Fort St. John's Watt School of Irish Dance was in Calgary last week, October 14 to 17, for the inaugural Canadian National Irish Dance Championships. It was a great showing from the 14 dancers, who were competing for the first time since March 2020, and some for the very first time.
"We had a ton of really great results from all the dancers. There was a mix of nervousness, but a lot of excitement to not have to do a virtual competition again," said Ashley Campbell of the Watt School.
There were six dancers who qualified for the 2022 World Irish Dance Championships, set for April 10 to 17 in Belfast. The dancers were: McKinley Pomeroy, Paisley Gibbons, Emalee Chapple, Reese Gibbons, Melodie Kemp, and Naia Gibbons.
Pomeroy, Paisley Gibbons, along with Beau Almeida, the youngest of the school's dancers to go to Calgary, competed in the U10 category and all performed great in their first ever national-level competition.
The dancers usually compete at the Western Canadian Irish Dance Championships, and the North American Irish Dance Championships, but both events haven't been held since the pandemic began.
"It was really, really well run. The safety measures that were put in place were fantastic, and we all felt safe and that made it fun to attend," said Campbell.
Included below is the placing of each Fort St. John dancer at the national championships.
McKinley Pomeroy — 3rd, world qualifier.
Paisley Gibbons — 4th, world qualifier (2nd in preliminary)
Emalee Chapple — 4th, world qualifier
Reese Gibbons — 6th, world qualifier
Melodie Kemp — 6th, world qualifier
Naia Gibbons _ 8th, world qualifier
Kayleigh Fowler — 11th, medallist
Kale Dietz — 11th, medallist
Beau Almeida — 13th, medallist (8th in preliminary)
Lauryn Campbell — 21st, medallist
Haley Korfmann — 22nd, medallist
Hillary Campbell — 25th
Katie Campbell — 32nd (14th in preliminary)
Ava Wolff — 55th (17th in preliminary)
Email reporter Dillon Giancola at firstname.lastname@example.org