THE Penrith and Blue Mountains-based School of Irish Dance is sending seven students to the World Irish Dancing Championships next week.
The championships take place in Boston, USA from March 24-31.
Principal Maria Maher-Astley said 21 students qualified for the competition but 14 of them had other commitments with their school or university studies.
‘‘It’s a bit sad they can’t go, but I’m extremely proud of all my dancers,’’ Ms Maher-Astley said.
Siobhan Hamilton, 16, of Glenmore Park, said she could not believe she had been selected.
‘‘I’m very excited about it,’’ Siobhan said.
‘‘I love Irish dancing, I live and breathe it.
‘‘I’ve been dancing since I was three.’’
Jess Carruthers, 18, of Winmalee, said she felt a bit nervous about going to Boston, but was also excited and training six days a week.
‘‘I love the choreography of Irish dance and it’s such a challenge,’’ Jess said.
‘‘It’s become my life; I hope to be a professional dancer one day.’’
Thomas Hughes, 17, from North Richmond has been dancing for 10 years.
‘‘It’s good and I’ve made many friends,’’ Thomas said.
‘‘Boys usually prefer rugby to dancing — I play rugby myself — but dancing is a good experience too.’’
Minchinbury dancer Shaun Cameron, also 17, said he enjoyed Irish dancing because he was good at it.
‘‘You meet a lot of good people too,’’ Shaun said.
‘‘There’s a saying: dancers are friends for life.’’
Elise Furlong, 27, travels all the way from Auburn to attend dance classes.
‘‘It’s a great thing to be able to express myself and dance on the world stage,’’ Ms Furlong said.
Jenny Croft and Marie Sweeney, both 22 and from Blacktown, said they were both nervous and excited about the championships.
‘‘Irish dancing is a great way to exercise, keep fit and socialise,’’ Jenny said.
Marie competed in last year’s championships in Belfast and hopes to better her performance.
‘‘I would love to be a professional dancer; going on stage and performing is an amazing experience,’’ she said.
The other students who qualified for the championships are: Anne Devine, Caitlin Devine, Maggie Devine, Alyssa Flynn, Tamara Flynn, Caitlin Kersivien, Catherine Lynch, Caitlin Pellizzon, Emily Stinten and Alexandra Vugevic.