It’s hard to imagine that someone who recently won the Southern Region Oireachtas Irish Dance Championship could ever be shy. But for Christina Deacy, that’s exactly how her career as a dancer began.
“I was very, very shy,” Deacy says. “But dancing really helped bring me out of my shell. Being on stage, hearing the music, you definitely get a rush.”
Deacy began dancing 12 years ago, when she moved to a new school in the second grade.
“A lot of the girls at my new school were into it, and I just found I had a natural talent for it,” Deacy says. “A lot of them eventually quit, but I decided to stick with it.”
Since then, Deacy has gone on to study at the Drake School of Irish Dance in Sarasota and has danced in competitions all over the world, including world-level competitions in Ireland and Scotland. Her natural talent is evident in her performances, as she leaps through the air, effortlessly extending her legs to seemingly impossible lengths.
After competing in eight previous Southern Region Oireachtas in the under-20 division, Deacy made a last-minute decision to give the competition one more shot.
“I only had about a month to train,” she says. “But I was in good shape, and I danced the best I ever have. It was really exciting, because that was one of the goals I wanted to achieve before I hung up my shoes.”
Deacy, a graduate of Riverview High School, still attends dance class at Drake three times a week and works for her father’s magazine companies, Pet Pages and Restaurant Pages. She hopes to eventually open her own studio and dance professionally. She plans to apply for Celtic Fyre at Busch Gardens in Virginia and says she’s always wanted to be in Riverdance. For now, she has her sights set on training for the national championship in Chicago this July.
The highest she’s placed in nationals has been 16th place, and she’d like to make the top 10 this year.
“All the training and preparation can be really stressful,” Deacy says. “But when you get the scores you want, it’s really gratifying.”
The Drake School of Irish Dance had a lot of recent success. Check out some of the other dancers who are bringing some of the Luck of the Irish to Sarasota:
Isabelle Blanch also performed well at the Southern Region Oireachtas. She qualified for the World Irish Dancing Championship, which takes place on April 3, in Belfast, Ireland.
Blanch has been dancing for nine years and was inspired to pick up Irish dance when she learned her preschool teacher was also a teacher at the Drake School.
Drake students Catherine Cier and Katie Hiles also reached Open-Champion level, the highest level of competition in Irish dance.