Hong Kong Irish dance troupe reels in the medals at European championships

Hong Kong Irish dancers come out winners when they take on the world in Germany

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 05 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 05 May, 2013, 5:03am

Irish dancers representing Hong Kong have put their best foot forward at the World and European championships in Dusseldorf, Germany.

The Echoes of Erin School of Irish Dance clinched more than 75 medals in various age groups at last month's competition.

School founder Catriona Newcombe, of Ireland, was placed fourth in the World Championships and second in the European Championships, while her colleague Danielle Parker won fourth place in both competitions.

Since its founding in 2008, the school has been holding classes in Central, Sha Tin, Sai Kung and Pok Fu Lam's Cyberport.

"When we first started the children had Irish parents who wanted to give their kids a taste of some Irish culture," Newcombe said.

"But over the years we have taught children from all backgrounds. At the moment we have 25 different nationalities involved with the school. We've gone from strength to strength."

Despite being a huge part of Irish culture, the art did not go global until the debut of Riverdance during an interval of the Eurovision Song Contest at the Point Theatre, Dublin, in 1994, Newcombe said.

It was a popular celebration of Irish dancing, and later that year the BBC commissioned a repeat performance for the 1994 Royal Variety Show.

In Hong Kong, Echoes of Erin offers a thriving instruction programme and organises a dance troupe that performs regularly at charity and corporate events and dancing festivals.

"We do lots of work for charity and the interest is growing each year," Newcombe said.