Elite gang with trophies (from): Ella Bennett, Kaja Zboch, Caoimhe McKeogh, Aleesha Penrose, Hannah Defal , Ruth Langtry, Haley Mulvany, Anabelle King, Eirn Mulvany; (missing from photo Laura McManus and Fíadh McColgan).

Mullingar dancers impress world renowned coach

By Sarah Slevin

A group of Mullingar dancers impressed a world renowned and TV famous dance coach at a national event. The dancers at Elevate Academy of attended two national events in recent months – a competition called Dance Empire at the end of October and a Perform Ireland event a week later.

Abbey Lee Miller is a globally known dance coach, founder of Abby Lee Dance Company, which appeared on the US reality television series ‘Dance Moms’ for eight seasons.

Miller was giving workshops at Perform Ireland and was highly impressed with the Mullingar girls.

Abby Lee Miller with (from left) Caoimhe McKeogh, Ruth Langtry and Haley Mulvany.

She invited three of them, Ruth Langtry, Caoimhe McKeogh and Haley Mulvany, to demonstrate the workshop skills in her acro masterclass on the day.

Ruth Langtry, one of the three, said that being picked out by Miller was one of the highlights of the Perform Ireland event.

“She’s one of the biggest dance inspirations in the dance world. She had a reality show for eight seasons, and she is really well-known,” Ruth said.

“We didn’t know going into it that we’d get to demonstrate but after about 10 minutes, she had seen that maybe we were doing the skills well and called us up on stage beside her,” Ruth added.

At Perform Ireland (back from left) Fiadh McColgan,Ella Bennett, Ruth Langtry, Haley Mulvany, Caoimhe McKeogh and Kaja Zboch; (front) Anabelle King, Laura McManus, Hannah Dafel, Eirn Mulvany and Aleesha Penrose.

In the TV dance series, ‘Dance Moms’, Miller coaches a group of dancers, and has been known to be quite tough and strict, but that did not phase the Elevate elite gang much.

“I was so nervous going into the workshop, but once we were in there and up on stage with her, we were so excited,” Caoimhe said.

The whole Elite crew of 11 dancers attended workshops with coaches from around the world and they also performed on the RDS main stage.

“We took a lot of choreography classes and acrobatic classes with people around the world,” Haley said.

Many of the rest of the crew enjoyed different workshops at Perform Ireland, but some noted how Abby Lee Miller stood out, especially having scolded one of the girls’ mothers. “My mum was videoing me doing my tricks and she came over and said, ‘will you put down your phone’ and my mum didn’t see her, and she starts shouting and my mum got a huge lecture from her, but my mum was then really sorry,” Hannah Dafel said.

All the girls saw the lighter side of it, though, and had been able to laugh about the experience together.

Elevate creative director, Aimee Mac Manus, and the whole team of dance teachers, were proud of the crew at the event, especially considering how Covid-19 had affected classes in the last two years.

“Strength, technique and control are what made our students stand out for Abby Lee Miller at Perform Ireland. Our students nailed everything that was asked of them, even acro skills we hadn’t touched since we were online,” Aimee said.

“We’ve been reopening in stages since May and the Elite team have been even more committed and determined than ever to achieve their dancing goals.”

Although doing classes online was tough, Aimee noted that all the students who moved online made great progress and become stronger and more creative as dancers.

The week before that event, the Elevate crew also competed at a national Dance Empire Event, and came out with many top results, including many first place trophies.

They ranked in solo, duets and group dancers across styles including contemporary, acro, lyrical and jazz.

A junior group of dancers from Elevate also competed at the competition, with many of them also placing in top spots.