McGrath Irish Dancers Win Top Honors at Regional Competition in Baltimore

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Provided by The McGrath Academy of Irish Dance


Aine Callahan, an 8-year old dancer from the McGrath Academy of Irish Dance, claimed top honors at the Irish Dance Teachers Association of North America (IDTANA) Southern Region Oireachtas in Baltimore, Friday, Dec.2 through Sunday, Dec. 4.

The Oireachtas (pronounced Or-ock-tus) is a regional championship where Irish dancers compete to qualify for national and world championships. The southern region, of which McGrath Academy of Irish Dance 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. Nearly 2,000 dancers from the southern region competed at the Hilton in Baltimore.

Aine Callahan, daughter of retired Air Force Master Sgt. Steven and Shannon Callahan, beat 51 dancers to bring home the first place perpetual trophy, which was won last year by another McGrath dancer – Reilly Savage.

“Ariel and I are so proud of Aine,” said Lauren McGrath Dutton, ADCRG, TCRG. “She worked very hard to reach her goal. She is a lovely girl who just loves to dance. We are very lucky to have so much young talent in our school.”

Callahan started dancing when she was 5.

“My mom asked me if I wanted to try Irish dance,” she said. Her mother hasn’t missed a chance to watch Aine compete since she started in 2014.

“I was not thinking about her winning it all … it was Aine who said she was going to win it after she competed at the national competition Orlando in July,” said Callahan. “Aine practices every day and everywhere, however, for organized studio practices, she averages three times a week during the school year.”

As awards were announced in Baltimore, Aine stood onstage with nine other dancers, waiting for her name to be called. Eventually, just two dancers remained waiting center stage. When her name wasn’t called for second place, it took a moment for her to realize that she had won it all.

“When they called my name, I knew my teachers were going to be happy. I just wanted to dance every step correctly,” she said. “I want to thank my parents, Miss Ariel, Miss Lauren and the McGrath dancers.”

Callahan will be travelling to New Orleans this summer to compete in the North American Irish Dance Championships. Along with her will be several other McGrath dancers:

  • Audrey Brown, girls under 15
  • Mary Kate Gareau, girls under 15
  • Nici Gareau, girls under 9
  • Patrick Gareau, boys under 11
  • Emily Graves, girls under 14
  • Alyssa Imorde, girls under 15
  • Katie Kelly, girls under 14
  • Bridgid Nalls, girls under 13
  • Aerin Raguso, ladies over 20
  • Sophia Rankin, girls under 13
  • Aisling Reynolds, girls under 8
  • Reilly Savage, girls under 9
  • Sophia Savage, girls under 11
  • Claire Wolstenholme, girls under 11

Several McGrath dancers also qualified to compete at World Championships. However, since McGrath-Dutton will be judging this year in Dublin, their eligibility will transfer to 2018. Those dancers are:

  • Patrick Gareau, boys under 11
  • Alyssa Imorde, girls under 15
  • Aerin Raguso, ladies over 20
  • Sophia Rankin, girls under 13
  • Claire Wolstenholme, girls under 11



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