Two students from the Penrith Gaels Maher School of Irish Dance travelled to Dublin this week to represent Australia at the World Irish Dancing Championships.
15-year-old Rachel Vella from Orchard Hills and 13-year-old Erin Stinten from Oxley Park departed Australia on Wednesday bound for Ireland where they’ll compete against 2000 fellow Irish dancers from around the world.
The pair qualified for the prestigious international competition after ‘wowing’ the judges at the recent State and National Championships.
Speaking with the Weekender, Rachel said her and Erin have been training non-stop to prepare for the competition.
“We train four days a week, so all we can do is go over and do our best,” she said.
“Outside of our dancing days, we spend a lot of time working on our fitness at the gym.”
Graceful, rhythmical and full of vibrant energy, Irish dance has mesmerised audiences for many years.
Rachel has been performing Irish dance since she was six while Erin has been dancing since the tender age of four.
“My older sister, Emily, used to watch ‘The Wiggles’ and one of the episodes featured Irish dancers,” she said.
“My sister was inspired to be an Irish dancer and, when she started doing it, I wanted to be like her.”
Rachel said she took an interest in Irish dancing after seeing two girls in Kindergarten perform it for ‘News’.
“I’m fully Maltese and have no Irish in me, but I found it really interesting,” she said.
The World Championships get underway next month.
Nathan Taylor is the Weekender’s Deputy Editor and Senior Sports Writer. He also compiles the weekly Chatter on the Box TV column. Nathan is an award-winning journalist, who has worked at the Weekender for nearly a decade.