World of Dance is exactly that for junior and senior

Setting goals, improving skills are part of the process


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Senior Kensington Speer takes on Irish dancing on an international level.

Tobin Bradshaw, Reporter

Sports have to have balls being tossed or thrown or people hitting each other. Art is a solitary act done in a quiet studio. But Irish dancers know that neither is true.

Irish dance merges both sport and art in a stunning presentation. According to senior Kensington Speer, “It’s a sport, just like any other sport. It’s very physically demanding but it’s also an art form.”

Speer began dancing due to an old friend who danced. However, since then, she has gone on to place in the Orocovis, a regional competition for Irish dance. This is the best that she has done and is also her favorite memory of Irish dance, she said. 

Junior Megan Kaster started dancing because of family connections. When she was 10, she said she “went to the Oireachtas, the mid-American Regionals. Then I went to Nationals, which is the North American championships, because it also includes Canada and Mexico.” 

But Kaster didn’t stop there. Since then, she has qualified for the Irish Dance World championships three times, which is no easy feat. Last year, Kaster finished in 49th place in the World competition, her best finish yet. Kaster hopes to top this performance during this year’s World event.

But the competitions aren’t even Kaster’s favorite part about dancing. She said, “I enjoy the process of getting better at steps and reaching for goals.”

Both Speer and Kaster dance for the Richens/Timm Academy of Irish Dance. According to Kaster, “We both just competed at the all-Ireland Nationals, an international competition.” To get this good, Speer and Kaster practice every day. According to Speer, “for this past all Irelands, we had workshops, we danced four (days) in Indy but then before competitions, we are in Ohio for the week for a dance class.”

Both Kaster and Speer plan on dancing beyond high school. Kaster plans on dancing for at least three more years, she said.

Speer said, “I’m considering dancing in college. We’ll see how that goes because it’s really difficult. I’m going to Smith College in Massachusetts. It’s very far away from my dance school and I don’t want to transfer dance schools. It would be a lot more independent work.” Furthermore, to assist with going to college, Speer has applied for Irish dance scholarships. According to Speer, these scholarships are not affiliated with any colleges.

Speer said, “If you want an actual explanation for how a dance completion works, we would have to sit down for an hour.”

The general idea of a dance completion is, according to Kaster, “Three rounds of 100 girls based off of age groups of what age you are turning that year.” There are also different types of dances within the competitions, similar to different events in track. She said, “There are hard shoe and soft shoe (dances) and then there are different dances within those. And then we have a set dance that is unique to us.”

Both Kaster and Speer showed off their talent and skills on the most Irish day of them all when they performed at the Rathskeller in Downtown Indianapolis on St. Patrick’s Day.