Mixed four-hand céilí group place eighth in world

CANADA CHAMPS: QIA Dancers Declan McMahon, Kathleen Downey, teacher Kate Hartley, Tara McMahon and Daniel McMahon at the World Championships in Montreal.

It is, of course, a lifelong dream of Irish dancers to take part in the world championships, but for these five dancers from QIA Dancers, they had to wait an extra three years for their dream to be fulfilled. 

  QIA Dancers teacher Kate Hartley explains: “These dancers were preparing to take part in the 50th World Championships that were to be held in Dublin in 2020, but unfortunately, Covid got in the way and the Championships were cancelled for two years.

  “The dancers were unable to attend the 50th World Championships that were eventually held in 2022 for a number of reasons and later that year, they decided that they would like to go and they kept working over another long, hot summer to achieve their dream.”

  The dancers had to qualify at the Queensland State Championships, held last August, to gain the right to enter the World Championships. Dancers from all over the globe convened in Montreal, Canada for eight days of championships, running from the 2nd to the 9th of April. 

  “We had three dancers that competed in solo events, two of them for the first time,” said Kate. “And a team representing QIA Dancers. The last team that competed at the World Championships from QIA was in 1994, at the 25th World Championships. It is a huge commitment not just physically but financially to compete at this level and the dancers were very appreciative of the financial support that they were given by the QIA.”

  All of the dancers have danced as QIA Dancers through all of their dancing journey and for at least three of them, this was their last dancing competition.

  These dancers started dancing from the ages of three to seven years and have performed and competed at a local, state and national level throughout their time with QIA Dancers. 

  Daniel, Tara and Declan MacMahon are all from the same family, the youngest three children of seven siblings, all of whom have danced at one stage or another. Daniel and Tara have now retired from competition and are working towards becoming dancing teachers.   

  Tara danced in the Senior Ladies event. Declan danced in the Men’s 20 to 21-year age group and was placed 16th. And all three were part of the Mixed Four-Hand céilí, together with Kathleen Downey, and they placed eighth in the world.

    Kiriana McKay danced in Senior Ladies section. She placed 35th overall. 

In paying tribute to the dancers, Kate said: “It was such an amazing journey to have all five dancers at the World Championships. It was fantastic, a testament to their hard work and determination to get there, with some help and guidance from the QIA Dancers teaching team.

  “For me, it was an honour to be with them at the pinnacle of their dancing journey, having been there when they took their first steps on the dance floor at the Irish Club in Elizabeth Street many years ago.”

  The future is bright for QIA Dancers with such inspiring role models for young, upcoming dancers. 

  Kate added: “Collectively, they have about 100 years of dancing at QIA Dancers. They are amazing mentors and role models to the next generations of dancers coming through.” 

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