28 Nov 2021

Longford ballet dancer leaves for prestigious dance school

Last week’s Leaving Cert results saw plenty of joy across the county as top notch points were achieved in some quarters.

Last week’s Leaving Cert results saw plenty of joy across the county as top notch points were achieved in some quarters.

For Newtownforbes native, Orla McCarthy, not only did she excel in her Leaving Cert, but she is now on her way to a prestigious German performing arts institution where she will undertake the study of dance in the coming months. Such are the ballet talents of this young lady, she was accepted into the institution – Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts – earlier in the summer and having performed on the international stage in Aberdeen recently, the 19-year-old daughter of Mary and Finian has received much acclaim on the dancing circuit.

“I am delighted with my Leaving Cert results; I was dancing throughout the Leaving Cert year and I suppose initially I felt that it would be an extra stress, but I auditioned for about six schools of dancing during that time,” she explained, adding that she very quickly realised that her ballet served as a well earned “break” from all the studying.

Dancing since the age of six, Ms McCarthy started out with the Shawbrook Dancing School in Longford town under the guidance of Anica Loun. Loun is a woman that played a most influential role in the 19-year old’s dancing career, something that Ms McCarthy is very keen to point out. “Anica has been such a help to me and to be honest with you, I wouldn’t even have found out about the dancing schools were it not for her,” she added. “Through the Shawbrook Youthdance Company, Anica picked 10 people to dance at a youth festival in Aberdeen and I was lucky enough to have been selected. We had to raise money to go on the trip and the theme was a mix of music and dance. We performed in His Majesty’s Theatre in Aberdeen; it was my first major performance and the first time that I performed outside of Ireland, so it was very exciting.”

Ms McCarthy also made contact with well known local dancer Marguerite Donlon who runs a very successful dance company in Germany. “It was she who suggested that I apply to the dance school in Frankfurt,” Ms McCarty explained further. “The course is done through English, but I will study German and that is also a great opportunity for me to learn a new language. I will study classical and contemporary dance and it is a degree course.”

While the move to a new country will create a distance between the local dancer and her much loved family, Ms McCarthy is confident that, while she “will miss them”, she will be in a position to cope with all the excitement and challenges that the new direction in her life will bring to her. “I am apprehensive about being away from home and I will miss my family, but there is Skype,” she quipped. “At different stages throughout the last couple of years, I did think about doing something more normal and I tried to find courses that I would like, but I always came back to dance. If things don’t work out in Germany, then I can always come back home and look at other options. With regards to where I’ll be in five years time, I have no idea; I would hope to get into a dance company eventually, but we will just have to wait and see.”

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