Rapidly tapping their feet and swinging their legs are eight local kids as they prepare for the Australian Irish Dancing National Championships to be held in Adelaide next week.
Representing Queanbeyan and Jerrabomberra, these locals are a small portion of a 47 dancing squad from the Simpson Academy Irish of Dance.
Claudia Balogh, Zoe Hoare, Kel Davy, Chloe Johnston, Georgia Alles, Ella Borgo, Alaska Kingston Lee and Erin Burke have been hard at work polishing off their final dance techniques before the competition begins.
Monica Simpson, Principal of the Simpson Academy of Irish Dance says it takes commitment and hard work to prepare you for these sorts of competitions.
“The kids work extremely hard. Most of the training, it’s formal training, they do something like five to eight hours a week and then do more training at home.”
For the first timers, it can be a bundle of emotions for them as they head into the championships.
“There are boys and girls going in for the first time so I think they’re a bit naïve at what to expect,” says Monica Simpson.
The older dancers battle their nerves as they aim to keep up their standards of last years competition.
Monica Simpson says they’re trying to keep their paces of their performances last year.
“If they can keep that pace or improve their placing of last year they’re doing well. So there’s a bit of pressure on them to do that. It’s individual pressure.”
In the team dancing the school all wears the same outfit consisting of a blue singlet. However, the dancers are free to wear their own costumes when dancing on their own.
“When they dance individually each dance costume is different. They’re beautiful vibrant colours – quite elaborate.” says Ms Simpson.
Although Irish dancing is a competitive sport, it is also very rewarding.
“The kids have a lot of fun. We dance at fetes…We’ll be at the Jerrabomberra school fete next term.”
The Championships runs from September 25th and concludes on the 28th.