Michaelann White Competes Nationally in Irish Step Dancing


A world-competing Irish step dancer from Walpole High School has been recognized for her exceptional talent. Last November, she placed in the top 10 for soloists in her age group in the nation. This athlete received two world medals for her solo dancing, which is a goal for most dancers. Not only did she win the New England Regional Championships for her solo performance, but she also qualified for worlds for the eighth time last November. Most recently, she was awarded third place in Oireachtas, better known as regionals, which took place in Hartford, Conn.

Michaelann White placed third in the New England Regional Oireachtas competition on Nov. 19.

Michaelann White has been recognized for her talent worldwide, and she attributes her success to mother Marilyn.

Trying to find an after school activity for her daughter, Marilyn made the decision to enroll her daughter into Irish Step because it was a program not many were involved in and had strong ties to her heritage. At age five, White began what started as just an after school activity but as years flew by, she grew as a dancer, excelling in the activity she loves most, dance.

An after school activity has now turned into her biggest priority outside of school. White spends four days a week at the Harney Pender Keady Academy of Irish Dance.

“I have been with this school for 13 years with some of the best coaches in New England,” White said.

Although long days in a vigorous program can sometimes be difficult for White to balance along with school work and other aspects of life.

“Closer to competitions, I have classes almost everyday and it can be hard to keep all of my school work together while training nonstop,” White said.

Competitions are judged by a set of either three or seven judges, all depending on the level of the competition. All the judges rank dancers from their favorite to their least favorite out of a total of 100 points. The dancer with the highest total of points wins.

With the support of family, White has been able to dance with the same academy for over half of her life and travel worldwide to competitions, which is the biggest perk of dancing for her.

“Through dance, I have traveled to Ireland 4 times, Scotland, Canada, and 19 different states in the US,” White said. “Irish dance is extremely expensive and I could not have been able to go to all of the competitions overseas without my family supporting me every step of the way.”

White attends one of her competitions with her mother Marilyn.

The travel aspect is not the only expensive portion of the competitions. Each competitor has a custom made dress from a designer located in Ireland. These dresses normally range from $2,500 to $4,000 and need to be continuously purchased as dancers grow. Along with these extravagant dresses, wigs are purchased as well to complete the dancers traditional look.

After years of hard work and dedication to dance, White still has more goals set for herself in the duration of her career.

“For years I’ve been dreaming of making it into a massive dance show called “Riverdance.” I would love to continue my dancing career with this show and continue doing what I love. I also hope to own my own dancing studio to pass on the tradition of Irish Dance,” White said.