Preston dancers jig their way to title victory

Amiee Harrison-Armstrong

Amiee Harrison-Armstrong

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Dancers from Preston’s Wheelan Joyce School of Irish Dancing have hot-footed their way to regional success.

Ethan James and Amiee Harrison-Armstrong beat competition from across the north west to win their categories at the North West Championships.

YOUNG STAR: Ethan James

YOUNG STAR: Ethan James

Winning a regional title means they qualify to participate in the 2016 World Championships in Glasgow – but Penwortham lad Ethan won’t be able to go because he’s only nine.

“It’s a shame, he’s ahead of his game,” said teacher Siobhan Joyce.

“He’s a complete natural and he only started coming 10 months ago after watching his sister dance with us.

“It’s unusual to have young lads dancing, but we’ve got two who have joined us in recent months.

DOING THEIR BIT: Whelan Joyce Dancers bag-packing at Morrisons for charity

DOING THEIR BIT: Whelan Joyce Dancers bag-packing at Morrisons for charity

“We’re hoping that Ethan will be able to achieve the same result next year when he’s old enough to go to the World Championships.”

Ethan, who lives on Newlands Avenue, Penwortham, said proudly: “I was first place in everything.

“I’ve been doing it a year and just like it, it’s fun. My sister started first and I thought it looks quite good.”

Despite the disappointment of not being able to qualify for the world championships, Ethan, who attends Whitefield Primary School, Oaklands Drive, Penwortham, said he was still happy and has set his sights for the very top one day.

“I’d like to be a world champion and would like to be a famous dancer,” he said.

Amiee’s success caps a successful return to dancing after 10 years away.

But her goal was to get to the world championships.

Amiee, 26, of Longley Close, Fulwood, said: “I’ve had quite a long time out and came back a year ago.

“I went to university and I missed it so much.

“I’ve worked quite hard.

“My main goal this year was to reach the world championships.”

Amiee, who works full time as a marketing executive, said: “Once you start Irish dancing you never get rid of it, it’s in your life,” said Amiee, who went to Liverpool University.

“Now I want to get even further and do as well as possible and after that, we’ll see, really.

Fourteen-year-old Bridget Flynn, of Penwortham, was named as first runner up in the same competition.

Siobhan added: “We all practice hard, but the success makes it all worthwhile.

“We have about 60 dancers with us aged from three to 26 years old, but only about a quarter of them have any Irish ancestry.

“People love how different the dancing is, and it’s brilliant we get dancers from all backgrounds.”