By staff reporter
ORGANISERS of the first World Gypsy Dance Championships – open to Gypsies, Roma and Travellers worldwide – are holding auditions in Ireland and the UK in the hope of finding additional Irish dancing Travellers to enter.
The first and only worldwide contest for dancers from the Gypsy, Roma, Traveller community is to be hosted in London later this year, with heats taking place throughout Ireland and the UK. Organisers are in talks with TV bosses about bringing the championships to our screens.
Running the contest is Irish Romany Gypsy Róisín Mullins, a former Irish Dance world medallist and dancer with Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance, and her Romany partner, Irish dance show producer Jack Jacobs.
She told the Irish World: “We are really encouraging anyone with Irish traveller or Irish Romany roots who feels they have dancing talent to come forward and show off their steps. One of my main hopes for the contest is that it will combat negative perceptions and stereotypes of Gypsies and Travellers, and provide a platform for them to show off their rich culture.”
Róisín has judged thousands of acts in TV talent shows such as Travellers Got Talent, Britain Does Variety, and Gypsy and Traveller Face of the Year. Now she would like to see dancers from the community to enter auditions across Europe for a chance to compete at the London final in Notting Hill.
Róisín, whose family hail from Castletownroche, County Cork, comes from a long line of Irish dancers. Her great great grandmother was a fiery Irish dancing Gypsy from County Cork who, overturning traditional attitudes towards women, toured Ireland dancing for her living.
Judging the final alongside Róisín will be a panel of dance celebrities from stage and screen, at what will most likely be the biggest gathering of Gypsy dancers in history. As well as holding the title of World Gypsy Dance Champion, the winner will also take home a cash prize.
Roisin said: “We welcome all members of the UK Irish travelling community at London heats. Dancers can enter in any dance style, such as Flamenco, Stepdance, or Irish dance, but must be over sixteen years of age, and from a Gypsy, Roma or Traveller background.”
For more information or to enter visit www.worldgypsydancechampionships.com.