The popularity of Irish dancing since that very first performance one Saturday evening in April 1994 at The Point Theatre has been a phenomenal international success and, for one young Donegal girl, it has opened many new horizons and opportunities.
Clodagh Roper from Creevy near Ballyshannon started dancing with the Domican Academy in Ballyshannon when she was only three and a half years old.
She has been dancing ever since and was the first Donegal person ever to bring back a world title to her home county at the tender age of 11 in 2004.
On Tuesday Clodagh featured in our profile section and today we offer a briefer version of that interview such has been the interest in her story since published:
“I suppose I have always had a big interest in Irish Dancing - when you start dancing at such an early age, it just grows on you and gets into your blood.
“At the time Riverdance was making a major impact on the entertainment industry throughout the world and practically every young girl and even the young fellas were out there dancing on the streets and taking lessons.
“The whole show brought Irish dance into the 20th century. As one commentator said, ‘It made Irish dancing sexy,’” Clodagh told us.
Having finished her secondary education, Clodagh put her long term career aspirations on hold and went to Germany to perform with “Dance Masters” an Irish dance troupe who tour throughout Germany, Russia and Poland.
“This provided me with great experience performing to an international audience some who might never have experienced the art of Irish dancing before.
Clodagh recently competed in the World Championships just a few weeks ago and has added yet another few trophies and medals to an already overcrowded sideboard in Creevy.
“I am in full training now for the Irish Nationals which take place next month - I think I can appreciate what it takes to be one of the Donegal football team now. Training practically every day, no late nights out on the town - if you break the routine it’s just like starting all over again.
“My main focus at the moment is to get into really top shape not just for the Nationals but for my upcoming audition with Riverdance.
“There is no doubt that when it comes to Irish Dancing you won’t find a much greater platform than the show and I would just love to be part of it.
Clodagh added that even though it is her career at the moment she does not regard it as work. “I heard somebody saying once that ‘you will never have to work a day when you enjoy your work’ - that’s just exactly how I feel.
“Everytime I walk out on that stage I just get that buzz all over again - it really is a great experience.”