STRATHAM —The Murray Academy of Stratham, participated recently in the North American Championships of Irish Dance in both solo and team competitions and enjoyed excellent placements in many age groups. The Championships were held in Chicago, IL from July 3-7, at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers and the Hyatt Regency Chicago with over 3,300 competitors attending, mostly from the US, as well as Canada, Australia, Ireland, England and Scotland. The Murray Academy had twenty-five qualified dancers competing in solo competitions of between 100-150 dancers each, and a team of 8 dancers participating in the eight-hand U16 category. The school had twenty dancers place, fourteen of whom were in the top twenty, including one first place winner!
This was the Academy's fifth year attending this event; the school was opened in 2005 by its director, Anne Murray MacRitchie, TCRG. Edward Searle, TCRG also teaches with Ms. MacRitchie at the Murray Academy, and is a former World Champion and Riverdance star from England who helps prepare these students for elite-level competitions in North America and overseas.
The Murray Academy's North American 10 World qualifiers and other placements are as follows (those indicated by "*" have qualified for the World Championships in Boston next March):
Top 10: *Caroline Mega, Newburyport, MA: first place, National Champion Girls Under 18B; Arianna Mazur, Sandown, third place, Under 9A; *Kate Babcock, Exeter: fourth place, Girls U14A; *Ella Campfield, Exeter, fifth place, Girls U14B; *Clare Murray MacRitchie, Exeter, sixth place, Girls U13B; *Jenny Mancini, Stratham, seventh place, Girls U15B; Brigid O'Connor, Stratham, eighth place, Girls U8; and *Olivia Lenk, Durham, tenth place, Girls U10B.
Top 20: *Emily Varga, Stratham, eleventh, U11A; *Emma Henricks, Stratham, eleventh, U15A;
Audrey Malila, Exeter, thirteenth U10B; Sadie Bucknam, Stratham, fourteenth U11B; *Rachel McCully, Sandown, seventeenth, U12A; and *Maddie Muench, Groveland, MA, nineteenth U20.
Remaining Placers: Maggie Eaton, Nottingham, twenty-second, U11B; Hannah Lewis, North Berwick, ME, thirty, U18B; Erin O'Kane, Stratham, thirty-second, U11A; Emma Ryan, North Hampton, forty-third, U9A; Molly Makem, Dover, forty-sixth, 21 and over; and Clara Hannigan, Kittery Point, ME, sixty-seventh, U15B.
Team Result: Girls Ceili U16 (Babcock, Campfield, MacRitchie, Mancini, Henricks, McCully, Hannigan and Gillian Kenney of Byfield, MA) fourteenth out of fifty-six teams
The Murray Academy also brought home five medals in girls' solo competitions from the World Championships in Belfast this past April, more than any other school in New England for girls' solos competitions. The Murray Academy will be moving from its Stratham location to a brand new, state of the art studio that is currently being constructed for the school in Exeter.