St. Dennis student to dance in world championships in London Print
Written by Kevin Wondrash, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, Apr. 10, 2014 -- 12:00 AM
Seventh-grader Bridget Thompson, from St. Dennis School in Madison, is seen in one of her Irish dancing outfits.
Seventh-grader Bridget Thompson, from St. Dennis School in Madison, is seen in one of her Irish dancing outfits. Bridget will be competing in the World Championships of Irish Dance this month in London. She has been Irish dancing since she was five years old. (Contributed photo)

MADISON -- On Friday, April 11, 13-year-old Bridget Thompson and her family will be leaving for London as the seventh grader from St. Dennis School in Madison gets ready to take part in the World Championships of Irish Dance.

Bridget earned her spot in the championships at the 2013 Mid-America Oireachtas (pronounced "oh-rock-toose") competition in Grand Rapids, Mich., this past December. She placed 15th out of more than 130 girls.

On Monday, April 14, she will compete in two rounds of Irish dancing in front of seven international judges. The top 50 dancers will advance to the third round. Dancers from all over the world will be competing.

A 'gift from God'

"It's a gift from God to be able to do something I love so much," the young dancer said.

Her mother Michelle said her journey to the world championships started when Bridget was five years old. Dancers from the Cashel Dennehy School of Irish Dance were performing at the West Towne Mall while they were there shopping.

"Bridget was immediately taken with it and we signed her up," Michelle said.

Bridget has been dancing with the school, which has a studio on the west side of Madison, ever since.

Her dancing skills and talents have taken her and her family all over the country. "We have centered vacations around it and have been to Orlando, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, and Nashville," Michelle said.

Boston was the site of last year's world championships, for which Bridget also qualified. "To go back a second time is a dream come true for her," added Michelle.

Sharing her talents

"I love to compete and perform," Bridget said. "I like how athletic it is. It really is a competitive sport that people get into."

Bridget has participated in many performances over the past several years to groups ranging from young children to senior citizens.

She has performed with top Irish bands, including an opportunity to dance with The Chieftains at the Overture Center in Madison.

Bridget has also been able to share her talents with her classmates at St. Dennis.

"I've danced at our school's variety show and my dance school performed one year on St. Patrick’s Day," said Bridget. "My friends and teachers are super supportive and are always wondering when and where my next competition will be held."

Going to London

The whole family, members of St. Dennis Parish, will be going with her to London for the world championships. This includes her mother Michelle, her father Craig, and her brother Joseph.

Bridget is looking forward to the trip.

"I've worked really hard and can't wait to see how I compete against girls from around the world," she said. "I've never been to London or out of the country, so I'm super excited to see the sites and also go shopping!"

"We are incredibly proud of Bridget and her never-ending dedication to dance," said Michelle. "It is an amazing feeling to see your kids do what they love and work really hard to get to their goals, whatever they may be."

Michelle also wanted to give special credit to Bridget’s 10-year-old brother Joseph. "He's been dragged to more dance events than he cares to remember and is always incredibly supportive of her and a good sport," she said.

"Whatever happens in London, she’s already a winner to us," said Michelle. "As any parent would agree, the real joy comes in watching your kids do what they love."


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