The final weekend of July saw the biggest event of the Irish dancing year so far – the South Australian State Championships. The event sees the best of SA Irish dancers battling it out for the title of “State Champion” and for the chance to qualify for the World Championships, to be held in Boston next Easter. Simply competing at States is a huge achievement as dancers must have reached a certain level in competition before they can attend States. The competition was held at the MacKillop Performing Arts Centre in Gawler, the generous stage giving plenty of room for the dancers to strut their stuff. We were lucky to have a live musician playing for the duration of the weekend, Sean O’Brien from the UK. Our Adjudicators were Raymond Ayres, Eileen Mulcahy and Leanne Halloran who all traveled from interstate.
The Roberts Academy was very proud to have our largest States Squad yet, with over 30 dancers taking part over the course of the weekend. These dancers ranged in age from 6 right through to 28, with many first timers alongside our more experienced “old hands”.
Saturday focused on the Solo dancing, with dancers showing of their technical and intricate footwork. Our dancers had been working for weeks (if not months) in the lead up to States to perfect their steps and did an amazing job on the day. The school was very proud to have three Solo State Champions this year – Trinity, Daniel and Gerard. The huge smiles said it all, though I’m not sure which prize they were happiest with – the massive trophy or the teddy bear! We had plenty of other fantastic results too, with 10 dancers placing in the top five, and six dancers heading home with a coveted World Qualifier Medal.
It was also great to see the support network and team spirit with dancers and families helping each other get ready, warming up together and cheering for their fellow classmates. Many of our dancers also enjoyed the on-site shopping, swamping the new vendor selling personalized States clothing!
Sunday was Teams Day, with hundreds of young dancers taking part in traditional Ceili and modern Choreography and Figure sections. The RAID camp was a sea of blue, black and white, with dancers in their matching team costumes and parents decked out in the school colours. Special congratulations has to go to our very youngest dancers who were taking part in teams for the first time and did a fantastic job. We also must take the chance to give a special mention to our Ceili only dancers – Dylan, Tegan, Amanda, Rose, Aishlynn, Michael, Isobel, Nina, Tessa, Brodie, Maddie, Giordana and Karlee. Some of these dancers traveled all the way from Darwin just for Ceili, showing great commitment and team spirit.
Teams Day saw a few more great results with the school taking away three team State Titles. This year’s Under 11 Mixed Four Hand (Dylan, Gerard, Trinity and Caitlin) successfully retained the title from last year. Also in the Under 11 section, our Mixed Eight Hand were practicing with Andrew right till the very end, and it paid off! Dylan, Gerard, Niamh, Tessa, Giordana, Trinity, Maddie and Caitlin were the very proud winners of the school’s first Eight Hand title. And lastly – Connor and Shannon put on a great performance with an entertaining Two Hand Choreography, placing first in the tough Under 16 Mixed Two Hand section. This achievement made all the greater when you consider one dancer lives in Darwin and the other in Adelaide!
Sunday ended with the highlight of the State Championships – the Parade of Champions! All solo State Champions are welcomed back to the stage together for an exhibition step about, where each Champion gets to show off with one last step for the crowd. Our three champs all had their favourite steps picked out and ready to go for the inspiring show of South Australia’s talent.
|Sub Minor Girls 8 Years||Trinity Lomas||1st|
|Sub Minir Boys 8 Years||Daniel Strzelbicki||1st|
|Minor Boys 10 Years||Gerard O’Connor||1st|
|Intermediate Boys 13 Years||Patrick O’Connor||2nd|
|Intermediate Boys 14 Years||Connor Hoy||2nd|
|Sub Minor Girls 7 Years||Laura Wildman||3rd|
|Junior Boys 11 Years||Colm O’Connor||3rd|
|Intermediate Girls 14 Years||Shannon O’Toole||3rd|
|Intermediate Boys 14 Years||Fletcher Austin||3rd|
|Sub Minor Girls 8 Years||Sacha Gummer||5th|
|Minor Girls 10 Years||Niamh Gardner||6th|
|Ladies 19 Years||Alana Ingram||6th|
|Sub Minor Girls 8 Years||Caitlin Finlayson||7th|
|Junior Girls 11 Years||Hannah Nunn||8th|
|Senior Ladies 20 Years +||Jessie Roberts||8th|
|Junior Girls 12 Years||Kimberly Harvey||Championship Award|
|Junior Girls 12 Years||Alana Townsend||Championship Award|
|Senior Girls 15 Years||Angel Finlayson||Championship Award|
|Junior Ladies 17 Years||Sherry Helps||Championship Award|
|Under 11||Mixed 4 Hand||1st|
|Under 11||Mixed 8 Hand||1st|
|Under 9||Mixed 4 Hand||3rd|
|Under 13||Mixed 4 Hand||3rd|
|Open Age||Mixed 4 Hand||3rd|
|Open Age||Mixed 8 Hand||3rd|
|Under 16||Mixed 4 Hand||4th|
|Under 16||Mixed Two Hand||1st|
|Under 13||Mixed Three Hand||3rd|