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SMC junior wins world dance prize

Ashley Charnley | Monday, April 27, 2009

Saint Mary’s College junior Deirdre Robinett danced her way to the top prize at the 2009 World Irish Dancing Championships after the competition was brought to the United States.

“I have never gone into a competition expecting to win, but this year I tried to do everything I could to prepare myself,” Robinett said.

The weeklong competition, which is usually held in Ireland, kicked off in Philadelphia on April 5, hosting dancers from five different continents.

It was the first time the dance contest has been held on American soil – a fact that was not overlooked by Robinett who enjoyed a home-floor advantage.

Making the victory extra sweet for Robinett was “the fact that I was in America and I got to be an American to win it.”

Losing a competition earlier this year inspired Robinett to work harder, driving her to practice at least five days a week in the month leading up to the contest.

“I actually lost my regional, I got second, which always ends up paying off for me. It forces me to work harder,” Robinett said.

Noting the fact that her grandmother is “100 percent Irish,” Robinett said she went to an Irish dance class when she was six years old and after that she “just never stopped.”

Robinett has won five nationals as well as placing second in two previous world championships. According to a press release, this is her 11th time qualifying for the event.

The victory was made even more special for Robinett, because her brother and cousin were able to attend.

“[My brother] usually doesn’t get to come because he is overseas. He was there, my mom was there, and my cousin got to be there,” she said. “I had more family there than I ever had before.”

Robinett said this will probably be her last year participating in the worldwide competition, but said she plans to enter a national competition next summer. When she is done dancing, she said would like to teach the sport and pass her expertise onto younger generations.