Denny Irish dancers have the world at their feet

The Ryan School of Dance Group at the Edinburgh Festival this year
The Ryan School of Dance Group at the Edinburgh Festival this year

A group of dynamic Irish dancers are gearing up to take part in the An Comhdhail Irish World Dance Championships in Killarney next spring.

Based at the newly refurbished Fankerton Hut, the Ryan School of Dance has around 20 children who train with their dedicated teacher twice every week.

Mary Kemp (52) was once ranked number 35 in the world and spends her free time running the dance school in Denny.

She said: “There are seven children going to the world championships because of the level of dance they’ve attainted. They have to be at a certain standard in their age group.

“There’s six of them under twelve doing a team dance called the six hand fairy wheel which is a traditional ceilidh dance.”

They recently had a chance to practise to an audience when they performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival on the Mercat Stage.

Taking centre stage on The High Street, the dancers attracted huge crowds for their toe-tapping performances which were “rapturously” received.

Part of the official fringe ‘Virgin Money Street Events’ they were described as a “A young group of dynamic and versatile Irish dancers, mixing traditional with modern forms of Irish dance. Colourful and vibrant to watch.”

They performed their own version of ‘Lord of the Dance’ as well as two-hand, four hand and six-hand dances together with traditional solo jigs, reels and hornpipes.​

The dancers ranged from five-years-old to 16 and included four girls who won medals at the world championships which were also held in Killarney in March this year.

Most of the dancers attend practice twice a week at Fankerton Hut and Mary has recently launched a beginners class on a Tuesday evening at 6pm in Graeme High School.