Alumni Uni Würzburg - 1000 Careers One Story


Emily O'Sullivan is an Irish Dance World Champion


Das Alumni-Büro veranstaltet am Freitag, den 28. Juni 2019 um 18 Uhr in der Alten Universität zusammen mit der Deutsch-Irischen Gesellschaft und dem English Department der Sprachenschule einen Irish Dance – Workshop. Die Workshopleiterin ist Emily O’Sullivan aus Irland. Der Workshop kostet keinen Eintritt und richtet sich an Studierende, Alumni und Beschäftigte der Universität Würzburg.

Erasmus Student Emily O'Sullivan (Jura) is a world champion in Irish Dance. She is leading a workshop on 28 of June on Irish Dance.

Irish dancing has been on the rise since Riverdance exploded onto the scene in the 1994. Since then it has become a global phenomena that has reached all four corners of the world whilst still remaining a true to its cultural heritage.

Emily, what brought you to the Irish Dance?

In Ireland, every little girl learns Irish dancing from a young age. It’s like a rite of passage. But the older you get, more and more emphasis is placed on Gaelic sports. In the south, where I’m from, hurling is the more predominant sport, and with two hurling mad brothers and a Dad who was the sub goalkeeper for Co. Cork, Irish dancing was something that I had all to myself. While the individual competitions were always something I enjoyed, the group Céilí dances were definitely the most fun (it’s where I won my three world titles)! The dancers in the troupe were all like family. We saw each other almost every day and spent the weekends at each other’s houses, practicing and practicing. To be honest, we spent the same amount of time joking around and talking about new dancing dresses. Our teacher always said that the friendships we had with each other always came across on stage, so it was important we were friends as well as colleagues. And she was absolutely right! I’ve made some of my best friends through dancing. (Better than any hurling team if you ask me)

What is the most important thing for a professional Irish Dancer?

I think the most important thing is proper support. Irish dancing is incredibly draining, both physically and mentally; it challenges the body in places I didn’t even know I had muscles! But it’s safe to say that the positives completely outweigh the negatives. It’s hard sometimes to put your social life to one side when a competition is on the horizon, especially the world championships. We could be training for 7-8 hours per day (before college or work, afterwards or at lunchtime), but this is what makes the troupe so important. They are there for the lows as well as the highs, and really give you that extra push when it’s needed; whether it’s a 6am wake up call or the motivational talk just before we’re about to go on stage. Anything is possible when you have the right people beside you, especially when you all have your eyes on the same prize.

What was the most interesting thing you experienced in your career?

The most interesting things that have happened to me over the course of my career have definitely come from the people I’ve met. You cross paths with so many different people and cultures (not forgetting too that people turn into somebody completely different on show day!). The competition travels around the world, this year having taken place in North Carolina, USA in April. We claimed gold in Dublin, Glasgow and Belfast and we also traveled to France to dance in various festivals. Dancing at a high level also grants access to some exciting and exclusive parties around… I’ve been lucky enough to dance for the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins! Even though I don’t compete as much as I used to, Irish dancing is and continues to be one of the most important elements of my life.