Provided by McGrath Morgan Academy of Irish Dance
Four dancers from the McGrath Morgan Academy of Irish Dance brought home first place trophies from the Irish Dance Teachers Association of North America (IDTANA) Southern Region Oireachtas, held in Greensboro, N.C., the first week of December. The 2021 SRO champions from McGrath Morgan Academy are:
- Ciara Foley, U9 Girls Champion
- Isabella Renzi, U11 Girls Champion
- Aisling Reynolds, U13 Girls Champion
- Jessie Welgos, U15 Girls Champion
The Oireachtas (pronounced Uh-ROCK-tus) is a three-day regional championship where Irish dancers compete to qualify to participate at national and world championships. More than 2,000 dancers from across the southern region, which includes Alabama, Arkansas, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Mexico, competed in Greensboro. Each competitor danced one soft shoe and one hard shoe dance. Scores were tabulated and the top half of dancers were “recalled” to compete in the third round, which is a hard shoe set dance.
Aisling Reynolds of Manassas was recalled to dance in the third round since she began competing in the Oireachtas at age 7. This year, she took home the title for the fourth consecutive year.
“It’s an accomplishment to win the Oireachtas once, but it is almost unheard of to win it four years in a row,” said school founder Lauren McGrath Dutton, ADCRG. “Lots of dancers would like to replace her. Aisling knew she had to work hard this fall to defend her title. And she did it. She is a beautiful dancer.”
In addition to the McMa champions, 12 dancers qualified to compete in the world championships, which will be held in Belfast in the spring. Fourteen dancers qualified to compete at the North American Championships this summer in Montreal.
“I am proud of my dancers who competed at the Oireachtas, especially these four champions who showed what can be accomplished with hard work and dedication,” said Dutton.
This year, Oireachtas returned to something a little closer to normal. In addition to the solo competitions, ceili and drama teams took the stage.
“It was so nice to pull off a real regional championship,” said Morgan. “I am very proud of all of the hard work of these dancers and am looking forward to take them to compete on the national and world stages.”