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Sanibel teen wins tops honors for Irish dancing

By Staff | Aug 27, 2009

Kay Donovan is a typical 14-year-old girl. She likes to spend time with her friends and she likes to dance.

Through the art of Irish dance the young Sanibel teen has found a way to do both.

“It’s really a good way to express yourself,” Kay said.

She has been studying Irish dance for the past four years and practicing everyday, said Elaine Donovan, Kay’s mom

Apparently her fancy foot work paid off.

The ninth-grade homeschooler, just received the AAIDT Gold Crown 2009 Championship Title for Prizewinner ages 13-14. The Irish dance competition was held in Warwick, R.I., on Aug. 15th and 16th. She placed first in traditional set, slip jig, reel, and treble jig.

Kay said she is grateful to her supporters and Bailey’s store which helped her to raise funds for this competition.

In Irish dancing the legs are mostly used and the arms are kept to the side.

Kay who is modest herself – says that Irish dancing is not that difficult.

“You don’t really have to be good at it,” she said. “Pretty much anyone can dance.”

Kay has been taking Irish dance lessons from Kellyn Celtic Arts in Fort Myers for under the instruction of Jaime Knaub. She has been participating in the American Association of Irish Dance Teachers (AAIDT) distant video Feis’ this past year in order to qualify for this Championship competition on Rhode Island.

Elaine Donovan is elated for her daughter to have Irish dance lessons available.

“What I like about the traditional Irish Dance is it’s more modest,” she said.

Before Kay got into Irish dancing, she had practiced some hip-hop dance form that did not make her mom too comfortable. Elaine Donovan described the dance moves as too adult for a child to be performing.

But unlike many instances where children rebel against their parents likes and wishes, Kay is happy to Irish dance.

“I like it,” Kay said. “I like the school, it’s like a big family. Everybody knows each other.”

Kay is excited to make it to the champion level in Irish dancing but as far as her future in the art goes she is not sure there is a career for her.

“I don’t think I will be doing it when I am in college or an adult,” she said.

But though she doesn’t see herself making a life out of Irish dancing the experience will stay with her.

“I will always remember it,” she said.