06 Jul 2022

County Derry schoolboy crowned World Irish Dancing Champion

Connlan won his title just before the Easter break.

County Derry schoolboy crowned World Irish Dancing Champion

Connlan Higgins proudly showing his trophy after being crowned World Irish Dancing Champion.

The parents of a County Derry schoolboy who was recently crowned World Irish Dancing Champion say they are 'extremely proud' of his achievements.

Connlan Higgins won the coveted title in his category – under 11 boys – in Killarney just before the Easter break.

The 10 year-old has been dancing with Maghera-based Miller School of Irish Dancing, run by his mum Orla, since he was just six years-old.

Remarkably, this was the Desermartin boy's first time to dance in the World Championships, and although he normally dances in the under ten category, he was moved up a year to the under 11 category.

“He had come with me in November just to watch the Championships and from November to now he really could not wait to get on that stage,” said proud mum Orla, who is a former Irish dancing champion herself.

“Connlan works very, very hard. The last six months, and even through Covid when it was harder times and we were all dancing through Zoom, he worked very hard.

“He is a very busy wee boy. He plays football in under 11.5 with Watty Graham's in Maghera and he also plays guitar and sings. He enjoys all that he's involved in and he loves the dancing. He's really, really dedicated and practices himself four and five nights a week.

“Myself and my husband Sean are extremely proud of how hard Connlan worked in the months prior to the Championships in Killarney.”

After winning the title last month, Connlan, a pupil at St Columb's Primary School, Cullion, said he was 'delighted'.

“He was so excited to get dancing, he couldn't wait to get on the stage,” continued Orla.

“There was a great bunch of boys in the competition and he had so much fun the rest of the week just running off with the boys – he didn't want to come home.

“When he came home, we had a few people to welcome him back and he loved that – it was another wee high for him getting to celebrate his success and then he had a day out in 'We Are Vertigo' in Belfast. He's a Liverpool fan and he's hoping he might get tickets to go see them,” laughed Orla.

For now though, Connlan has his set his sights on his next competition, and is currently busy practising.

“There's no real break between competitions, so we are straight back in again practising for the World Team competitions with the school in September, the Ulster Championships in October and the Worlds in April again,” said Orla.

“Connlan said he would like to be a dance teacher. He's really immersed himself in dancing this last year and a half and is really enjoying it.”

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