If you found yourself in the Providence Place Mall Christmas shopping this weekend, then you will not be surprised when I tell you that there was a very strange sight to see. Girls in tall, curly wigs and tall socks perhaps paired with a tank top, shorts and ridiculous makeup.
This weekend in the Convention Center was the annual New England Oireachtas, the regional competition for Irish step dancing. Dancers from all over New England had been practicing for weeks for the chance to perform their dances in front of a panel of judges. It is at the Oireachtas that dancers can qualify to dance in the world championships, which are being held this year in Boston, Massachusetts. Each year, the location for the world championships changes to a different part of the world.
This year at the Oireachtas, there were five dancers from our very own North Kingstown, who dance for the Nevin and Goulding schools. Being able to dance in the regional competition is a big deal in Irish dance, and only dancers who are chosen by their teachers get to compete. It is an even bigger deal to dance well enough at the competition to place, or even qualify for worlds. My own school, Nevin Academy, is proud to have a few students qualify to dance at the world championships in Boston in 2013.
If you were not able to see all the weird-looking girls in the mall this weekend, the Oireachtas will be held in the Convention Center next year too! If you see them next year, remember to wish them luck on their dancing!