mother was a bit more nervous, hugging her and giving her a pep talk before rushing off to help out another dancer.
There was excitement, laughter, and admittedly, a few tears around the Kimmel Center on Day 2 of the Worlds, but the overall the operation went smoothly, and all the girls, whether they "won" or "lost," kept up a spirit of encouragement for their fellow dancers, and were proud to take part in the biggest Irish dancing competition on the globe.