After winning the Southern Region Oireachtas Championship earlier this month, Doby’s Bridge Elementary School fifth grader Hannah Glynn is destined for Scotland.
Glynn outperformed 91 of her peers in the under- age 10 bracket in Orlando, Fla., and qualified to compete in Glasgow, Scotland, in March at Oireachtas Rince na Cruinne 2018, the world championships of Irish dancing.
It was her second consecutive win in the southern region Irish dance competition, but the under-10 category is the first age group that qualifies for the world championship.
Glynn began dancing in New Jersey at age 4 and now dances for the Walsh Kelley School of Irish Dancing in Charlotte, sometimes practicing up to 10 hours per week. That’s a lot of hard work for a 10-year-old, but Irish dancing is in her blood. Her mother, Maura Glynn, is a daughter of Irish immigrants.
“I grew up Irish dancing and went on to become a teacher and adjudicator of Irish dancing,” Maura said.
And Hannah's father, Brian Glynn, is a traditional Irish musician who travels regularly to play for Irish dance competitions.
“Given our ancestry and our continued involvement in Irish dancing, we never put Hannah into anything other than Irish dancing,” Maura said. “Thankfully, she loved it and it came easy to her from a young age.”
When Maura mentions Irish dancing to someone, she usually has to follow the term with a reference to the musical, “Riverdance,” which she said is more familiar to most people. But for those who still wear a blank look, she describes it as a traditional dance form comprised of dances in both soft shoes, similar to ballet, and hard shoes, similar to tap.
Maura signed her daughter up for her first dance competition at age 5 and Hannah competed in her first solo competition at a regional championship at age 7.
Before going on stage at the Southern Region Oireachtas Championship, Hannah felt nervous and excited, but after her performance she was happy.
“I prefer Irish dancing because I've done it all my life and I find it much easier than some other activities I've tried,” Hannah said. “I most enjoy competing and then having fun with friends.”
Stephanie Jadrnicek: firstname.lastname@example.org