Irish dancers to compete in regional championship

This weekend more than 1,000 Irish dancers will gather in Bellevue for the Western Region Oireachtas - a regional Irish Dance Championship being held in Bellevue Nov. 16-18.

The Western US Region is one of seven regions in North America as set forth by the IDTANA (Irish Dance Teachers Association of North America). The region follows the rules of both the IDTANA and the governing body in Ireland, An Coimisiun le Rince Gaelacha, and includes dancers and schools from the following states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. Dancers will compete in hopes of qualifying for the World Irish Dance Championships in Boston next spring.

Taking place at the Hyatt Regency Bellevue, this mark’s the competition return to the Northwest after more than 10 years away. Recent competitions have taken place in California and Denver.

“It’s all the best dancers from the region” said Bellevue resident Mary Herridge.

Herridge’s three children have taken Irish dance lessons at Tara Academy in Seattle since they were four years old. On Saturday, her son Brendan will compete in the under-16 male category. He is currently a student at Sammamish High School.

In addition to team competition, the championship will feature categories for solo competitors and dance drama. The latter category features groups acting out traditional Irish stories and folklore with their bodies.

The Western Region Oireachtas begins at 8 a.m. each day and is free and open to the public. The schedule is as follows: girls (under 11) dance Friday; boys (all) dance Saturday morning; teens and dance drama dance Saturday afternoon; girls (15-plus) dance Sunday. Photos are not allowed during the competition but are allowed during the awards ceremony each evening.


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