Members of the Claddagh Academy of Dance travelled to New Orleans for a national comp
A troop of London Irish dancers wowed passengers at a US airport with an impromptu performance during a trip to the North American Nationals. Dancers from the Claddagh Academy of Dance were heading to New Orleans when they were asked to put on a special show while they waited for their connecting flight at Atlanta Airport.
“Another passenger who had been on the flight approached us and asked if we could perform for everyone,” said Rachel Corr, a teacher at the school.
“Of course, Irish dancers never have to be asked twice and the kids absolutely loved the reception from everyone at the airport.
“We recorded the performance, put it on our Facebook page and have had tens of thousands of views. We are delighted with the global reception we’ve had.”
The trip to the States was organised thanks to a huge fundraising effort from everyone involved at the Academy. Rachel explained how they had first devised the idea of taking the pupils on a parent- free long-haul tour last year. But it wasn’t until they sat down to evaluate the costs that they appreciated how much work would be required.
“It all sounded so easy to everyone until I sat down with a pen and paper and tallied up some figures. Then it was very daunting – we needed to raise £25,000 in nine months to make it all possible,” she said.
However, through the hard work and support of parents, teachers and pupils alike, they managed to achieve their target and put together the trip of a lifetime. Flights, accommodation and transfers were arranged, as were new tracksuits and rucksacks – items which received plenty of compliments along the way.
“In between classes, workshops, feis’ and school, the parents and teachers availed of every opportunity to raise money through a number of events,” Rachel said.
“Everyone was so supportive of each other – the parents and dancers were incredible – and they were determined and knew what had to be done to reach their goal.”
During their stay in the Big Easy, the dancers enjoyed some shopping and days by the pool, as well as a tour to the nearby swamps and a visit to a local escape room centre. When it came to the competition, they performed extremely well and all the dancers returned to the UK as North American National Medal Holders. And Ellie-Mae Wheeler, Caitlin Dillon and John O’- Connor made it onto the podium at the event.
Rachel explained: “Our school motto is ‘work hard, play hard’ and that is certainly what happened in New Orleans. It was a truly amazing trip from beginning to end.”