Danbury area dancers place at New England Regional Irish Dance Championships

Dancers from the Danbury area competed at the New England Regional Irish Dance Championships, also known as the “Oireachtas,” which was held last month.

The event brings in top dancers from schools in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine competing against more than 100 fellow dancers.

At the event, local dancers representing the Ashurst Academy of Irish Dance brought home a world championship qualifying position, five national championship qualifying positions, a traditional set champion and additional podium placements and medals.

The World Irish Dance Championships — the Olympics of Irish dance — will be held in Belfast, Ireland this April. The Ashurst Academy will send Katie Sheehan, of Southbury, and Piper Normand, of Canton, to compete.

Sheehan and Normand also qualified for the North American Irish Dance Championships, which will be held in Montreal this July, alongside teammates Caroline Morneau, of Bethel, Lucy Lowman, of Ridgefield, Olivia Lanza, of Oxford, Madden Curran, of Bethel, and Deirdre Smith, of Newtown.

Newtown resident Sofia McKirdy won first place in the traditional set championship for her age group.

In addition to Lowman’s national qualifying spot, fellow Ridgefielders Maddie Winslow placed in the traditional set category for her age group and Caroline Pickett danced two strong rounds in her solo championship category.

The Ashurst Academy of Irish Dance is directed by former “Riverdance” and “Lord of the Dance” stars Craig Ashurst and Christina Dolzall-Ashurst, of Newtown. Both were highly successful competitive dancers themselves, and collectively hold many regional, national and international titles.

The Ashurst Academy of Irish Dance is currently enrolling a new beginner program beginning in January 2022. For information, visit www.ashurstirishdance.com or call 203-928-0689.