Belfast to become world dancing capital
28 March 2006
As part of Celebrate Belfast 2006, Belfast once again will become the Irish dancing capital of the world.
The Belfast Waterfront Hall is hosting the 36th Oireachtas Rince na Cruinne, or World Irish Dancing Championships. Last staged in Belfast in 2004, the Championships is expected to attract more than 4,000 dancers to compete over eight days, from Sunday April 9 – Sunday April 16 inclusive.
The Oireachtas Rince na Cruinne was first held in 1970 and this year`s Championships is expected to be the biggest yet, with competitors from as far afield as North America, Australasia and all parts of the British Isles.
More than 2,000 solo competitors and 2,000 team dancers will take part in this eight day programme, made up of 35 competitions across age groups from under 11s to 21 years and over.
The dancers have qualified at regional and national events, not only within Ireland and Britain, but also mainland Europe, including Austria, Hungary, France, Germany and Holland, the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. More than half of the competitors at this year`s event will be from outside Ireland. In total there will be 314 schools of dance and 11 different countries represented during the competition.
Belfast City Council Events Manager, Gerry Copeland, said that everyone in the City was looking forward to welcoming once again the cream of the world`s Irish dancers to Belfast.
“When the Championships last came to the City, two years ago, it was the biggest event in Oireachtas history: we are looking forward to repeating that success, by hosting a competition that is bigger and better than ever before - and especially to our own dancers not only competing with the best in the world but once again keeping many titles at home,” commented Gerry.
“The Oireachtas Rince na Cruinne is very much the highlight of the year for all Irish dancing enthusiasts, whether living in Ireland or as far away as New Zealand, Australia or America,” commented Seamus ó Sé, of An Coimisiún le Rincí Gaelacha.
“On the two previous occasions on which the Oireachtas has been held in Belfast - in 2000 and again in 2004 – they were truly memorable experiences: Belfast provided us with both a magnificent venue and an unforgettable welcome. We are really looking forward not only to repeating that experience but surpassing it when the competition returns to Belfast.”
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