The 40th World Irish Dancing championships have kicked off in Glasgow, Scotland with 4,500 competitors from 32 countries all over the world taking part at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.
The competition commenced on Sunday morning with an 8 am. start for boys under 11 and 12. A gala opening ceremony takes place at 5pm. local time in the concert hall.
The 4,500 dancers are accompanied by 15,000 parents, teachers families and friends making this one of the largest Irish gatherings anywhere in the world.
The lollapalooza celebration of Irish dance, heritage and culture brings together people from Europe, Asia, the Americas, Africa and Australia.
Hundreds of entrants are taking part from the United States. Last year’s world titles were held in Philadelphia and were considered a massive success.
Glasgow was the location when an unknown 17-year-old called Michael Flatley from Chicago made his incredible first impression on the world stage in 1975 and Irish dancing has never looked back since.
Flatley made an appearance at the world championships last year in Philadelphia and there is an expectation that he will again show up at the 2010 version.
A highlight of the week will be Rubies and Rhinestone Ball at the Old Fruitmarket in Glasgow on Saturday April 3rd. This old historic building will be a fitting backdrop for the handing over of the Gold Trophy symbolizing the World Championships to the Mayor of South County Dublin, who will host in 2011.
Bob Winter, the Lord Provost of Glasgow, the local mayor, has welcomed all the dancers and their families and stated he is especially proud that Glasgow is the only city outside of Ireland to host the finals on more than one occasion.
Stay tuned for IrishCentral coverage and results over the coming week.