From Ireland and Back

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From Ireland and Back

Hobbs Hegedus, Staff Writer

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Seattle Prep offers many sports, more than usual, allowing the students to take anything from bowling to soccer, and no one would raise an eyebrow. But for those who could not find their own slot in Prep sports, may choose something more diverse. One of these people is Sophia Zaboukos, a current Sophomore at Seattle Prep. While she may swim for prep in the fall, all year she Irish dances for Tara Academy. Irish dance is a culmination of Irish, French and English traditions and techniques that began in the 18th century. It is either done in solo or group performances. This European tradition requires constant critique and improvement, making dancers like Sophia go to practice four days a week, and even sometimes six nearing the days around major competitions. This intense practice taking a time dedication of ten to fifteen hours a week. While this does put a strain on Sophia’s school life, she believes that it is worth it to balance the extracurricular and school. But she does encourage all ages to join in, commenting that, “It’s very fun and people of all ages can enjoy it, whether you are spectating or dancing yourself!”

But the Galic dance is not the only reason people join, the community being also a major factor. Sophia was inspired to join and was introduced to Irish dance by one of her fellow friends, Sydney Jones. Ever since then she believes she has “Found my home in this sport.”

While the sport is always accepting of newcomers it has a rigorous system that takes years of dedication to move up in, Sophia starting at the age of five. Still putting time and effort into it today, she works hard to improve her skill, represent her academy and to try and reach the big Irish dance competition, Worlds. Worlds is sponsored by the Convention Centre Dublin, and is the worldwide competition for Irish Dance. Sophia hopes to one day qualify but even with all her talent and skill believes that “ It is a big dream of mine that I think I could accomplish in a couple years.”

Once again an example of how much dedication this sport really needs. To even qualify for worlds, they need to be the top level of U9, be a medalist in the North America Championships, and place top ten in the Mid-Atlantic Regional Oireachtas. While all this may sound daunting, Sophia believes she can reach her goal, and suggests that everyone should join, no matter their skill, and become part of the ever growing Irish dance community.