Irish dancing group wanting more after stunning Edinburgh's Got Talent success
AN IRISH dancing group have their sights set on becoming world champions after their stunning success in the Edinburgh's Got Talent competition.
The Haughey McAuley Academy of Irish Dance, based in Penicuik, scooped the first prize on Thursday night, after a glittering finale to the Evening News contest.
And they now hope to repeat their success when they travel to Glasgow for the regional finals of the World Irish Dancing Championships next weekend.
Instructor Michelle Haughey-Edwards, said the 1,000 prize money would be invaluable for buying costumes, as well as helping young dancers with travel expenses. They often travel to England for competitions, and competed in Philadelphia earlier this year.
The eight dancers, aged between 12 and 21, also won the chance to perform at the Radio Forth Awards on 18 November. They narrowly beat runner-up Jack Robertson, a 14-year-old singer, to win the competition.
Ms Edwards said: "They had never done that kind of show before, with that large an audience. It was quite nerve-wracking for them, but they loved it. They are ecstatic about the Radio Forth awards.
"We're really delighted to win the prize money, as they have to do a lot of fundraising to pay for costumes. It costs 400 to buy outfits for the whole group. It will also help us go away as a whole school to take part in competitions.
"I think we have a good chance at the world championships – especially as it's in Scotland this year."
She set up the school 13 years ago, with fellow instructor Owen McAuley. Her 13-year-old daughter Aine is one of the winning group.
The six girls and two boys impressed the audience at the Assembly rooms with their breathtaking routine to the song Tell Me Ma. They have only been dancing together for a year, and practice four or five times a week.
Melanie Rogers, 13, from Broxburn, said: "We're really excited about winning. We never even thought we'd get to the final."
Another dancer, Becky Smeaton, 13, from Broxburn, said: "We've never done something as big as this before. I thought I was going to collapse at the end, I was so nervous. I'm so happy we won."
Ms Edwards said she thought many of the group could go on to become professional dancers. Judith Clyne, 21, one of the older members, is considering auditioning for shows such as Riverdance.
The other group members are Jessica Gray, 13, Megan McKay, 20, Grant Morrison, 12, and Aodhan Sheridan, 14.
After the competition, judge Keith Jack said: "It's nice to see a dancing group win, as I think it can be harder for them to impress people than singers. They gave an amazing performance and I was very happy they won."
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