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World Irish Dancing Championships

Photographer: CJ Gunther


Over six thousand competitors from around the world descended on Boston to compete in the 43rd World Irish Dancing Championships, a competition previously held only once outside of Ireland or Scotland, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 2009. Representatives of Brazil, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Australia, Czech Republic, Canada, Russia, Norway and Taiwan, have come to compete with the Irish, English, Scottish and US dancers. Traditional Irish dancing, once outlawed in the 17th century, saw a rise in popularity following the stage productions of ‘Riverdance’ and ‘Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance.’ The technique focuses primarily on technical footwork, in either hard jig shoes or soft shoes. The dancers’ precise, fast-paced timing and rhythm come alive to traditional music played on fiddle, flute, tin whistle, accordion, bodhran and piano. Competitors at the World Championships face the judges in solo hard shoe, solo soft shoe, ceili and group competitions. Competitors qualify for the World Championships after finishing in the top five of their regional competitions.