(Photo - Shelley Hoffmann/Contributed)

(Photo - Shelley Hoffmann/Contributed)

Luck of the Irish: Kelowna dancers successful at World Championships

It was the first championships held since 2019

A pair of local dancers are back home after competing in the Irish Dancing Championships in Belfast, Ireland.

Rochelle Hoffmann (24) and Danté Grootjes (15) competed in the 50th edition of the championships, and the first since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hoffmann, who was competing in her 11th world championships, earned her best result ever, finishing 16th of 154 dancers in the senior ladies division. She earned a world medal for her efforts.

“It was an amazing experience,” said Hoffmann. “It’s always nice experiencing a different culture and getting to go and be around and witness some incredible dancing. There’s people from pretty much everywhere and it’s really cool that everyone comes together for the same reason.

“This one was probably my favourite.”

In his first time partaking in the world championships, Grootjes finished 25th in the U15 division.

Hoffmann, who has been dancing since she was four years old, is set to retire from competitive dancing this summer and focus on getting onto a show and coaching.

“I’ll be done after the North American championships in July,” said Hoffmann. “There are other things I want to pursue with work and I would also love to go into a professional show or a touring show.”

She said “it would be a dream come true” to be a part of a river dancing show sometime in the future.

The Kelowna Secondary School grad not only loves dancing but loves to spread her knowledge as well and teach others what she knows. She started teaching when she was 10 as an assistant junior teacher but now she runs beginner classes.

“I love teaching kids and passing on the knowledge,” said Hoffmann. “It’s taught me so much over the years.”

Both Hoffmann and Grootjes thank their dance teacher Janice Blakey Quewezance for all the support and helping them to get where they are in their dance careers.

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