Local Sisters Earn Top Honors At Dance Competition
The 20th annual All-American Championship of Irish Dancing was held in Washington D.C. this past July. Lifelong residents of Belle Harbor, Julie and MaryAnn Opperman, accomplished a special feat at this year's competition, earning the championship title in each of their events. Julie took first place in the under 15-championship, and Mary- Ann won in the under-18 division.
The All-American Championship in Washington D.C. is part of the Nation's Capital Feis, which is pronounced "fesh" and means an Irish Dancing Competition. This event attracts a thousand competitors every year, and is promoted by the O'Neill-James School of Irish Dancing. The Principal, Laureen O'Neill-James is a member of the Irish Cultural Hall of Fame.
Julie and MaryAnn are students at the Donny Golden School of Irish Dancing, and share a love of dance that has been with them since they each began dancing at the age of four. Although the girls have been in many competitions across the country, their greatest pleasure comes from supporting charitable events through dance. They have performed in New York City's Town Hall for the widows and families of 9/11, and they also danced at Carnegie Hall in a tribute to "Ireland's Golden Tenor," the late Frank Patterson.