By Elizabeth Lee
A TALENTED and highly dedicated dancer will soon jet off to Canada, where she’ll compete in the Irish dancing world championships in Montreal. Lauryn Coogan, a second-year student in St Leo’s College, Carlow, will compete in the toughest challenge of her dancing career to date after she, her mother Michelle and uncle Wayne Webster fly out to Montreal on 29 March.
Although Lauryn is only 14 years’ old, she dreams of joining the Riverdance crew or even Michael Flatley’s own troupe of dancers in the ***Lord of the Dance*** show. She has completely dedicated herself to Irish dancing and is the current Leinster champion.
She has a grueling schedule, which involves 6am starts with gym work and dance practice before school and, straight after school, attending classes in the Curley Brennan Irish Dance School, where she’s a student.
“For such a young person, she’s so dedicated and committed to dancing,” said mum Michelle.
Lauryn must have inherited her mother’s twinkle toes because she and Wayne were champion Irish dancers when they were younger. The Webster family are from Dereen Heights in Carlow town and Michael and Wayne became very well known for their wonderful talent. When the siblings retired from Irish dancing, they took up ballroom dancing instead!
Now the next generation of Michelle’s family has a love of dance, with Lauryn starting at a young age. Her quest to dance in Montreal comes at a high price, though, with the cost running into thousands of euros. It’s not a cheap hobby as it is – her dress costs about €3,000, with wigs and shoes adding even more expense.
To help meet the cost of the Canadian trip, Michelle went on a fundraising drive and has compiled a list of people who have helped Lauryn in any way. She lists Michael English, who owns the Recovery Hub in Carlow, as among those who have helped her daughter after Lauryn sustained an injury last year.
The family live in Arles, Co Laois and her father Padraig works in Optimum Utilities and Civils in Athy. Padraig’s boss Mark Dunne and Padraig’s colleague Tony Mack are among her many sponsors, which also include John Whelan from JW Tyres and Bernard Horohan from Tile N Style, Carlow, The Dance Portal in Dublin, Bridie Kennedy from the High Trees pub, Arles, Mary and Helen Brennan and Jelli Tree Crafts, Jenny Doyle Make Up and Wayne Webster Hair.
“No matter how big or small, we want to thank everyone who has helped Lauryn on her journey,” said Michelle.
Lauryn is only at the beginning of her career and hopefully she’ll dance her way onto the Riverdance stage, or may even share a jig with the self-styled Lord of the Dance himself!