Darwin dancer triumphs at World Championships

23-Apr-2018

From left: World champion Michelle Spillane and Christine Collins did Australia proud at Irish dancing competitions.

From left: World champion Michelle Spillane and Christine Collins did Australia proud at Irish dancing competitions.


High kicks, big hair and dazzling costumes were part of Michelle Spillane’s triumph to the “top of the world” in Irish dancing.

The Charles Darwin University Senior Graduation Officer was crowned the winner at the recent World Irish Dancing Association World Open Championships in The Netherlands.

Michelle was one of 26 dancers who took centre stage in the over 40 age group at the international “feis” gunning for gold at Maastricht, one of the oldest cities in north-western Europe. 

“It was unreal - a real honour to represent Australia and Darwin’s Keltikka Irish Dancers and win the championship,” she said. “We beat the Irish at their own game with Spain and the USA coming second and third … Ireland came fifth.”

Originally from Ireland, Michelle adopted Darwin as her home six years ago. Having danced since she was four years old, she lost interest for a number of years until she moved to Australia. 

“I got back into it mainly for fitness and as a way to make friends,” she said. “I moved to Darwin from Cork and decided to put my ‘heavies’ and ‘ghillies’ on just for fun.”

With the dancing bug running in her veins it didn’t take Michelle long to start competing again. “I came second two years ago and last year I placed fourth in the world, but this year I won.”

CDU Biochemistry Technical Officer Christine Collins joined Michelle as part of the local entourage to the Netherlands placing third in her category of the International Grade Feis competition, which was held in the lead up to the world championships. 

“I’ve only been dancing for two years, starting after watching a performance at a local festival,” she said. “The others have years of experience and can do tricks like you wouldn’t believe, but I’m pretty pleased with my third placing.”