Oak Ridge’s Brianna Treacy began Irish dancing 12 years ago, following in the footsteps of her mother.
Now, the success is paying off with competition championships.
The 16-year-old Treacy took home the Under 17 title at the 23rd Annual All-American Championship of Irish Dancing on July 24 in Washington, D.C.
“I danced as a child, and when Brianna was four, we wanted to do something to break her out of her shell of being so shy,” said Mary Treacy, Brianna’s mother. “She started dancing at the same academy that she’s at now.”
Brianna Treacy dances at the Davis Academy of Irish Dance in Clifton, but travels around the country – and sometimes the world – in competition.
“She finished 15th out of 175 in a competition in Ireland, and we were just in Disney World (in Orlando) where she finished 11th out of 175 at nationals,” Mary Treacy said. “We travel from state to state to go to smaller competitions, and Brianna is even competing in Scotland over Columbus Day weekend.”
Frank O’Neill, a volunteer at the All-American Championships, said the contest is quite competitive, showcasing the best talent.
“You don’t just get there,” O’Neill said. “For these girls, they have to practice to achieve the level needed to be there. It’s an important event, sometimes with a thousand people there.”
Brianna Treacy’s instructor, Fedelmia Davis, agreed.
“You have to work very hard at Irish dancing to win at any competition,” said Davis, owner of the Davis Academy. “Brianna works very hard – I can tell when my students haven’t been practicing or working at it (their routines).”
Davis’s school has been open for over 40 years, making it a destination for serious dancers in the area. And, it seems Brianna Treacy embraces her instructor’s veteran advice.
“No matter what you say to Brianna, she will work (to improve),” Davis said. “She’s a lovely young lady, and definitely deserves the championships and wins she has because she works for it. You can give advice…and the sweat would be running down her forehead soon after because she’s working at it.”
Brianna Treacy said that she’s hoping to continue dancing through college and become a certified teacher in dance by her mid 20s, perhaps to pass her knowledge onto the next generation of dancers.
She practices two hours each day – either at the Davis Academy or at home in a dance studio custom build by her father, a carpenter.
Mary Treacy added that it’s a “pretty unique” skill, and is one of the only Irish dancers in her school. Brianna attends the Academy of St. Elizabeth in Morristown, where she’ll be a junior this fall.
“She’s very driven, a straight-A student, and anything that she puts her mind to, she does to the highest level,” Mary Treacy said. “She was a natural when she started competing.”
Up next for Brianna Treacy are a slew of regional competitions in the mid-Atlantic area the fall – events that may qualify her for a chance to go to Ireland and dance at the world championships.
“You have to work hard – and win – to take that trip to Ireland,” Davis said. “It means you’re the best in Irish dancing.”
Brian Wisowaty: 973-428-6674; firstname.lastname@example.org