Maëlyss Gérot from Finistère will not soon forget the qualifications for the World Irish Dance Championships, which took place in Dubai on November 24, 2023. Competing in the U18 category, she qualified brilliantly. A first for this 18-year-old who will have her work cut out for her as one of the most gifted dancers in the world. "There's going to be an incredible level and a lot of competition, especially with the Irish and the Germans who are very good and have their own schools. Participants will range in age from 4 to 60 years old and will compete in their age category. We will have to present three choreographies of Irish dances of 2 minutes each: two performed in Irish tap dancing, to the rhythm of traditional Irish music (we won't know the music chosen, only the rhythm) and the third in soft-shoes. »
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For those new to Irish tap dancing, this is a dance that is practiced with shoes with resin on the front and heel. The dance is more airy in soft shoes. In both cases, you must have your arms straight at your sides, have your legs crossed or straight, and do demi-pointes. It's extremely rhythmic, lively and graceful. And very traditional...
She discovered Irish dancing in 2015
Maëlyss started dancing at the age of 2 and a half, learning modern jazz and hip-hop. It was in 2015 that she was introduced to Irish tap dancing. "My grandmother was a volunteer teacher in an Irish dance school in Quéven (Morbihan). I liked it immediately. She then started training on videos. "I signed up for the EtCeltERA association in Nantes, which provides Irish dance lessons. Initially, as I went to school in Finistère, I went there on Friday evenings, by bus or train, and came back on Saturday mornings. Otherwise, I'd watch videos. »
It's not easy to train intensely without taking face-to-face classes. Maëlyss, admitted to the first year of the Performing Arts and Choreography section in a Strasbourg faculty after obtaining her baccalaureate, decided to take a gap year to devote herself entirely to the qualifications for the World Championships, at a rate of three or four sessions per week, under the guidance of Mathilde Rio, her teacher.
"I'd like to join a professional troupe"
After qualifying, Maëlyss kept her head on her shoulders. "My goal is to win in Glasgow but it's going to be tough. I have much less experience than many of the other participants. Nevertheless, if I fail, I will do it again next year. The young woman has other plans for 2024. "I would like to go to the University of Limerick in Ireland to do a Bachelor's degree in Irish dancing and then join a prestigious professional Irish dance troupe, such as 'Riverdance'. " I audition right after the World Championship. "Certainly, a world title could be a big weight in the university's balance."