North American Irish Dance Championships

July 2, 2012 4:52:08 AM PDT
Eileen Mulhern O'Kane, of the Mulhern School of Irish Dance and acting spokesperson for the North American Irish Dance Competitions, visited ABC7 Chicago Monday along with some young dancers to announce an upcoming competition. The 2012 North American Irish Dance Championships are scheduled for Tuesday, July 3 through the following Saturday at the Sheraton Chicago and Hyatt Regency Chicago.

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Thousands of Irish Dancers to Compete for National Championship Titles (Chicago) - If you're in Chicago in early July this year, you may notice an extra sparkle, lots of curls and the lilt of an Irish reel on Michigan Avenue. That's because the 2012 North American Irish Dance Championships will be held in Chicago July 3 through July 7, 2012.

The Irish Dance Teachers Association of North America (IDTANA) has selected Chicago as the host city for the 2012 championships. IDTANA estimates that the city could receive at least a $5 million boost thanks to the revenue generated by the competition. More than 25,000 spectators are estimated to attend part of the the week-long competition to watch more than 5000 dancers of all ages from North America, Ireland, Scotland, England, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Russia participate in individual and team competitions at the Sheraton Hotel and Chicago Towers. Daily awards ceremonies will be held at the Hyatt Regency Chicago.

North American dancers, representing dance schools in the United States, Canada and Mexico, have the opportunity to qualify for the 2013 World Championships to be held in Boston, Massachusetts, in April 2013. In addition to the competitions, dance instructors from across the world will gather on July 2 for a convention and welcome event on the Spirit of Chicago.

"Members of the Irish Dance Teachers Association of Mid-America are so proud to host this championship competition in city as vibrant at Chicago," said Julie Showalter, Artistic Director of World Academy of Irish Dancing and co-chair of the event's host committee. "The level of commitment, refinement and athleticism that Irish dancers are required to attain in this art form sets them apart from all other types of dance, and we're excited to share such a high-level of dancing with the city of Chicago."

Members of the Chicago community are invited to attend the event to watch the competition. Photo identification will be required.

More information on the 2012 North American Irish Dance Championships is available online at or via Facebook at

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