It's been a hugely successful 12 months for Ballinalee Irish dancer James Fox, who has added a number of trophies and awards to his collection.
In the past year, the 11-year-old son of Orla and Fintan Fox, Soran, Ballinalee has been named Leinster Champion and All-Scotland Champion. He placed in second in the Irish National Championships, third in the All-Ireland Championships and most recently, joint second place in the World Championships which took place in Glasgow during the Easter holidays, for which he won his first World Globe.
Dancing since he was just five years old, James' mother Orla said that he “took to it very quick from the very start,” adding that her son started competing in local feiseanna straight away, before moving onto the championship competitions.
Affirming that her son has had a hugely successful year, Orla pointed out that the fifth class pupil's World Championships achievement was all the sweeter due to the fact that it was his first time to take part in the competition.
Having taken place on March 20, during the Easter holidays and just a week after his Confirmation, James' success at the competition took him by surprise, and his proud mother admitted that it had been an emotional win.
“He couldn't believe it himself - it was the first time I ever saw him getting emotional over it,” she revealed.
Currently dancing in the 11-12 age category, James is now preparing to start the whole season off again, with the NationalChampionships taking place in May.
It's a busy year for James, his parents and his teachers at the O'Reilly Bransfield School of Dance, but the Scoil Samhthann pupil loves it.
“He's always at it here,” Orla laughed, pointing out that as we spoke, her son was taking part in another dance class. “We tell him here at times we could tie his feet together!”
She's more than happy, however, to follow her son's love of dancing as far as it goes, and they're hopeful that the coming year will be as enjoyable and as successful as the last.
Paying tribute to the boys who dance alongside James in the various competitions, Orla pointed out that there was never a competitive or negative word between them, that they had all quickly become friends through the years.
To celebrate James' recent successes, the dance school are holding a night of celebrations in the Stag's Head this Saturday, April 9 from 8pm. All are welcome.