Irish dancer preps for international contest
By Kathleen Folkerth
WEST AKRON — Five days a week, Kasey Shammo spends more than two hours a day in Irish dance lessons. She also has a 90-minute private lesson once a week. On her off days, she practices.
What makes this 15-year-old sophomore at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, who also runs track and volunteers, stick with this intense schedule?
“I love doing it,” Kasey said. “I love competition and doing shows and stuff.”
Kasey, who is in her 11th year as an Irish dancer, is about to leave her West Akron home for her sixth appearance at the World Irish Dancing Championship, which this year takes place in Belfast, Ireland. In 2004 she earned 10th place in her age division, she said.
She will face about 200 competitors in her age group. The competition will have dancers compete in hard shoes, then soft shoes, and then one-third of the dancers will be “recalled” to compete further, with half of those dancers earning a place.
Kasey is the daughter of Dennis and Lisa Shammo. Her mother will accompany her on the trip, which begins April 9. She is one of six dancers from the O’Hare School of Irish Dance who will compete at the championships this year.
The competition has taken place in various cities over the years, allowing Kasey to see a good deal of the Emerald Isle.
“I love going sightseeing and traveling with all the other dancers,” she said.
Kasey said her family influenced her to try Irish dancing. She has a cousin who danced, and her uncle plays in an Irish band. She is, of course, of Irish heritage.
But there was another reason why Kasey started dancing.
“My mom wanted me to get over my shyness,” she said.
It must have worked because today
Kasey is an active and involved teenager. She volunteers
at St. Bernards’ Food Pantry and is a tutor for
OPEN M. And in addition to being on the varsity track
team, she’s hoping to play volleyball this year.
Kasey said she plans to continue
dancing for the next few years.
“I’ll probably be
done after high school,” she said.
Kasey Shammo, of West Akron, practices a move for the World Irish Dancing Championship as fellow dancers look on.
Photo: Ken Crisafi