The All England Championships
John Egan reports from Watford
Let me tell you about the An Chomhdháil All England Championships, organised by the London & Home Counties branch and held once again in the Watford Colosseum.
As I expected, it was a busy, lively, friendly and exciting event, particularly for the youngest dancers who were attending their very first competition. And all of the dancers had the enviable experience of stepping out on a prestigious well- trodden stage where national and international celebrities of stage and screen appear almost weekly.
This year’s event was clouded by a most intrinsically poignant subject i.e. the absence of young Donna Rose TCRG who passed away last year after a brave three year battle with breast cancer. Donna was founder and principal teacher of the Rose School and it was most gratifying to learn that her legacy lives on by the continuation of her school under the instruction of one of Donna’s former pupils, Amy Foley, who was present to supervise and encourage several of the school’s dancers, including Donna’s daughters Emilia and Clara. Also present were Dominic and Kit, Donna’s husband and mother, who supported all her classes and her annual Clare Feis in Aldershot. In memory of Donna a beautiful rose bowl was presented to the senior champion.
I have no doubt that this perpetual trophy will be treasured by all its winners and for everyone it will invoke memories of a departed wonderful friend.
The dancing craic was great at Watford. In the past I have described the Colosseum as a rival to the best venue I have experienced at national, or even, world championship events.
A bonus is the welcoming and helpful staff at all levels, apart possibly from the ‘jobsworth’ who endangered his larynx by repeatedly bellowing orders for everyone to vacate the premises immediately after the final championship presentation that came at the end of a major dancing event which ran extremely well to schedule.
In spite of witnessing a rush to avoid defenestration by this jobsworth, I feel sure that dancers will take away an appreciation of their opportunity to perform on stage at the prestigious Colosseum and will look forward to returning there next year.
And right now, many of these dancers from all over the UK, are honing their steps for the big event – An Chomhdháil World Championships 2018 – that will take place in Killarney at Eastertime.
On a side note, I wrote two years ago that ‘the Watford Colosseum will be much sought after as a dance venue for regional and national dance events of all the governing bodies of Irish dancing’. I was not surprised therefore that Southern England Region, a region of the CLRG major Irish dance body, has since chosen it as their venue for their world qualifying oireachtas.+9