Sioux Falls Irish Dancers Tapping Their Way to Scotland

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Only 1 percent of American dancers get the chance to dance their hearts out at the World Irish Dancing Championships. Three of those dancers are from the Sioux Falls area, and they’re tapping away to put South Dakota on the map.

21-year-old Hannah Vaca put her dancing shoes on later than most. Vaca starting tapping away at 15-years-old. Many dancers first hit the dance floor between seven and ten years old.

“I’d always dreamed of coming this far but it was always kind of like, ‘I hope I get there and I’ll keep working, keep doing my best to make that dream happen,’” said Vaca.

Now, her dreams are coming true, along with Rylie Brison and Grace Swain’s. The three Irish dancers have taken all the necessary steps to earn a spot at this year’s championships.

“One of my instructors said that this is one of the biggest Worlds stages so I’m just really nervous to dance,” said Brison.

When the trio found out they were headed to Scotland, they were jumping for joy. They’re the only dancers from the South Dakota division of their dance company to qualify for this unforgettable opportunity.

“When I qualified for the words, I didn’t expect it at all,” said Brison.

Swain has been to Worlds before and says she wanted another chance to dance. Swain says you need more than the luck of the Irish – you need to work hard to avoid defeat.

“You have to actually put in the work and like if you don’t practice for a week,  you can’t, and then go to a dance competition, you can’t think ‘oh, I’m going to do just as well as I did at the last one. ‘No, you have to keep working,” said Swain.

Each of the dancers will compete against other dancers in their age group – usually hundreds of other dancers from around the globe.

“We’ve worked so hard and we’ve achieved those dreams to be able to go there, so it’s nervous in that way, but it’s also really exciting,” said Vaca.

One thing’s for sure: they’ll go out with a bang.

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