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FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) — It’s known as the Olympics of Irish Dance and four Broward County girls are representing the United States.

Kaitlyn Jesionowski takes classes, and rehearses at her Parkland home daily. It pays; the 17-year-old is one of four local girls headed to Dublin, Ireland to compete in the prestigious 2017 World Irish Dancing Championship in April.

“Only the top two percent of dancers qualify, so it’s really tough to get in that group,” says Jesionowski, who’s been dancing for 13 years.

She and 11-year-old Fiona Shanley of Coral Springs are returning to the world competition but for 10-year-olds Bella Price of Fort Lauderdale and Catherine Kilroy of Davie, it’s a first.

They qualified at the regional championships held in Baltimore in December.

“It was a big surprise,” says Price. “It wasn’t expected. I just wanted to get top half and I got third place!”

Each dancer will have a solo performance. They’ll be showing off what they’ve perfected at the Drake School of Irish Dance. The global school has trained multiple Irish dance champs in its 27-year history, but it’s the first time South Florida instructor Christina Deacy sends students to the world championship.

“I’ve dreamed of it, you know, so it’s great that it’s becoming a reality,” says Deacy.


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