Just back from playing at the 2013 WIDA World & European Championships…
Last weekend I flew to Dusseldorf to play the music for the WIDA (World Irish Dance Association) World & European Championships. My musical partner for the weekend was William Paterson (Glasgow) and the other musicians were Colin McGill (Laois) and Darren Checkley (Birmingham/Limerick). All excellent musicians with very entertaining banter!
A little bit about the competition….
At the WIDA European and World Championships each dancer dances three solo rounds – slip jig, heavy jig, traditional set at the Europeans and reel, hornpipe and traditional set at the Worlds. Then there is a 50% recall from these three rounds. If the dancer recalls then they go through to the recall hall to dance their open set dance. The open set dance is any open set of the dancer’s choice at the dancer’s choice of speed (hornpipe sets for the Europeans and jigs for the Worlds).
On the Friday the European Championships were held and myself and Willie were in the recall hall for the day playing for the open set dances. Lots of lovely hornpipe sets including Planxty Davis – one of my favourite tunes. Colin and Darren were in the main hall playing for the three solo rounds.
Saturday made way for the Grade Féis with some lovely dancing from beginners up to intermediate standards. A slightly easier shift for the musicians at the Grade Féis as just the main hall was being used which meant that we were able to split the day between us. During the evening were the show dances – these were very entertaining. This is where dancers and teachers can let their imaginations run wild with the choreography. We saw team dances of Mary Poppins, Grease, Happy Feet and more!
The World Championships were held on the Sunday. Again myself and Willie were in the recall hall, this time playing jig sets for dancers who recalled. Lovely to see some dancers dancing the Orange Rogue – one of my favourite set dances. That evening the results were announced and the weekend finished with the parade of champions – a step from each European and World Champion.