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At the Cumann Rince Naisiunta National Irish Dance Championships in Anaheim, Calif., some Belisama dancers wished they’d brought bigger suitcases; they had not anticipated bringing home a national title and the trophy that goes with it.
Los Alamos dancers Maria Jones and Victoria Hypes took the highest honors at the CRN North American Irish Dance Championships on Oct. 30, placing first and second in the under-15 championship. Winning the championship means that Jones moves up to Craobh Grad, the fifth and highest level of Irish dance in the CRN organization; she is now one of only four Craobh Grad dancers in the U.S.
The championship consists of dancing a reel and a set dance, adjudicated by a panel of three judges. The competitors are level four and five dancers from all over the U.S. and Ireland. The win means that Belisama now has two Craobh Grad dancers, as Caitlin Kossmann moved up to level five in last February’s regional competition.
“One Craobh Grad dancer might be a fluke,” an enthusiastic parent said, “But with two, we must be doing something right!”
The positions were reversed earlier in the day, when Hypes and Skye McDiarmid took first in the two-hand reel competition, with Jones and Shannon Kossmann placing second. Kossmann also placed fourth in the championship in the under-13 category.
The dancers were equally successful the day before in the solo dance competition, where Jones, Hypes, Natalie Smith, Rice, McDiarmid and Kossmann took three first places and 14 other medals at the Ard Grad level (level four). At the Mean Grad level (level three), Kyle and Lauren Partin, Rice and McDiarmid placed six times.
At the Ullmhuchan and Bun Grad levels (levels two and one), Lauren Partin, Elaina Bossert and Sydney Schoonover were especially successful, with eight firsts among them, and they, along with Lizzy Hypes and Darcy Turin, took an additional seven medals.
Belisama Irish Dance, under director Adrienne Bellis, is a member of the Cumann Rince Naisiunta (CRN) Irish dance organization.