MICHAELA Mason has earned a place at the World Irish Dance Championships in London.
She is not from Ireland but from Sanctuary Point and is only 13 years old. But don’t let that fool you; she can perform a soft-shoe jig with the best of them.
Her mother and outfit creator Gaye Mason said she was still getting her head around the fact her daughter is competing in the world championships.
“Our family started Irish dancing for fun at Sanctuary Point. We enjoyed it and when those classes stopped we found one in Bomaderry and eventually Wollongong,” she said.
“At one stage four of my children were dancing and we were driving to Wollongong Irish Dance Academy twice a week for lessons.
“So it started out as a fun thing to try and just kept going.
“It’s beautiful music, beautiful outfits and dancing. Why wouldn’t you do it?”
It wasn’t long before members of the Mason family were competing.
Rohan, Naomi and Amy won plenty of trophies but when Michaela qualified in the state championship for her age group in 2012 Mrs Mason and her husband John thought if their daughter qualified again they might look at going further.
Last year Michaela placed even better in the state event and qualified for the world championships.
So a trip to London was booked.
“It’s huge – going from Sanctuary Point to the world championships in London.
“It really is like a very little fish going into a very big pond,” Mrs Mason said.
It’s going to be a family affair with Michaela’s sister Naomi making the trip to do Michaela’s hair and makeup and her mother creating the outfits.
“I enjoy the creative side of making her dresses. They take a lot of work though,” Mrs Mason said.
“It involves weeks of late nights, cups of tea and chocolate. I think if I had a clear run at it I could do one in two weeks.
“The thing I like the most about the whole experience is what the kids have got out of it. They develop friendships, their art form and we have gone to a lot of places we probably wouldn’t have gone to before.
“It is a very interesting scene. And it is a highly disciplined dance form.
“I’m impressed with how well the kids do it.
“Early on we all did it and then it came to a point where I had no brain space left. I knew they would overtake me.”
Mrs Mason said they were going to the world championships with realistic expectations.
“We’re treating getting to the worlds as a win, anything else is just extra.”