McGrath Morgan Academy of Irish Dance
Three dancers from The McGrath Morgan Academy of Irish Dance (McMa) claimed the titles of top American dancers at the Great Britain Irish Dancing Championships, which took place in London in late October.
Manassas resident Aisling Reynolds, 13, placed seventh. Meghann Mullarkey, a 17-year-old from Herndon, placed fourth. Boyds, Md., resident Jessie Welgos,15, placed tenth.
“We weren’t sure if the borders would be open for our dancers to travel abroad to compete,” said school founder Lauren McGrath Dutton, ADCRG. “I am so proud of my dancers who trained hard and were prepared to take the international stage when the opportunity presented itself.”
These dancers, and many more from McMa, won’t get a chance to rest: 40 McMa dancers will travel to Greensboro, N.C., to compete in the annual Oireachtas (pronounced Uh-ROCK-tus), a three-day regional championship where Irish dancers compete to qualify to compete at 2023 national and world championships. The southern region, of which McGrath Morgan is a member, includes Alabama, Arkansas, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Mexico. Approximately 2,000 dancers are expected to compete. In addition to the solo competitions, McGrath Morgan’s world champion dance drama team will take the stage to defend its title.
Dance drama is only performed at major Irish dance competitions. Teams portray an Irish historical or traditional story or event. Performers are not allowed to speak, although a narrator is permitted to read the story before the six-minute performance. The McMa team, composed of 20 dancers ranging in age from 8 to 20, will perform “The Belle of Belfast City,” a story and drama choreographed by John Lawrence Morgan, TCRG.
“There is a lot of pressure for this team: They hold the 2019 world, national and regional titles, which were the last major events held before COVID cancelled our team competitions,” said Morgan. “I am so proud of this team’s hard work and commitment and cannot wait to see them on stage.”