THE 25th All-Ireland Festival of Dancing takes place in Gort next week. The silver jubilee dancing championships and social dancing weekend will be held in the Lady Gregory Hotel from October 17 to 20.
The weekend will feature music from PJ Murrihy, Patrick O’Sullivan, Tommy Flaherty and music for all the dancing championships will be provided by Michael Cleary and Breege Kelly from Donegal.
According to organising chairman and founder member of the championships 25 years ago, James Lee from Gort, “Entries are well up on previous years. There are 80 children all under the age of 14 years entered in the old-time waltz and the jive this year.”
“We start on the Thursday night with practice and social dancing, with refreshments served and the best of music by Tommy Flaherty and dancing from 8.30pm to 12 midnight.
“Friday kicks off at 7.30pm with seven championships for residents of the hotel only, followed by social dancing from 10.30pm to 1am with music by Michael and Breege,” he added.
Championship dancing takes place throughout the day on Saturday, with social dancing that night with music by PJ Murrihy. Sunday will host a day of social dancing with no competitions and music from Patrick O’Sullivan and Tommy Flaherty from 2pm to 7pm.
Mr Lee is delighted with the number of entries for this year’s championships and believes the silver jubilee festival could be the best yet.
“There are currently more than 40 couples entered for the country jiving, more than 50 for the rock-n-roll championships and all the championships are finished over the weekend. The open five-dance championship has more than 20 entries at present. The championships include slow waltz, quickstep, foxtrot, the tango and the beautiful Viennese waltz. We will have top officials over the weekend, including judges from UK and Ireland,” Mr Lee outlined.
Keeping an eye on the proceedings will be scrutineers Tom and Helena Moore from County Wicklow; clerk Annetta Redmond from County Meath; floor stewards Noel and Ann Nolan from County Wicklow and MC Thomas Redmond from Navan, County Meath.
Over the course of the championships, there will be 63 silver perpetual cups awarded, plus 300 pieces of specially engraved Galway Irish Crystal.
“The Lady Gregory Hotel has everything the dancers require, including its excellent dance floor and no doubt, as in the past, the management and staff will do their utmost to make sure that the weekend is one to remember,” Mr Lee concluded.
The dancing championships are supported by Fáilte Ireland West and the Arts Council, Galway.