Sisters compete at championship for Irish dancing

Joey Simpson

Grace Gyolai, Magazine Editor

Whether it be leading a team to state, or traveling around the country for tournaments, dedicated student athletes seem to get more opportunities as they gain experience, but not many get to travel to a world championship. Freshman Libby Simpson and her sister, seventh grader Gebby Simpson got the amazing opportunity to travel to Ireland last June to compete for the first time in a worldwide competition for Irish dancing.

The four day competition included dancers from different age groups and many different countries. Despite the experience and talent of their competitors, both of the Simpson sisters placed high in their groups. “We both got tenth place in our age groups. I actually got tenth in a three way tie,” Libby said.

BSM sisters Libby (left) and Gebby Simpson (right) have been competing in Irish Dancing for several years.
Ashley Ortizcarzarin
BSM sisters Libby (left) and Gebby Simpson (right) have been competing in Irish Dancing for several years.

Placing tenth in the world did not happen for the sisters without serious practice and commitment. “During competition season we practice for about six hours a week. We have practice two days a week for two hours each time, and we also practice at home,” Libby said.

The Simpson sisters dance for the school Rince Nua under the organization Cumann Rince Naisiunta (CRN). The school sends the top dancers to Ireland to compete each year. Both Libby and Gebby have been dancing with Rince Nua for years, so being selected to compete solidified their devotion and made it all worthwhile. “I’ve been Irish dancing since I was four years old. I like how we get to dance with friends, and how far we have gotten,” Gebby said.

Despite years of experience and countless hours of rehearsal, Gebby and Libby definitely noticed a difference between American competitions, and the one in Ireland. “It was harder because all of the Irish girls have all of the experience and stuff they need because they live in Ireland. In American competitions we know what we’re up against, but in Ireland we have no idea what’s going on,” Libby said.

Besides the steep competition, the sisters came across other challenges in the Irish competition that they were not anticipating. “There were five judges at the worlds competition, but usually in the U.S there are two or three, Gebby said. “They also had this big jumbo screen that was really bright. You would be sitting in the chair and all you could see was the screen in your eyes,” Libby said.

Both Libby and Gebby plan on competing in the world competition with Rince Nua as long as the opportunity presents itself, and they are already setting goals for next year. “I would like to at least stay in the level that I’m at, but keep working harder too,” Gebby said.

As the sisters continue to set higher goals and gain more experience, they still remember to appreciate the moment, and the amazing travel opportunity that their sport of Irish dancing has granted them. “The experience was amazing. Because it was our first time we had so much adrenaline. Just being able to go to Ireland was really cool,” Libby said.